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Spokane, WA, Pilot Back In The Air For A Final Flight

Eighty-Two-Year-Old Pilot Flies A 172 Again After 25 Years

As a young surgical supplies salesman for Boise, ID-based Intermountain Surgical Center Myrl Hoefer determined that the most efficient way to serve his customers around the state was to purchase a Cessna 172 and fly it himself. He bought his airplane for around $14,000. While the year of the purchase was not mentioned in a report in the Spokane, WA, Spokesman-Review, a similar airplane would start at about $289,500 today.

Now 82, Hoefer stopped flying about 25 years ago, his Skyhawk long-since sold. But while breakfasting with his girlfriend Jaynie Stephenson at Felts Field in Spokane (KSFF), she could see how much he missed flying. But health issues ranging from arthritis to a brain tumor made solo flight impossible.

So she did the next best thing. Stephenson arranged for an hour-long flight donated by Northwest Flight School, which opened in January of this year. Hoefer's pilot would be Tabitha Rahder, the owner of the school.

The flight took place on Tuesday, June 4. "I'm more rusty than I thought I was," Hoefer reportedly said to Rahdar as they took off. After about an hour in the air, they taxied the school's Skyhawk back to its hangar, but there was one more thing that needed to be done. A firetruck had been parked on each side of the taxiway, and they gave Hoefer a traditional salute to retiring pilots, spraying water from both directions over the airplane.

(Cessna 172 image from file)

FMI: www.northwestflightschool.com

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