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Retiring Delta pilot never missed a day in 45 years

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. ( さらに...

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Awesome, I hope Delta recongized that fact.
well done.....I hope he has a wonderful retirement
preacher1 12
It's a hell of a note that a good, feel good, type story gets posted and somebody always has some disparaging remarks about it, more than likly envy because they couldn't do it or had a different attitude about it. That, however, is their right, just as it it mine to express disagreement. I personally think the man has made an accomplishment that many have not realized and should be congratulated.
Capt.Flanigan clearly loves aviation and persevered as a mechanic for 8 years with Delta before transitioning into a pilot slot. He still has that zest, that joy of flight and travel, which is why he and his wife have some sweet adventures planned around the world. As for the aforementioned remark by a certain ATP, well there are many who would love to take his slot in the plane.
they should name a plane after him
There's a couple of restaurants in FL with his name...
akovia 0
How about honoring the pension agreement that Delta made with him?
WOW ! Great Job Cal, 8 years alone at the top of Delta AND never callign in sick.
Hope you have a nice retirement WELL DONE !!!
Class act, he is!
He "plans to do more traveling in retirement". Now that's funny!!!
He's gonna take time to look and see all that stuff he has flown
id imagine he'd get to fly for free on any delta flight he wanted, probably in business class
ecw11563 2
Any employee or retiree gets to fly for free on any and ALL Delta flights. And we ALL get upgraded to first or business if there's an open seat. Domestic, not so much. On international flights, we ALMOST ALWAYS get upgraded. We Love To Fly, And It Shows!
He may do better than that. He may just get his own plane if he doesn't have one already. Good luck Capt.
He may be like me. When I hang it up for good, I think I want somebody else to
I avoid the airline expierence as much as possible. Sometimes that even means literally driving. Lol
Yeah, I avoid flying on the airlines whenever possible too. I dread the entire experience from curb to curb... Wish if I could afford even a 172...
Keep diggin man. I only recently acquired my own. Had quite a few periods of no flying because of $.
Wonderful story . .with a happy ending ! Would like to see a movie or book next.
Well done!
That is some record to be very proud of!
canuck44 3
Sad in some ways that he gets eaten up by an arbitrary age when he is clearly not impaired and in full command of his faculties while at the same time the average retirement age keeps increasing for the rest of the working population (civil servants excluded). Hopefully he will find time to travel or find something that uses his talent and love of flying for the numbers looking at outcome for professionals forced to retire are not good. Maybe Preacher needs someone with long teeth in his right seat.
You are right about the forced retirement age. He has a few more years on me but I am like you, I'll bet he has a lot of good miles left in
canuck44 6
I have a deal with an anesthesiologist friend and colleague (we ran the PICU together when we were both much younger). If he observes my surgical skills and/or judgment looks to be impaired he will tell me and I will retire. A ATP pilot such as this chap undergoes a far more rigorous and continuous evaluation that should take precedence over an arbitrary number generated by the bureaucracy which has little statistical or medical validity...but then that would require judgment and effort on behalf of the administrators.
Two thumbs up to a Gentleman. Enjoy being a gentleman of leisure.
We can agree to that...and the all night sleep disruptions included.
No fly quiet here.
Impressive to say the absolute least
He looks like a happy man! Enjoy Capt. Flanigan!
Delta must be good to their people, not the first time I have heard of employees staying the full 30-35 years with them.
A big JOB WELL DONE to Captain Flanigan. Dedication to one's craft often translates to true enjoyment of it and that of superior skill and judgment (as shown here). I'm just 1 SOB in the back, getting where I'm going (no flight licensure) - so this is a great time to thank all of you in the front office for doing what you do with dedication, in a tough industry. As a Medical professional, I can only speculate as to the reasons for a blanket rule of age 65 as a cutoff. We're living longer, healthier lives, which should be taken into account, instead of a number. For now, Captain Flanigan looks like a happy guy. I wish him the best in his retirement and continued passion for his next adventure.
Best wishes to you and your family Cal!
I like the idea of naming a plane after him. Whichever type he flew
Well Done, lets hope Delta appreciates your valubale service
Congratulations. Well done.
Great job! Have a nice retirement!
great job.congratulation.
With all that flight time you deserve a pension!! Congrats on your retirement.
Congrats Captain ! Enjoy your retirement to the fullest your deserve it.Awesome.....
A magnificent achievement. Mr Flanigan, I take my hat off to you. You a truly an inspiration to everybody and you deserve every accolade. Congratulations.
ric lang 1
Mr. Flanigan, I trust you have a happy and fruitful retirement. To have gone through 45 years of sweating a 1st class medical, then topping it off with NO sick time is indeed something of which you should be proud. With the time you have logged, I would think you'd be at a point of turning your back on aviating, but to have someone of your expertise sharing the airspace with us would be a distinct pleasure. Have a good life.
smoki 1
Quite a remarkable feat to go that long without missing a single day. He should get the iron man award.
I retired from American after 27 years a year and a half ago. I"m pretty active. In 27 years, back surgery, flu many times, colds, couple of ear infections from swimming, bronchitis, broken leg, frozen shoulder, 3 miniscus surgeries, heart went into AFib when I hit 50 and then again around age 51. One in every 100 pilots has it. By the time one is 80, its one in every 8 people have it. I'm 6ft, 175 lbs, picture of health...except for 2 occasions of AFib attacks. Drugs keep my heart in regular rhythm since the second episode. The FAA Class One Physical is a joke. They don't even check your hearing any more. If you can walk in and walk out on your own power, you pass. Kinda like TSA.....eyewash for the public. I can tell you from many many years of experience as an Air Force pilot and commercial pilot, this guy either flew sick and probably gave whatever he had to at least half his crew members or lives by himself, has no kids or has kids that never get sick, and never does anything other than sit inside a sterile house free of germs. Not an issue of disparaging but just a reality check. THe few folks I knew who never called in sick usually died within a year of retiring.
