Michael McClain, a Ridgway native, won’t soon forget his 59th birthday, as the long-time commercial airline pilot spent the day flying the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs to Super Bowl LV.
McClain had the opportunity to bid on piloting the flight through his employer, United Airlines, whom he has been working for since 1997, and said it was a seniority based situation. Earlier this year, McClain also flew the team to Las Vegas and became friends with a few of the team staff including the equipment manager, who he has been keeping in touch with. He also had the chance to meet a few of the players.
McClain documented his experience on his personal Facebook page, with one photo showing him sporting a Chiefs jersey and waving the team flag on the stairway to the aircraft. What made his birthday even more special was having his jersey signed by Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes. 
“I played that birthday card so he wished me Happy Birthday and signed my jersey,” McClain joked. 
The flight left Kansas City, Missouri around 3 p.m. on Saturday. Due to the snowy weather and frigid temperature of 16 degrees, crews at the Kansas City International Airport can be seen in a video clearing the runway of snow and de-icing the plane. 
Two hours and three minutes later the AFC West champions had a sunny touchdown in Tampa, Florida to pleasant 75 degree weather. 
McClain said the team was back at the airport about an hour after their 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He noted the flight home was relatively quite. The flight landed back in Kansas City around 3 a.m. Monday morning to 15 degree weather. According to McClain a line of cars filled with fans awaited to welcome back the team. The crew then flew back to Chicago, arriving at around 4 a.m. McClain is based out of Chicago and this is where he starts and ends all of his trips.
McClain’s wife Tammy, is also employed in the airline industry as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines. She is a native of Kansas City and also a Chiefs fan along with his grandchildren. 
“This (flight) was an opportunity for me to do this and share it with these guys as well. In the meantime, I became an even bigger fan (of the Chiefs),” McClain said. 

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