Formerly, a pilot and employee of Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad is currently the sidekick and housemate, to Drake Mallard who is the hero known as Darkwing Duck.
Launchpad McQuack is the son of stunt pilots, Ripcord McQuack and Birdie, with a blonde sister named Loopy. All of them wear scarves and pilot caps and goggles, and the four of them used to perform in an airshow with dangerous stunts as “The Flying McQuacks,” as shown in DuckTales episode “Top Duck.” Launchpad told Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck he left home after embarrassing himself with a crash during the Flying McQuack’s air show. Launchpad mentioned he left home to get a job when he was fifteen, in Ducktales “Launchpad’s First Crash.”
Launchpad’s first plane was a small bi wing called the Sun Chaser, which Scrooge McDuck hired him to fly for as cheaply as possible. It is uncertain how they returned home from that pastiche of Jules Verne’s “Journey To The Center of the Earth” but Launchpad’s next plane was a red bi wing he named the Joy Rider.
At some point in his history, Launchpad joined the Junior Woodchucks, earning every merit badge except for swimming, as he revealed in “Merit Time Adventure.” He earned enough merit to become a Scout Leader, and he led Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck and Doofus Drake on a camping trip in “Super Doof”.
In “Double O Duck,” Launchpad was mistaken for a spy who looks just like him named Bruno. Launchpad was enlisted by the Duckburg Intelligence Agency to meet with double agent Feathers Galore and intercept enemy agency FOWL’s plan. Feathers attempted to murder Launchpad but Launchpad’s luck and clumsiness spared him from several mishaps until they were both caught by FOWL and thrown into a pit of lions. Launchpad used one of the devices Agent G (Gyro Gearloose) gave him to help him and Feathers escape the lions. In gratitude for him saving her life, Feathers helped Launchpad corner Dr. No Good until the villain ended up falling, presumably to his demise.
“Where No Duck Has Gone Before,” Launchpad was jealous of the attention the triplets were giving to an actor, Major Courage, poignantly saying “real heroes don’t need cameras and makeup. Real heroes just do their job.” Major Courage was the first to call Launchpad “LP”, a nickname Darkwing would use in his show. Launchpad steered the spaceship through an asteroid shower. (He also said there’s no such thing as aliens.)
Launchpad briefly worked for the Beagle Boys in “Hero For Hire”, Flintheart Glomgold in “Robot Robbers”, and the DIA (Duckburg Intelligence Agency) in “Double O’Duck.”
Launchpad has worn the Gizmoduck suit at least twice (in DuckTales “A Case Of Mistaken Identity” and a 1992 DuckTales comic, “A Switch In Time” https://inducks.org/story.php?c=KJZ+025 ). In the episode, he was encouraged to help keep Fenton’s identity a secret by neither denying or acknowledging that he was Gizmoduck. When he was seen disappearing at the same time Gizmoduck removed a box of lit fireworks from a stadium, and reappearing dazed from a stray firework blowing up on him, the whole town took that as evidence that he was the costumed hero. He was mobbed with throngs of fans for days and although he enjoyed the attention of female groupies, he asked Scrooge to help him prove that he was not Gizmoduck. Scrooge arranged a press conference for Launchpad to make his statement, but Launchpad quoted Fenton’s favorite saying on camera during the conference. Since M’Ma Crackshell was watching the conference on tv, the Gizmosuit responded and zoomed to Launchpad, attaching to him on camera. Launchpad tried to remove the suit by pressing random buttons, ending up accidentally flooding the city when one of the suit!s missiles damaged a dam. Trapped in the current and unable to swim in the heavy suit, Launchpad had to be rescued by Fenton via a construction crane.
The second time Launchpad wore the Gizmosuit, in the comic “A Switch In Time”, the wheel and leg attachments were missing from the suit and he seemed more in control of the suit’s functions. He and Fenton Crackshell were both tired of their low paying, high risk jobs and they simultaneously told Scrooge they wanted to quit. Scrooge encouraged them to try each others’ job for a day to see if they would change their minds. Unfortunately for Launchpad, some thieves attempted to break into the money bin while he was in patrol and when he attempted to stop them by ejecting a puddle of oil, he slipped and knocked himself out. Fenton again saved him and they both resumed their original jobs.
In Darkwing Duck “Water Way To Go” (http://darkwingduck.wikia.com/wiki/Water_Way_To_Go), Launchpad told Darkwing he wanted to try being the hero for a case, turning some of Darkwing’s words and mannerisms against him, while still being open to following Darkwing’s leadership and evaluations of the case. He helped Darkwing escape a flood by surfing. His hero worship for Darkwing was still present, though, as he was clearly delighted Darkwing praised him. He did not mind reverting back to doing menial chores after Darkwing called him an equal.
In Darkwing Duck, Launchpad posed as Darkwing in “A Duck By Any Other Name” with Tuskernini as the main villain (http://darkwingduck.wikia.com/wiki/A_Duck_by_Any_Other_Name) and “Double Darkwings” (http://darkwingduck.wikia.com/wiki/Double_Darkwings )with Jambalaya Jake as the main antagonist). He also donned a Darkwing suit in one comic, “Hero For A Day,” (http://darkwingduck.wikia.com/wiki/Hero_for_a_Day). where he went up against the one shot villain, the Back Alley Bushwhacker, defeating him by apologizing (making the villain laugh) and pretending he lost a contact lens.
