Captain Calvin “Cal” Flanigan (pictured) retired from Delta Airlines last Friday, after devoting 45 years of service to the airline. Thirty-seven of those years were served as a pilot for the company. And, to top off his incredible career, he never missed a day of work, according to KTFW-TV Fox 4 News.
Flanigan told Fox 4 that he knew from a very young age he wanted to be 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,” he said.
When he began his career at Delta, Flanagan started from the ground floor as an airline mechanic back in 1968. But he knew that one day he would be sitting in the cockpit. Eight years later, Flanigan achieved his dream.
In 37 years as a Delta pilot, Flanigan flew more than 12.5 million miles and landed in nearly 100 countries. Flanigan also had the most seniority out of all of his fellow pilots and an exceptional performance record. He reportedly never missed a day of work, making him a role model to fellow pilots.
“He’s been the number one guy for almost eight years now,” Steve Dickson of Delta Airlines told Fox 4. “I don’t think that’s something that will ever be replicated, certainly in my lifetime.”
Unfortunately for Flanagan, sixty-five is the age that Delta mandates for their pilots to hang up their wings. Though retirement will be hard for Flanigan, he says that he has plenty of plans in place. Flying is one of them.
He and his wife plan on traveling the world. Though Flanigan will let someone else do the flying going forward.