Dave Hirschman

The most inspiring pilot . . .

September 15, 2008 by Dave Hirschman, Senior Editor

The most extraordinary thing about Logan Flood is that he doesn’t see himself as extraordinary at all.

In his mind, he’s just a regular, work-a-day pilot from the middle of the country who knew what he wanted to do and was lucky enough to get to do it.

But Flood, who was nearly killed in a 2001 aircraft accident that left him with disfiguring burns covering most of his body, has overcome unimaginable obstacles to reach his life goals of becoming a husband, a father, and–perhaps most astonishingly–an airline pilot.

I met Flood several months ago at a hotel near Washington, D.C., while the new first officer was on an 18-hour layover. It was hard, at first, not to stare at his scars or become distracted by them. I’m sure he’s used to seeing people study him. It happens whenever he’s in a public place.

But it doesn’t take long to see beyond Flood’s appearance to the sparkling character that lies beneath it. His colleagues recognize it, as do family members, friends, and an ever growing number of passengers. I’m sure fellow pilots like you will see it immediately.

Aviation has been blessed in its short history to have attracted more than its share of determined, visionary, courageous participants. Inventors, aviation pioneers, and warriors have all accepted risk and overcome obstacles to advance the science and art of flying. Listening to Flood tell the story of his loss, heartbreak, dedication, and triumph makes me believe that same spirit is alive and well, and that flying has a bright future.

Who is the most inspiring pilot you’ve known? And what have they taught you?

Please share your stories here . . .

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18 Responses to “The most inspiring pilot . . .”

  1. R. Winter Says:

    Thank you, this is one of the most wonderful flying stories I have ever read.

  2. F.Fyffe Says:

    I heard an amazing story of an instructor’s lucky escape in New Jersey, a few years back. As I understand, he was training a taildragger student, the pilot got into a stall on approach. The CFI took over as the Cub flipped and spun, at 500ft! He recovered the airplane, went knife edge to avoid trees in his path but finally clipped a wing on the ground before getting level, and they crashedand burned.
    The student, in the rear seat, was ok (broken nose), the CFI broke numerous bones (back, legs, jaw), had third degree burns, almost scalped, broke his jaw and lost teeth! Weeks in ICU, long road to recovery but completed a 702 ride about a year later, and instructs today, I believe.

    Pretty tough on his wife and 4 or 5 month old kid!

    Our CFI’s are heroes, one and all!!

  3. Aviator Says:

    What an awesome and inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing. People like you, Mr. Flood, are what make this world great.

    While what you did is truly inspiring, my hat is off to Republic Airways for looking beyond the obvious and recognizing talent for what it is.

    Your story is worthy of a book.

    I am sure Rajagopal Samasundaram is proud.

  4. H Wildgen Says:

    Logan’s story actually teared me up. The bottom line, however, is that his story is a story of courage and making his vision a matter of intention. This is the most inspiring event I can remember. I do say “hats off” to Republic, yet it was Logan who sold himself for what he is. He is great! I hope I can meet him someday.
    I have been flying my own plane for business and pleasure since 1972 and thought I’d seen it all. Logan was a cause for pause.

    HJW

  5. EAK Says:

    What an inspiration to all who read this story. Logan’s grit and determination is a high-bar example and incredible comeback. Well done, Logan.

  6. CMD Says:

    I am stunned after reading Logan Flood’s story and listening to the accompanying audio (where he recounts his story in his own words). The story of the crash is harrowing, but it is the aftermath and how Mr. Flood responded to the new challenges he faced that really got to me.

    Bravo to you, Logan, for following your dreams and not letting your injuries dictate your accomplishments. I would be honored to be a passenger on one of your flights someday.

    You are truly an inspiration. Thanks to you and to Dave Hirschman for sharing your story.

  7. james Says:

    I was just reading through the AOPA on a rainy day in Kiev Ukraine. Looks like an interesting story, I thought. Tore me up, man. Courage, tenacity, and a happy ending. You have made your right seat, you have a wife and family and you have conquered the results of a tragic accident. I admire your success and salute the people that hired you as everyday heroes in their own right. All you wanted was a chance and they gave it to you. You didnĀ“t let them down, either. If I ever happen across you in this, our little aviation world, I hope to shake your hand. Aviation has been good to me and I hope it turns out that way for you! All the best!

  8. Terry Pratt Says:

    I first met Logan a couple of years ago and I feel blessed to know him.
    Logan is one of the most inspiring people you could ever meet in a lifetime he proves to you that anything can be done provided you want it bad enough.
    I enjoy spending time with Logan when his schedule allows,I had talked with him about his new little plane he purchased and had commented to him how some day I would like to fly with him in his new plane and then to my surprise he called me on the fourth of July and said he was at the local air show here in our town and ask me if I would like to meet him there and fly around for awhile with him well I could not pass this up and I will never forget it for as long as I live it was the greatest.
    Flying around with him and checking out our home town on one of the biggest days of the year around here.
    Thank you Logan for letting our family be part of your journey through life you are Blessed and have Blessed our lives as well.

