My Other Life, Daniel Gandor

PM360 recently spoke to Daniel Gandor, Associate Director, Cross-Brand Relationship Marketing at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, about his pastime as a private pilot.

PM360: We hear you have a real passion for flying. What made you want to take that up as a hobby?

Gandor: Ever since childhood, I was always fascinated with aviation, airplanes and flying. I can remember listening to air traffic control at this one small Chicagoland Airport restaurant as a kid, always wishing to be a pilot.

Of course, my education and career didn’t take me in that direction, but the itch to fly never left me. I moved out to the far northwest suburbs of Chicago. Once I was married and working for Takeda, my wife, Lisa, urged me to “get a hobby.” As if by fate, there was a small airport just over the border in Wisconsin, only minutes from our new home. I took a “Discovery Flight” on a whim (my first time in a small General Aviation plane actually), and absolutely fell in love with it. The very next week I officially started lessons and a few months later I earned my private pilot license in the fall of 2008.


That’s great. What have you done since officially becoming a pilot?

Since earning my license, I try to fly as much as I can, although Chicago’s weather doesn’t always cooperate and I never get up in the sky as much as I’d prefer. We haven’t done any huge trips or vacations where I’ve flown us personally, but my wife and I have been able to fly to a bunch of restaurants around Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana that would simply be too far to drive in any given day. I think it’s pretty cool to have a “date night dinner” 150 miles away on a random Tuesday night.

Besides flying, do you have any other interests that you take up in your spare time?

I consider myself a general “technologist” and love to fiddle on the computer and online. From building my own machines to developing websites, I love everything techie. Actually, when I began my pilot lessons, I combined this newfound hobby with my passion for technology and web design, and started a blog ( to journal my thoughts and share my journey with others. The blog took off (pun intended), and it’s been very rewarding to see it grow and receive comments from other aspiring pilots.

Are there any hobbies or interests that you would like to pursue but haven’t had the chance yet?

I would love to somehow be able to use my passion for flying to help people directly. There is an organization called “Pilots N Paws” where general aviation pilots fly dogs and cats to new homes/shelters to be adopted. Or the “Angel Flight” organization that arranges transportation for financially distressed people with a medical condition in a time-critical, non-emergency situation. I still need substantially more flight time experience to be eligible, but once I have that, I definitely plan on getting involved.



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