For anyone knowing Captain John, it would not have taken you long to sense his love of flying. At the young age of three, his father, for his third birthday, bought him a ticket for an airplane ride in a Curtis Robin, and from that day forward his love for flying continually grew. During WWII, John flew as Command Pilot in B24 Liberators with the Fifteenth Airforce, 53 missions in all, 14 of those were with the 484th Bombardment Group, and 39 were OSS top-secret covert missions with the 885th, of which one was determined to be the most successful intelligence gathering missions of the war… Operation Greenup, for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After the war, John continued his love of flying, spending one year with Trans World Airlines (TWA) and thirty-five years with Eastern Airlines, from which he retired in 1983 at the age of 60 (mandatory retirement age at the time). From there, the love did not stop, it just got stronger. John continued flying in general aviation in his own airplane, N9649Bravo. In February of 2005 he completed his first Angel Flight Mission (volunteering to transport those in need to medical appointments at no cost)… and on August 11th, 2021, he completed his last, 5 days after his 98th birthday! During that time, John completed a total of 462 missions!
John’s passion for doing Angel Flights was easy to see, he would often say that he got paid extremely well for doing every flight, with the pay being big hugs and big smiles! Back in December of 2009, my first time flying with John, I was so honored to be co-pilot on one of his Angel Flight Missions, and of 462 missions he completed, I am proud to say that 345 of those I was with him! I also soon found out that the pay of big hugs and big smiles was absolutely amazing! I am so grateful for all the time we had together and for the special friendship that we shared. The amazing adventures all over the country that we had in 49Bravo, and the heartwarming Angel Flights that rewarded us so much are now priceless to me, and would be enough to fill up volumes. I am also so grateful for the way Captain John made me a better pilot. He would often remark to people that he was giving me all of his bad habits, to which I would reply, if they are bad habits, and they have kept you flying safely for all these years, then I want each and every one of them!
It was John’s wish and desire that I would be able to continue doing Angel Flights in 49Bravo after his passing. I promised him that I would try to do just that to the point that my personal finances said otherwise… this, I believe, made him happy! I have purchased 49Bravo from John’s wife, Barbara, and I am so honored to be able to at least for a while, carry on Captain John’s Legacy. Finances will become an issue due to the fact that this is something not planned for nearing our retirement, and the known fact that maintaining and operating an aircraft is very expensive. Our Angel Flights averaged between 4-6 hours each, so the fuel cost alone really adds up. I have set up a way for donations to be made for those that would like to help in carrying on Captain John’s Legacy… all donations would go directly to help cover my Angel Flight expenses, and any amount would be greatly appreciated! I will soon have a link in the above menu where a donation can be made very safely. In doing this, we can carry on the legacy of Captain John together!