Minneapolis native Gordon Newstrom worked as a fishing guide in Northern Minnesota in the 1930s, often promoting flying fishing trips. In 1942 he earned his flight ratings and served as a war training service instructor at Albert Lea during World War II.
After the war Newstrom started Mesaba Aviation at Coleraine, Minnesota. Mesaba offered flight training, charter and corporate flight services to the Blandin Paper Company. The company expanded to Grand Rapids, Deer River and Isle, Minnesota before Newstrom sold it in 1970. Mesaba then moved to Minneapolis and became a major airlink partner for Northwest Airlines.
Newstrom continued flight instruction at the Grand Rapids airfield that now bears his name. He is known today as one of Minnesota’s premiere float flying instructors.