Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Light-Sport Chronicles: Hansen Family Values
This family tree has wings for branches and clouds for leaves
"Able Flight is a great thing," Jon adds. "It has changed the lives of many people."
Backtracking a bit, I ask how Mitch and Mike joined the family trade.
"They were raised in an airline family. I guess it was that exposure to flying from the beginning. When they were just six weeks old, their grandfather took them flying in his Cessna 182."
"Grandfather" wasn't Jon's dad...but his wife's dad! Enough already!
"So my boys got the bug too, built models and RC planes as kids," remembers Jon. "They soloed as teens in a Champ, and after college, Mike was recruited by the NSA. They only had one slot, 900 applicants—but Mike got the job."
Meanwhile, brother Mitch went to the Air Force, where he was given his choice to fly anything he wanted after graduating flight school. Instead of fighters, he chose B-52 bombers.
Then Mike transferred out of NSA, went through AF flight school, was also offered fighters, but he, too, chose B-52s...and was assigned to the same squadron as his brother.
"Mike flew one of those B-52s that left the U.S. the first night of Desert Storm and flew nonstop direct to Baghdad and back, a 39-hour mission," Jon remembers with pride. "The Air Force was showing everybody we could go anywhere from the U.S. We didn't need bases all over the world."
When the boys left the service, Mike went, you guessed it, to the airlines, where he currently flies with—guess who—Delta Airlines. Mitch stayed in the service longer as an exchange flight instructor at Pensacola Naval Air Station.
Mike is now a Captain on the Douglas MD 88. Mitch couldn't hire on at Delta (that nepotism rule again), so he went to United, where he's an international copilot on a Boeing 767.
Mitch still teaches Able Flight students, and both brothers—along with cousin Jeff and nephew Matt—stay involved in the family LSA business that has two bases: Kennesaw, Ga., and El Cajon, Calif.
That's seven flying Hansens, and all involved with light sport.
Papa Jon gets the last word: "And now you know why we decided to call ourselves the Hansen Air Group."
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