Southwest Pilot Flies Dad Home After 52 Years Missing In Action


A Southwest pilot flew his father home last week, 52 years after saying goodbye for the last time as a five-year-old. Capt. Bryan Knight made sure he was in the left seat for the flight from Oakland to Dallas on Aug. 8 that was carrying the remains of his father, Col. Roy Knight, who was shot down over Laos not long after his family saw him off in Dallas in 1967. DNA results positively identified the lost pilot a few months ago and wheels were set in motion for a pretty emotional day at Love Field, where the elder Knight shipped out at the height of the Vietnam War.

The remains were discovered near the crash site and flown to Honolulu for identification. After it was confirmed they were sent to Oakland where they were loaded on the 737 Capt. Knight had ensured he was paired on for the trip to Dallas. At Love Field, the plane was met with a fire truck arch and an honor guard carried the flag-draped coffin from the aircraft as passengers watched from the terminal. The story was actually broken by a Canadian reporter who was going through Dallas after covering the mass shooting in El Paso. “I’m at the airport in Dallas, waiting for my flight home to D.C. from El Paso, and something incredible is happening,” Global Television Washington correspondent Jackson Proskow tweeted as the event was unfolding. “It’s incredible that everyone got to share in that,” Proskow told The Washington Post. “I don’t know if that was the family’s intent or not, but they should be commended for allowing it because it was so powerful for everyone there.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.