Hawaiian Air pilot makes 'final flight' with son in cockpit - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaiian Air pilot makes 'final flight' with son in cockpit

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Captain Eric Cope has been with Hawaiian Airlines for the past 28 years.  He's seen a lot in his time as a pilot.

Although before Tuesday, he had never arrived to a terminal with people cheering him, and draping him in lei. 

Consider that the final check mark on the professional bucket list.

Cope made his final flight Tuesday, from Sacramento to Honolulu International Airport.   After the cheers from family and friends, he was honored by the company as a sendoff into retirement.

While he humbly accepted the praise, it was the actual flight that meant the most to him.

"It was an excellent last flight.  It was smooth, good air.  He didn't make too much fun of my landing even though I deserved it for my last landing today".  ‘He' is Cope's son First Officer Levi.  Levi is a third generation airman.  Grandfather and family patriarch Hal was at the gate for the arrival.  He's the Cope that started the family legacy.

"Once the aviation bug bites you, there is no antidote to get rid of it.  I had it, passed it to my son and my grandson" said Hal.

Said Levi of the family profession; "I never had a chance. I've been staring at airplanes since I was old enough to look up and see them".    

Captain Cope was mostly upbeat and ready to relax with the family, but he did pause a moment when asked what he'll miss the most.

"I'm going to miss the equipment, the people, the flying.  I'm never again going to be up at 35,000 feet coming in to an airport at night.  I'll miss that, very much".

As one career ends, new ones begin.  Cope will become a private flight instructor, and said it'll be his full-time job to spoil his four grandchildren.


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