A Father’s Day Tribute to My Dad, Aviation Style

If you recall from my Mother’s Day post, I have a wonderful Mom who snuck through a side door of United’s headquarters in the 1980s to buy me something unique for my birthday from their logo shop.

My Dad is equally fantastic and did everything he could to encourage and foster my passion for airlines, airports and travel, and this Father’s Day post is devoted to him.

As a kid growing up, he took me to the parking lots around Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on countless weekends so I could watch the arrivals and departures. We brought a scanner to listen to air traffic communications to know what was coming and going, and I often filmed our plane-spotting sessions on an old-school VHS recorder.

Our typical spot was alongside runway 4R/22L and aircraft would either be departing 22L or arriving on 4R. Even though it’s one of the shorter runways at O’Hare, I still had the opportunity to see a number of wide-bodied jets take off and arrive, particularly DC-8s, DC-10s, L-1011s and A300s.

Once I had my driver’s license at 16, I would venture out to O’Hare even more frequently and at all times of the week, sometimes bringing my homework to do in between lulls of traffic. With my Dad’s foundation, I found even more spots around the runways to continue my passion for plane-spotting.

Sitting alongside airport runways and watching as much as I did, I hoped one day I’d frequently fly. I guess it was all but destined.

In 2011, I flew through Chicago on a couple of occasions and was fortunate to be seated in a window seat on the correct side of the plane to capture the following takeoff from runway 22L. Happy Father’s Day, Dad… this takeoff is for you.

a man and boy sitting on a bench

Dad and Darren

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.

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  1. We both love you and appreciate such great posts and tributes on both Farher’s Day and Mother’s Day. And for all your help and miles getting Mom home after her health emergency last month. Much love & light to a great son!!

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