— -- Imagine the pride American Airlines pilot Scott Byrne felt when he realized his co-pilot for the next few days would be someone he knew well. Very well.
And imagine the excitement Jen Byrne felt sitting next to a man she called her "hero" as the plane she was piloting took off.
The dad-and-daughter duo, both pilots for American Airlines, had the opportunity to fly together Wednesday for the first time as First Officer and Captain. The flight was from Chicago to Dallas and then on to Orange County.
"It also marked the one-year anniversary since I've joined American," said Jen Byrne.
Scott Byrne said they were so busy with the pre-flight requirements and then take off that he almost forgot who was sitting next to him.
"Jenny was such a natural. She did an absolutely fantastic job. And it's my 28-year-old daughter. I am so proud."
And while safety is always the very first priority, no doubt Jen wanted to touch down extra smooth to impress her hero.
"I was just praying it would be a good landing," she said. It was. "I looked over at him and he was smiling and it was the best feeling in the world.
And just when you thought this story couldn't get any sweeter? Turns out Mom was along -- as a passenger -- for Scott and Jen's first flight too. They both credit her for Jen achieving her dreams. Jen said it was her mother who helped her keep her eye on the prize when the going got tough.
"Every credit goes to my wife," Scott Byrne said.