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Getting Air Cadets up in the air

Getting Air Cadets up in the air

Air Cadets Reagan Scott and Keaton Mcilwraith relax with volunteer pilot Steve Drinkwater after a flight at the “familiarization flying” event at Sechelt Airport. Gene Hogan photo

The 858 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Skookumchuk Squadron’s fifth annual “familiarization flying” event took place Oct. 27 at the Sechelt Regional Airport. With a gracious contribution by Harbour Air, cadets, new and old, had the opportunity to go up in a Cessna 172, and Piper Cherokee, and even fly the planes themselves.  When they weren’t up in the sky, the cadets took part in fun, interactive classes back at the airport, ranging from wilderness survival, radio communication and learning the phonetic alphabet. The squadron had the privilege of dedicated, hard-working volunteers on-site, supplying the aircraft for the event and giving their time to provide the youth with an unforgettable experience.

One of those volunteers was local pilot, and owner of Canadian Aviator magazine, Steve Drinkwater. Once an Air Cadet himself, Steve grew up enthralled by the world of aviation, and, in 1989, obtained his helicopter pilot’s licence, eventually moving to fixed-wing aircraft. An engineering career in the oil and gas industry took him across the globe, before he settled down and decided to start volunteering with various organizations across Canada. As a volunteer, Steve says the best thing about working with different organizations, is the wonderful feeling you receive knowing you gave back to the community.

“There’s nothing like giving back. It truly is a wonderful feeling, especially when you see the impact your work is having on people’s faces,” says Drinkwater.

For more information about the Air Cadet program, please visit, or contact 

Submitted by Jonah Byron

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