For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with airplanes. I attribute that love to my dad, Guy Hogan. He loved everything about aviation. Growing up in the Mississippi Delta as a teenager he was a member of the Civil Air Patrol. He recounted to me many stories of flights he took as a teenage CAP member and how he longed to fly airplanes. He kept a meticulous logbook of all the commercial flights he took as a passenger. While he never obtained a pilot certificate he was deeply passionate about aviation and shared that passion with me.
I remember many days that he and I found a reason to drive to the observation area at the Nashville Airport (KBNA). It was long before the days of fences and high security. Dad always seemed to have his handheld scanner in the car, just in case we might be driving by the airport. We’d lean on the hood of his car and alternate between Tower, Ground, and the Approach/Departure frequencies often trying to track the journey of a single plane arriving or departing as the pilot was handed off from one controller to the next. We began to recognize the voices of the controllers and a few pilots. While we did not know their names, we knew them. We respected them and their calm, professional demeanor. We learned their lingo, their temperament and the repeated rhythm of their concise but rich language. We sometimes stepped on their chatter with the exclamation “hey look at that” as we marveled at some new or unusual aircraft.
When the American Airlines hub opened in 1986 we were in aviation heaven. The skies filled, and the chatter became thick. It was better than the movies. It was better than television. It was a coordinated sky dance full of rhythm. It was our music. We often watched and listened to our symphony as day transitioned to night. And the tiny white stars kept arriving one after the other. Floating downward ever so silently only to roar to a halt as the pilot reversed thrust after contact.
It was in these moments that aviation captured me. I wanted to fly! It would be many, many years before I accomplished that goal, but the spark was lit by my dad. My only regret is that he didn’t live to fly with me. So, I dedicate these chronicles to him. To the man who laid out the runway for me and taught me how to fly in the ways that really count. I’ll see you up there somewhere dad . . .
– Miller Hogan