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D/FW INTERNATIONAL - In 1976, 29-year-old Tom Christopher was grinding through the sky in his twin-engine Cessna headed from Dallas to Fort Wayne, Ind.
He was making the trip as a favor for a friend at Parker Hannifin Corp. who urgently needed a package of hydraulic hoses delivered to an International Harvester Farmall tractor manufacturing plant.
Christopher - a pilot who'd just finished a stint in the U.S. Navy - was happy to oblige, despite a promise to himself that he would fly only for pleasure once he returned to civilian life.
Little did Christopher know, however, that his midnight flight to Fort Wayne was actually the start of something big.
As it turns out, Christopher's favor for a friend has blossomed into a $132 million company called Kitty Hawk Inc., a major player in the …