More than 50 years after the Cleveland National Air Race’s famous flying machines, Mike and Ike, disappeared, Karl Engelskirger and Tom Matowitz are bringing them out of retirement.
It’s hard to imagine Cleveland Municipal Airport being the focal point for high society and the proving ground for the world of aviation. But during the 1920s and ’30s, the Cleveland National Air Races attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators, movie stars and politicians to what would become Hopkins International Airport for 10 days of speed, glamour and glitz. “It was the NASCAR of the 1930s. It was just the largest thing on the planet,” says Karl Engelskirger, a commercial pilot from Wadsworth who found two of the most famous planes from that Golden Age of aviation — Benny Howard’s Mike and Ike racers.