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Autobiography of John Hanson

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.