Pilot Profile: Bill McGonagle
1. Where are you from?
2. Where is your favorite place to fly?
3. What is something most people don’t know about you?
That I get as much out of this program as those kids do
4. How long have you been a pilot?
5. How did you hear about ATC?
Saw them around the airport as I flew recreationally
6. What made you want to become a pilot?
It’s just something I always wanted to do. I love to challenge myself and share the adventures with family and friends
7. How long have you been involved with ATC?
About 2 years
8. What is the most memorable experience you have had with ATC?
Receiving an email from a mother of my Dream Flyer. His dad (who was a commercial pilot) had passed away. When we flew I said “I bet your dad is sitting out there on the wing”. Her email indicated that our flight was a “life changing experience” for her son. Hearing that made my day too!
9. What do you like most about volunteering for ATC?
Sharing my passion and making kids happy
10. How do you think ATC is changing lives?
It gives kids that have seen so much adversity hope and joy.
11. Talk us through a typical fly day you have with these kids
I like to engage and teach my Discovery flyer. I let him do a pre-flight with me and try to explain some “basics” to him. My last Discovery Flight took us to Martha’s Vineyard, where I treated him to hot chocolate in the airport restaurant. He face-timed with his mom as we landed so she could enjoy the experience from home. We saw the Cape Cod Canal, tons of cranberry bogs and even a prison. When we got back, he helped me cover the airplane and keep it nice for the next flight.
12. What do you love about flying?
A sense of freedom
13. What is your flight background?
I have a commercial certificate and an instrument rating
14. Where do you want to fly that you haven’t?
Oshkosh…someday when I own my own airplane!
15. Is there something I haven’t asked you that you want to say about ATC?
Many people commend the pilots for their efforts but honestly, we have the easiest job….all we have to do is fly airplanes. The real stars are the amazing ground crew that coordinates what I call “organized chaos” on a typical Dream Flight day. There is SO much that needs to be perfect and they are the ones that really get their hands dirty to make it happen!
16. Do you do dream flights? Cadet flights? Discovery Flights?
Dream flights and Discovery flights. I’m on my 3rd Discovery Flyer
17. Describe ATC in one word: