Women of Aviation Worldwide Week

In celebration of Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, we spoke with some of our own “WOAW-ies”!

Kassia Clarke, Chantelle Callaway, and Teagan Pegg were all graduates of the Saskpolytechnic Commercial Pilot Diploma program in 2015. Kassia and Chantelle were both part of the same Private Pilot’s License group at Mitchinson’s, and have since continued their training. Chantelle and Teagan are finishing up their CPL and Kassia is currently working on her Instructor Rating. Julia Milne and Sophia Hagen are both attending Mitchinson’s Commercial Ground School after doing their Private License training.

“Dreaming of a Dreamliner!”
“Commercial airline pilot.”
“To retire as a 777 pilot!”
“I want to work with Northern Air Ops; Bird Dogging would be awesome too!”
“To be an aerospace engineer who does research and development on aircraft, then test it as a test pilot/flight engineer!”
“To be a private charter pilot.”

These were the answers when they were asked about their dream jobs in aviation. Their responses were as varied as our students, who all had a unique perspective on why they chose the industry.

When asked what drew them to aviation however, their replies had a common thread. From the career opportunities, the lure of travel, and the thrill of controlling an aircraft; they all shared enthusiasm for flight. “I’ve always been drawn to flight,” Kassia said. “As I grew up I wanted to have the ability to travel and experience other cultures as much as possible!” For Julia, who recently got her Bachelor of Science in Engineering, the draw was the “research, development and technological advancing in the field – it’s fascinating!”

Aviation has its highlights for everyone. “That moment when you realize you are in control, flying the aircraft – that is my favorite part!” Sophia said. Teagan had a more specific scenario in mind: “I love greasing it on the strip during a challenging crosswind,” she said. “Doesn’t happen often, but when it does…! My other favorite part is the people I’ve met along the way through my job, Saskpolytech program and Mitchinson’s.”

The opportunity to see the world from another perspective is second to none: “It’s an amazing feeling when I level off in cruise, see the wide open sky all around and realize I’m in complete control of the aircraft and have the freedom to move in all 3 dimensions!” Julia said.

As with any pleasure, there will always be challenges to overcome. “Building up the confidence to go with my knowledge is the most challenging, but most important part of my training,” Julia admitted. The hurdle of the written exams were also a common theme – “I am so happy I never have to write the commercial written ever again!!” Chantelle said feelingly.  Another difficult obstacle is partially out of the students hands: “When the weather gets consistently terrible for a few weeks at a time, [training] can be easy to put off,” Kassia said. “The most important thing is to get back out and remember why you got addicted in the first place!”

Janet Keim, widely recognized in the industry and also the previous owner of Mitchinson’s, takes her involvement with the upcoming women in aviation seriously. “Mentorship is not just valuable, it is necessary. Mentorship is all about learning from others. We all need mentors – we can all be mentors.” Her origins in flight started out modest – “My father learned to fly so he could own an aircraft for business purposes. I learned to fly when I came to the U of S so I could fly with him, which I did on a few occasions.” One thing led to another, and after owning Mitchinson’s for 34 years she is a valuable mentor to our upcoming pilots. When asked about the biggest challenges, she responded “Every day is different; the challenges change all the time. Just keep flying!”

“The people in aviation are very eager to help inexperienced pilots,” Sophia said. “It is not intimidating to ask an older pilot for advice because they are willing to help.” At MFC, we have an ever rotating door of pilots and other pillars in the aviation community that love to speak with our students. “Mitchinson’s has been fabulous – it’s like a family,” Chantelle said. “I love how everyone knows everyone here!”  Teagan was also enthusiastic about her experience. “Mitchinson’s provides exceptional service from all staff – including Ralph – they help and push you to get the job done!”

We are proud to help all students that attend Mitchinson’s, and look forward to being part of these students’ bright future.

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