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Lark of Duluth replica to be featured at Wisconsin airshow

Mark Marino of the Duluth Aviation Institute (from left), Cirrus Aircraft President Patrick Waddick and Tom Betts of the aviation institute visit next to the Lark of Duluth bi-wing flying boat before a news conference at the Duluth International Airport in December 2013. The plane is a replica of the Benoist Type XIV flying boat that flew in Duluth 100 years ago. (2013 file / News Tribune)

A replica of the Lark of Duluth will be placed on display at the nation’s largest airshow this summer.

The Duluth Aviation Institute announced that a replica of the pioneering plane described as a “flying boat” will be exhibited in front of the Vintage Red Barn during the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Airventure show from today through Sunday in Oshkosh, Wis. The event is expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors.

The plane, a replica of a 1913 flying boat made of wood with fabric-covered wings, was to have made an appearance at last year’s show, but it was damaged in a crash landing during a test flight in Duluth in July 2013 and could not make the trip.

Repairs have since been made, and the plane will be featured to mark this year’s 100th anniversary of the launch of the nation’s first scheduled commercial air service using the original Lark of Duluth to shuttle passengers between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Fla.

It took Duluth’s Mark Marino and a crew of volunteers 5½ years to research and construct the replica.