We look forward to flying!
Dan Dorson first flew in a small plane with his dad, Don, when he was 10 years old in Rhode Island. For the next 30 years Don continued to fly his Cessna 172. Dan grew up looking out the window next to him, later graduated from the Air Force Academy, and went on to fly the B-1 bomber and then instructed in trainer aircraft during 15 years with the Air Force.
Dan Dorson has extensive experience as an Air Force instructor pilot teaching aerobatics, instrument procedures, low-level navigation, and advanced formation to both U.S. and European student pilots.
He's now based in the Minneapolis area holding Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) and Commercial Seaplane ratings.
We'd love to hear your stories, too!
3 generations after 8 hours of flying to the East coast
The roof professional refurbished by Hurd Maintenance
Big events for 2021
We sold our 10-stall hangar at the start of 2021. This gave us additional capital to continue making improvements to our remaining hangar and funded our Cessna 172 engine overhaul.
In the fall of 2021, we turned our attention to the roof of Hangar 58C. We repaired multiple skylights that needed attention and had the Hurd Maintenance team move forward with a complete roof refurbishment, using material and techniques tested out the summer before on a part of our now-sold hangar. We are confident these maintenance events will keep your airplane dry and safe during all seasons.
Dan up on the roof...before the roof or skylights were redone
Summer 2020 Improvements
As preventative maintenance, we resealed all the skylights on our bigger hangar and tested a new roof sealant on part of the roof. We'll see how this works before possibly applying it everywhere else.
We also replaced old asphalt flooring in two hangar areas. The new asphalt will allow aircraft to get pushed in and pulled out of the hangar much easier and fixed some long standing issues with the old floor surface.
The Hurd Maintenance team making sure the roof is good!
Making the most of extra family time
In the depths of the Covid-19 quarantine in April of 2020, my high-schooler, Jake, came to me and asked for flight lessons, since his activity schedule had all but been obliterated and he needed something to keep him busy. I knew he was serious when I told him we'd have to do most of the lessons before I started work at 8am and he agreed! Within the months of April and May, he went on to complete online ground school, get his medical, and progress well enough to fly three touch-and-go's on his own at Glencoe (KGYL). They looked pretty good! We'll see if he continues on to get his Private Pilot license when he's eligible next year.
My son, Jake, and I after he solo'ed at Glencoe MN
In the winter of 2020, Modern Avionics, on the East side of the airfield, replaced the original radio switch box in our 1976 C-172 with a proper audio panel, along with swapping out one of our two Narco radios with a Garmin GNC 355 radio and GPS unit. Now we can file as a /G and have more approach options! We also gained 10 pounds of useful load by removing the ADF receiver, indicator and antenna. Scroll down to see a partial before picture - when we got the new transponder put in two years ago.
More options! ... but more to keep current!
Winter 2019 repairs
Despite each hangar door on Romeo and Sierra Lane getting professionally serviced and adjusted last summer, a brand new tenant called on a Friday evening to let me know the hangar door cable system broke with the door halfway up with his plane now stuck inside. I called our partner repair team at Champion Garage Doors, and their team made the needed repairs that evening. 4 hours from issue reported to resolved.
We want our proactive/preventative maintenance to preclude these types of issues, but things will still break and go wrong. We are pleased we quickly got the door back in action!
Halfway open isn't good enough
Super Bowl Winter
In February 2018, Flying Cloud Airport filled up with visitors for the Super Bowl. Here's a view of a taxiway that usually doesn't have jets and turboprops stacked up nose-to-tail! Between this crush of planes and the snow that has been pretty much a constant this winter - conditions have been less than ideal for winter flying! I negotiated with Thunderbird Aviation to move up my annual inspection. So at least while the weather's not good, I can get ahead with the inspection!
In May 2018, we removed and replaced the aging asphalt inside and outside one hangar stall on Mike Lane. The new asphalt will allow aircraft to get pushed in and pulled out of the hangar much easier and fixed some long standing issues with the old floor surface.
Then in late June, each hangar door on Romeo and Sierra Lane got professionally serviced and adjusted. Two hangar doors received all new pulleys and cables. This preventative maintenance let us fix issues before problems arose and allows the doors to move even smoother.
Spring 2018 improvements
The crew from MN Roadways finishing up!
Halfway open isn't good enough
Busier than usual...
Modern Avionics, on the East side of the airfield, replaced our old transponder with an ADS-B compliant one in February 2017. I test flew it the same day it was done and saw traffic alerts on my iPad. After the flight, I checked the FAA website and got a report that all parameters passed. So now I'm waiting for my FAA rebate...and waiting to save up money to upgrade out of having an ADF receiver!
Update: It took exactly 3 weeks from my test flight to receive the FAA rebate check. I thought the whole rebate process was pretty smooth.
Spring 2017 improvements
In early May, each hangar door on Lima and Mike Lane got professionally serviced and adjusted. Two hangar doors received all new pulleys and cables. This preventative maintenance let us fix issues before problems arose and allows the doors to move even smoother.
Also all hangar doors hinges and trim on Sierra and Romeo Lane were sanded and then painted. While all was serviceable before, we think this restoration work better preserves these exposed parts and makes the hangar look much better!
ADF + ADS-B = old + new
Float plane lessons
In the fall of 2016, I gave myself a birthday present of float plane lessons from Adventure Seaplanes, flying from Lino Lakes. Now Adventure Seaplanes is based out of lakes further north (and then Florida during the winter months).
Earning this rating was some of the most fun flying I had ever done! Hardly any radio calls, no ForeFlight - just eyeballing the safety of each lake and then putting the plane where you wanted it.
As much fun as you'd think it would be!
In the fall of 2016, we teamed up with an Edina High School aeronautical engineering class and showed the students first-hand some of the principles of flight they had been learning.
Over two different weekends, 19 students got 20-minute orientation flights that departed from Flying Cloud Airport, flew up over Lake Minnetonka, and then back again. For 16 of them, this was their first time up in a small airplane. Whoever sat up front got some stick time, too!
Special thanks to Thunderbird Aviation for allowing the students to meet in their facility before and after the flights.
High-schoolers before their first GA flight