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Okanagan pilot sharing the joy of flying in Kelowna

The goal of the junior aviator program is to draw attention to a possible career in aviation.

Brianna Wiebe had her spirits lifted on Saturday.

The eight-year-old was one of 200 Okanagan youths who took to the skies as part of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association’s kids junior aviator program.

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Doris Livingstone of the Kelowna Flying Club says the program has one goal.

“To inspire kids to learn to love aviation,” said Livingstone.

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The program has certainly inspired Noah Wiebe.

This is his fourth time flying at the C.O.P.A. for kids junior aviation program.

Noah’s plan is to be a pilot in Hawaii.

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Becoming a pilot is a familiar refrain for WestJet pilot Ryan Berryman.

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“When I was eight years old, I went for quick flight just like these kids are today. Now, 19 years later, I am a 737 first officer for WestJet,” said Berryman.

Berryman is passing along his passion for planes — giving back to the industry that has fulfilled his dreams.

“If I can inspire one little guy to take up this as their career, it will make a difference,” said Berryman.

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One thousand feet above Okanagan Lake, Brianna Wiebe can’t stop smiling, describing her first flight as “amazing!”

As for a career in aviation, well, that’s still up the air.

But with the Canadian aviation industry facing a shortage of pilots and aircraft workers, the sky is the limit for young Brianna Wiebe — or for any other young person who wants to get an education in aviation.

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