Two generations of the McGuire family are experiencing the joys of flight training at the Parkland College Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois this semester. Dave, a Champaign business owner and daughter Emily, a junior at the High School of St. Thomas More, share their impressions of what led them to flying–and what keeps them there.
Emily McGuire: I had never been all that into aviation as a young kid. I didn’t think it was the cool thing to do, but my dad convinced me to try an event sponsored by the airport, and I immediately fell in love with the whole aspect of flying. I love the feeling of being up in the air and leaving any troubles I have on the ground.
Flying is also empowering; it is unique that at such a young age I can ask my friends to go for a ride with me, and mean a plane ride! I think that if I can do it, then anyone else can if they put their mind to it. I never would have realized how much fun it actually is unless I had taken that chance.
I obtained my private pilot’s license a couple of months back. I took my AVI 101 class in the summer before my junior year of high school and juggled a summer job as well. When school started back up again, I was able to work with my principal and teachers as well as my amazing flight instructor to get a schedule that allowed me to make it to flight classes and get the essential classes for school. Parkland was very flexible and understood my needs!
Dave McGuire: I have held my private’s pilot license for 20 years, and I recently made a serious commitment to get my instrument rating. Everyone is busy, and with family activities, work schedules, etc., earlier attempts to get the rating took a back seat. I made the decision to enroll through Parkland because:
1) The staff in the Aviation department have confirmed their passionate and capable reputation.
2.) The structured environment allows for the focus I need to work on new skills and the re-learning of old skills neglected.
I was apprehensive about putting my 50-year-old brain in a classroom with smart, talented “young” students, but our ground school instructor, Bill Jones, provided the appropriate environment. (I can’t say enough good things about Bill’s experience and teaching style.) I was challenged and made new friends. Although not my goal, I continue to challenge my flight instructor, Don Talleur. He’s fantastically patient. My goal is to be a safe, competent IFR pilot. When Don says I’m ready, I’ll be confident that I am.
I look forward to next semester.