A man has recreated a photo of himself in a cockpit with his dad, 29 years after his pilot dad took a cockpit photo with him.
According to Ruben Flowers, in early 2023 he was thumbing through photo albums at his grandmother’s house when he found a photo from 1994, taken in an airplane flight deck, depicting him as a toddler, sitting next to his pilot dad, Captain Ruben Flowers.
In the picture, Flowers is looking at his dad in admiration. His father smiles at the camera, ready to fly the plane.
Flowers had forgotten the photo existed, but seeing it again, he was flooded with memories of growing up, inspired by his father.
The timing of when he discovered the photo was perfect according to Flowers who is now 30, and about to follow in his father’s footsteps and begin flying as a First Officer for Southwest Airlines.
Meanwhile, Flowers’ father also called Ruben Flowers – is close to retirement and preparing for his final Southwest flight as Captain.
The two men were excited to briefly overlap at Southwest and hoped they’d get an opportunity to fly together.
“It was a dream of mine to make it to this point to fly with my dad, it was probably my number one aviation goal,” the younger Flowers told CNN Travel.
“It was a dream of mine to make it to this point to fly with my dad, it was probably my number one aviation goal.”After rediscovering the old photo, the two men had a new goal, not only did they want to fly together, they also wanted to recreate the 1990s flight deck photo, over two decades later. Not just as father and son, but as colleagues and co-pilots.
In March 2023, the older Flowers was flying his final Southwest flight, piloting an aircraft from Omaha, Nebraska to his home city of Chicago, Illinois. His son was by his side, as his first officer.
And, naturally, they recreated the 1994 photo, both grinning happily in the 2023 version.
“It was just great to be able to recreate that moment,” says the younger Flowers. “It was a dream come true moment.”
“It just worked out smooth and naturally, and it went great,” he says, although he adds he was definitely trying to “impress” his dad with his skills and competency.
The older Flowers says he was aware the flight was a one-off opportunity for him to pass on flying intel to his son in situ.
“It went really well, it was nice and smooth,” he says of the experience. “And it was an awesome feeling – making a PA to the passengers, and they find out there’s a father and son up there in the cockpit. Everybody clapping…”