So this is a trick question… I would say there are three different answers to it. Usually, in an interview, if asked this question you would find me staring into emptiness for a minute or two, trying really hard to figure out if I really have achieved anything great with my life.
This time, however, I have had the time to think about it. Now I have to decide which one to pick… If you want to know about my academics, then maybe I would mention the Canadian Millenium Scholarship (Leadership, Community involvement and Academic Achievements). If you ask me about life in general, then two beautiful, loving daughters and a wonderful wife are my definite answer.
But since this relates to aviation and my career in general, I am going to say: being part of the great International Air Rally, and finishing on the winning team.
I think many factors have contributed to this conclusion. Indeed, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t had the chance to participate to this incredible event. I remember how it all happened like if it had just happened.
Freshly out of flight school, with an multi-IFR rating and a commercial liscence in my pocket, I was ready to take on the world. Or so I thought… I had heard of the rally and saw it for my own eyes the year before when they came through my hometown’s airport.
Remembering that they had a small twin as part of their crew, I decided to contact them and offer my humble services. To my surprise (!!!!!) they offered me a chance to tag along in exchange for my freshly squeazed IFR flying skills and knowledge. Great deal for me! For them, well let’s say they put a lot of trust in a young guy they didn’t know! I have to admit that I hesitated before accepting. Call me crazy, I know… but I knew that if I passed this opportunity, this challenge, I would regret it all my life. It was scary to think that I would be intrusted with so much responsibilities by people that didn’t know me and trusted me to safely guide and help some crews around unknown territory to me. But the challenge was too good to pass!!
And so, off I went for almost two weeks, flying airplanes from a vintage C-172 to a PC12. It was definitly the best flying experience I had. The rally participants were AWESOME, and the scenery incredible! For close to two weeks I had the chance to meet pilots from all over the world while discovering the great canadian north, all the way up to Iqualuit!!
So many awesome or otherwise, ahem… interesting things happened during this time, it’s not the place of this article to recount them all. Needless to say though, this rally really taught me a lot about myself, about the pilot community and our beautiful country, Canada. It was a very… real thing. I think everybody learned a great deal about team work and working together to accomplish bigger things that, alone, would be nearly impossible.
To Catherine and Camil Dumont, my dear friends and organizers of the rally, THANK YOU! You are both true pioneers of aviation in this country and I owe you a debt of gratitude for allowing me to share this awesome bit of aviation history with you and the crew.