Paul Hendrickson: In His Final Days, My Father Always Knew How to Pull Off the Landing

From a Washington Post essay by Paul Hendrickson headlined “In his final days, my father always knew how to pull off the landing”:

All my life, my father was a flyer. That’s not quite right. He wasn’t flying at the end. He lived to be nearly 85. But even deep into his 70s, I was unafraid to go up with him, to wonder at his skills.

I’m looking at some yellowed notes dated August 1983. He had retired from his 30-year career at Eastern Airlines. By then, it had been almost four decades since he was strapped into the cockpit of his P-61 Black Widow night fighter on Iwo Jima in the last days of World War II.