The U.S. Airline Pilots Who

Delta Airlines Pilot training

Pilot Training / June 22, 2022

Stepping into an old Northwest Airlines DC-9 flight simulator brought him back to when he was a younger pilot and was put through emergency-type situations — engine and system failures, for instance — as part of training and to test his mettle.

“I have a lot of blood, sweat and tears in this thing, ” said Hokuf, now a Delta Air Lines pilot.

Flight simulators — nine in all — are among the thousands of items that were left behind when the Northwest Airlines/Delta flight training center in Eagan closed in 2012. The items are being auctioned off before the 300, 000-square-foot building is demolished for the Vikings’ new headquarters.

Grafe Auction, a Spring Valley, Minn., company running the auction, opened the doors to the flight training center Friday to allow the public to look around. Another public viewing is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.

“I’ve not sold life-size simulators before, ” said Judd Grafe, president of Grafe Auction. “And we’ve been doing this for 60 years. This is unique.”

Public bidding began online Sept. 29 and ends Oct. 13-14, depending on the items.

Individual items like office equipment, overhead cranes, air conditioners, tools and even a light-up Mary and Joseph from a Nativity scene are up for grabs.

As of Friday afternoon, bids on the flight simulators ranged from $5 to $375, but Grafe noted that “98 percent of the bidding happens within the last two minutes of the item being available for sale.”

Vikki Hancock of Inver Grove Heights made a list of items she might bid on — filing cabinets, storage shelves, high-top tables — through the auction company’s website,

“If we can get some of these for 10 bucks, why not?” she said.

But Hancock, a former secretary for the flight training department who retired in 2001, was mostly interested in seeing the building once again.

“I found my old cube, ” she said. “It’s still there.”

Grafe said several colleges have shown interest in the simulators, as have several aviation enthusiasts. One of them is Matt Armstrong, a science teacher at Cherry View Elementary School in Lakeville who has a homemade flight simulator in the basement of his Eagan home. He was at the preview looking for parts.