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Phillip Devine was a citizen of the United States and worked as an maintenance chief with United Airlines.
In 1988, Phillip worked at Stapleton Airport, Denver, Colorado. Phillip was friends with Harvey Dolan, who worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. He considered by Dolan to be a walking encyclopedia of aircraft. After work, they would go and have a beer. After Dirk Pitt visited the airport about some airplane wreckage he found, he went to meet with Devine after being referred by Dolan. Devine was able to identify the aircraft as a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser or a C-97 Stratofreighter.