Sunday, October 14, 2007

Phil Platt

Many of our readers knew Phil Platt, owner and pilot for Ocracoke Island's Pelican Airways. I spoke with Phil early in the week while checking my mail at the Post Office. Late that afternoon Phil died suddenly. He was one in a long list of island characters. Strong willed, quirky, and quick to tell you what he thought, Phil was interesting, entertaining, and likable.

My first encounter with Phil was seeing him driving around the village in a car with most of the windshield broken out. There was a large hole in the passenger's side; the driver's side of the windshield was nothing more than cracks and "spider webby" lines obscuring any possibility of a view of the road. Phil, with hands on the wheel, was leaning far to his right, peering out of the broken glass. He was wearing his vintage leather flight goggles.

The memorial service was held today at the airstrip. A catholic priest was there, along with Joyce, our Methodist minister, and Dwight Burrus, lay preacher and pilot from Hatteras. The altar was Phil's rough work bench, stained with grease & oil. On the corner was Phil's vise, bolted firmly to the top. It was a fitting testimonial to a memorable island character. We will miss him.

Our latest monthly newsletter is Lou Ann's story of commercial clamming with 13 year old Morty. You can read it here.


  1. Anonymous11:40 AM

    So sorry to hear the bad news. My wife & I took a very enjoyable "flightseeing" tour w/ Pelican Airways in August. What a great way to see the island. Mr. Platt was indead a unique individual, I am sure he will be missed. Any word on cause of death? Our condolences to the family

  2. Anonymous7:55 PM

    As I look out of my office window this evening and see the snow flurries and the dreary evening. I can't help feeling such sorrow of the loss of Phil Platt. It is always so hard to believe and understand the loss of a member of humankind. Wendy and I will never forget and will always remember our enjoyable and interesting visits and timely discussions we had with Phil and Nancy this summer. And on a day like this in Ohio, is the warm memories we both have of our stay at the Pelican Lodge that make the cold winds go away. If you didn't know how he stood on any issue, then you weren't paying attention and truely missed a wonderful discussion with Phil sharing of his colorful opinions. He was more than just an island character, his love of Ocracoke and her people was very obvious and he showed it with much pride. We too have lost a friend and even though he may not be with us anymore. Our memories will last forever. Phil is with the angels and I am sure my mother is getting him caught up on my parent's lives in Ocracoke. God bless Phil and Nancy and I am sure there is not an FAA in Heaven.

  3. Anonymous2:38 PM

    I am so happy to see this, as the first thing that comes up on google when i searched 'Phil Platt'. Phil was not only a miraculous man, but also was my grandfather. Thank you very much everyone who has shown compassion for his loss. He would have been very pleased to see everyone's lives he has touched. For the first commenter's question; he died from an aneurysm. Again, thanks a million for alll the good times you've given him! R.I.P. Grandaddy.