Fort Simpson's Guy Norwegian, a pilot for Wolverine Air since May, is finally in the captain's seat. He graduated from Mount Royal College's flight school earlier this year. - Derek Neary/NNSL photo
Northern News Services
As a little boy growing up in Jean Marie River, he can recall racing to the runway to watch planes land and take off. Then when he and his family moved to Fort Simpson, he became fascinated with float planes coming and going along the Mackenzie River in the summer.
"I knew all my life that I'd eventually become a pilot," said Norwegian, now 25. "It was never really a question of if, but more a question of where and how I would do it."
Having graduated with his commercial licence from a two-year flight school program at Mount Royal College in Calgary earlier this year, Norwegian has been employed with Wolverine Air in Fort Simpson since May.
"I sit back sometimes and I can't believe I'm actually doing it," he said, grinning and shaking his head.
As the junior pilot with the company, Norwegian pilots the 185 float plane or the 206 or 207 models when things get busy, as they often do during the summer. He usually takes the late evening or early morning flights, relieving his more seasoned counterparts.
When he's not flying, Norwegian cleans the aircraft, helps load and unload them and even maintains the yard. He's also learning to manage the office, giving him insight into how a business is run.
He had spent the past two summers working the ramp with South Nahanni Airways and logging hours in the passenger seat of a Twin Otter.
While at Mount Royal College, he became accredited with a multi-engine rating and an instrument flight rules (IFR) rating, allowing him to guide a plane strictly by the instruments on the panel. He and some fellow classmates also spent their spring break week in Kelowna, B.C., earning their "C" rating, which entitles them to fly float planes.
In addition to 200 hours of flight time, Mount Royal's program also offered courses that relate to aviation, such as meteorology, physics and math, he noted.
That knowledge and experience is now enabling Norwegian to fly bush planes to remote locations as he's always wished.
"I love it. It's something I've always wanted to do," he said. "I can't think of doing anything else."