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Hawaiian Airlines pilot flies with family into retirement

By Kristen Consillio

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    HAWAII (KITV) — Capt. Kirk McBride made his final descent into Honolulu surrounded by more than a dozen family members — many of them also employees of Hawaiian Airlines.

After almost 40 years — and countless memories — McBride’s mandatory retirement date has finally come.

“It’s bittersweet,” said his wife, Lauren. “We’ve had so much fun all over the world, great experiences, great memories.”

What made this flight extra special was many of the cabin crew on board were family — including his wife and senior flight attendant, Lauren.

“I’m just going to miss him up in the cockpit,” she said. “I’m going to miss flying with him.”

His daughter Tia Iaea described her dad as an amazing pilot who made everyone feel safe.

“He’s so talented. Every time I’ve ever been in an aircraft with him I knew I was going to be OK,” she said. “It’s my dad and I’m so proud of him and I love you.”

And right beside him the entire way, his son and first officer Kekoa, following in his father’s footsteps.

“I fell in love with it and just wanted to pretty much do what he did. I followed in his footsteps worked my way here and I’m glad to be at Hawaiian Airlines,” he said. “I’m glad he taught me perseverance and hard work and to always try to chase your dreams.”

Capt. Kirk started flying when he was just 16 years old and has since flown more than 20,000 flight hours around the world. That’s calculated to be more than 20 round trips to the moon.

“It’s a dream I fulfilled. It’s what I always wanted to do — just a kid who looked up in the sky and saw airplanes and always watched them go over and tried to learn as much about it,” McBride said. “It’s just been a fabulous career, fabulous life.”

But what he’ll miss the most is the journey with his family and ‘ohana he’s built along the way.

“It’s extremely gratifying to have my family with me. To have them here on my last flight,” he said. “I’m just so happy to be a part of the Hawaiian Airlines ‘ohana and feel that spirit. I’ll feel that for the rest of my life.”

Mahalo, Captain Kirk. Mission Complete.

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