When Hal Cope began flying shortly after World War II, he had an inkling that he might be setting the tone for future generations.
On Tuesday, his son Eric, who is retiring from Hawaiian Airlines at age 62, captained a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft on his final flight from Sacramento to Honolulu. Eric’s son, first officer Levi, 38, was to his right as the co-pilot. And one of the 210 passengers aboard was the elder Cope, now 88, who briefly worked as a consultant for Hawaiian on a couple of occasions after having flown for several Canadian airlines during his career.
It was something you don’t see every day — three generations of pilots on one flight.
“I got started in the airline business in 1948 and I passed the bug to Eric and he passed it on to (Levi),” Hal said. “There’s no known antidote.”
Eric was overwhelmed Tuesday by all the attention as he posed for pictures in the cockpit, answered questions from the media and spoke to well-wishers. It was a family affair with 10 members of his family on the flight.
“It was crazy special to fly my last flight with my son on a 76 (Boeing 767) and to have my whole family on board was very cool,” said Eric, who began at Hawaiian on Dec. 3, 1985.