When Doug Helms joined Atlantic Southeast Airlines as a pilot in 1979, the newly founded airline had just one plane – a 19-seat DeHavilland Twin Otter – and one route – Atlanta-Columbus, Ga. Capt. Helms, Atlantic Southeast’s most senior pilot, has been here for nearly every milestone in our company’s history, flown the captain’s seat of nine aircraft, and spent 14 years in leadership positions, some of which overlapped his 10 years spent in our Flight Operations Training department.

Today, 32 years after flying his first Atlantic Southeast flight, Capt. Helms completed his final flight before starting his retirement. As Capt. Helms and his crew taxied to the gate in Atlanta, the CRJ900 aircraft in his command was met with a water cannon salute, an honor bestowed by the City of Atlanta Department of Fire Rescue. And as he exited the aircraft, he was greeted by a group of his peers, some of whom he has worked with since the “early days” of Atlantic Southeast, gathered to celebrate this milestone in his life.

One of those peers is Chief Pilot Randy Cash, who said, “Doug is the epitome of what a captain should be.”

Randy’s feeling about Capt. Helms is echoed by countless others at our airline, and for many, he has served as a role model for developing aviation professionals.

“He inspires me to be a great captain,” said Josh Laminack, who served as the first officer on Capt. Helm’s final flight.

As Capt. Helms departs for his next endeavor, we want to congratulate and thank him for his 32 years of service and dedication to Atlantic Southeast!

Below are just a few of the kind words our people had to say about Capt. Helms in response to a story posted about his retirement on our company intranet:

“Thanks for passing along wisdom from all your experiences. You’ve been a great example for the pilots of the next generation to follow.”

“Atlantic Southeast has been incredibly fortunate that you not only chose to come work here, but to make a career here.”

“You have given all of us many fond memories, education and stories to share for years to come.”

“You always come to mind when someone asks what it is to be a true professional.”

“You sir, have held command, and responsibility that goes with it, in the highest regard.”

“It has been a great pleasure knowing and flying with you all these years.”

“We are a better airline because of your qualities as a human being.”