I’ve had the good fortune to enjoy many unbelievable experiences during my career, one of which was being able to earn my pilot’s license up in Whitehorse, YT, back in 1979. I took my flying lessons at Air North, a company still operated by its founder Joe Sparling, and today a major player in the Canadian aviation industry.
I took my first lessons in a single engine Cessna 172. My instructors were all seasoned bush pilots and each of them had something unique to share. What an experience – flying over those spectacular Yukon mountain ranges!
All those memories came flooding back last week as we made our final approach to the Whitehorse airport, only this time I was a passenger in a lightning-fast Cessna Citation business jet. I spent three days travelling with CEO Jeff Polovick and the senior management of Driving Force, Canada’s largest independent vehicle rental, leasing, and sales company. The reason I was tagging along was to emcee the company’s annual Employee Achievement Awards in Ft. St. John, BC, Whitehorse, YT, and Vancouver, BC.
It was a whirlwind trip – immediately following the event in Whitehorse we departed for Vancouver, arriving at 2:00 a.m. We had a short sleep, checked out of our rooms, and that evening boarded a dinner cruise boat and sailed out of Coal Harbour, under the Lions Gate Bridge, past Granville Island, and down False Creek – what a perfect evening to enjoy the spectacular Vancouver skyline. The awards were all presented during the sailing, and as soon as we arrived back at the dock around 10 p.m., a cab whisked us back out to the airport where we climbed back aboard the jet. Moments later were climbing like a rocket to 41,000 feet, bound for home. I crawled into my own bed by 2:30 a.m.
Try that in a Cessna 172.