My Dad got his flying license when he was 72, and flew until he was 87. He gave up his license voluntarily, even though his doctor said he was fit to fly. Every year when he took his physical, he told his doctor, “I want you to do your best to fail me.” Not that my Dad wanted to fail his physical. What he didn’t want was for his doctor to pass him when he should not pass. Dad always wanted to know with certainty that he was fit to fly.
So giving up his license when he finally did so, was probably one of the hardest decisions he ever made. He was saying goodbye to something he loved. He knew he was getting old.
I admit, I was a bit saddened by it when he did give it up. But it was his decision to make, so I didn’t argue with him. He was so meticulous about being safe every time he flew, that if he felt he couldn’t do it safely, he wasn’t going to do so. That is why I never hesitated to fly with him.
He would go through the pre-flight check list with intensity, never skipping a step. For Dad, and any other pilot worth his weight in salt, that was a cardinal sin. And he never had a an incident. That makes for a good pilot, and my Dad was a great pilot.
All photos are copyright © Timothy J. Hammons, 2022.