A retired airline pilot hopes to inspire a new generation of pilots in Colorado Springs

Ken Hendrickson became a captain with Capital Airlines in 1950 and retired from United Airlines in 1990.
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 3:49 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Retired United Airlines Captain Ken Hendrickson, first started flying at the age of 14.

Hendrickson said he had a tremendous career as a pilot because they paid him to do what he wanted to do, which was fly airplanes.

Now, retired, Hendrickson spends his time building airplanes instead of flying them.

“The whole idea behind the airplane, it was to give me something to do while caring for my wife, my wife has Parkinson’s,” said Hendrickson. “We’ve been married 71 years and I promised I would take care of her.”

When almost complete with the airplane, Hendrickson called up Jim Steward, President of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 72, to donate the plane to the chapter.

“The idea with the plane is we wanted to raffle it off, and with the proceeds to buy a simulator, and then also have some money to offer scholarships,” said Steward. “Flying is expensive, it costs I think now between $10,000 and $15,000 to get a private pilot’s license.”

Now with the simulator, students can get five hours of training for free.

“We are running short of pilots, we are running short of mechanics, every month there is something about this extreme shortage that we are going to have if we don’t do something about it, and I wanted to do something to help the young folks get their flying in,” said Hendrickson.

Steward said they now have an opportunity to help these kids get a private pilot’s licenses.

“The simulator is a real asset for the chapter, and for the people on this airport and for all of our students we hope to be able to get into aviation,” said Steward.

For more information on Hendrickson’s plane or to buy a raffle ticket you can click here.