ric lang 1
So Bill....I'm not, and have never been an airline pilot...I only have 6000+ hours and 624 Instrument, but you seem to be tremendously irritated about this guy retiring after 26K hours and 47 years....perusal of your data that is available to me says you have a 1st class medical 6 years old, and if you retired from American after 27 years, as far as you got was an MD11? What happened to your career? Please don't attack me, I tried to fly the line with Eastern, was in their FE class in Miami when Lorenzo bought the line, I never made it, even as an FE, which broke my heart, but I flew radio ranges, flew the "cone of silence" ranges to final on instrument approaches, and flew cross countries by the beacons. How about giving this guy a break!
I'm like you. Just give credit where credit is due. The guy did a good job, just let it be instead of trying to shooting holes for no good reason.
BTW, check your messages. I sent you one last nite.
Well Said and I thank you. That TIME gets overlooked a bunch.
Its been a few months but after stumbling upon an old notification that I missed, I thought I'd respond to your critique. Why would you think I'm "irritated" by a guy who never called in sick? By the responses I received it seems like there's a lot of denial out there. Denial ain't just a river. There's a whole lot of folks out there who have that disorder. I am a fan of reality. But reality doesn't play well with an increasing number of people. This guy doesn't need a break in my view. Good for him, but like I said, he probably flew sick during his career
AWAAlum 1
Nothing like opening up an old can of worms but I can't resist - I'm an office worker... I've worked while sick. I've worked alongside people who were sick. I don't imagine there're many people on this planet who haven't worked while sick. Just what is your point? What do you think people are in denial about? I don't understand why you felt the need to make that post. I really don't.
One more thing. Your data base is faulty. How in the world can my 1st class be 6 years old when I flew until just 2 years ago on a First Class medical?? Another reason to get rid of Obama Care. Where in the world did you come up with me having flown an MD11 as well??? I never even sat in a cockpit of one!!! I applied to Eastern in 1984 along with other carriers who were hiring but I fortunately had every crew I met flying to and from the interview process to stay away from Eastern. I took their advice even though I was offered a job. They were promising me the moon as well. Good thing I stayed on Earth!!!
Bill, I did 36 on a 135 job, retiring from it full time a little over 3 years ago. I am the type individual, that if I'd had your work attitude, I'd have quit and found something else long before. I'd like to know where you're taking your physical. I'm keeping my rating current on account of some fill in for the time being on a CRJ, but my Doc goes over you with a fine toothcomb and I have been on waivers for the last couple of years now for diabetes and AFIB, but it is all controlled with pills and the waivers are granted. Over the years, I have came across folks with your type outlook. I just post this to tell you that it is not the norm and I really do feel sorry that you have that outlook on life.
So preacher,
I give you my experience and you infer that its a bad outlook?? Remember Ronald Reagan and what he said...."Trust but verify". There's really no way of verifying this guy didn't fly while sick, is there? Did Reagan have a bad attitude? Most on the left said he did. I have a great life. Retired at 58 and enjoying the heck out of my free time with my lovely bride of 40 years. Most of my peers just can't stand the thought of not flying. They have no life but airplanes!!!
I don't believe I said anything about a bad outlook. There wasn't anything to verify in his case as he never marked off or bailed on a flight due to illness. You are probably correct about something being in there. I retired at 60 after 20k+ hours 135 on big iron, ran a truck line I had a minor interest in and did fillin for a couple of years. That went away last year and I got to liking that back porch and sweet tea plus catching up on my fishing and enjoying my bride of 43 years. In December of 11, my old employer bought a CRJ200 and brought me back on contract to fill in on it, but I haven't done anything in about a month except draw my mini.LOL
akovia 1
yeah, I hear ya, Bill. Many of my captain pals went on to fly cargo or do check pilot work, but when it came time to finally hang it up, they flew west in short order.
Gee, Bill, why all the negativity?? Don't tell me you're tellin' like it is...'cause that's a bunch of B/S!! You sound like the Master of Sour Grapes coming from a very despondent individual!
BS???? That sounds pretty negative to me. Its also a weak argument absent of any factual detail. To basically argue against facts, you resort to the typical generalities (i.e. BS) that people use when they have nothing to debate an issue with!!! I presented real facts regarding the natural state of the human condition. Humans get sick and have injuries. I listed just some of the things I have called in sick for over 26 years of commercial flying to back up my opinion. I have the experience as well over those years with dozens of guys I have flown with who were sick and should have called in sick but didn't, often resulting in me catching what they had. Those are facts. If this guy never ever called in sick for 30 some years, it is no credit to himself. He is by most accounts blessed with perfect health if the story is true from God himself, but in light of my experience flying almost 40 years, I doubt very much the veracity of this guy's career.
I'll not get in the middle of the discussion between you and Ric, but I would like to point out that the story says HE DID NOT CALL IN SICK. Whether there were times that he should have is another matter but is is recognition that he did not miss any work related to illness.
AWAAlum 0
Gee, what a view of life. I wish I hadn't read your post.
Kinda like reading "Grapes of Wrath". Lol
Unbelievable! He should be recognized by Delta Airlines.
akovia 1
I hope his pension was retained. Oh, never mind.
He was underworked. I amassed 26000 hours at a regional airline in 30 years. Delta needs to work on its crew utilization.

