If you"™ve been on a Delta airplane in the past 17 years there"™s a good chance Derek Snider, an aircraft maintenance paint technician, painted your plane.
But among the hundreds of planes Snider has touched since he was hired in 1998, no aircraft has had a stronger emotional connection than Ship 1821, a widebody Boeing 767-400ER and Delta"™s famed Pink Plane. And when the freshly painted jet left Bay 12 of the Atlanta Technical Operations facility wearing a new livery just days before it departed full of breast cancer survivors on Delta"™s annual "Breast Cancer One" Survivor Flight, Snider reflected on his own family"™s experience with the disease.
Snider"™s mother Bonnie was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2003. She endured several rounds of chemotherapy and a half mastectomy before eventually being declared cancer free.
"This plane and Delta"™s work to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and fight to find a cure means so much to me," Snider said. "I"™ve been painting planes for well over a decade but this is the plane I get most excited about."
Each of Delta"™s fleet of more than 700 mainline aircraft is repainted every few years in Atlanta as well as other Delta facilities across the country. So when Snider and several others in Delta"™s paint shop heard the Pink Plane was set to be repainted at an alternate facility, they worked quickly to adjust the schedule and appeal to TechOps leaders to make sure this special aircraft remained in their artful hands.
"It"™s an honor and a point of pride for us to paint this plane," Snider said. "There are so many of us in the paint shop who have been affected by breast cancer in some way, we just couldn"™t let such a special plane be painted by anyone but us."
It"™s a labor of love for Snider, who credits his mother with helping him land the job at Delta 17 years ago after she talked him up to some Delta employees who frequented the restaurant where she worked. Snider"™s brother is an Iraq War veteran and also works at Delta as an aircraft maintenance technician…