    Terry, Sarah and Connor aka(Patches)

  9. Buzz Says:

    Courage and character seem depressingly absent sometimes, but Logan Flood sets an inspiring example. Good for you, Logan, for living fully in spite of the trials you’ve faced and no doubt will continue to face. You give hope to the rest of us that the obstacles we face in our daily lives really aren’t so insurmountable as they may seem.

  10. Barry Says:

    I deeply admire the strength Logan has. I just got my ticket at 42 years of age and struggle to move forward to make aviation more than a hobby. Logan…I see you and feel envy. When it looked like it was over for you, it was instead a rebirth. I hope I am as fortunate before I get much older and have physical limitations that would keep me from being in the air. I find the strength I need from aviators such as you. Thank you!

  11. Barry Stearns Says:

    Logan and I were flying buddies in Grand Island, Nebraska for many years and I enjoyed working the Line Department for Grand Island Avaition part time while an Avionics Tech for Avionics Systems.. Infact, Logan was the guy who told me, “Why aren’t you current? You have a PPL and are not flying?? Get your BFR done and lets GO FLYING!!”

    We did and he got me back into the swing of things fast with his upbeat attitude and knowledge of the air. He is a great teacher and a great pilot. I knew he’d fly again, I just did.

    I lost touch with him over the years as people often do when people move and change jobs. I am glad to see him doing well and succeeding where others would have given up.

    Logan, if you are around bud…give me a call anytime…same number.

  12. Erik Says:

    Amazing story, very inspirational. Our everyday problems pale in comparison to what he went through. I would fly w/ Loren any time, I’m so glad he was given a chance.

  13. Raphael Segura Says:

    Good Morning Editor,

    I’m inquiring to get in touch with P-51 pilot Connie Bowlin, and owner Steve Collins. I notice in Col. Bud Anderson’s screen saver, a photo shows the “Old Boy” Mustang, with pilot and a passenger. My dream would be to fly in the “Old Boy” as a passenger to celebrate my 83rd birthday.

    As a highschool student, I observed the many Army Air Corps planes flying out of the training base in Lafayette, La. I was lucky to see the transition of aviation from the old Stearmans, the Ryans, and Mustangs, all the way to jets. Maybe it’s fortunate my color-blindness prevented me from going to pilot training, but still had a great 4 yrs in the USAF.

    My late uncle, Brig. Gen. Wiltz Segura was a Flying Tiger ace, with advanced flying in Korea, Vietnam, as well as commanant in Kelly and Homestead. As they say, “some have it and some don’t!”

    Thanks for your great work.

    Raphael Segura

  14. Dave Hirschman Says:

    Dear Raphael Segura,
    You can reach Steve Collins at (770) 393-3937.
    Best,

    Dave Hirschman

  15. Thomas Sullivan Says:

    Excellent post, and an awesome and inspiring story about Logan. Another inspiring story that is still fresh in the mind of most pilots is the Steve Fosset story. For me, Steve Fossett was one of the most inspiring pilots I have known. Here is a man that simply loved to fly and loved the adventure of life. He made his millions by trading commodities in Chicago, and used that money to set an unbelievable number of aviation records. He has been an inspiration for many pilots around the world, and believe his legacy will continue well beyond his passing. I believe the Logan and Steve Fossett message is clear and simple, which is this. If you want something bad enough and you are willing to make the necessary sacrifice to make it happen, you will achieve what you desire. A message that should be taken to heart for all the unemployed and furloughed pilots currently out there. The economy and subsequently pilot hiring is cyclic, and pilot hiring will return. If you do what you love, everything else has a tendency to fall into place. To find out who is currently hiring pilots go to Pilot Jobs. This small site is updated daily and is a good source for pilots currently seeking a position.

  16. Joseph Cichon Says:

    Logan, God has touched your life, from its beginning. Little did you know growing up, that your life would be for greater good , DESPITE what YOU wanted from it. I am broken up reading and listening to your own account of this accident. I am 49 years old and have been in love with aviation most of my life. Now, with a recent prodding again in my life I am again enamored with aviation. I am consumed reading, watching and most preciously, flying my tweaked out flight sim at home.
    Now, I stumble onto your story….. It has changed my life and how courageously I pursue it. I am a technical Director for a large church in New England and want to pursue my life’s goal of just getting my license, nothing more. God has enriched my life, undoubtedly. I pray you can feel His prescence in your life as well. Please know, that through your tragic situation, people can become heald, inspired and courageous. May God continue to bless your life, marriage, parenting and dreams with HIM always… flying next to you. Thank You!

  17. Matt Herrman Says:

    Logan, your story is truly inspiring even to a pilot who has overcame a lot to become a pilot as well. I congratulate you on achieving your goal of becoming an airline pilot despite your accident. You are truly an example to all pilots who want to achieve their dreams of flight.

    Keep up the great work!

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