Only a few people at a time have the privilege of flying the President of the United States on a helicopter. When one of those pilots has their last flight on a presidential-rated aircraft and wants family pictures to commemorate the occasion, you rework your schedule to make it happen. This incredible Quantico fini flight photography opportunity fell into my lap a couple weeks ago and is easily one of the top moments in my career. I’m super excited to share an inside (not the helicopter… sorry!) look at this experience that few people outside of the military will ever get to see.
A fini flight at the end of any flying assignment is a momentous occasion. Families and colleagues gather on the flight line to celebrate an aircrew member’s achievements as they land for their final time. However, it’s an even bigger deal when you’ve earned the privilege of flying in one of the most prestigious squadrons in the US military.
This family waited with anticipation as their favorite pilot landed for the last time at Quantico. While the pilot’s wife was certainly proud, I’m not sure his children fully understand what an incredible honor it is for their dad to serve in this way. It’s why I’m thrilled he asked me to be there. As his children grow up and learn more about their dad’s career, I hope these photos serve as a reminder of this special assignment. Not many people can say that their dad has met POTUS, let alone regularly flew his helicopter. But they can. And I know they’ll be so proud.
I love being a military event photographer because I get the opportunity to capture seasons like this for military families. The day-to-day grind can be brutal, but time goes on. Jobs change. Assignments end. Families grow. So, if you have a fini flight, promotion, or other event coming up, let’s chat about it. I would be honored to share your family’s story so you can look back on it in the years to come.
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