Tag: Flight Training

Original story from Skies Magazine, article by Ben Forrest

Student pilot Jessalyn Teed, left, with flight instructor Ektaa Pathria on the ramp at Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre in Breslau, Ont. The flight school is hosting Girls CAN Fly! on Saturday, March 5. Girls are invited to come to the airport for free flights, as well as the chance to meet females from all sectors of the aviation industry. Ben Forrest Photo

Ektaa Pathria remembers seeing her father, Harish, launch himself out of airplanes for the first time when she was around four years old.

Harish was a paratrooper with the Indian Army, and Pathria would see him on practice missions, falling out of the sky with a parachute to slow his descent.

“I never really felt like, ‘Oh, I want to do skydiving’ or anything like that,” said Pathria, now 26 and a flight instructor at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre in Ontario. “But I always felt that flying that airplane that people are jumping out of, that would be pretty cool.”

The experience of watching her father in action, along with an enjoyable first flight in an Antonov AN-32 military plane, helped spur Pathria toward a career in aviation. Her family moved to Canada when she was 11 and she became an air cadet soon after, a hobby that stoked her ambition to fly. She went on to specialize in commercial aviation management at the University of Western Ontario and started working as a flight instructor in 2012.

“Being in the air, that’s where your office is,” she said. “It’s your workplace, and every time you’re up there, you’ve got a beautiful view. You have this freedom that you probably won’t feel in a car or anything like that—flying in three dimensions, really, and moving around and being able to go anywhere.”

Pathria’s career in aviation may seem predictable in hindsight, but it’s relatively unique. According to the Brampton Flight Centre in Ontario, only six per cent of all private pilots in Canada are women, and women make up only 4.5 per cent of airline transport pilot licence holders.

Numbers in the United States are similar, where only 5.39 per cent of pilots are women, according to statistics compiled by Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, an event that raises awareness of aviation opportunities for girls and celebrates women’s accomplishments in aviation.

Out of the more than 76,000 people reporting an income source as a pilot or engineer, only around 3,200 are women, the organization says.

Those kinds of statistics have inspired a series of events aimed at encouraging girls and women to consider careers in aviation, or to take up flying recreationally. Women of Aviation Worldwide Week runs March 7 to 13 this year and features flying events, open-door events at factories and schools, and museum programs.

In Canada, more than 15,000 people are expected at Abbotsford International Airport in B.C. for The Sky’s No Limit—Girls Fly Too!, an event that offers free flights to female first-time fliers and aims to pique their interest with hands-on ground activities on March 12 and 13.

A similar event is Girls CAN Fly! at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, being held on March 5 in honour of International Women’s Day.

Girls CAN Fly! also offers free flights, plus the chance to interact with female flight crew from Porter Airlines and representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Canadian Air Cadets and Great Lakes Helicopters, among others.

“We want them to know that if they’re interested in this and flying and being a mechanic and doing any of those things, they can do it,” said Jennifer Vandermolen, organizer of Girls CAN Fly!

“Once upon a time girls didn’t think about being doctors and lawyers, and now lots of doctors and lawyers are female,” added Robert Connors, general manager of the flight centre. “Engineers—the same thing, and we’re trying to reposition piloting and careers in aviation in the same kind of gender-balancing way.”

Only six per cent of all private pilots in Canada are women, and just 4.5 per cent of airline transport pilot licence holders are female. WWFC Photo

It’s hoped the free flights will help inspire girls to become pilots, just as a similar experience hooked Jessalyn Teed, a student at the flight centre.

Teed, 20, went up in a four-seater Cessna 172 at a Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) Young Eagles event when she was eight years old.

“From then on, I had always said that I wanted to be a pilot,” she explained. After looking into education opportunities, she settled on a joint program in geography and aviation with the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College.

“I think the whole industry and my class specifically being very male-dominated, it can first be seen as something that’s intimidating,” said Teed. “But I try and approach it with the mindset that, instead of seeing it as an obstacle, seeing it as an opportunity. It really highlights the women that are here, and it helps me to build a community with the women that are here.”

Teed cited the perception that aviation is male-dominated as a barrier to women, adding it’s been hard for women to break down that trend.

Others have pointed to a training system that favours young, mechanically-inclined males or the perception it’s difficult to have a family while also working as a pilot.

