Carlo Taruc and his family immigrated to Canada from Manila, Philippines when he was 11 years old. Aviation wasn’t part of his family, but his early memories of watching planes fly over his grandparent’s home made a lasting impression. “I’d see what airline they were from,” he recalled. “When I was 7, I went on my first flight on a Korean Air Airbus A380. I did research on this plane and this is when my passion of aviation really started.” By age 8 he was already building and flying model airplanes, and loved aviation movies growing up.
“I have always been fascinated by the idea of three dimensional freedom”
Carlo’s first introduction into the world of flight has been shared by many other pilots: the Discovery Flight. Unfamiliar with the industry or Flight Training Units in the area, he booked a Discovery flight with Mitchinson’s in June 2017. “I just knew right away that I belonged there,” Carlo said. “It was where I pictured myself for the next years of going through intense flight training. The biggest differences between other flight schools versus MFC were the attitude and the atmosphere. It felt like a very comforting and soothing place to be in. In other words, like home. Staff, instructors and owners that are very knowledgeable, experienced, and experts in the aviation industry is, hands down, its main asset in helping students achieve their dream careers and goals in no-time.”
Officially bitten by the aviation bug, plans started going into action. Immediately after graduating high school, Carlo began his flight training full-time – all while also holding down a full-time job at Costco. “It was not easy,” Carlo said. “I had to balance my time between eight hour working days and studying to be prepared for future flight tests, written exams and air exercises for the next flight.”
Carlo’s first monumental achievement was accomplished in August 2017 – his first solo flight. He continued to finish off his Private Pilot’s License early in the following spring, and started immediately on his Commercial training. He switched jobs to work closer to the aviation industry with Snowbird Aviation on the ramp, and continued to maintain his full time work status. He completed his flight training for the entire Professional Pilot Course in August 2019 — all by age 19.
Like many students in aviation will attest to, one of his major setbacks was the preparation for the Commercial Pilot Written Exam. He gave himself a timeline of 3 months to do the online ground school, followed by a month of studying – and even then, given the broad scope of the Transport Canada exams, he said it was hard to feel completely prepared. However, his self-discipline paid off and he was able to pass the exam in his first attempt.
[on the inspiration to become a pilot]: “Simply, the freedom of flight. Getting behind the controls of an airplane is an amazing feeling. It is spectacular to see the world in a different perspective, even after two years of flying. The view from the cockpit during those early morning, and late afternoon flights, respectively sunrise and sunset, are priceless. The deconnection feeling from the ground that we see day to day is what I like.”
Carlo’s dream career of being an airline pilot is similar to many students, but for the specific reason of being an inspiration for the youth. “Whenever I saw pilots wearing their fancy professional uniforms when we were picking somebody up from the airport — it always boggled me as a 7 year old kid,” he remembered. “I want to be that same pilot that acts as a motivational tool to another kid that’s looking through the tarmac glass, while mesmerized because he is behind the controls of a 400 seater wide body aircraft.”
Dream careers are always accompanied by hard work and obstacles, and for Carlo it was no different. It is common for many students to be working in conjunction with their flight training; in Carlo’s case, committing full time to both flight training and work meant that time management was essential. “Taking 8 hours or more away of the day from working, meant that 8 hours were taken away to have a chance to review air exercises for the next day, to study up on written exams, or flight time.” Carlo said. “I had to make myself a schedule that worked hand-in-hand with work hours, flying, and studying.”
“In my opinion, flying is not for everybody. Flying is a complicated undertaking. It requires learning and building expertise in a variety of different skills. Many of these skills only come into play during very specific situations; ‘emergencies’ in particular.”
Finishing off the final few of the required 200 flight hours for his CPL is what Carlo remembers as the highlight of his training: “There was nothing like flying over the city with my mom and dad, the number one supporters of this long journey, at sunset. This was the one and only moment that I got heebie-jeebies while flying.”
ADVICE LOOKING BACK
When asked what advice he would have told himself when he first started, the theme centered around preparation. “Learn as much as you can on the ground before you fly. Every maneuver, airspeed, or profile, know it.” he stressed.
“A lot of student pilots like me are focused on the flying part, and don’t do their homework; and I’m guilty of it. A cockpit is an expensive classroom is how I would put it.”
Weather and personal limitations was also a point that he brought up – “If you are not comfortable in what the weather forecast looks like, don’t force yourself to go; YOU are flying in it.”
Another piece of advice is relatable to many – “STAY MOTIVATED!” Carlo emphasized. “I can’t stress this enough. If you want to be a pilot, fly, fly and fly. The more you fly, the faster you will learn, the cheaper it is, the faster you get your license. Always look at the end goal; it’ll be your key to success.”
Flight training hasn’t just been a path for him to become a pilot, but has changed his approach to his daily life as well. “Flying makes you smarter. The knowledge you gain as a pilot can apply to your everyday life,” Carlo explained. “You will become an expert in planning, staying organized and be a good decision maker.”
The reality of his accomplishment is still surreal for Carlo. “Here I am, a multi/IFR rated Commercial Pilot at 19; it still hasn’t sunk in… I’d like to thank the whole MFC staff for guiding me on this long journey! I really appreciate all the effort and little tips along the way from everybody that made my training fun and super interesting. I wish everybody fun flights, and blue skies!”