Retiring Delta pilot never missed a day in 45 years - New York News

Retiring Delta pilot never missed a day in 45 years

Posted: Updated:

After 45 years and more than 12 million miles in the air, a Delta captain said goodbye on Friday.

A water cannon salute welcome Captain Calvin "Cal" Flanigan as he returned from his final flight from Los Angeles.

Flanigan began as a mechanic back in 1968, but eventually realized his childhood dream of becoming a pilot.

"Even as a little kid watching airplanes take off when I was 9 or 10 years old, I knew I wanted to fly," said Flanigan.

In 37 years, Flanigan flew more than 12.5 million miles to more than 95 different cities, amassing some 27,000 hours of flight time as he became the most senior pilot in the entire airline. The pilot, who never missed a day of work in all his decades, was looked upon as a role model by other Delta employees.

"He's been the number one guy for almost eight years now. I don't think that's something that will ever be replicated, certainly in my lifetime," said Steve Dickson of Delta Airlines.

Delta rules state that pilots must retire when they reach 65; Flanigan's 65th birthday is Saturday.

"I'm going to miss the people. I really, truly will miss the people," said Flanigan.

Flanigan said that he had other offers to retire, but wanted to fly until the very last possible moment.

"After 37 years of doing what you love and not being able to think of any profession that you would prefer versus what you were doing, you know, I know it's time," Flanigan said. "I'm 65 tomorrow so there's no denying that, but do I still love it? Yes, I do. But it's time to pass the baton, and I've recognized that, and I'm going to do it."

Flight attendants and pilots gathered to welcome Flanigan back as he arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Friday.

"The list of accomplishments is long, but I think even more than that, everybody realizes what a great friend and colleague Cal has been throughout his career," said Dickson.

Cal and his wife plan to do more traveling together now that he's retired.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Manhattan restaurant proactive on food allergens

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:48 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:48:47 GMT
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
    From the St. Louis spare to a rack of beef, ribs are the specialty for Chef Eddie Montalvo at Blue Smoke Restaurant in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. While the ribs are smoked for flavor, they are cooked gluten- and nut-free. The restaurant pays special attention to food allergies. Sloan Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources, says 15 million Americans have a diagnosed food allergy. Eight foods typically set off reactions: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, egg, an...
  • Wineries flourish in Brooklyn

    Wineries flourish in Brooklyn

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:34 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:34:04 GMT
    Hundreds of oak barrels of wine are all stacked in one room. You might think this is Napa, California. But it's not. It's the Brooklyn Winery, located in what was once an old pickle factory in Williamsburg. Refrigerated grapes are brought in from the North Fork of Long Island and from the Finger Lakes and then aged in barrels. These days urban wineries are becoming more popular, and they're popping up all over the borough.
    Hundreds of oak barrels of wine are all stacked in one room. You might think this is Napa, California. But it's not. It's the Brooklyn Winery, located in what was once an old pickle factory in Williamsburg. Refrigerated grapes are brought in from the North Fork of Long Island and from the Finger Lakes and then aged in barrels. These days urban wineries are becoming more popular, and they're popping up all over the borough.
  • NYC to overhaul Superstorm Sandy rebuilding program

    NYC to overhaul Superstorm Sandy rebuilding program

    Thursday, April 17 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-04-18 01:30:41 GMT
    Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a sweeping report Thursday that examined New York City's recovery progress from Superstorm Sandy and promised to reform a much-maligned program that was supposed to rebuild wrecked homes. Speaking to about 50 homeowners, officials and community leaders in a storm-battered Staten Island neighborhood, the mayor said the city is aiming to start rebuilding an ambitious 500 homes through its federally funded Build-It-Back program.
    Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a sweeping report Thursday that examined New York City's recovery progress from Superstorm Sandy and promised to reform a much-maligned program that was supposed to rebuild wrecked homes. Speaking to about 50 homeowners, officials and community leaders in a storm-battered Staten Island neighborhood, the mayor said the city is aiming to start rebuilding an ambitious 500 homes through its federally funded Build-It-Back program.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices