In celebration of the upcoming Webster Memorial Trophy Competition we spoke with our very own competitor Matt Paslawski — the Regional Winner for Saskatchewan!
The Webster Memorial Competition is made up of 9 contestants, assembled from the Regional Winner from each area. Once a Regional Winner has been chosen, it is on to the National Finals held in the late summer. It is a two stage competition, comprised of flight tests (in an aircraft and in a Redbird simulator) and a written exam meant to challenge their skills as a pilot. Matthew Paslawski is the second consecutive MFC student to be a Regional Finalist for SK (2016: Tim Penner, now a current MFC instructor). You can read more about the Webster Memorial Competition here.
Q: How old were you when you started flying, and what made you want to start?
I started flying when I was 18; I’ve always been very interested in aviation. When I was a kid I absolutely loved planes. I’d take every opportunity to go into the cockpit of the airline jets and just loved being around planes. That never really stopped, I still always try to sneak a peek into the cockpit and always like the window seat so I can watch as much as possible outside. What made me realize I could be a pilot, though, is my dad. He got his license when he was around the same age and talked about it so once I realized it was something I could do — I went for it.
Q: What is your ultimate aviation goal you’d like to achieve?
I want to fly faster and bigger planes — says everyone! Ultimately I want to use it to see the world. I’d love to fly in lots of different questions, on all the continents. I’m trying to get into the Royal Canadian Air Force and I’d love to be able to have that take me places that not many people get to go, and to fly planes that you couldn’t fly anywhere else.
Q: Where did you complete your licenses?
I am proud to say I have done all my licenses at Mitchinsons, the best flight school there is.
Q: What has been the hardest part of your flight training?
The most challenging part has probably been the things I’ve started to do most recently, with the tail end of my Commercial license and my instrument rating. It’s also been the most fun though — getting to fly all over, fly different kinds of planes and do a bit more technical flying on the IFR side.
Q: Do you have a standout memory or experience from your flight training?
Definitely the highlight so far was at the end of May this year — Colin [Campbell; MFC Instructor] and I took a 182 out to Comox on Vancouver Island to finish off my IFR training hours and my 200 hours for my CPL. It took us about 7 hours of flying at 12,000 feet most of the way to get there with a couple stops, and absolutely gorgeous views the entire way. It was 8 hours home low through the mountain valleys, with an unplanned stop in Calgary to pick up another plane to fly back to Saskatoon! Best trip so far, and it’ll be hard to beat.
Q: After the Webster competition, what are your next steps?
I am in the application for the Air Force, so I’ll be continuing to pursue that. In the mean time, I’ll be back at the U of S in the fall, and starting my Flight Instructor Rating in September in hopes of being hired to start instructing and building some time!
Q: Any remarks on how the aviation industry is unique from any other?
My favourite thing about the industry is how small and tight knit it is. Everywhere you go, there’s someone with a connection somehow. For example — I was flying a plane to Calgary for a guy, and on a fuel stop in Kindersley I ran into someone that used to be his roommate. Everyone in the community knows the hard work it takes to get flying, so everyone can relate to that. It’s still such a relatively small industry that everyone kind of knows everyone. On the working side, it’s one of the only industries I can think of that requires some very technical physical skills, a high level of knowledge, and provides you with access to the entire world from a one mile strip of asphalt.
Matthew Paslawski began his flight training with Mitchinson’s in 2013, and has steadily worked through his licensing with high marks and an outstanding work ethic. He was also the recipient of the first place MFC Commercial Scholarship, after the completion of his CPL ground school with us as a top student. We are proud to have him representing Saskatchewan and Mitchinson’s in the upcoming competition — we wish him the best of luck, and look forward to doing his Instructor Rating in the fall!
– Mitchinson Flight Centre Management & Staff