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Published September 13, 2013, 09:49 AM

N.W. Minnesota bush pilot to be honored on 97th birthday

Longtime Lake of the Woods bush pilot and Northwest Angle mail carrier Don Hanson will be honored on Saturday on his 97th birthday.

By: Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald

Longtime Lake of the Woods bush pilot and Northwest Angle mail carrier Don Hanson will be honored on Saturday on his 97th birthday.

The event will be 3 to 5 p.m. at the Senior Living Center in Warroad, Minn.

Hanson retired from his Northwest Angle mail route in 2003 at the age of 86.

“I’d been at it long enough, so I figured it was time to pull the plug,” Hanson said in a July 2003 Herald story.

A native of Warroad, Hanson started his Lake of the Woods mail run in 1946 shortly after getting out of the military.

During World War II, he commanded a B-24 crew and spent a year and a half in a Nazi prison camp after his plane went down over Germany in November 1943.

Hanson returned to Minnesota after the war and started a flying service on Lake of the Woods. He owned Hanson’s Flying Service until 1973, when he sold the business, but continued as the new owner’s chief pilot until 1986.

After he quit flying, Hanson drove the mail from Warroad to the post office at Angle Inlet, Minn., on the Northwest Angle. Another person would haul the mail from the mainland to Oak Island in the summer, but in the winter, Hanson would make the trip by truck or snowmobile and with a “puddle jumper” air boat during freeze-up and ice-out.

Hanson was inducted into Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001.

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