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Aviation Photographer Gives the Best Farewell Present to His Mentor, a Pilot, on His Retirement Day

Ted Orris' last flight. (Image source: Twitter/Southwest Airlines)

Ted Orris' last flight. (Image source: Twitter/Southwest Airlines)

THe close bond between Ted Orris and Ryan Patterson was one of the reasons why Ryan Patterson didn’t think twice about hatching a plan when he heard about Orris’ retirement.

Back in 2015, when Southwest Airlines Captain Ted Orris saw a teenager taking photos during a layover, he didn’t know that a brief talk with him would set goals and career as an aviation photographer. Orris ended up becoming a mentor and inspiration for Ryan Patterson who now clicks professional aviation pictures from helicopters for a living.

Their close bond was one of the reasons why Ryan Patterson didn’t think twice about hatching a plan when he heard about Orris’ retirement. Orris on the other hand did not want to make a big deal out of his retirement. The plan which was made in secret included clicking a photo of Orris’ final flight to say thank you.

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Secretly, Ryan spent hours planning and arranging the proper clearances to surprise Ted with a helicopter shot of Ted’s final take-off, something that Ted had always said he wanted. Ryan was able to snap a few shots of the Southwest 737 from a helicopter and the results are worth looking at.

On the D-day, Ryan drove 7 hours to Atlanta and positioned himself in a helicopter. In the final moments before take-off, Ryan sent Ted a text that said “Look up and wave”. Southwest Airlines tweeted the story which quickly garnered ample of attention on the internet.

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first published:December 10, 2020, 11:00 IST