We met with Willie, an inspiring Wingly pilot and a passionate man. We wanted to know what led him towards aviation and flight sharing. His fascinating journey as a pilot made us wonder what’s his motivation to fly nowadays, after decades of wandering the sky. Here’s a glimpse into Willie’s adventures as a pilot flight sharing with Wingly.
Hello Willie, tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m Willie, I’ve had a passion for flying from a young age, ever since I can remember! The moment I had saved enough money, I signed up to begin the pilot training. I’m an adventurous type of guy, I enjoy travelling the world and discovering new countries. Being a pilot definitely helps.
What’s your current occupation? Do you have any hobbies asides from flying?
I own an electrical contracting company. During my free time, I also enjoy racing cars, I’ve had this passion ever since 1974! I mentioned I’m a real adventure seeker, I’m also a globetrotter who enjoy discovering the world – Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, Europe, name it. The sky’s the limit.
How long have you been flying?
I’ve been a pilot for 40 years.
What kind of plane do you usually fly with?
I’m flying a single engine aircraft, a PA 28 based in Turweston, to be specific. Actually, I’m the co-owner of the plane!
Why did you decide to become a private pilot?
It’s a childhood dream. I wanted to be closer to the stars! It was either being an astronaut or a pilot, and I’m proud to say that I achieved one of my goals by being a pilot.
How many hours have you been flying with Wingly?
I flew about 100 hours in last year with Wingly.
What’s the impact of flight sharing in your life?
Flight sharing is really important for me, particularly the financial aspect of it. Wingly provides a truly useful platform that allow me to fly more while sharing the costs. Due to cost sharing, it’s more affordable which makes it accessible for the passengers, the tourists and the aviation enthusiasts as well. They have direct access to light aviation, which is usually kind of elitist. Last but not least, it’s also a really pleasant way to share my passion with other people.
What was the most exciting moment you experienced with Wingly passengers?
Flying with passengers is always really exciting. I had the opportunity to meet amazing people and to be part of intimate and emotion filled moments. A lot of the flight requests are gifts for loved ones – such as children who experience flying in a small plane for the first time – they usually find it quite spectacular! One of my most memorable flight was for the 70th birthday of an adorable lady. She was really intrigued and passionate about planes an had already quite a lot of experience with planes. She was so impassioned! It was actually a surprise from her family and it was the perfect gift.
What’s your favourite destination?
I had a really nice time flying to the Koblenz Fly-in. The landscapes were just amazing! It’s really different from the UK, it’s softer, not as rocky. That being said, wherever you fly, you’re always up for breathtaking scenery. When flying to Koblenz, I shared my flight with really nice folks, but I also had the chance to drive a race car. I was lucky enough to enjoy my two passions during the same weekend!
What’s your ultimate pilot dream?
My pilot dream is already accomplished – I have all the qualification I wanted and I have a plane that I share with a friend. The only thing I want is to keep flying as often as possible and that’s something Wingly is helping me accomplish.
What’s the feature that stands out about Wingly?
I really like the fact that you can rate and leave comments on both pilot and passenger profiles. I enjoy having feedback from the passengers that flew with me. They’re always kind and encourage me to pursue my passion!
Flying and feeling free has always been a dream of mine. I will need to start to look into different flying schools. But I love how you have had so many adventures and flexibility. Thank you for sharing that you have been flying over 40 years! It makes me realize that flying can be something I can do for a life-time.