Monday, June 25, 2007

No. 1 pilot at US Airways retires

McNerlinBefore his retirement last week, Capt. Randy McNerlin had been the No. 1 pilot at US Airways. He had been No. 1 at America West; when that airline merged with US Airways he retained his top seniority position.

During his 24 year career at America West and then US Airways, McNerlin had flown more than 20,500 hours. According to an article in the Arizona Republic:
Pilot numbers at US Airways, which merged with America West in 2005, now extend to more than 3,000. But for 24 years and three weeks, McNerlin held onto the most senior number.

"There's something about P0001," said Elizabeth Graham, an 11-year US Airways pilot, as she waited in the jet way for McNerlin to come out of the plane. "It's just special for us."

In the Friday tribute, two Sky Harbor emergency trucks created a 300-foot water arch for McNerlin's Airbus A320 to taxi through after it landed early from Seattle. Fifteen US Airways employees huddled near Terminal 4's windows to watch his last landing and taxi.
Capt. McNerlin retired one day before his 60th birthday, in compliance with current FAA regulations that require mandatory retirement for airline pilots who reach their 60 years of age. Looks like he's not finished with flying, though. The Arizona Republic notes that McNerlin now plans to go to work for an India-based airline.

Congratulations to Capt. Randy McNerlin on a long and successful career in the U.S. airline industry, and best wishes for the next phase of his career as an ex-pat pilot.