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September 07, 2018

Collegeville boy, 6, gets wish to become pilot for a day

Born with a heart defect, William Beyer hasn't given up on a soaring dream

Health Stories Make-A-Wish Foundation
09072018_William_Beyer_Cockpit Photo courtesy/Lockheed Martin

William Beyer, 6, sits in the cockpit of a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. He spent a day at the Lockheed Martin company as an honorary test pilot through the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. William, who suffers from serious heart problems, dreams of becoming a pilot.

William Beyer, a six-year-old resident of Collegeville, took flight for a day when the Make-A-Wish Foundation helped the boy realize his dream of becoming a pilot.

Beyer was born with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome, a rare heart defect that causes inadequate blood flow to the lungs. At 10 months old, Beyer underwent a heart transplant, and he continues to work with doctors to prevent future complications.


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Beyer visited Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut for a "Pilot for a Day" experience.

There, he was outfitted in a personal flight suit, a badged jacket, and even some little aviators. Beyer and his parents, Wesley and Michelle, as well as younger brother Jake, then went for a helicopter ride.

09082018_William_Beyer_PilotsPhoto courtesy/Lockheed Martin

John McGonagle, director of flight operations, said the pilots' day with William Beyer was one they'll never forget.

Afterwards, the family toured the Sikorsky facility, which includes a helicopter simulator, and had lunch with professional pilots. William had the opportunity to brush up on his aviation history, aerospace basics and helicopter manufacturing techniques.

John McGonagle, director of flight operations and chief pilot at Sikorsky, presented Beyer with an honorary test pilot certificate. Sikorsky pilot Mark Ward also presented the certificate.

"To have a child's top wish be for the job you do every day really puts your own life into perspective," Ward said in a statement.

“Thank you for making his wish come true,” Wesley Beyer later wrote on Sikorsky’s Facebook page.

“His mom and I were especially moved by all the workers who showed him support and gave him the great welcome as we toured the factory. William is truly blessed.”


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