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Mayo Clinic pilot retires after 40 years in aviation; gets water salute surprise

Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 9:59 PM CDT
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Bob Ringold
Bob Ringold(KTTC)

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Bob Ringold was the chief Mayo Clinic Pilot.

He’s spent 40 years in aviation and spent 12 years at Mayo Clinic. Ringold piloted airplanes and helicopters for Mayo’s air ambulance.

On Tuesday, Mayo Clinic and the Rochester International Airport surprised Ringoled with a water cannon salute.

“I came to work hoping it was just going to be another day,” Ringold said.

He thought he was going to do a medical flight, but soon realized it was “set up” to surprise him.

“It’s very gratifying that they did that for me. It’s also kind of embarrassing. I don’t like the attention but appreciate the sentiment that goes with it,” Ringold said.

Ringold believes he’s flown at least 800 times during his tenure at Mayo Clinic.

“The patients that fly in the airplane are very ill, and it’s very important to get them to a place that they believe will give them better care. So that’s a very good piece for me. Helping others,” he said.

Darren Schoene, a Mayo pilot, worked with Ringold for four years.

Darren Schoene and Bob Ringold
Darren Schoene and Bob Ringold(KTTC)

“Thanks for keeping us safe for all these years and he’s been an awesome boss,” he said. “It’s some big shoes to fill for the new chief pilot.”

“Spending more time with my grandkids would be my plan to start with,” he said.

We asked Ringold what he wants hopes his grandchildren to learn from him?

“Have fun enjoy what your doing. That’s the biggest thing,” Ringold said.

He said he has three grandchildren.

The advice he has for future pilots is to enjoy it, and follow through to reach your goal.

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