It all began in 4-H. One of the projects Erik had involved aerospace. You could build model rockets, plastic models, and radio-controlled airplanes. That’s what really got him interested in aviation. His oldest brother, Shawn, went to the United States Air Force Academy. He’s now an airline pilot for Delta. His younger brother, Chad, also is a part-time airplane mechanic at AirCorps Aviation.
Erik was so interested in airplanes and aviation that by the time he got to high school he figured out how to get a job at the airport as a mechanic the summer before his senior year. Then he worked the on-the-job training program, so the second half of the school day he spent out at the airport getting high school credit and working toward his airframe & powerplant license. Very few people go that route today because it takes 30 months of on-the-job experience before you qualify. Then you take the same FAA test that technical school students do. He got his A&P license when he was 20, and at that time already had three years of experience.
So where did the love of Warbirds begin…
After working for Bemidji Aviation, Erik worked for a charter company in Minneapolis for about four years. Through connections he was contacted by by Ron Fagen (a Warbird enthusiast with a love for P-40’s.) In 2004 he moved to Granite Falls and started Warhawks Inc. During his time there he restored and worked on a couple P-40’s, P-51, and P-38. The P-40 Aleutian Tiger won Grand Champion at Oshkosh!
In 2008 Erik and his wife, Sarah, moved back to Minneapolis to start AirCorps Aviation. They had a baby, Gavin, then moved the company to Erik’s hometown of Bemidji! Erik is also heavily involved in the community and likes helping other entrepreneurs.