Delta Pilot Retires After 45 Years, Never Missed Day Of Work


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 missing a day of work, according to KTFW-TV Fox 4 News.

Flanigan told Fox 4 that he knew from a very young age that 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.

article by Ruth Manuel-Logan via

43 thoughts on “Delta Pilot Retires After 45 Years, Never Missed Day Of Work”

  1. Job well done Captain Cal Flanigan! May you always have fair winds and blue skies in your future flying endeavors! Enjoy your well deserved retirement! You’re a fabulous role model to the human race! Congratulations✈✈✈⛅🌞

    1. Amen, What a fine exsample for our youth, boss you captain, I pray your retirement will be blessed and fulfills all your dreams.

  2. BRAVO, Cap’n!!! Blue skies and tailwinds from here on out!! Oh… And get an RV. Y’might want to see some of the places you’ve been flying over all these years!

    Just a suggestion. 😉

  3. When I read stories like this I’m always amazed. Never missing a day of work in forty-five years is amazing to say the least. There’s alot to be said for having a career you truly love.
    Hmmmm I think I’ll call in sick tonight.(sorry post office😉)


  4. What a passionate man? I wish him much success in whatever he chooses to do…Delta should have kept him

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  10. Cal, enjoy your retirement you have earned it with a class. Next time I see you I will be serving you in a seat.

  11. He is a great pilot, flow with him many times to dubai…., congratulations to him, best wishes to you sir….

    1. How do we know for sure that he ever got sick? Are you also a pilot for Delta Airlines? I know that my fellow airline crewmembers and I have more occasion to become ill… but my grandmother has never had so much as a common cold until she was well into her 90’s. She thought she was dying! Ordinarily, I would agree with you but what a negative comment to post on an otherwise very cool story!

  12. Great article! The only part I would suggest editing is that the FAA requires a mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots at 65 years of age. The article seems to suggest Delta is forcing him into retirement.

    Anyone older than 65 can still be a Flight Engineer but no civilian passenger airlines in the United States fly any aircraft that requires them any more. The last aircraft in the United States civil aviation system (I believe) were the Boeing 727, DC 10 and older versions of the Boeing 747. These aircraft are all retired from the fleets of US airlines.

  13. Yes that man got me over the ocean and back safely so many times! Thank you sir the best of the best.

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