Young Captain William

American helps make a young pilot’s wish come true

For more than 20 years, American Airlines has partnered with Make-A-Wish Opens external site in a new window to help grant wishes of kids with life-threatening medical conditions. When Make-A-Wish called American this time, it was for a specific request.
“We have a wish child from Illinois, William, who wishes to be an American Airlines pilot for a day,” said Erin Michel, Chief Development Officer for Make-A-Wish North Texas.
William, an outgoing 7-year-old, was born with congenital heart defects. Before the age of 5, he had already had two open-heart surgeries and one catheterization.
Despite that history, William has a love of traveling with his family and a love of airplanes.
With the help of Make-A-Wish, and a group of hard-working American employees, William was invited to make his wish come true and become the next (and youngest) American pilot.
William’s wish included:
William and his family flew to DFW where he began his flight training at the Flight Academy, following all protocol and going through all of the same training as the grown-ups.

He took a tour of the DFW ramp tower with DFW Chief Pilot Bryan Holliday, successfully completed emergency procedures training, Ground School training and simulator training at the Flight Academy, and took a tour of the command center at the IOC.
He was given a custom-made pilot uniform and hat complete with a rollerboard embroidered with the American logo and “Captain William” on the front and specially ordered mini Ray-Ban Aviators. And he received his wings.
The one-day wish turned into a three-day wish as American employees rallied to help Make-A-Wish fulfill William’s wish and provide an unforgettable experience.
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The American Airlines Kids in Need program provides worldwide support for children and their families, as well as for organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with needs for medical, educational and social services issues. Donating miles to Kids in Need directly supports those causes.
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William’s Wish

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