November 1, 2013
Travis Nelson uses his 1958 Aeronca Champ to get around his 15 square miles of ranch in northeastern Montana. A fourth-generation rancher, Nelson raises Red Angus beef cattle and plants 3,500 acres of hard red wheat. Nelson’s Champ goes for morning checks on water tanks, cows in trouble during calving season, and crops. “It would take me a day to do what I can do in one hour with an airplane,” says Nelson. It can land on a meadow or a curving road when Nelson needs to close a fence or help a cow in distress. Nelson calls his Champ the “Cowboy Cadillac” because it’s used like a flying pick-up truck.
Subject: 1958 Aeronca Champ
Where: Nelson Ranch, 20 miles south of Opheim, Montana
Photographer: Mike Fizer
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