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Canada’s Top Amateur Pilot

Once a year, there’s a remarkable Canadian aviation event that really puts things into the right perspective – the John C. Webster Memorial Trophy Competition. Originally created for the purpose of selecting Canada’s top amateur pilot, it certainly does that


September 25, 2009
By Stacy Bradshaw


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Once a year, there’s a remarkable Canadian aviation event that really puts things into the right perspective – the John C. Webster Memorial Trophy Competition. Originally created for the purpose of selecting Canada’s top amateur pilot, it certainly does that – but it also does a whole lot more. It gives the Canadian aviation community a chance to take a step back, and have a look at the big picture – while paying tribute to its proud past and saluting its promising future.

Established in 1932 by the late Dr. J.C. Webster of Shediac, N.B., the competition is dedicated to the memory of his son, John. John Webster lost his life in an aircraft accident at St. Hubert, Que., while practising to represent Canada in the Trans-Canada Air Pageant.

Each year, the regional finalists assemble to participate in “Webster Week.” This year’s event was held at the Brampton Flight Centre from Aug. 19 to 22. During the event, under the watchful eye of the experienced judges, finalists test their aviation skills against one another in a spirit of competition and camaraderie.

This year, representing eight different regions were: B.C.’s Kevin Dhaliwal (Coastal Pacific Aviation), Alberta’s Nicholas Dennison Sneider (Cooking Lake Aviation Academy), Manitoba’s John Ferris Painter (Harv’s Air Service), Northern Ontario’s Aaron Lehman (Confederation College), Western Ontario’s Phiroze Contractor (Brampton Flight College), Eastern Ontario’s Cory-Daniel Raby (Algonquin College), Quebec’s Mathieu Beaumier (Cargair – St. Hubert) and the Atlantic provinces’ Thomas Clark (Moncton Flight College).

These young men exhibited skill and character not only in the air, but also on the ground. Each and every one of them, throughout the week’s activities, personified the values and spirit of the prestigious award. This year’s winner was Cory-Daniel Raby; the runner-up, who was awarded the Eunice Carter Memorial Award, was Kevin Dhaliwal.

The awards banquet was an inspiring event, not only because of these great young pilots, but also because of those who were there to sponsor, support, encourage, and pass on the torch: Air Canada, the Air Canada Pilots Association, the Airline Pilots Association International, the Air Transport Association of Canada, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, Transport Canada, Sennheiser, the Snowbirds, the 99s, Aviation World, the Air Cadet League, Aerographics, Brampton Flight Centre, the Canada Aviation Museum, PHD Creative Thinking, Webster photographer Marcel Keays, Wings magazine and last, but most assuredly not least, the inimitable Robert Bradford.

The money, donations, services, and volunteer hours provided by these supporters are a testament to the strength, pride and cohesiveness of Canada’s aviation community.

In a room full of winners, Webster Memorial Trophy Competition national administrator Amy Foy and husband, retired Transport Canada Civil Aviation Inspector Wayne Foy, deserve some special recognition. The two have spearheaded the competition since 2006, and are tireless in their dedication and commitment to its continued growth.

The Webster Memorial Trophy Competition website is at http://webstertrophy.ca/ .