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Jet fuel in their blood: Three generations of fathers, 105 years, one airline

Posted at 12:45 PM, Jun 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-14 20:01:12-04

DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT — Paul Goodyear has worked as an aircraft technician for United Airlines at Denver International Airport for nearly 35 years, inspecting planes daily to ensure they are safe to fly. While some mechanics joke that there is “oil in their blood,” the Goodyear family might as well have jet fuel in theirs.

“I got into this because it’s my family heritage,” Paul said, after finishing his inspection of a landing gear.

That’s when Paul’s father, Thomas Goodyear, stepped out from behind one of the 787’s massive engines.

“Come on, Papa,” Paul said to his dad.

Thomas Goodyear spent 40 years working at United as a zone controller, responsible for ramp operations.

“I’m only 84,” Thomas said.

So a few days before Father’s Day, Paul walked around the hangar with his dad, showing off a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and all the new bells and whistles that it comes with.

“They can do so much more up here than when I was working,” Thomas said, sitting in the cockpit of the new airplane.

As it turns out, showing off new and impressive airplanes runs in the family.

“This is my father,” Thomas said, pointing to an old black and white photo. “And this is me in his arms and we’re looking at a DC-3 in Chicago.”

The picture was taken in the 1930s at Midway Airport. Thomas’ father, Merle Goodyear, spent an additional three decades working for United as a chief mechanic.

“He started in 1928, 91 years ago with United,” Paul explained about his grandfather.

The three generations have worked a combined 105 years all for one airline.

“Every year since 1928 there has been a family member of mine, a Goodyear, working for United Airlines,” Paul said.

So will there be a fourth generation? Paul has a 17-year-old son.

“I would love him to continue on and make a fourth generation,” he said.

Unfortunately for Paul, his son is currently leaning towards becoming a diesel mechanic.

“Millenials,” he joked.

With his father retired and his grandfather who passed away, Paul is now the only Goodyear still employed by the airline. He was asked what his plans were for Father's Day.

“I will be spending Father's Day here at the airport,” he said. “It’s very fitting for me to be where my father was and where his father was on Father's Day.”