In Darkwing Duck “U.F. Foe” (http://darkwingduck.wikia.com/wiki/U.F._Foe), Launchpad revealed that he used to be afraid of heights. His father, Ripcord McQuack (who seems more stern and oblivious to Launchpad’s feelings in Darkwing Duck versus the version we saw in Ducktales “Top Duck”), took Launchpad for a flight in an open air biwing to help him overcome his fear, neglecting to make sure his seatbelt was fastened. Launchpad fell out of the plane during a trick, and was rescued by a visiting young purple alien princess named Tia. Tia flew Launchpad around, a la Peter Pan style, to a fairground. According to Launchpad, he had so much fun, he forgot to be afraid of heights any more. Later, adult Tia had him abducted to ask him to marry her to help her lead her people. After Darkwing and Gosalyn helped expose the evil plan Bleeb had for Launchpad, Launchpad turned Tia down and all three Earthlings had their memories of the adventure erased.
In Darkwing Duck “The Quiverwing Quack” (http://darkwingduck.wikia.com/wiki/The_Quiverwing_Quack), Launchpad said his father kicked him out and told him to get a job.
It is also interesting to note that Launchpad was perfectly capable of cooking breakfast for the kids over an open campfire, yet in Darkwing Duck, Darkwing was surprised that Launchpad was able to make a decent looking (and unfortunately for him, spicy) batch of brownies.
In Darkwing Duck “Trading Faces” (http://darkwingduck.wikia.com/wiki/Trading_Faces) Launchpad said school was difficult for him, and in the Darkwing Duck read along book, “High Wave Robbery”, Launchpad jokingly said he “played a stringed instrument as a kid. A yoyo!”
Cheerful and easy-going most of the time, Launchpad usually tries to find the silver lining in every situation (ex: when he and Darkwing were stranded in the Oilrabian desert, Launchpad grinned and said it was a great time to work on a tan. When he was shrunk to six inches high after being trapped in a steam box for an undisclosed amount of time, he wondered if he could get reduced rates at a resort instead of bemoaning his predicament.) He can become depressed if he feels like he can’t contribute anything to help his friends or society in general, as evidenced in both versions of DuckTales and Darkwing Duck when he thought he had been replaced by robots. The 1987 DuckTales version of the character left home at the age of fifteen after crashing during his family’s airshow (that canon is refuted in Darkwing Duck where Launchpad told DW his father Ripcord threw him out and told him to get a job after sharing some life advice.)
Launchpad believes in trying his best, enjoying the moment (he’s always game for a snack, a flight, or some tv time with friends), and doing good because it feels good. Although generally a very friendly and outgoing character, he can become snarky, sassy, and irritable when he sees his companions are blind to potential danger or consequences. He lost patience with Scrooge and Darkwing a few times in comics. One situation when Scrooge McDuck wanted to retrieve a giant gemstone from an exploding volcano, Launchpad picked up his belligerent boss and carried him away from the explosion like he was a football, ignoring Scrooge’s wailing thrashing protests. He irritably told Darkwing in the Disney Adventures comic, “Super Union Blues” part one to stop growling because he sounded like a wild animal and the media was within earshot.
He acts oblivious to most insults aimed at him, but when he asked Darkwing to let him be the hero on a SHUSH assignment in Oilrabia, his behavior toward Darkwing as a sidekick mimicked some of Darkwing’s behavior toward him (with a few differences, such as when Launchpad asked Darkwing for advice and when he tried to give Darkwing back his proper title at the end of the episode). Launchpad takes pride in being a good pilot, sidekick, and friend, and he can show a little ego when he waxes under the praise of adoring fans or pretty girls, he is humble and aware of the feelings of others. He takes care of Darkwing’s mental well-being by standing back in his shadow when he introduces himself, cheering him on when he’s down, and avoiding taking the media spotlight. When he was mistaken for Gizmoduck in DuckTales ‘87, he tried to clear up the confusion. In Darkwing Duck, he allowed Gosalyn to talk him into posing as Darkwing to help bolster Darkwing’s reputation as a hero, protect his identity (and enjoy some misplaced but deserved recognition and attention for a little while. His desire to receive positive attention was further highlighted in that Tuskernini episode when he offered to dress up as a panda once the media lost interest in Darkwing Duck.
There is currently one active Launchpad player on Duckverse:
At first, Darkwing found him to be an annoyance, but after a good bit of persistence and proving himself to the hero, Launchpad became his sidekick. Unintentionally, by stating the obvious in situations, LP is often the conscience of DW and keeps the hero from ignoring the consequences of his actions. Although, LP at times is the source of frustration for DW, the two are good friends and LP is loyal to him no matter what.
While Launchpad is devoted to Gosalyn and can lend a sympathetic ear, being like a big kid himself, he is often caught up in her antics. This doesn't make him the best at adult supervision.
Upon first meeting her, Launchpad was highly suspicious of the sorceress even to the point of warning DW, who was smitten with her at first sight. After Morgana has reformed and in a relationship with DW, LP is more friendly towards her.
Much like with DW, Launchpad is a loyal friend to Scrooge when he was still under his employment. He is usually patient, humble, and rarely upset even when the older duck scolds or insults him (although sometimes DuckTales Launchpad is snarky and sassy with Scrooge and calls him out on nis flaws. He’s more vocal, opinionated, and egotistical in DuckTales than he is in Darkwing Duck.)
Fenton is Launchpad's old friend from Duckburg. Darkwing version of Launchpad idolizes his hero persona, Gizmoduck, much to the annoyance of Darkwing. DuckTales Launchpad seems to see Gizmoduck more as an equal than an idol and he rarely interacts with Fenton one on one. They do seem to know each other in “A Duck By Any Other Name” since Launchpad called Fenton his good friend.