Pope was born into a notable aviation family. His father Bill Pope retired in December at age 82 after a 57-year career as a professional helicopter pilot, the last 33 of them flying medevac in the New York City area. At the time of his retirement he was the oldest medevac helicopter pilot in the world. Relative James Gallagher served as the commander of Lucky Lady II, a Boeing B-50 Superfortress, on its 1949 mission to become the first airplane to circumnavigate the globe nonstop, thanks to the then relatively new concept of aerial refueling. Another relative, Raymond Gallagher, was flight engineer on the B-29 Bockscar on its mission over Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945 that brought an end to World War II.