“I think that has a lot to do with how women kind of lag behind in aviation, because of the family aspect,” said Pathria. “I mean, there are a lot of women who have gotten over that or who found supporting spouses and kids and a way of dealing with all that. But many women who are trying to enter the industry kind of stop right there.”

Exposure to aviation is another barrier Pathria sees to young women entering the industry.

“Usually boys might get the exposure just from the movies they watch or the toys they play with or anything like that, or just living close to an airport,” she said. “A girl might not get that from the things that she’s exposed to.”

Her message to young girls is simple.

“I feel that if there’s anything in a young girl’s mind that tells them they are at all interested in something like flying, they should definitely give it a chance,” she said. “Try it out and do not be intimidated by knowing that it is a male-dominated industry. That makes no difference at all. It is very much possible to pursue it if you’re willing to work hard.

“If you realize that you have a passion for flying and your passion exceeds the obstacles that you face, then there’s nothing stopping you from achieving what you want to achieve.”

Read full article at Skies Magazine

Flight school makes Waterloo airport 16th busiest in Canada

Story by: Staff, Metroland News Service
Juyl 10, 2014

BRESLAU — The Region of Waterloo International Airport was 16th busiest airport in Canada for takeoffs and landings last year, thanks in large part to the Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre.

The flight school accounted for more than 61,000 of 107,000 takeoffs and landings in 2013.

“Flight school causes so much activity on the movements,” said Chris Wood, airport general manager. “They’re constantly doing landings and takeoffs as training.”

Passenger flights accounted for a lower percentage of takeoffs and landings here than at the 11other provincial airports, including London, Hamilton and Windsor.

About 139,000 passengers used the airport in 2013.

Wood said the Canadian ranking is good news but won’t necessarily bring big dollars into the local operation.

“The only way to judge success financially is going to be scheduled (passenger) traffic,” he said. “That’s the only thing that can get us to where we want to go financially.”

The regional airport exempts landing fees for aircraft that weigh less than 3,000 kilograms, and also gives the flight school a discount on fees.

The flight school is charged a flat fee per airplane as part of its lease, Wood said, as opposed to a fee for each landing that other airports charge.

“That’s part of the strategy of growing the business is attracting business with lower fees,” Coun. Sean Strickland said.

Strickland continues to be concerned about the lack of passenger flights.

The airport offers daily flights to Chicago and Calgary. Sunwing offers winter charters to sunny destinations.

“It’s good to see that our airport continues to be busy in terms of takeoffs and landings,” he said. “But the fact remains we’re well under capacity for passenger volume, so good news report but more work to be done.”

It has been a difficult year for the airport, after Bearskin Airlines cancelled flights to Ottawa in March and regional officials dealt with complaints about noisy Arctic charter Nolinor.

Regional officials have put potential expansion plans on hold indefinitely and will decide in September whether to hire someone to drum up business at the airport.

The airport operated at about half its capacity in 2012, handling about 121,000 passengers. It received a taxpayer subsidy of about $6.3 million.

Wood said officials are concentrating on getting new Ottawa service and also seeking other business.

“It’s a dynamic industry and business, that’s for sure,” Wood said. “(Airlines) want to know that they’re going to make money in your market and we have a great story to tell — we’re the biggest underserved market in Canada.”

He added money isn’t the only indication of the airport’s value, noting the popularity of the flight school and the pilots it trains.

The busiest flight training centre in Ontario

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570 News file photo.
Credit: John Macdonald Architects

Story by: Chris Pope, 570 News
September 3, 2015

The Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre continues to be the go-to spot for people in our region who want to become a pilot.

The Region of Waterloo International Airport was ranked the busiest flight training centre in Ontario, when it comes to flights that take-off, and land at the same airport.

General Manager Bob Conners says 60 per cent of their business is training young people who want to be pilots, mostly in partnership with Conestoga College and University Waterloo.

“The other 40 per cent of our business is supporting and assisting people who want to fly recreational, most of whom live relatively locally, to either get a private pilots license or to rent an airplane or to enhance their knowledge or skill,” says Conners.

Conners says they have 23 planes, and they fly between 14-and-16 thousand hours a year.

Read full story at 570 News website