By Major Richard Gratton, Canadian Army Doctrine and training Centre (CADTC)
On Saturday, April 28, 2018 Air Cadets from 690 Lakeshore Squadron from Montreal’s West Island had an extraordinary familiarization flight aboard a DASH-8 from Air Inuit.
This initiative was led by two Air Inuit employees who volunteer their time with the Air Cadets; Captain Yann Connan and First Officer Marc-André Gratton, a civilian instructor with 690 Squadron for 10 years now.
“My passion for aviation started when I was a cadet and thanks to the program I completed my glider and private pilot licenses. Today, I am working for Air Inuit. It’s interesting to think that maybe some of my future colleagues are on today’s familiarization flight,” says First Officer Gratton, who received his pilot’s licence within the Cadet Program at the age of 16.
Forty cadets were given the opportunity to visit the Air Inuit facilities at the Montreal airport, learn more about the company’s fleet and fly for an hour around the island of Montreal. The aircraft used for the flight was a Bombardier DASH-8 combi 300 series with a capacity of 45 passengers.
Leading Air Cadet (LAC) Vinicius Vieira-Lima was on his first familiarization flight and thought it was amazing: “I loved being able to see Montreal from above, it was beautiful. ”
Cadet Warrant Officer Second Class Sabrina Bedard-Theriault, glider pilot, greatly appreciated the flight too: ‘’What a familiarization flight for me! It was my first time aboard a commercial aircraft and I can’t wait for this summer when I will be in command of a single engine aircraft. ” She was chosen to attend the Power pilot course from the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and will be able to complete her private licence next summer.
Captain Alexandre Ouellet-Gendron, Commanding Officer of 690 Lakeshore squadron, particularly wishes to thank Air Inuit who offered this flight: “It is because of the support of organizations like Air Inuit that our youth are able to participate in these wonderful experiences that expose them to the world of aviation. This is most definitely a mission accomplished thanks to the help of a company involved with the community.”
Through civilian partnership opportunities like the one with Air Inuit, young cadets have access to different experiences and are exposed to different facets of the world. Those opportunities can open many doors for cadets allowing them to grow into well-rounded, community-minded, experienced young people, ready to assume their places as tomorrow’s leaders and decision makers.
Air Inuit was founded in 1978 with the mandate of keeping Quebec’s northernmost communities connected. Operating in challenging and rugged conditions, the regional airline offers safe and vital passenger, charter, cargo and emergency air transport services throughout northern Quebec and destinations across Canada and the United States. Being a contributor the communities is also important for Air Inuit as they strive to provide maximum employment opportunities for people in the communities they deserved so that they may become contributors to overall development of their region.
The Department of National Defence has a long and proud history of supporting Canadian youth through the Cadet and Junior Canadian Ranger programs. The Cadet Program is the largest federally sponsored government program for youth in Canada with 52 860 participants including more than 5 500 Air Cadets in the province of Quebec alone. The Canadian Cadet Organizations offer the program of choice for Canada’s youth, preparing them to become the leaders of tomorrow through a set of fun, challenging, well-organized and safe activities. Those are the experiences you can’t get anywhere else! W