Rising Star Award
Katie Gwozdecky, MSc candidate, Flight Lab, University of Toronto
Gwozdecky is a private pilot and graduate of the University of Toronto’s Mechanical Engineering program. She joined the University of Toronto Aerospace Team (UTAT) where she lead as Director of Space Systems to pass a student levy, raising nearly half a million dollars to fund the launch of the first amateur satellite from U of T, HERON MKII, in 2019. This levy is the first of its kind in Canada enabling high-volume fundraising for student teams. Gwozdecky’s passion for space engineering has led her to pursue a MASc at the Space Flight Lab at the University of Toronto beginning this September.

Return to list of 2018 Elsie Award winners for more personal stories

A favourite story on my journey, by Katie Gwozdecky: My cross-country flight for my PPL was quite an experience. I did my flight after I had already completed my PPL flight test, so I wasn’t worried about my skills, but flying alone to two different airports is very different than doing steep turns and special landings with an instructor. I flew the trip with my primary instructor a few days prior so I was familiar with the route (CYRO -> CYGK -> CXBR -> CYRO).

When I arrived, I had to brief with a different instructor (on any other flight, no problem, but on my qualifying cross country, I was getting nervous). So, I get the plane ready, open my flight plan and I’m off to Kingston. At each airport I had to turn off the plane and get stamped by the dispatch, which in Kingston, was easy. From there, I had a pretty strong headwind so I had to gun it as fast as I could.

At Brockville, there was no one at dispatch answering the radio. I had to park the plane and run around the airfield with time ticking to bring the plane back not only before my booking expired but also before my flight plan was due. After running in and finding no one to stamp my book, I texted my primary instructor who just said to take a selfie. So of course, like any self-respecting millennial, I did. But I was late at this point and my primary said, “Get back in the plane!”

I climbed back in and doing my best to get back to Ottawa airspace. At 6,000 feet and cruise heading into Ottawa Terminal airspace, I’m on the radio giving my intentions when my window latch comes undone on the passenger side and it flings open. Now, not only am I trying to communicate with Terminal, but I am trying to reach over and close the window. I did it once, but then it opened two more times on my approach to CYRO, so I decided to prop it open with an old map. And naturally, the map goes flying!

As I descended, the window managed to stay closed, but I’m nervous it’s going to pop open the moment I turn final for runway 27 at CYRO. Thankfully, it doesn’t and I make it down. Not only did I survive my trip but I was greeted by my brother and mom with a bottle of champagne. What an incredible way to complete my PPL training.

I am so appreciative of everyone at Rockcliffe for their support, humour and optimism throughout my licensing. I was able to train there twice a day, every day, over the course of a couple months in 2016. In that time, not only did I gain a greater appreciation for the family I found there, but also for my own – especially for my Mom, who motivated and financed me. I also discovered how adventurous and brave pilots must be to fly.

Return to list of Elsie Award winners for more personal stories
Last fall, the YYC Calgary International Airport launched an industry-leading facility that recycles glycol. The facility transforms used de-icing fluid into a reusable product, providing both environmental and economic benefits.
In November, Jean Lesage International Airport in Quebec City (YQB) opened a new international terminal that will double the size of the infrastructure in the hopes of attracting more flights. But that could be a challenge, since the airport still doesn’t offer public transport to the city and a lot of local residents prefer to fly out of Montreal.
The approval of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flying and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are major milestones in becoming an international go-to facility for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) research and development and operator training in Alma, about 230 kilometres north of Quebec City.
In my short time working here on Wings, I've quickly become amazed at the complexity and sophistication of the aviation business. It's certainly not something an outsider like me can just jump into and offer anything substantive. The acronyms...my goodness, the acronyms...
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has announced that Air Philippines Corporation, operator of Philippine Airlines affiliate airline PAL Express, has signed an eight-year Smart Parts agreement to provide component management for the airline’s 12 new, dual-class Q400 aircraft.
FlightSafety International has announced a new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A Series Pilot Familiarization Course designed specifically for Agricultural Aircraft operators. Training is planned to begin in Brazil early next year. Additional locations will be added according to customer needs.
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has announced that CemAir (PTY) Ltd of South Africa has concluded a firm purchase agreement for two new Q400 turboprops, and has also signed the lease of a used Q400 aircraft that was delivered this month, paving the way for the new aircraft to be delivered afterwards. The letter of Intent (LOI) from CemAir, which was signed on June 21 at the 2017 Paris Air Show, has now been converted into a firm order.
Textron Aviation has announced its new twin-engine, high-wing, large-utility turboprop – the Cessna SkyCourier 408. FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company and longtime Textron Aviation customer, has signed on as the launch customer for up to 100 aircraft, with an initial fleet order of 50 cargo aircraft and options for 50 more. Entry into service for the clean-sheet design Cessna SkyCourier is planned for 2020.
The second annual All Canada Aeromedical Transport conference (ACAT) is set to go in Mississauga, Ont. Nov. 21-23 and this year’s event promises to build on the strong safety foundation set by last year’s inaugural gathering.
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has announced that it concluded a firm purchase agreement for two new Q400 turboprops with Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) in September 2017.
Textron Aviation has announced at Dubai Airshow that it is has begun delivery to Tuareg Aviation Ltd for 10 Cessna Grand Caravan EX turboprops. The aircraft will be operated by Mack Air (Pty) Ltd to provide charter, cargo and logistic services between a network of independently owned bush safari lodges in the popular Okavango Delta and Kalahari Plains regions of Botswana. The aircraft will partially replace Mack Air’s current fleet, which currently also includes Grand Caravan turboprops.
Appareo Systems, LLC has been contracted by FedEx Corporation to provide a Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) solution for the company’s feeder fleet of Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster aircraft.
The devastating wildfire season in Europe this year could spur new business for a Victoria-based aircraft company and restart production of a Canadian-made water bomber.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Perimeter Aviation and Exchange Income Corporation will continue to bring up to 50 youth and members of First Nations communities to each Bomber home game in the 2018 season. This partnership has already brought 19 communities from Northern Manitoba to home games this season, where attendees received a VIP experience and a meet and greet with players after the game.
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