Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame
James Hancock 1945 -
March 1, 2020
Born in Bremerton, Washington, on June 7, 1945, Hancock lived in Washington until he was 22. This is where he learned to fly and in 1963, soloed in a Cessna 140. He learned to fly in a Cessna 140 and 170 while pursuing his airframe and powerplant licenses. He finished his A&P at the University of Illinois. He went on to earn his instructor and multi-engine ratings. Over the years, he would earn several more ratings.
In 1967, Hancock applied to Northwest Airlines for work and was hired as a flight engineer (Second Officer) on the Boeing 727. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1969 as a helicopter mechanic and military policeman. After his service obligation was met, he returned to Northwest Airlines and also used his G. I. Bill to earn his helicopter ratings, including his Helicopter CFI. He soon became First Officer and then Captain on the Boing 727, First Officer on the 707 and DC-10, Captain on the 757, and finally Captain on the 747 and 747-400. He was instrumental in developing the three-engine ferry procedure for the 747. He was also the 747-400 Fleet Training Captain as well as the FAA Designated Examiner for ratings in the 747-400. During his airline career, he amassed over 19,000 flight hours and retired in 2005 with 38 years of service.
Besides his airline experience, Hancock was immersed in general aviation, owning a Breezy, a Beech Travel Air, a Cessna 170 on Wipline floats and a Pitts Model 12, which he built in 1979. He is best known for his outstanding instructional techniques, not only with flying in both general aviation and commercial aviation, but aircraft maintenance as well. He is a member of EAA Chapter 1229 and a Fleming Field advocate in South St. Paul. In 2017 he was voted into the Fleming Field Hall of Fame. He is also a certified parachute rigger and has made over 1,000 jumps.
NOTE: The Hall of Fame Banquet has been rescheduled for Nov. 7th at the MSP Intercontinental Hotel. All April reservations will be honored, all event times are the same.