Launchpad McQuack is a pilot introduced in Disney's 1987 television series DuckTales and later featured in its 1991 spin-off Darkwing Duck. He works for Scrooge McDuck as the pilot. He is a scoutmaster of Junior Woodchucks with Huey, Dewey and Louie and Doofus Drake. He was voiced by Terence McGovern.
Launchpad might not be the very smartest of ducks, but he can be a hero when he needs to. He is also very kind and gentle, and acts as sort of a big brother to the Junior Woodchucks, as he is the scout master. He is mostly upbeat and optimistic, but he can get his feelings hurt, like in the episode "Armstrong", when the robot seemingly took his place and he felt as though nobody cared for him, causing him to leave. He then came back and saved his friends, who had been kidnapped by the seemingly charming robot. Launchpad is also typically calm, brave and heroic, and he can even be somewhat of a ladies man. He is also very patient and humble, rarely getting upset, even when Scrooge scolds/insults him, although this could partly be because he is somewhat dimwitted.
Launchpad's first appearance was in The Treasure of the Golden Suns pilot movie (Serialized episode: Three Ducks of the Condor), where he is hired by Gyro Gearloose and Scrooge McDuck to fly the latter to the Land of the Golden Suns in Gyro's newest helicopter, the Condor. Since then, he has made recurring appearances in several episodes in the series, mainly when Scrooge needed a pilot to fly him somewhere and could not look anywhere else, as Launchpad has worked for Scrooge's favorite price—next to nothing.
Launchpad is known to be best friends with a youngster named Doofus Drake, a roly-poly duckling who tags along with him on many adventures and has been considered by Launchpad to be his sidekick. Doofus looks up to Launchpad like a big brother and considers him a great pilot and a real hero.
According to the episode Launchpad's First Crash, Launchpad built his first plane, The Sun Chaser, by himself, and he was hired by Scrooge McDuck as a youngster to fly to the Thick-of-It Rain Forest to help him locate the Lost City of Diamonds. At that point, Launchpad had a rate: 10 cents per mile, but he lowered it to a penny per mile to suit Scrooge. Since that adventure, Launchpad and Scrooge became an inseparable team.
Launchpad has had his chance to be a hero on many counts, such as in Armstrong, when Scrooge and Gyro were held captive by Gyro's new robot, Armstrong, who was seizing control of the world, one Armed Forces base at a time. Huey, Dewey, and Louie raced to Launchpad's place to get his help when they discovered they needed backup to stop Armstrong, and Launchpad offered to fly them in aboard his Joyrider, which, according to Launchpad, had no electronic equipment within, so Armstrong couldn't take control of it. After crashing atop Gyro's barn (which is what he did best), Launchpad tried to sneak in, but was hindered by Armstrong. A chase ensued and ended as Launchpad was escaping up top, to his plane, but was grabbed at the ankle by Armstrong. As he was pulled down, Launchpad grabbed the release lever for his Joyrider's water tank, and that water cascaded on Armstrong and shorted him out.
During the episode Top Duck, Launchpad revealed that his family was a group of stunt performers called The Flying McQuacks, but Launchpad always felt he disappointed his family, and as such, he ran away to pursue his dream of being the best pilot in the world. When his family wrote him and said they were coming to visit, Launchpad felt he couldn't face them—especially his father, Ripcord, because he believed that his father was the reason he'd run away from home. Near the end, the Flying McQuacks helped Launchpad and Scrooge defeat the Beagle Boys and save the Money Bin, and Ripcord (finally) told his son that he was proud of him (but Launchpad had never let him finish any of his sentences).
Launchpad's adventures have also revealed the story of his great-great-grandfather General Rhubarb McQuack, who fought in the Union who he heard was the war hero that won the Battle of Duckridge. After meeting the actual soldiers who participated in the war under the service of General Rhubarb, Launchpad, Doofus and Huey, Dewey & Louie decided to give the long-forgotten army (who went by the name of "McQuack's Marauders") a chance to fight the confederate again. During the reenactment, the nephews and Doofus rigged it so that the actual Marauders participated, taking on the businessman and his actors who played the Union soldiers, although they mostly fought with shock tactics and throwing pies. Even though Launchpad almost cost McQuack's Marauders their redemption, the tide turned in their favor when he had sent their battle vessel, known as the "Merryquack", rolling into battle and overwhelming the enemy. Afterwards, Doofus and the nephews are glad to see that Launchpad has redeemed his family's honor and the citizens of Duckridge are humbled to learn that UNION veterans are still alive, to which they vow never again to ridicule the war while allowing the veterans to rejoin society, so that they can retire in honor.
DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp
Launchpad served a minor role as Scrooge's pilot to the ruins of Collie Baba (a parody of Ali Baba, obviously), where Scrooge was after the legendary thief's treasure.
Launchpad McQuack was a regularly meetable character in the time when DuckTales and Darkwing Duck were originally airing. He is not as much of a regular at the parks anymore, but he can still be found on rare occasions, sometimes with Darkwing, at the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland Paris.
The Disney Afternoon Live!: Plane Crazy
Launchpad starred in the Plane Crazy stage show that ran at Disneyland as part of Disney Afternoon Avenue in 1991. In the stage show, he is recruited along with Chip 'n' Dale and Baloo to recover the X-22 spy jet when it is stolen by Don Karnage and Fat Cat. At one point in the show, Launchpad performs some cloud-surfing in an attempt to battle the two villains.
Launchpad previously appeared in the Disneyland version of the Fantasmic! finale.