Saskatoon

Warman, Sask., teen now one of Canada's youngest pilots

Sara Striker, 14, completed her first solo flight and landing in August and is now one of Canada's youngest pilots.

Sara Striker, 14, made successful solo flight in August

Sara Striker from Warman, Sask., completed a solo flight and landing in August and is now believed to be one of Canada's youngest pilots. (Ashleigh Mattern/CBC)

Sara Striker's dreams may seem a little pie in the sky.  

"I'm hoping to fly float planes and bush planes," she said. "Then hopefully I'll move to big airlines like Air Canada or WestJet."

But the 14-year-old from Warman, Sask., is doing a lot more than just thinking about her future. Striker has been studying at flight school and spending time behind the controls of a small airplane.

"Flying to me is a hobby and it's a stress reliever," she said. "It just kind of relieves all that stress of school and friends and all that kind of stuff."

Solo Striker

Striker has her student pilot permit so she can now fly solo or with a flight instructor. (Ashleigh Mattern/CBC)

Striker completed her first solo flight and landing in August and is now one of Canada's youngest pilots.

"I always get nervous when my students go solo," said flight instructor Kristin Penner. "I was watching her and I could see her on final approach and I saw her add some power … like she was supposed to, and that's when I knew she was going to nail it."

Striker was a little nervous too.

"I was freaking out," she said. "I was like, what if I crash? What if I do something? And then I was thinking, all right, you know you've done this for like your entire life, you're fine, you've got this."

Raised in the cockpit 

Sara Striker has been riding along with her father, a bush pilot, since she was a toddler. (Supplied by Steve Chisholm)

Striker's aviation journey began when she was a little girl flying with her father, a bush pilot, who made room for her in the cockpit in the summer months.

"I'd say about at like nine, 10, 11 is when he actually started to tell me what everything was used for and, like, what to do when you're taking off, landing, when you're in the air."

Right now, Striker is qualified as a student pilot and can fly solo or with a flight instructor. But she has to wait until she's 16 to test for an actual pilot's licence.

Her flight instructor has no doubt that Striker will be get her pilot's licence one day.

"Her birthdays are all going to be flight tests," said Penner. "I mean, that's no fun. But if that's what she wants to do to celebrate."

Striker and her dad, Ron Striker, bring a plane out of a hangar in Saskatoon. (Ashleigh Mattern/CBC)

With files from Saskatoon Morning

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