A Very Special Trip Report

Art at ISP

Aug 20, 2002
Dix Hills NY
As some of you might know, I had the honor and the pleasure of joining our good friend Boeing Boy on his last 3 legs as a Captain for US Airways. I'd like to share some of my recollections of the day with you..it was a day I won't soon forget.

I had arrived home Saturday night from a business trip which took me to BOS and ATL (connecting through CLT), so I was already a little tired when Sunday morning rolled around.

I got to LGA at 10AM for the 11AM shuttle to DCA, where I planned on meeting Boeing Boy who was flying his 737 JAX-DCA. As we boarded the shuttle, I noticed the gentleman in front of me looked somewhat familiar. My interested was piqued when I saw all the flight attendants give him a big hug, and he then proceeded into the flight deck to say hello to the pilots. As I took my seat, the gentleman came out and sat next to me. It turned out this was none other than Ed Colodny, the former CEO of US Air. We had a very enjoyable conversation, discussing a number of topics relating to the airline, and in particular the merger news.

As we arrived in DCA, we exchanged cards, and I thanked Mr. Colodny for the pleasant conversation. I left the airplane and proceeded to the club in DCA to wait for BB's flight (due in about 45 min later).

Right on schedule, Boeing Boy's flight landed and pulled up to the gate in DCA. Jim came off the flight and I must say that just about EVERY passenger debarking in DCA either shook his hand or hugged him and wished him well upon his retirement (turns out the FA's had been making announcements after landing that it was his last day with US Airways). He checked the paperwork for the CLT-DCA leg, and introduced me to his crew for the day--the FO and three lovely flight attendants, all named Susan!I was also introduced to Mrs. Boeing Boy, and a minute or so later, the boarding process was underway.

Before you knew it we were boarded, buttoned up and on our way to CLT. A short 55 minutes later, we were on approach to 36R and on the ground, and headed to the gate in CLT. Upon arrival at the gate, we found most of the rest of our entourage, which consisted of other FFOCUS board members, FFOCUS members, including Coachrowsey, Longing4Piedmont (can you believe it? and Dukeman, as well as JimCFS and Captain Jim's daughter. We had a nice early Sunday dinner of barbeque at CLT, and spent a while visiting before getting ready to head back for the historic last 2 legs.

Upon heading back to the gate for the final turn, we had our group assembled, and we boarded and settled in. This flight was just about full. We pushed back just about on time, and headed out for the trip to BOS. After an uneventful flight, we arrived on BOS 4R and taxied in to the gate (the BOS tour, as it's known), and arrived at B8, conveniently located next to Legal Seafoods--our group had expressed a desire for clam chowder, so it was a very convenient food stop.

On a day of many surprises, Captain Jim was surprised to see his friend Bob, who had flown DC3's with him for Pinehurst before he joined US (PI) way back when. Another reunion, and a chowder run, and it was time to get back on board for the final flight under Captain Jim's command.

This last leg is a late BOS-CLT running Sun only, and it was booked very light--I think 25 or 26 total and 12 of us were part of Jim's entourage (of course we included the rest of the passengers in on the celebration with snacks and candy provided by other FFOCUS members for the occasion). A short taxi out and we were on our way again--headed down to CLT and one or two more surprises.

Unbeknownst to Boeing Boy, I had arranged for some champagne to be at the gate upon his final arrival, and one of the others in our group had arranged for a water salute for the last taxi in.

We landed on 36R (picture perfect landing), and began to head in to the C gates, where we were greeted with the traditional water salute. The 737 passed through the water salute and on to the gate, where we arrived at a near empty terminal, toasted and cheered our friend, and headed off to my hotel for an adult beverage and to cap off this day's celebration.

Interestingly enough, thanks to my friend Jay in CLT, we discovered that the aircraft we flew on the last turn was the very first 737-400 delivered to any customer in the world, having been delivered to PI in 1988. Boeing Boy made the observation that the oldest -400 in the world was being flown by the oldest pilot at US Airways (for the day at least).

It was an honor and privilege to be part of Boeing Boy's last trip, and to his family, friends and especially to the crew that final day, I say thank you for including me and making me welcome.

Pictures can be found at www.ffocus.org, follow the link "Boeing Boy's Last Hurrah" under the photo.

My best to you all.......
a tip of the cap a salute of thanks for the 10s of millions of safely flown miles and millions of passengers that entrusted you with their lives. A fine career!

tailwinds and clear skies!

Thanks for the great trip report. You did that so well. I could not add anything except to say it was wonderful to be with our friend on his final two legs & not let him fade away to quietly.
Happy Trails, Boeing Boy. May all your NON REV Flights be on-time, your coffee always hot and your flights always smooth.

Art, you Focus members trully amaze me. You're interest in this company goes wayyyyy beyond your travel and miles.
You feel like family. <smile>

only stating opinions.
A very nice tribute, for a one special captain from a very special group of customers.

FFOCUS are truly an amazing group. B) which I had the honor of meeting some time ago.
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Art, you Focus members trully amaze me. You're interest in this company goes wayyyyy beyond your travel and miles.
You feel like family. <smile>
only stating opinions.

Sky High,

Thank you for your kind words--you all do feel like family to us. I bet we see you and your colleagues almost as often as we see our families!!

Remember it is due to the efforts of you and your colleagues that US still has a core of loyal customers like us. We have had the honor to become friendly with many of you, and really like family with some, like Boeing Boy. Believe me we could never do enough to show our appreciation to someone like him...

Doing 4 legs in one day, 3 with the same crew (Boeing Boy of course) also gave me an added perspective and additional appreciation for all that you guys and gals do out there. We truly DO appreciate you, and never doubt that for a second.

Oh well, the short holiday is over for me already--I am in ORD after another fine experience on US and ES Express--the only glitch being that I left my raincoat in the overhead on the Express flight-- but someone in Chairmans'is trying to track it down..you guys and gals are the best!! I see an above and beyond in his future, regardless of whether I get it back.

My best to you all!!
I had the pleasure of flying last trip for the only airline pilot with "TWO" belly buttons---PSA folks know who this is---anyways the BIG UNIT boohoooed out of the aircraft ----I bet ol'BB did the same thing---well kinda-----great report ART--and hope BB has a GREAT retirement---at least for couple weeks probably until he starts his next life-----LOL Twooooo
thanks for a great report glad you had a wonderful trip and to BB good luck with your retirement and whatever you do you will do very well
Thanks Art for the nice report, I wish I could have been along on that last trip. Best of luck to Boeing Boy.

Thanks for posting the trip report. I still maintain that double-catering the F/C liquor had something to do with your perception of my landings - I've had better.

For any of you that haven't had the good fortune to meet any of the FFOCUS folks, they are a special group indeed. These guys (and gal) turned what would have been the quiet conclusion of my career shared only with crew and family into a gala event. I'll always cherish the memories of that last day they provided.

Last, but definitely not least, for all the USAviation gang - thanks again for all the well wishes. I know that I'll miss regularly seeing all the friends I've made over the years, and eventually miss the flying, but it's my turn to head out to pasture knowing that I've left with the airline in capable hands - the tens of thousands of employees that make US Airways function day in and day out, through thick and thin, rain or shine.

Best regards and best wishes for the future.