The Webster Memorial Trophy Competition was founded in 1932, and since that time it has producing an amazing number of finalists who have competed for the coveted title of Top Amateur Pilot in Canada.
A visit to the Webster site at www.webstertrophy.ca
(click on competition and past winners) reveals an impressive list of winners and runner-ups. The names of those who have gone on to pilot careers with long-time competition sponsor Air Canada are in bold font. One of those winners, Gordon R. McGregor, actually went on to become president of the company when it was known as Trans-Canada Air Lines.
At the end of 2006, Amy Foy took over as national administrator of the Webster competition, with Wayne Foy joining her as a judge and aviation technical assistant. Since then, the competition has grown substantially, enjoying increased awareness and involvement from Canada’s aviation community.
Recently, Webster organizers surveyed all finalists from 2007 to 2012 to find out where they are today. Some elected to remain amateur pilots, but many have pursued careers in all sectors of commercial aviation. Through their participation in the Webster competition, many of those finalists connected with influential members of the aviation industry, who provided them with sound advice and guidance.
The Webster team is proud of every finalist, and would like to share the impressive results of our survey with the aviation community. The following comments are from our finalists, as they were submitted.
Finalists – 2007
Andrew Midcalf (Winner): I am currently a first officer on a Gulfstream G150 with Chartright Air Group in Mississauga, Ont. I generally fly all over North America, with the odd flights to Mexico and the Caribbean. Prior to the Gulfstream, I was type rated on the Cessna C510 Mustang. Before I was employed at Chartright, I worked as a class II flight Instructor at the Brampton Flying Club. I still keep in contact with the great friends I made during the competition and have gained a wealth of networking from the competition.
Lisa Klassen: I work at Allied Wings in Southport, Man., as a primary flight training instructor providing training to military pilots. I am also the contractor flight safety officer for Allied Wings. Since the competition, I have obtained my float rating, class III instructor rating and class II aerobatic instructor rating.
Dave Mountain: I am flying again now with Execaire Aviation. I am based out of the Canary Islands (which are owned by Spain but are located about 100 miles off the western coast of Africa). I just received my upgrade, so I am now a captain on the Cessna Citation Ultra. I absolutely love the job; we fly throughout Africa and Europe. I have flown in 17 countries in the last 18 months, including two oceanic crossings.
Alex Cameron: I’m working in Timmins, Ont., for Thunder Airlines, as a captain on the Beechcraft King Air 100. We spend most of our time flying in Northern Ontario, specifically the James Bay coast. We have a scheduled passenger service seven days a week, plus charters and cargo on top of that. I’ve been with Thunder for two years now. Before that, I was instructed at the Ottawa Flying Club for 2.5 years.
Dave Blackman: I’ve just been upgraded to captain on the Bombardier Dash 8, flying as a UN contractor for Voyageur Airways of North Bay, Ont. So far, I have had the opportunity to support several UN missions in the African countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, and Somalia. Life is great!
Finalists – 2008
Sandeep Nagpal (Winner): I work for Air Georgian based out of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. I’m a first officer, but hopefully will upgrade over the next few months. I have an ATPL, with a Beech 1900 type rating and a class III flight instructor rating.
Mark Psutka: I’m a first officer with the Saskatchewan Air Ambulance Service, type rated on the Beechcraft King Air 200 with Pro Line 21 glass cockpit.
Jason Gregg: I work at Skylink Express as a Beech 1900 captain, with an ATPL and a class II instructor rating.
Finalists – 2009
Cory Raby (Winner): I’m still with Bearskin Airlines as a first officer. I’m working on getting my ATPL, with about 250 hours to go.
Kevin Dhaliwal (Runner-up): I am currently a class II instructor at Coastal Pacific Aviation in Abbotsford, B.C.
John Painter: I work for SkyNorth Air, as first officer on the Mitsubishi MU-2 and Beechcraft King Air (medevac).
Aaron Lehman: After the competition, I flew a Cessna 185 and a de Havilland Canada Beaver on floats for two seasons. Now, I’m captain on a Piper Navajo, flying for SkyCare Air Ambulance in Sioux Lookout, Ont. We fly charters all over Ontario and Manitoba, and also provide medevacs in Fairchild Metro 2 aircraft.
Nicholas Sneider: I am currently the lead pilot at BT&E (an oilfield-based company in Alberta), while attending the University of Alberta full-time in the Bachelor of Commerce degree program.
Phiroze Contractor: I am now a first officer with an Indian-based airline called Jet Airways. I fly the Boeing 737-700/800/900. I’ve been flying for almost a year and a half now, and have logged about 1,000 hours on the jet.
Thomas Clark: I am currently working for a company out of Quebec called Skyjet. I am a co-pilot on the Beechcraft King Air 200. After the Webster, I completed my commercial, multi-IFR and also a class IV instructor rating. I did a bit of flight instructing in Quebec as well.
Finalists – 2010
Cameron McLean (Runner-up): I am currently flying in La Ronge, in northern Saskatchewan. I am a co-pilot on the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, flying on wheels, floats and skis, and loving every minute of it!
Cody Neill: Last year, I flew a Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer on floats for a fishing outfit out of Kenora, Ont., called Canada Outfitters. This upcoming season, I will be flying a Cessna 185 on floats for Nestor Falls Fly In. This probably doesn’t fit your traditional Webster alumni aspirations, but it’s my dream job!
Finalists – 2011
Kevin Aalders (Winner): I’m instructing at Centennial Flight Centre. I am still a class IV, but soon will be a class III. I managed to accumulate about 400 hours of flying in my first six months of instructing, and as soon as the weather starts co-operating I hope to be back on that track.
Matthew Duplan: I am currently finishing up my last term at the University of Waterloo in the geography and aviation program. I have my group 1 multi IFR and am beginning to look for a job in northern Ontario.
Oliver Darroch: I finished my commercial licence, but haven’t flown since March. I am in Australia, escaping the cold and working at a bar and teaching sailing. I’m planning on getting things going in April when it isn’t -30C or -40C like it was recently in Ottawa. It’s plus 30C to 40C here.
Joshua Shea: I’m currently a class III instructor working for the Ottawa Flying Club, with just over 510 hours, and working towards my group 1 instrument rating.
Finalists – 2012
Andrew Woods (Winner): I’m currently in my fifth and final semester at Confederation College, and will graduate in April. Since the Webster, I have completed a multi-engine rating and I had my commercial ride in late November. The ride went very well, and I’m just flying off a few hours before I submit my application to Transport Canada. After graduation, I’m hoping to get a position at the college as a flight instructor.
Peter Heron: I’m still employed with Kenn Borek Air as a dispatcher. In about four to six months, I’ll be trained as a first officer on either a DHC-6 Twin Otter or Beechcraft King Air 200.
Andrea Marrocco: I’m still working at the Ottawa Flying Club as a class IV flight instructor. I teach a few ground school classes and am working on my multi initial as well.
Robert Forrest: I am currently enrolled in my final year at Greenwood Flight Centre, and I hope to finish with my commercial multi IFR by the summer of 2013.
Shane Lanouette: Since the competition I have just been working, with Air Canada still, and doing lots of travelling. I have completed most of the hours I need for my commercial pilot licence and have done a fair amount of studying for the written. I hope to eventually get on with a local commuter or skydiving company.
Many of our finalists credit the Webster competition with building their self-confidence and jump-starting their careers. Is this where you would like to be someday? Perhaps the Webster can help. Compete!