It is with great sadness for LIBAA to announce that long time board member, friend and colleague, William (Bill) McShane of Babylon has passed away at the age of 61. Bill was one of the founding members of the Long Island Business Aviation Association (LIBAA) when it was first formed in 2001. Bill helped form LIBAA to act as a collective voice for the business aviation community on Long Island and to assist all of its members in aviation related matters.
Bill wanted to ensure that aviation in his own community would thrive and be protected. LIBAA has developed and grown from modest beginnings to become a respected and key part of the business aviation community.
I’ve been working in aviation since 1981. I’ve worked with a variety of individuals over those years and I can honestly say that Bill was uniquely different. The aviation industry by nature is full of self motivated, educated, and driven professionals that operate at the highest levels, and Bill was no different. But where Bill shined and what he taught me personally was his selflessness and his desire to be more than that. He was a leader that said by his actions “This is what we (the aviation world) should be doing, join me, lets have fun and make it happen”. His belief in the future of aviation and its people was as important to him as his daily work at Sheltair. From battling the construction project that wanted to build a store at the end of the runway at Republic Airport, to creating the AEC Career Fair so young people could share in our aviation experiences and keep our industry strong,
Bill saw the bigger picture with boyish excitement and iconic vision. So what good would talking about Bill do if I didn’t tell you a story? So here it goes. Doris Giambruno, Bill and I were in his SUV evaluating the condition of the old closed runway at Calverton a few years back. We were off to see the Riverhead Town Supervisor that day to make a plea to save the runways for future use. When we were done with our work on the runway, Bill lines up the SUV at the end of the runway, makes a call out to the tower, (actually to me and Doris……the tower closed in 1995), accepting an imaginary take-off clearance. He said “Copy that Calverton, LIBAA-1 is cleared for takeoff” then he proceeded to floor the accelerator until we reached…..um…. takeoff speed. Then off we went to the town offices. That’s the end of the story.
If you knew Bill, work was his pleasure. Not to preach, but I ask myself how much greater would our world be if we could all catch a piece of that enthusiasm and vision, and incorporate that magic into our own lives. I think of all the young lives he touched through AEC and through the Memorial Day Airshows he championed to bring to Long Island. How many people were inspired by those events alone and have since chosen to be a part of aviation’s future. In Bill’s world nothing was impossible. Bill leaves us much to early, but this place is a little better off because he was here. He cared about tomorrow and dared to accomplish what most only thought was a good idea. Well done! God speed LIBAA-1.