Congrats to him on a stellar career. Blue skies.
Enjoy your free time...job well done.
With all that flying you deserve a pension!! Congrats on your retirement.
G7508 1
Give that guy a gold 747
What a great accomplishment! I wonder if I've ever been on one of his flights.
bravo,bravissimo . tank you for yor big example .have a good retirement best wishes from italy .
If you are very senior, as was Cal, maintaining a perfect attendance record "ain't that tough". You get to pick what trips you want to fly, ie you don't have to bid and you will get such desireable trips, ie no weekends, holidays, hey Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Rome or Paris turns in the summer and winter Honolulu trips are schedules most pilots only dream about. If Cal ever had the sniffles, there were certainly dozens of guys who would pick up his any of his trips at the drop of a hat. Now show me a poor SOB with a perfect attendance record on reserve for 25 years because of a failed management strategy and I'll show you someone who we should be tipping our hat to.
That is a work ethic that few have this day and time. Lot's of folks are not fortunate enough to be in jobs they actually like either, and then if they are able to make a change, are so poisoned by the first, that they would gripe if hung with a new rope. Congrats on the retirement Cap.
I really think that should be changed... I know the FAA changed it from age 60 to age 65 for mandatory retirement... I think it should be changed again to say that as long as a pilot in command can pass his medical (even if its quarterly), a pilot should be able to keep his command... Just because you are 65 doesn't mean you should have to give up your PIC if you are in excellent health...
We all age, and we all age at different rates. Most of us would like to believe when it's time to hang it up, we'll do so. Fact is your co-workers are the ones who pick up on degradation of ability. It usually starts with flying with a 55+ year old captain who wants the panel lights turned up full bright because he can't see them. A few years after that the guy in the right seat is having to babysit a little more. This happens to everyone, but not at the same age or over the same timeframe. I've flown with guys who were a week or to from retirement and perfectly safe to continue on for a few more years. I've flown with guys 10 years from retirement who should have been relieved right then and there.

The system can't support each pilot on a case by case basis. Personally, I liked age 60.
Hey Dash,
Ever take a physiology class? Gotta stay awake and alert at 2am over the pond. NOt gonna happen with the lights down low for landing. I had some idiot FO who whined incessantly about my turning up the lights. Nothing to do with not being able to see but insuring safety, something my FO knew nothing about. We even were briefed at our annual recurrent training to hit the lights to full up when flying at cruise altitude in the middle of the night. But I do agree its time to hang it up at 60. The only reason these guys fly until 65 or they drop whichever occurs first is because of pension issues due to chpt 11, or they married too many women over the course of their career!!!

[This poster has been suspended.]

