Chelsea-Anne Edwards walks out on the tarmac to the plane she will fly. It’s a sun-drenched fall day and the third-year aviation student looks to the sky. “The clouds are pretty low,” she says. “The higher the clouds, the better.”
There isn’t fear in her voice, though. It’s just an observation for a young woman who has been a pilot for more than a year. She circles the plane and runs her hands along the rudder and the propeller. During her pre-flight “walk-around,” Edwards looks for fuel leaks, checks for missing bolts and inspects the tire tread. She checks the front edge of the wings and makes sure the first aid kit is on board. Edwards takes off from the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre and flies for two hours, which seems like a long time for a mid-day flight on a school day, but it’s nothing compared to the journey she started two years ago — the one that has taken her from being a high school student in small-town Ontario to a young woman on a career path to become a commercial airline pilot.