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Capt. Joe and the Flying Fifth Graders

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Over 800 Southwest Airlines Pilots are Adopt-a-Pilots for more than 1,200 fifth-grade classes all over the United States. 

These Pilots volunteer their time, and often travel and rent cars to get to their Adopt-a-Pilot classes. In fact, one Adopt-a-Pilot I have known for years in Chicago hit it off so well with his teacher that they eventually married!  After all, we are the LUV airline.

It is a very rewarding educational program covering many aspects of science, aviation, geography, math, and FUN. As a former high school teacher in another life, I can appreciate what the Adopt-a-Pilot program brings to these fifth graders.

In 11 years as an Adopt-a-Pilot, I have thoroughly enjoyed the program, traveling to fifth grade classes in the Dallas area.  For the past four years, I have been adopted by Pinkerton Elementary in Coppell, Texas and by the amazing fifth-grade teacher, Sara Hope.  Mrs. Hope has completely embraced the Adopt-a-Pilot program and is an incredibly enthusiastic supporter for her fifth-grade classes.  Did I mention Sara’s husband, Robert, works for Southwest at our Company Headquarters in Dallas?  

This was a very special year for these Pinkerton fifth graders, as Mrs. Hope challenged them with a reading program that rewarded the top students who read the most books. The grand prize was to be a flight on Southwest Airlines flown by Captain Joe!  Jeremy Basso and Jacob MacKenna, were the winning students. Jacob read 40 books, and Jeremy read 100 books!

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Sara and I coordinated a Saturday morning when her two students could make the trip to a nearby Southwest city and return home the same morning.  We found a trip where I was flying home to Dallas through Little Rock, and that is where I met Mrs. Hope and the boys. They had flown in from Dallas earlier that morning, and I would be flying them back to Dallas on the one-hour flight.

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Before our flight, we preflighted the airplane by walking around the aircraft on the ramp and inspecting it, and then took some photos up in the cockpit. It was a real treat to fly Jeremy, Jacob—two future Pilots I’m sure—and their teacher, Mrs. Hope.  We had a super time and our flight capped off a most memorable Adopt-a-Pilot year. 

1 Comment

  1. This is way Southwest airline pilots are the best. No other airline like southwest airlines has this program I am so proud of SWA Pilots going out of their way for kids who are inspired to fly. Nice Job Capt Joe