WAA Scholarship recipient maps out his flight plan

A pandemic can’t keep Fionn Forbes from chasing his dream of becoming a pilot.

Fionn, 17, graduated from Collège Sturgeon Heights Collegiate this past June with an above 80 per cent average. Part of his good-grade portfolio stemmed from his commitment to the school’s aviation program, which he signed up for in grade nine and never looked back.

“There is a lot of aviation (ties) in my family so I thought I had to see what it was,” said Forbes about registering for the program. “It was my favourite course throughout high school. I loved it.”

In terms of a family connection, his uncle was a bush pilot, his cousin is a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force and his brother is currently an instructor for the 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School at CFB Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan.

“I am hoping to be accepted into the air force as a pilot and follow what my brother did,” said Forbes. “That is my main goal.”

While nothing seems to be going exactly as planned in 2020 due to COVID-19, Fionn is now preparing for university in the fall instead of going directly into the air force.

After passing all of his tests to apply for the air force, his last step involved completing a medical assessment in Toronto. Unfortunately, he was unable to get there before the deadline due to flight cancellations and travel advisories earlier this year. In response to the minor setback, Fionn is putting the Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) Queen Elizabeth II Aviation Scholarship he received towards books and tuition at the University of Winnipeg.

With meteorology and science courses on the agenda in September, he hopes to enhance his portfolio before once again applying for the air force in 2021. He will be a stronger candidate with additional education behind him, including courses aligned with aviation, and is determined to stay true to his passion.

“It is an amazing industry,” said Forbes. “I think it is very under-advertised in the schools so it is good to have scholarships for students to get as it helps a lot.”

Fionn is very happy he was selected to receive the WAA scholarship, set up in perpetuity with St. James-Assiniboia School Division, as he says it will help him focus on passing his classes and doing well at university. He is looking forward to his new plan towards pursuing a career in aviation and perhaps, before too long, will be the next pilot in his family.

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