Celebrating “My First Flight”


Recently, ALPA asked members to submit memories of their first flying experience as part of an ongoing series to help inspire the next generation of airline pilots.  Among the many responses we received from pilots across the world, Capt. Thomas Bishop and Capt. Gene McClure shared the moments that helped lead them to becoming an airline pilots. 

As the son of two pilots who managed an airport, Capt. McClure inherited his parent’s passion for flying and made his first solo flight in the early morning hours of his 16th birthday. Today, with more than 20,000 hours of flight time, Capt. McClure is starting his 19th year as a professional airline pilot. 

Capt. Bishop’s first experience with flying was in 1978 when on his first commercial flight, the Captain and First Officer took a moment to show a young college student around the flight deck. “Before I left their office, I thanked them both and proclaimed, ‘You guys have the best job in the world.’” Now with more than twenty years of commercial flying for a U.S. airline, Capt. Bishop still credits those pilots on his first flight with planting the seed for his future career. 

As ALPA begins to celebrate our 85th year, we will be featuring additional stories from ALPA members whose first flight helped guide them to this unique and exciting career. 
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