Lamenting the jet age

About a week ago Delta altered its flight schedule in and out of the Range Regional Airport in Hibbing. Instead of three flights a day, they offer two. Instead of smaller turbo-prop planes, they offer slightly larger jets. So the same number of seats are available, just not as many departure or arrival options.

The morning flights roughly coincide with my son’s very early morning and late afternoon bus ride. The plane passes over our house some 25 miles from the airport as it enters its descent from Thief River Falls.

The prop planes always reminded me of Casablanca. You’d look up and see the silver belly. You’d imagine the single row of seats on the left side of the plane, the chopping of air. You could imagine the pilot or passengers looking down to see the yellow bus pick up my son on our dirt road in the country.

Now these jets seem to fly higher. If you see them they are moving faster. The sound is just a big, loud hum.

Again, it is progress. Delta’s commitment to Iron Range air service is encouraging. But in these modern times we must work harder and harder to find things to inspire imagination. It is no easy task, and certainly an important one.


  1. Hi Aaron, found this posting via MinnPost and just thought I’d add some thoughts about mining and our northern towns, seems to me–
    1–I disagree with your statement about how these towns wouldn’t be there without mining, and how does that differ from when towns mainly existed for the once-proud fishing industry that has been killed off due to weak management of the resource.

    2–When you write about how Australian mining is suffering, this proves how multi-nationals are playing with miners on an international game, rigged so they never lose and small towns who cave into the ‘boom’ of mining jobs can never prevent the coming ‘bust.’

    3–As long as the ore is in the ground, your towns have something those multinational people want; conversely you have lived through how little those multinationals care about your community when the profits get slim…so why rush into another ‘boom’ and why negotiate from such a weak mindset.

    4–What the mining world really needs, is pressure to improve the ways of extracting minerals, so why doesn’t the IRRRB put the best minds available to work up in da range to develop better methods to reduce pollution.

    5–These mining companies you hear about are all shells, who all roll up into a handful of mega-companies who all work loosely together. They have rigged their industry to control everything–ore prices, politicians, regulation, et al on a global scale. They no longer fear competition and barely care enough about the people like you and your neighbors who will be stuck living in their pollution for umpteen generations after they have left.

    How long before they turn da range into the Alberta Tar Sands…good luck hunting and fishing in du nord then. My recommendation is to take a stand now while the towns are not busted and yet downsized from the boom to push for better ways to extract ore.

  2. If only northern Minnesota would experience the properity of Alberta.

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