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Youth Movement

Siobhan O’Hanlon is Canada’s youngest female 737 pilot. Brockville Recorder Photo

A Prescott, Ontario woman has become the youngest female Boeing 737 pilot in Canada after she took the right seat of a Sunwing aircraft earlier this year at just 22.

Siobhan O’Hanlon was among a graduating class from the University of Waterloo to benefit from a partnership with Sunwing. She graduated the program with Bachelor of Science in environmental studies and a multi-engine IFR licence last July.

Sunwing then took over the training and after six months of intensive work, O’Hanlon began flying revenue flights to the Caribbean and Mexico early in the New Year.

“It’s pretty surreal to realize you’re in control of a large aircraft like that,” she told the Brockville Recorder.

The joint program is one of several that are now pumping pilots into various Canadian airlines which were beginning to feel the effects of the pilot shortage.

O’Hanlon said she’s enjoying the whirlwind lifestyle she’s adopted and hopes to serve as an example to other young women looking for an aviation career.

“There’s not that many women in the industry so it’s nice to encourage them not to be afraid to join the industry and let them know there are opportunities,” she told the Record.
“It’s totally doable nowadays and there are a lot of opportunities out there.”

Westjet Pays House Repairs

Toilet ice from a passing Encore flight knocked a hole in a Calgary house.

WestJet stepped up immediately to pay for repairs to a Calgary couple’s home that was hit by toilet ice earlier this week.

The chunk of ice went through the roof, ceiling and ended up in the basement of the home that Theresa Couch and her husband have shared for 42 years.

All of a sudden we heard this big bang and all this stuff falling,” Couch told Global News. She and her husband were in another part of the house at the time and were not hurt.

The sound of the impact was heard by neighbours who also thought an explosion occurred.

After a little investigation, it was determined the likely source of the ice was an Encore Q400 that was on final for Calgary International when the ice hit.

“This is a most unfortunate incident for the family whose home was damaged and we will be reaching out to pay for all necessary repairs to their home,” Global quoted WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart as saying in an email.

Lucky Rescue in Arctic

RCAF crew pose with one of the men they rescued. Photo by Belinda Groves/RCAF

Two stranded Nunavut hunters defied incredible odds by catching the attention of a crew member aboard an RCAF aircraft that just happened to be flying overhead.

Tyler Amarualik and 15-year-old Eugene Gibbons were with Lloyd Satuqsi when their snowmobile broke down about 40 km from Hall Beach on the northeast coast of Nunavut.

Satuqsi set out for help in -40 degree weather while the others hunkered down by the sled.

At the same time, a Twin Otter crew from 440 Sqn. in Yellowknife was starting a two-week sovereignty patrol exercise based in Hall Beach.

On their first training mission to locate an abandoned mine site one of the crew thought he saw a man waving on the featureless landscape below. A second pass confirmed the discover and Capt. Thom Doelman executed a trick wheeled landing on the sea ice.

To ensure the ice could hold the aircraft, Doelman did a short field landing, holding the nose off the surface until he knew the ice would hold.

The crew managed to load the men and get back airborne in the final 15 minutes of daylight.

A ground search found Satuqsi the next morning. The hunters rescued by the aircraft were called the “luckiest two guys in the Arctic,” according to reports.

“You could probably go crazy trying to think of all the things that had to line up for us to see these guys out there,” said Doelman.