London

Aspiring Top Gun pilots take the first step at London training course

A group of teenagers who don't yet have their driver's licence could be walking away with a pilot's licence this summer and a chance to continue training with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

People who complete the course will be able to fly a single-engine aircraft

A student taking part in the Power Pilot Training Course checks the plane to make sure it's safe to fly. (Mah Noor Mubarik/CBC News)

A group of teenagers who don't yet have their driver's licence could be walking away with a pilot's licence this summer and a chance to continue training with the Royal Canadian Air Force. 

Twenty Ontario cadets, between the ages of 17 and 18, are taking part in a seven week training course in London, aimed at preparing them to fly a single-engine aircraft and to learn more about becoming a pilot.

The Power Pilot Training course is offered nationally through the Cadet and Junior Canadian Rangers, which offers youth development programs. More than 200 cadets have taken part in the training course this season at 12 different sites across the country. 

Students learn in-class theory, including meteorology, air law, the principles of flight and navigation. They also learn practical skills by flying with their instructor, and flying on their own. 

Students who obtain their licence and complete the Power Pilot Training Course will be able to fly a single-engine aircraft recreationally during the day. They can also continue their training to obtain a commercial pilot's licence or work toward flying for the Royal Canadian Air Force. 

Jack Arata Amodeo is taking part in the Power Pilot Training Course, and hopes to one day fly for the Royal Canadian Air Force. (Mah Noor Mubarik/CBC News )

Participant Jack Arata Amodeo's lifelong dream is to become a pilot, and the movie Top Gun was an inspiration to him.

"Just seeing the thrill of these like fast jets, and be like 'I wanna be that person. You know, I want to be Tom Cruise,'" he said. 

Arata Amodeo's end goal is to be a fighter pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force. He said as part of the training course, he accomplished a major milestone in his pilot career: flying solo. 

"It felt great, it's almost like a surreal moment….it's just a great feeling," he said. 

Owen Boldt, hopes to one day be able to fly a commercial plane. (Mah Noor Mubarik/CBC News)

Owen Boldt took the pilot training course because he said it was too good of an opportunity for him to pass up, and he too dreams of becoming a pilot. 

Boldt has been interested in aviation since he was seven, when his grandfather took him to aviation museums and air shows. 

 "I think that kind of sparked an interest when I was younger and it's kind of grown from there," he said. 

Boldt said his long-term goal is to become a commercial pilot, and will continue to get further licensing for that in the future. 

Rishi Chakravarthula, says his family has flown internationally, and he's always had an interest in aviation. He hopes to fly a commercial plane. (Mah Noor Mubarik/CBC News )

Rishi Chakravarthula says his interest in aviation started when he and his family would fly to India and the United States, with pilots sometimes allowing him to look inside the cockpit. 

"Since then it just grew on me, I never lost interest," he said. "It feels like an extended part of me..I've always felt very free and very flexible in the plane. I've always felt safe." 

Chakravarthula said the Power Pilot Training Course is challenging, but it's an honour to be able to take part in it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mah Noor Mubarik is a journalist with CBC London. She previously reported for CBC Saskatchewan.

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