AWAAlum 3
Rudd, if consistency were the main criteria, you'd be at the top of the list. Nothing, in your opinion, is ever a happy or proud event. You sad sad man.
ric lang 2
Ms. Peterson.......You are entirely correct. I posted a note about this Rudd character who apparently has a lot to say about professional airmen, and passes himself off as an ATP when he actually is either a student "pilot" or a private "pilot" with no current medical. Ignore assholes such as he.
I'd be curious as to what you found out. I heard sometime back that he was retired NWA b-4 the DAL merger. Send me private msg on FA. I retired off a 135 job at 60 in 09, right before they changed the age but it was already set so we kept it. I didn't lose the bug though. Did some RJ fill in and my old employer bought a CRJ 200 last year as a personal plane for his trips. I'm out on that a couple times a week, sometimes less and will probably do that for the next year or so until I hang it up for good. It's different for everybody, age and skill wise. Once you pass that 60 though, the feds kick that medical down to every 6mos. I been on waivers for the last 2 years anyway so I'll be about right to get out of
ric lang 1 can look this idiot up on the FAA Civil Airman Registry, Airman Inquiry page...there's only 2 Phil Rudds listed, one a student one a private with no medical

Just for what it's worth, you do realize that those entries can be hidden; that said, it is only for security and/or contract issues. I don't believe it can be done on an individual whim. Mine and 5 others are hidden. Whenever I fully retire mine will pop up again but that is a company thing. They are requested by the company and have an expiration on them. It is a process starting with your local office and going from there, and takes a couple of months. Now, back to Mr. Rudd, If he was NWA retired, that merger was what, 08? 5 years ago. If he is still maintaining his ATP, it should show. If he is not, he needs to change his FA profile.
AWAAlum 2
I think we should dub him Phil Rudderless.
ric lang 1
Very creative, Ms. Peterson!
ric lang 1
Preacher1...don't want to beat this topic to death, understand all you mentioned, but as far as the site I mentioned, it's good enough for me...If people use their real name, as far as I.m concerned, what the site shows, is true...I have a friend who was my check engineer when I tried to fly with Eastern, who, like me, was only an A&E with a commercial...after I was blown out by Lorenzo and never made it, he went on and had more type ratings on his ATP and FE ticket than anyone could have gotten.....He died 4 years ago, but until 7 months ago, he was still on the page.....Harry Kirk...What am I saying? Rudd is a bullshit artist!
I agree on the site. We use it ourselves on any new hires or potential apps.just as a quick reference and starting point. I used it for years and so does my replacement. Like a lot of gov sites it stays a tad behind but not too bad. As you said, the topic has gone on enough.All have to decide for themselves I guess.
Blue Skies
So if a " first class medical cant identify a crappy pilot because he's old", why would you lower the age? If a proper medical review can't identify a bad pilot, what guarantee does an arbitrary age limit provide?

A crappy pilot can get away with it until he turns 58 and then aha! got him at last?

And perhaps you're not aware that medicals aren't the only way pilots are tested? There are check rides, too, for example. A "crappy pilot" can be in perfect health, just as a great pilot can have health problems.
I think that is why the evaluation idea was proposed above.
he should have used all of his sick days before he retired
I'm pretty sure he gets paid for them...
In my 30 years of flying the line I would call in sick whenever I needed a couple of days off. If you think that Delta or any other carrier really cares about their employees, Iam
afraid that you are sadly mistaken.
He leaves a legacy behind him very passionate and dedicated to his job . All who remain in Delta should follow the integrity of this man and emulate his good attributes.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

So first you ask if he was ever sick, then you assume that he would have infected others, then you tell him what he should have done when he was sick.

And keep in mind that he didn't work every day of every week. His normal crew schedule, plus vacations and maybe some furloughs over the years, gave him plenty of days to be sick. The article doesn't claim that he's never been sick in his life, just that he never lost any days from work.

See the difference between facts and assumptions?
The old regional I worked for published a bi yearly list of pilots and FAs who didn't call in sick for that particular time period. Every time that list was put out I could tell which pilot or FA I had flown with, then called out sick for the next trip because I had picked up their bug.

I'm not at all saying this guy is guilty of that. I've been told that DAL for a while had or has a contract provision that allows you to drop a trip last minute and not get tagged with a sick call. I'd bet this fellow used that a few times if that is true.

[This poster has been suspended.]

So what? I find it very hard to believe that you think anyone gives a crap about what you believe.

And you don't even have the balls to accuse him of lying, you just dance around it.
ric lang 1
Seems a lot of noise from a person (you) who is either a student or private pilot. What's this ATP shit?

[This poster has been suspended.]

SootBox 7
... and I'm the fairy Godmother.
Obviously, not the ideal labor union employee -somehow he never "worked himself out of a job" !
This is amazing, I have a hard time believing ALPA never had a "sick in" or other slowdown type maneuver called in his 37 years so hats off to this guy. The word professional is an understatement.


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