James Pouget was 19 when he decided to be a pilot.
The Windsor native enrolled in a local flight school. “I did about four flights,” he says. “Nothing serious, just controlling the aircraft, seeing if I could handle it psychologically. And I liked it.”
Four months ago, Pouget, who graduated from Centennial College’s pilot program at the end of October and turns 21 in January, won the 2010 Webster Memorial Trophy to become the top amateur pilot in Canada.
“I felt the contest was a pretty good chance to establish a foothold in aviation if I did well,” he says.
Nine pilots competed for the Webster, each from a different region across Canada.
Held in Calgary, the final competition included two flight tests, “one based on navigation, the other on control of the aircraft,” says Pouget, and two ground portions, including a 50-question written exam.
Prizes included $1,000 in cash and two round-trip passes to any Air Canada destination.
Right now, Pouget is working as a flight dispatcher. His next goal is instructor training. “That will be my intermediate job for a few years,” he says, “in order to build up my experience so I can move onto something bigger.”