Dad, Daughter Learn to Fly at Parkland

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.


Dave and Emily McGuire appreciate their Parkland flight training.
Dave and Emily McGuire appreciate their Parkland flight training.

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.

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