ATLANTA, Ga. - Cal Flanigan, a Delta Airlines pilot, wiped away tears as he entered the Atlanta airport gate after his last flight on Friday.
When his final flight touched down, he received a water-cannon salute. Since the 1970s, he has flown more than 12-million miles. He is Delta's longest-serving pilot.
Flanigan started as a mechanic at Delta in 1968. After a few years in the Army, he was able to pay for pilot training and realized his dream in 1976 when he became a first officer.
The career has been rich with experience, he says.
"I love the adventure of flying all over the world. I've been an international pilot for the last fifteen years, just all over the world," he said.
One experience the pilot never had was taking a sick day. In 45 years at Delta, he never once took time off for illness.
Flanigan retired because he turned 65, which is the mandatory retirement age for commercial airline pilots.