I was born in 1939 and grew up in Southeast Rochester one block north
of the old Rochester airport, which is now the Meadow Park addition just
east of Seneca Foods. My dad started as an aircraft mechanic in 1942 at
the airport so I have been close to airplanes almost all my life. I
spent most of my teen age years hanging out at the airport and knew most
of the pilots and mechanics. I got my first airplane ride at age 5 in a
Taylorcraft sitting on my dad's lap. The pilot was a guy named Dick
Smith who became a Northwest Airlines pilot and now, I believe, is part
owner of Stanton Airport.
John's First Solo Day, Jan 1957
I built and flew control line models during my early teenage years.
At the start of my senior year, in 1956, I started flying lessons. I had
flown in a J-3 with a friend of my dad's for a couple years and he
taught me turns, stalls and other maneuvers through take-off's and
landings and then told me to get started on lessons so I could log the
time. I got my Private license in August of 1957. After that I tried to
get flying time in anything I could and eventually got checked out in
the Bonanza. In 1958 I joined the Southeast Minnesota Flying Club and
flew their J-3 and PA-12 Cruiser. At that time the J-3 cost $3.00 per
hour and the PA-12 was $4.50. Membership was $100 and we paid monthly
dues of $3.00, and the club made money. Of course, at that time I was
making about $25 per week.
John and his Parakeet that he completed in 1978
I joined the Air Force in 1959, went to Weather School at Chanute AFB
in Illinois and then spent the rest of my enlistment at Grand Forks AFB,
North Dakota. I joined the base flying club and flew Beechcraft T-34's
and an L-17 Navion. I also joined a skydiving club off base and made 169
jumps including a couple night free falls and a water jump into Lake
Bemidji during a water festival. I discontinued skydiving when I got
married to Ginny in 1964. We had 4 kids, two girls and two boys and Jeff
was the only one that inherited airplane genes
In 1965 I got my Commercial Pilot rating and got an Instrument rating
in 1971, although I have never made a buck flying or made an IFR flight
since the day of my flight exam. It is always nice to be aware of what
else is going on up there when I am flying.
I worked at IBM from 1964 until 1993. During that time I owned an
Aeronca 11AC Chief for 3 years and then started the Parakeet which was
completed in 1978. Like most homebuilders, I picked up the skills as I
went and asked for help when I needed it. After my son, Jeff, got out of
the Navy we began thinking about another airplane project. We started
the Hatz in 1999 and, after 10 years of building, completed it in 2009.
It was a great experience working together and now Jeff's 14 year old
son, John, is involved with us in flying and maintaining the planes.
John and Son Jeff standing by the 2013 AirVenture Gold Lindy Grand
Champion Hatz Classic
Click here to read
a great article on the Hansons, the aircraft and the award
Jeff flying the Hatz. Picture taken by Jeff's Son John
John flying the Parakeet. Picture taken by John's Grandson John
Jeff in the lead flying the Hatz, John in the Parakeet and young John
taking the photo.