Owensboro man gets wish granted to fly a plane again

Local News

A Tri-State veteran receives his wish as he battles a serious illness.

Owensboro resident John Cox served in the U.S. Army, and flew planes much of his life. His request was to sit in a pilot’s seat one more time

That request was granted this morning in the skies above daviess county.

The sound of an engine. The sight of planes taking off. These are the things Cox experienced since he was 16-years-old.

“I was born in an era was flying was very romantic,” he said. :Lindbergh had just flown the ocean two years before I was born. There was something exciting about flying.”

Cox has flown more than 2200 hours in cessnas and other planes.

“I owned a Cessna 170 once,” Cox recalled. “I never had an accident, never scratched the plane on a plane.”

But he hasn’t flown in several decades.  Today, with the help of Hospice of Western Kentucky and others, he returned to the cockpit.

“He’s been talking about it the past couple of weeks. We had been preparing him, getting everything ready that we could, and he was ready. You saw the smile on his face, he’s ready for it,” said Emily Diaz of Hospice of Western Kentucky.

It’s part of Hospice’s wish granting program for their patients. John is battling a terminal illness and has several months to live.  

“To be able to bring a final wish to a patient, they light up. It’s one of my favorite parts about hospice,” says Diaz.

With the help of pilot Stuart Snow, Cox flew above the skies of Owensboro for more than a half hour.

“You could tell he was in his element. He just loved being up there. He didn’t want to come down. He just loved being up there,” Snow said, recalling Cox’s reaction while flying.

The flight, and wish, brought a smile to everyone’s face. Cox hopes more take up the experience he’s enjoyed his whole life.

“I would encourage everybody who wants to fly to go out to do it. It’s kind of puts the world in perspective.”

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(This story was originally published on June 14, 2019)

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