Retired Airline Pilot Briefs Aero Club Gathering

This photo was taken right before departure on John Philp’s last flight as airline captain on March 28 from JFK to LAX. Philp is shown (far left) with first officer Angelo Barbieri (far right) and Philp’s brother-in-law Bob Dowgialo (front).

Gary Vacin

“Sipping coffee at FL 350 and getting paid for it.” That’s how a recently retired airline captain described his 30-year career as a professional pilot during a presentation to the Sun Lakes Aero Club gathering on April 22. The speaker was John Philp who logged more than 23,000 hours of flying time, including flying captain for four commercial airlines. A native of Southern California, Philp started out as a line boy, refueling airplanes and performing other minor operations on the flight line. He soloed in a Grumman Yankee at age 18 and earned his Certified Flight Instructor Rating at age 19. He later graduated from Orange Coast College and San Jose State Universities and went on to earn ATP ME, COMM SE and CFI-AIM licenses CE-500, SD-360, B-737, CL-65 and A-320, and Fixed Wing Single-Engine and Multi-Engine and COMM Glider type ratings.

He flew commercially in three business aircraft and eventually launched his career as an airline pilot, which included JetBlue Airways, 2005-2024; Mesa Airlines, 2003-2005; US Airways, 1989-2003; and Simmons Airlines, 1987-1989. He also owned several general aviation aircraft, most recently a Grumman AA-1B and a Grumman Yankee, both based at Chandler Municipal Airport.

The April 22 gathering concluded the Sun Lakes Aero Club’s 2023-24 season. The club will open next year’s season on Nov. 25, 2024. Our speaker will be historian and Arizona State University professor Valerie Adams who will discuss the “Roles of the WASPs,” a group of women who ferried aircraft to and from the U.S. to combat zones during World War II, towing targets and test flying and more. Additional information on the club is available from Cannon Hill at 509-539-7857 or Gary Vacin at 480-298-7018.