The Air Canada winners are:
Amanda Tosto, Montreal, Quebec
Amanda worked for Air Canada, first on the ramp and later as a flight attendant, where her first all female flight inspired her to become a pilot. While taking the aviation bachelor program at the University of the Fraser Valley, she created an aviation club and designed a new aviation bachelor concentration. She belongs to the Ninety-Nines, Women In Aviation International, the B.C. Aviation Council and volunteers with the Civil Aviation Search and Rescue Association and at a high school aviation program.
"My immediate goal would be to keep working as a flight instructor while completing my licences and be the voice of inspiration for teens and women. I hope to one day work for a Canadian airline and create a not-for-profit aviation camp for the underprivileged, built to encourage the next generation of aviators.”
Hélène Trudeau, Beausejour, Manitoba
Hélène studied Aircraft Maintenance Engineering at Red River College and is now an apprentice AME at Fast Air in Winnipeg. She is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, belongs to the Friends of the Ninety-Nines and is on the Manitoba Aviation Council Conference Planning Committee. During fifteen years as a Girl Guide, she has volunteered at homeless shelters, food banks and community cleanups. She is currently a Guiding Unit Leader, where she mentors young women.
“I hope to be a trailblazer contributing to aviation safety and to bring people along the journey with me to encourage young girls through my volunteer efforts.”
Charlotte Thorley, Grimsby, Ontario
Charlotte attended a one room school at a B.C. ski resort and was inspired to fly when she saw a small plane overhead while she was skiing. She is in her third year of Geography and Aviation at the University of Waterloo Wellington, while completing her private pilot license at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre. As Geography Representative for the University Aviation Society, she has helped plan social and mentorship events, and volunteered for the Waterloo Wellington "Girls Can Fly" Day.
“Having a career in the sky is truly inspiring to me, as I cannot think of any profession that even comes close to the dynamic working environment, endless adventures and the unbeatable breathtaking office view.”
Chanelle Wilson, Coldstream, British Columbia
Chanelle knew from her first flight in a Cessna 172 that she had a huge passion for flying. She began flying at 17 and is now working on her commercial pilot license at Mount Royal University in Calgary. Chanelle belongs to the Ninety-Nines, Women in Aviation International and Elevate and volunteered as a certified coach with girl’s volleyball and ringette teams, as well as running summer camps, as she loves being a role model and mentor for young girls.
“I believe empowering women is very important in our world today, so I have spent many years volunteering.”
The CAE Women in Flight ambassadors:
Meera Bissonauth, Mississauga, Ontario
Meera has worked as a passenger service agent, weight and balance specialist and airline operations coordinator, before living her dream to do flight training. Achieving her commercial pilot’s license last year was her proudest achievement. Her next step is an instructor rating at the Brampton Flight Centre. Meera volunteers with the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association and through the Ninety-Nines, helped conduct over twenty aviation presentations to schools. She co-founded Approaching Finals, which connects female student pilots across Canada with professional pilots.
Meera’s goal is “to break gender-bias stereotypes in aviation and motivate students, especially girls, to believe in their dreams.”
Mia Cochran, North Bay, Ontario
Mia’s love for flying encouraged her to overcome air sickness and financial struggles to pursue her commercial pilot license at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. She plays on the varsity soccer team and competed on Canada’s women’s soccer team in the Maccabhi Games in Israel. As secretary of the Mount Allison Aviation Society, she has promoted increased access to aviation, particularly for women, by hosting monthly events. Mia belongs to the Ninety-Nines, and volunteered with “Girls Take Flight” in Oshawa.
“My love of flying has encouraged me to keep finding ways to handle adversity and persevere.”
Jaime Hanson, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
Jaime taught herself Grade 12 Math using YouTube to meet entrance requirements at First Nations Technical Institute, where she obtained her private licence within three months, just before all of the aircraft were lost in a devastating hangar fire. She has peeled logs, shovelled snow and detailed vehicles to make ends meet. Her next goal is completing her commercial pilot license and advanced float rating at the newly restored FNTI.
Jaime plans to do presentations for high school students “to show them that being a pilot is possible and walk young women through the process of how I did it.”
Kyra Jarvis, Kingston, Nova Scotia
Kyra is in her fourth year at the University of Waterloo while training for her multi-engine rating at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre. She is a member of the Ninety-Nines, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, and Winged Warriors in Aviation. Kyra is Vice President of Marketing for the University of Waterloo Aviation Society, where she is trying to grow the number of women. She is a recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver Awards for her community service.
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do” and “challenges and setbacks are nothing to be afraid of when entering a career as a pilot.”