Captain Mike Bowers, a long-time United Airlines pilot and favorite columnist in the airline’s in-flight magazine has lost his battle to pancreatic cancer. He was 70 years old.
In Memoriam: United Captain Mike Bowers
Bowers began his career in the United States Navy, graduating from the elite Fighter Weapons School (now known as the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program) as an F-14 Tomcat pilot. As a Top Gun pilot, Bowers spent nine years on active duty and 17 years in the Naval reserves.
He made the transition to commercial and flew for People Express, which later merged with Continental Airlines, which later merged with United Airlines. Over his career, he flew the 727, 737, 757, 767 and 777. In fact, he finished his career as the Chief Pilot at Newark Liberty International Airport, a position that allowed him to mentor many pilots over the years.
You may recognize his face from United’s in-flight magazine, Hemispheres. For many years, he wrote the popular “Ask The Pilot” column, which offered concise answers on aviation-related questions.
Over his career, he welcomed more than a million passengers onboard, but his favorite flights were United’s annual “Fantasy Flights” which offer underprivileged children a chance to visit the North Pole. These were staffed by all-volunteer crews and Bowers relished this annual Christmas tradition. He also flew rescue mission to Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake, helping to deliver valuable cargo to those in great need.
In 2019, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Doctors gave him three month to live. He ended up living for 16 more months.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, two children, and seven grandchildren.
Captain Bowers, I wish you CAVU*. Thanks for your service.
*a familiar acronym to pilots that stands for “ceiling and visibility unlimited.”