Brianna Wiebe had her spirits lifted on Saturday.
The eight-year-old was one of 200 Okanagan youths who took to the skies as part of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association’s kids junior aviator program.
Doris Livingstone of the Kelowna Flying Club says the program has one goal.
“To inspire kids to learn to love aviation,” said Livingstone.
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The program has certainly inspired Noah Wiebe.
This is his fourth time flying at the C.O.P.A. for kids junior aviation program.
Noah’s plan is to be a pilot in Hawaii.
Becoming a pilot is a familiar refrain for WestJet pilot Ryan Berryman.
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“When I was eight years old, I went for quick flight just like these kids are today. Now, 19 years later, I am a 737 first officer for WestJet,” said Berryman.
Berryman is passing along his passion for planes — giving back to the industry that has fulfilled his dreams.
“If I can inspire one little guy to take up this as their career, it will make a difference,” said Berryman.
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One thousand feet above Okanagan Lake, Brianna Wiebe can’t stop smiling, describing her first flight as “amazing!”
As for a career in aviation, well, that’s still up the air.
But with the Canadian aviation industry facing a shortage of pilots and aircraft workers, the sky is the limit for young Brianna Wiebe — or for any other young person who wants to get an education in aviation.