Flying is fantastic. People are fascinated by birds, planes and Superman. While some pursue flight as pilots or paratroopers, East Bank mechanic Larry Henning got involved in the technical side of aviation. He spent 27 years keeping planes in the air as a mechanic for Northwest Airlines.
“Flight itself was kind of intriguing when I was a kid,” said Henning. “I’d wonder, ‘How does a bird do that?’ But, I learned that planes are just machines that happen to leave the ground.”
Henning would hang out at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, airport as a boy to watch fighter planes, turbo props and DC-9’s take-off and land. After high school, he chose to become an airplane mechanic rather than join the Air Force because the military life didn’t appeal to him. He took a page from his auto mechanic father’s book and went to vocational school in Watertown, South Dakota.
After school, Henning worked a couple of small airplane mechanic jobs before joining Republic Airlines in advance of their buy-out by Northwest. Henning later worked for Hutchinson Technology and Mesaba Airlines (now Pinnacle) before landing at the University of Minnesota in 2012.
While he won’t be repairing any airplanes at the U, Henning likes working here and appreciates his co-workers and customers.
“The people here are helpful and seem to enjoy being here,” said Henning “They understand that this place is special. I’m learning an awful lot from the people I work with. They’re talented individuals and give a lot to the U.”
Henning and his wife, Karen, celebrated 30 years of marriage this year. The couple lives in Eden Prairie and have two grown daughters, Sarah and Allison, who both graduated from the U and live in Northeast Minneapolis. Sarah is a music teacher and Allison works in the U’s Alumni Relations office. The family enjoys spending time together at their cabin in Waseca.
With a great family and exciting new job at the U, Henning seems to be flying high these days. Maybe he can put his experience to work and help Goldy fly, too!