Bell Employee Helps Veteran Grandfather Experience the Thrill of Flight Again

Kicking off 2020, the annual Bell Summit started with an address not from our CEO Mitch Snyder, but from talented Bell Boeing V-22 Project Specialist, Emma Spencer. This bright millennial shared some words of wisdom and insightful advice to all Bell leaders about how to empower their teams. But her personal story about her deep connection to Bell stole the show.

Emma recalled a special memory earlier in the year where she brought her Army Corps veteran grandfather – a former Bell 47 pilot – to Bell Headquarters to reconnect with Bell Aircraft. “Shortly after I started working at Bell, I received a package in the mail containing pictures from my grandfather, Robert Horning, or Papa as I call him. He proudly flew Bell 47Ds in Korea from 1951-1954 with the Army Corps of Engineers as they rebuilt infrastructure after the war. That really helped connect me to the product and feel a sense of purpose at Bell."


"This past year, he turned 89 and he came to Fort Worth to complete his bucket list item to fly again, for the first time in 65 years!  He flew the 429 simulator, saw his beloved Bell 47 and shared war stories with other Army Aviators."

"The memories I have of his insanely huge smile after flying that simulator remind me of the impact our products have on people. Receiving those initial pictures from his early days in the U.S. Army remind me that there are men and women out there flying our products every day and they have been before Papa ever did. "

Hear the full story from Emma herself below:

About Bell

Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 85 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us.

We are pioneers. We were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. We were a part of NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of advanced air mobility.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas – as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., – we have strategic locations around the globe. And with nearly one quarter of our workforce having served, helping our military achieve their missions is a passion of ours.

Above all, our breakthrough innovations deliver exceptional experiences to our customers. Efficiently. Reliably. And always, with safety at the forefront.

About Textron

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Pipistrel, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, and Textron Systems. For more information, visit:

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