Dreams take Flight

June 24, 2022

As posted in the Winnipeg Free Press
June 24, 2022

A 72-seat Calm Air ATR twin prop dwarfed the tiny Diamond-Eclipse training plane at the Calm Air hangar at the Thompson Airport on Friday where there was a celebration for the launch of the Atik Mason Indigenous Pilot Pathway.

Many of the 11 successful applicants - all of whom will have all their costs covered including per diems, paid trips home and an elder on hand for support - had family and friends on hand for the festive occasion.

The pilot trainees were selected from 170 applicants from across the North. They have already spent a few hours in the air in the program that started earlier in the month and is fully funded to the tune of about $1 million per year by Exchange Income Corp., which owns Calm Air, Perimeter Aviation, Keewatin Air and a number of other regional airlines in Manitoba and across the country.

Garrison Settee, the grand chief of MKO, whose office helped make the final selections, said, "You are the cream of the crop. We are all counting on you to succeed. We know you will succeed."

The 11 trainees come from seven communities from as far North as South Indian Lake. At least three are from St. Theresa Point First Nation. There are four women in the group including one single mother. Four are parents of young children.

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