Richard Hocking celebrates retirement by co-piloting Thomson plane with SON

  • Dreamliner flight marked Richard's retirement after 41 years with Thomson
  • Father and son duo never flew together due to clashing schedules 
  • Airline switched the timetables allowing pair to fly together for the first time

A father and son have co-piloted their first commercial flight together ahead of the retirement of 64-year-old Richard Hocking after 41 years flying for Thomson.

Hocking from East Grinstead and his son Henry both took to the cockpit of the Dreamliner flight from London Gatwick to Cancun, Mexico to mark the momentous milestone.

Henry, 33, who has been flying with the Luton-based airline for three years, said he had never before flown with his father due to a clash in their schedules. 

Hocking from East Grinstead and his son Henry both took to the cockpit of the flight from London Gatwick to Cancun

Hocking from East Grinstead and his son Henry both took to the cockpit of the flight from London Gatwick to Cancun

However, ahead of Hocking's retirement, the airline switched the duos timetables allowing them to be sat in the front of the plane together for the first time.

Richard, who served as captain during the flight, announced to passengers shortly after take-off that the flight was a special one as sat next to him was his son Henry as first officer.

The 64-year-old, who has clocked up more than 25,000 hours behind the controls during his career, revealed that he doesn't plan on giving up flying altogether after retirement as he will still cruise the sky in his own small aircraft. 

Henry poses outside his home as a child
Ahead of Hocking's retirement, the airline switched the duos timetables allowing them to be sat in the front of the plane together for the first time

Ahead of Hocking's retirement, the airline switched the duos timetables allowing them to be sat in the front of the plane together for the first time. Pictured: Henry as a child (left) and the father and son (right)

Richard, who served as captain during the Dreamliner flight, announced to passengers shortly after take-off that the flight was a special one as sat next to him was his son Henry as first officer (file photo)

Richard, who served as captain during the Dreamliner flight, announced to passengers shortly after take-off that the flight was a special one as sat next to him was his son Henry as first officer (file photo)

He said: 'It was a really special moment for me and I was extremely proud to have Henry beside me – it was the perfect way to mark my retirement.

'Flying will always be my passion. I part-own a small aircraft at Redhill aerodrome so I will still go up in that from time-to-time when the weather is good.' 

Henry, who has dreamt of being a pilot since he was young, added: 'Flying with my dad has always been a dream of mine, so this has definitely topped the list as a career highlight. 

The father and son duo pose with the cabin crew prior to their flight together on the Thomson Dreamliner

The father and son duo pose with the cabin crew prior to their flight together on the Thomson Dreamliner

'Aviation has always been a huge part of our family's history and my upbringing. In fact one of my earliest memories is being sat in the flight deck with my dad and wanting to press all the buttons. 

'My grandfather worked for the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment and used to take my father to air shows as a child. 

My mother worked as cabin crew and my brother and sister are also involved in the industry, so flying is clearly in our genes.'

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