Bill Rogers’ last flight for a Boeing 737 for Southwest Airlines was Friday. Rogers, of Mukilteo, spent 27 of his 30 years overseeing the delivery of new planes from Boeing to the airline. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Bill Rogers’ last flight for a Boeing 737 for Southwest Airlines was Friday. Rogers, of Mukilteo, spent 27 of his 30 years overseeing the delivery of new planes from Boeing to the airline. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Pilot flies Southwest to Everett for retirement celebration

Bill Rogers, who oversaw delivery of the airline’s new 737s, got a water-cannon salute at Paine Field.

EVERETT — As Bill Rogers’ last flight for Southwest Airlines began descending at Paine Field Friday two fire trucks were lined up at the airfield, watching closely as the plane emerged from the low hanging clouds. But no emergency was expected. Instead, they were there to greet Rogers with a traditional water cannon salute to honor his three-decade career at Southwest.

The fire-fighting rigs released a massive arc of water that stretched high above the Boeing 737 as the plane taxied toward the terminal. A line of well-wishers greeted Rogers and his wife, Mari, as they disembarked from the plane. A water cannon salute is often used in aviation to honor special flights.

“It was emotional, but cloudy,” Rogers said describing the 15-minute flight, which began at Boeing Field in Seattle.

Rogers’ job was to ensure the planes met Southwest’s standards. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Rogers’ job was to ensure the planes met Southwest’s standards. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Rogers, 66, of Mukilteo spent 27 of his 30 years at Southwest overseeing the delivery of new planes from Boeing to the airline. Stationed onsite at Boeing, Rogers was tasked with crawling through the aircraft examining parts as the planes were being assembled. His job was to ensure the planes met Southwest’s standards.

He still remembers the day he accepted delivery of his first Southwest plane — Aug. 3, 1991. Over the span of his career Rogers supervised the delivery of 570 planes.

The 737 remains Rogers’ favorite.

“Because it doesn’t take a very tall ladder to inspect it,” he explained.

On his final flight, Rogers had the best seat in the house. From the cockpit he was able to watch the plane take off and land, and fully experience the water salute.

His future plans will keep him in the cockpit, at least a little longer. Rogers and wife plan to spend retirement exploring the Puget Sound islands from their recreational plane.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @lizzgior.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Seattle cop got preferential treatment in prostitution arrest

The officer, who lives in Monroe, also serves as a commissioner for Snohomish County Fire District 7.

Don’t miss out on up to $1,800 in unemployment back pay

The state says its ready to send out payments from a federal program. Certification is due Sunday.

Suicide Prevention Month a reminder that help is available

Online or by phone, resources are widely accessible as millions struggle with mental health.

Mill Creek’s new mayor breaks silence over city manager

The City Council said Michael Ciaravino is meeting expectations, but some areas need improvement.

Snohomish Historical Preservation Commission member Fred Cruger with his dog, Duffy, in Arlington along one of the history walk sections at Centennial Trail. The event will be up through September. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Discover local history as you walk the Centennial Trail

Take a smartphone quiz as you stroll the trail. If you answer every question correctly, you’ll win a prize.

She fosters inclusion with crayons, paper of skin-tone hues

Color Me Important, a Lake Stevens woman’s effort, gives teachers supplies that represent diversity.

Yes, you could get the flu and COVID-19, so get a flu shot

Flu season officially starts Oct. 1, but shots are available now. Experts recommend not waiting.

Man charged in Marysville crash that killed cyclist, woman

Darwin Caldwell was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide. He had a suspended license.

Economic Alliance and Lynnwood offer new business grants

The grants are derived from the federal Coronavirus Assistance, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Most Read