When GoJet Captain Bob Layman put in his retirement paperwork, he had one final request for Crew Scheduling. There was a certain pilot that he really wanted in the right seat for his last trip – his son, GoJet Captain Nathan Layman. The two had flown together a few times before Nate upgraded to Captain, and Bob hoped to repeat the experience before he retired.
Bob knew that it would be tricky – the two were based in different domiciles, and the likelihood of two Captains from different domiciles being paired together on the same trip was virtually nil. But Bob couldn’t imagine a better way to end his 121 career than flying with his son – could Crew Scheduling pull it off?
The answer was yes. While Bob had hoped to fly a leg or two with his son to mark his retirement, Crew Scheduling, with the help of St. Louis Base Manager Nikki Lutz, gave Bob the best last trip he could have asked for – a four-day trip with his son. The result was an unforgettable and emotional experience for both men.
During the final flight of the trip, Bob told the passengers that there was something special about their flight, and that he had a story to share with them. That story went something like this:
“I know those of you with kids understand what love at first site feels like. Back in February of 1980, I was blessed to hold a little bundle of joy in my arms right after he was born. In the year 2000, I was blessed again when I was able to train and recommend that same young lad for his private pilot’s license when he started his aviation career. Now, here I sit in the front of this airliner with my son, Nathan.
I was able to sit beside him as he started his career, and now we sit side by side as I close out my airline flying career. Bookends of sorts, to a season. We are so blessed GoJet allowed us to do this, and I’m even more blessed that Nathan allowed me to sit in the Captain’s seat for our entire four-day trip. It’s been a real honor. Thank you for joining us.”
The trip meant a lot to Nathan, too. “It was both a positive and emotional experience,” he said. “It didn’t really sink in at first that maybe only one percent of pilots can share such a great memory as this.”
Both men were grateful to GoJet for giving them such a special opportunity. “You’ve given us a memory that will not only never go away, but will never fade,” Bob said. “The are no words capable of expressing the appreciation we have for what you allowed us to do.” Nathan agreed, adding, “I will always be grateful to GoJet for orchestrating this opportunity that will forever hold a special place in my heart.”
Other than flying with his son, Bob says that GoJet’s environment of camaraderie is what he’ll remember the most about his time with the company. “In the early days, GoJet felt like a small family,” he remarked. “As it’s grown, it now feels more like an extended family. The people who I’ve worked and flown with have made my time here really fun, and I will miss it.”
While sentimental about retirement, Bob couldn’t be happier about how his career ended. “I am one of the most blessed people on the planet,” he exclaimed. “There are very few people who can say that they’ve been able to fly a plane with their own son. I put this on the same level as my children’s births, weddings, and graduations – I couldn’t be a prouder father.”