A father and daughter have flown their last flight together as British Airways pilots. David and Kat Woodruffe touched down at London Heathrow on Thursday after completing his retirement flight from New York.
Mr Woodruffe, who joined the airline in 1984 and held the role of captain, said he felt mixed emotions during his final flight alongside his daughter. The 64-year-old told the Press Association: ‘I’m sorry to be leaving BA after so many years, but equally glad that she will be remaining in the airline to continue our legacy, and doing a job I know she has the same passion and enthusiasm for as I do.’ Mother-of-two Miss Woodruffe, 35, believes the father-daughter bond helped them in the cockpit as they are ‘familiar with each other and communication is very easy’.
The pair, from Horsham, West Sussex, operated around a dozen flights together for BA, during which she would ‘flick quite happily between calling him captain, dad and occasionally Dave’. Mr Woodruffe said they were always ‘100% professional’ on the flight deck.
He joked that ‘like any father I always end up paying’ when they went out for post-Flight meals. His daughter, a senior first officer, said it was ‘wonderful’ to be alongside him for his last flight. She said: ‘Dad and flying have influenced my life massively, so it’s really special to have been with him at the end of his amazing career.
‘I promised him I will carry on the good Woodruffe name!’ By the age of 12, Miss Woodruffe was ‘absolutely adamant’ she would follow in her father’s footsteps after growing up with him ‘grabbing his pilot’s hat on his way out the door to fly around the world’.
She said: ‘My GCSEs and A-levels were picked in order to help me into aviation, dad insisted on physics and maths, and I used to go away with him on his trips as much as possible. ‘This wasn’t a chore of course, it involved spending an inordinate amount of my childhood in the paradise islands of Barbados, Grand Cayman and Tobago.’ Mr Woodruffe, whose other daughter is a former BA cabin crew member, added: ‘I am immensely proud of Kathryn. ‘She has wanted to be a pilot since a child and I have always encouraged her to fulfil her ambition.’