Welcome to Hector International Airport - Fargo, ND
Ever look up in the sky and see a Boeing 747 flown by Northwest Airlines circling the city and wondered what it is doing?
For the past several years Northwest Airlines has used the airport for pilot training. The long runway at Hector makes it a good place for practical training experience. Usually once a month and unannounced, Northwest flies the aircraft to Fargo from Minneapolis to train airline captains that recently upgraded from smaller aircraft in the Northwest fleet.
The aircraft is not carrying any passengers but a training crew of approximately six pilots. Each pilot is required to perform at least three landings and departures to become current in the type of aircraft. The aircraft usually performs 10 to 20 cycles (take-off and landing) before returning to Minneapolis. Northwest also uses airports in Rochester, Duluth and Winnipeg for training.
The airport receives landing fees from Northwest for using the runway but at a reduced rate compared to if the aircraft was carrying passengers. Hector does occasionally see a Northwest 747 full of passengers, but that occurs when the Minneapolis Airport is shut down due to weather.
Also on an occasional basis, other aircraft operators use the airport for training. Boeing favors the strong crosswinds in Fargo for flight testing of new aircraft. The airport viewing park is a favorite spot for aviation enthusiasts to watch the aircraft train or flight test.
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