First Flying Interview

Had my first flying interview yesterday, a great experience, but not sure this is going to be the job for me. The job is part-time flying a Cessna 206 out of the Fort Vermillion Airport, way up in northern Alberta. I say part-time, because the other half of the position is to server as dispatch for the entire base. The full rotation is one week flying, one week dispatch, one week off. Apparently the flying week can get quite hectic with lots of flying time. All the flying is VFR flying into very small airports in northern Alberta – some ice, some gravel, some grass, some paved. I also learned that a few of my flying buddies (Kassam and Jason) are now or will soon be based at the same location and that might be a fun reunion.

My meeting was with the CanWest Ops Manager, Justin who was very nice and friendly – a long time pilot himself. We started the conversation about CanWest and the rapid growth that they are experiencing this year, having been awarded the Alberta Health Services (AHS) medivac contract for almost the entire province for the next 10 years. CanWest has been providing medivac services for AHS for several years so it is an exciting growth opportunity for them.

Starting with a few pleasantries about who I am and what kind of flying experience I have had, Justin then asked a few interview style questions about my strengths and weaknesses – questions I have thought a lot about having been on the other side of the table many times myself. For my answers, I tried to relate them back to the aviation industry and lessons I have learned in my short flying career. Hopefully those came of well.

We then transitioned to talk specifically about the position for which I was interviewing and I learned the details of salary, crew accommodations,  expectations, the flying environment, other staff at the base and career paths available. While in deep in the discussions, I couldn’t help but think I was about 20 years too old for this position. Granted it would be a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable flight experience and work for a great company, I just can’t see myself leaving Sarah and the boys for 2/3 of my life while taking a HUGE salary cut.

In the days leading up to the interview, I did get a text message from my manager at Cariboo, who started the conversation with an interesting statement “let me know when the sun comes up in your world”. Poking a little further, I learned that she had gone to bat for me with the senior management team and was able to gain some insight into the delays and dead-air I was experiencing. Although not able to provide all the details, she said I should be encouraged and that although things don’t move quickly at Cariboo, they do in fact move and that a bit more patience might be rewarded vert soon.

So, as I have always believed, getting in front of key people in industry is never a wasted experience, I will take the lessons I learned today and I’ll keep my eyes open.


After much deliberation and talking with Sarah over the last few days,  today I decided to email the ops manager to tell him that I would be withdrawing my name from contention for the position stating that I wouldn’t be able to make the rotating schedule work with our family.



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