‘It was a very proud moment:’ Kelowna, B.C. student presented with Webster Trophy

Click to play video: 'Okanagan College student wins prestigious award'
Okanagan College student wins prestigious award
A Kelowna college student is one step closer to his dreams of becoming a pilot, now that he is the proud recipient of a national award that proves he's at the top of his class. Victoria Femia reports – Nov 18, 2022

Okanagan College student Harmeet Garg can now add the prestigious Webster Trophy as Canada’s Top General Aviation Pilot to his list of accomplishments on his journey to becoming a pilot.

“It was a very proud moment to actually win the trophy and do good in it. I’m looking forward to graduating with flying colours in the spring,” said Garg.

Garg topped six finalists from all across Canada in the long-running Webster Memorial Trophy Competition.

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Demand for student housing rising in the Okanagan

The finals were held at Kelowna’s Southern Interior Flight Centre, where he was presented with the award — one that did not come easy.

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“The competition itself is held in four phases: the written exam, the interview, the flight test, and a simulator test,” said Garg.

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“They throw in all the scores from all four phases together and whoever scores the highest gets the award.”

Held annually since 1932, the Webster competition tests applicants on the fundamental skills that are expected of a Private Pilot License holder.

“I know it’s a lot of work to put an application together, be brushed up on all your ground school and flight training, and excel in all the tests,” said Southern Interior Flight Centre Operations Manager Scott Campbell.

“It’s a huge achievement and we’re really proud of (Garg).”

During the presentation, YLW announced it is in the process of developing an aviation scholarship in an effort to attract more people to the industry.

“Any student in the Okanagan who wants to apply to any post-secondary college, university or programs related to aviation or aerospace is eligible,” said senior manager of YLW Airport Operations, Phillip Elchitz.

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“For us, it’s a way to reduce the barriers for people to enter these areas. We’re really excited to launch it. We’re expecting to have our first recipient in April of 2023.”

As for what’s next for Garg now that he’s won such a prestigious award, he’s waiting to see what life has to offer.

“I can see myself instructing students for the initial part and then seeing where life takes me. I just want to have fun, fly planes initially, and then I might settle for a nice-paying airline cushy job later,” said Garg.

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