Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Drawings and the DC-9 Simulator

Almost every time I went out to MKT to 'hang' with the station agents, I'd bring along a hand made drawing of a Convair 580 to give to the pilots on any given Convair flight that would arrive. One has to wonder what I was DOING in school besides drawing Convairs! In any event, many a drawing was made and sent along with the weather information to the cockpits with Lloyd, Lowell or Keith (MKT agents). Most of the time the pilots seemed to enjoy my little gifts and would pose for pictures with the drawings out the cockpit windows (photo above) or would even come out of the aircraft to come say 'hi.' (Another photo above). On many occasions, I'd be invited up to the cockpit to chat with the pilots and take a seat in the pilot seats. I think I sat in about 15 different Convair pilot seats over the years and seemed to be getting 'comfy' in such a position!

During one particular flight, I met a Captain named Charles Hanebuth. He was based in MSP and had 'seen' me a few times in the MKT station and had heard from other pilots of my 'Convair kid' status dubbed me by the MKT agents. He came out of the aircraft to say 'hello' and asked when I'd be back again at the station. 'Most likely in a few days' I said. 'OK, maybe I'll see you again!' At this time Captain Hanebuth was the Chief of Flight Operations (unbeknownst to me) and was keeping up his flight hours on the Convair runs, along with training new First Officers. He was a nice guy and I hoped we'd meet again at some point.

About 2 days later, I came home from school to find a North Central Airlines Convair 580 Pilots Handbook waiting for me! Lloyd, from MKT, had delivered to my house from the morning flight that Charles happened to be piloting. There was a handwritten note on a Republic 727 postcard that said 'Peder, Enjoy this and be sure to LEARN! Also, next time you're in MSP, let me know, Charles Hanebuth.' WOW! A real pilots handbook! Naturally, I carried it around and read it for weeks.

A short time went by when I was invited to the General Offices again from Marlene Krogstad. I'd remembered that Charles said to let him know when I'd be in MSP again and I called his office and left a message. Dad and I arrived in the G.O. a few days later and were met by Marlene again who let us know that 'Charles Hanebuth called me and I hear he has a surprise for you over at the Cargo Offices, I'll walk you over there.' Cargo offices I thought? What's there I wonder?

It was a short walk across the street to the Cargo Offices and were met by Charles at the door. (Photo above) He led us down a short corridor into a large room with a cockpit shaped 'machine' I'd never seen. 'We're going to fly the DC-9 today Peder' Charles said. THE SIMULATOR! Charles had me sit in the Captain's seat as he punched a few buttons behind me and proceeded to sit in the First Officer's chair, my father standing behind us. (Photo above) Out of nowhere, the screens in front of us were illuminated with scenery, a tarmac, clouds and even other aircraft. Charles let me do the 'start up' procedures, with him telling me what to do and what to push/pull. A THRILL to say the least of hearing engines start, taxing, and preparing for take off. We pushed the throttles forward and were off. 'Rotate' was the next thing I heard and I pulled back on the yoke a little bit to see and feel us 'rising' into the air. I was smiling from ear to ear and my father and Charles knew it. We 'flew' around for a little while when it was time to 'land,' but Charles had a little surprise for me. Out of nowhere, the image of a DC-10 came over our heads and slightly in front of us, even creating turbulence for a short time before landing ahead of us. How cool! We landed, did full reverse on the throttles, stopped and that was it. From what my father said, it was about a half hour's 'flight,' which to me seemed ALL too short! Charles turned to me then and said 'so, you still want to fly for us someday?' Gee, what do you think?! And to think, this was all done for a little, blonde 11 year old with dreams of flying...:)


blugoose said...

Man Peder I have been waiting all day for this post!!!! I swear you had to have been the luckiest kid growing up!!!! I had to wait until I was 27 before I got a sim ride and that was just in a MD-80 sim, still neat no doubt but you got rock star treatment from NC!!! I wonder what happend to a lot of these people after the merger?? Do you still keep in touch with any of them?? Every once and awhile I would see a pilot at NWA with a Herman pin in his tie but that was far and few between.


Peder Flaten said...

Hey AP, Yeah, I think I was pretty lucky actually! I think it's really the reason for the blog; to share what happened with me and the fact that people of 'Herman' were genuinely nice, happy and went out of their way for others. From what I've learned, most of my friends retired/left after the '86 merger, though I do keep in contact with Marlene now and then. I'd love to catch up with the others at some point too! Thanks again...PF

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