Hello. I am currently flying a King Air Medevac configuration for Alberta Central Airways. I have been in my current position for about 6 months now and with the company for two and a half years.
I started flying in the beginning of 1995. For me, becoming a pilot was simple. It was something that I had wanted to do ever since I was knee high. I still remember going to many air shows as a kid where I thought that looked so “cool” (and is to this very day) and thought that was what I wanted to do. It took me all of this first year to get my private licence and it wasn’t until 1997 that I had my multi ifr ticket in hand. Also, during this time, I took 2 years of post secondary from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT for short). Not really interested in the instructor route, I took off to become a bush pilot.
While getting my licences, I thought that it would be a good idea to work at the airport in hopes of making a few contacts, since you never know where they might lead you. I worked for a few different places before finding my fit at Federal Express. I would remain here for nearly 4 years. It was during my tenure here that I was able to make friends with a few of the Caravan (Cessna 208) drivers. When I mentioned to them that I was looking for work, they mentioned that a place that I might want to try would be Pickle Lake, Ontario. I had never heard of the place and that night had to find out where exactly it was that I was heading. I soon discovered that it was about 6 hours north of Thunder Bay in the middle of nowhere.
Spring break, 1997, saw myself and two classmates head out on a week long job hunting trip. We stopped at every little operation between here and Pickle Lake looking for work. A few opportunities came up but the most promising for the three of us was in Pickle Lake. Here we would all end up as “ground rats” and refuellers while waiting for that chance to fly. After a while I was able to get some flying experience again on the Caravan sitting in the co pilot seat. I was basically there to load and unload cargo and such. I didn’t care, I was flying, if only a little bit. Unfortunately, nine months later, not seeing the advancement I wanted, I moved home and quickly got another job.
Now I was flying a Cessna 182 dropping skydivers. As a safety requirement, I was required to jump at least once and ended up going 3 times. What a rush! (At least in summer). I must saw though that it was a little cold in the middle of winter when we did operate. Falling through the air at 120 mph in –15 C weather is not my idea of fun. This saw me get up to that elusive 500 hours, which I was so desperately seeking. This job also came to me through contacts that I had developed while working back at Federal Express.
The summer of 1999 saw me get hired on to fly a Cessna 206 out of Athabasca. I was originally told that it would be just seasonal. As a result, I lived out of my grandma’s truck and camper for the summer. What a simple lifestyle! I sure miss coming home, lighting a fire and having no worries in the world. I progressed through the charter ranks to a Navajo Captain. This was great as it meant on average 90 – 100 hours per month and more in summers. This was awesome.
Now, I am a King Air First Officer, flying a medevac airplane. This has meant a drop off in hours to forty hours a month. While flying less, it has given me opportunities to enjoy life. I work on average twenty days a month and am home every night. (unless we get paged) This means ten days off per month versus four before. Flying medevac is a lot of fun and brings with it all kinds of new and exciting challenges. I must say though that the charter side is just as challenging and exciting going to new and different places where one must always be on top of his game.
Flying medevac has given me more time to spend at home and realize how important lifestyle is to me. I am glad to be where I am and am waiting to see what the future holds with the airlines before making any moves. With much uncertainty, I am planning on staying here for a while to some.
Good luck and maybe we’ll see you somewhere along the way!
Would you like to add your own "Pilot's Story"? We hope so!
Simply email us your story.
Remember to include your age, total time flying, gender, company, base of operations,
and title/aircraft type.
We accept postings from all regions and experience levels, and we hope to hear from corporate
pilots, European and US airline/regional airline pilots, and female pilots. If you have a
photo or two, simply attach them to the email.