My name is Olivia Hewett. I grew up on a grain and cattle farm in a small town in Manitoba, Canada. My love for aviation didn’t actually start until I was seventeen. Growing up I was heavily involved in sports, specifically hockey in which I had initially wanted to pursue a career in physiotherapy. However, I soon learned that I had a weak stomach and working with the human body was not my strong suit. As I was raised on a family farm, I had the pleasure of working with machinery from a young age and had learned to drive many different tractors, thus sparking my interest in aviation. Personally, I had always viewed an airplane as just another piece of machinery to learn.
I first told my parents that I was interested in becoming a pilot at age seventeen. As I was still in high school, I had researched local aviation schools and decided that I wanted to train at Harv’s Air in St. Andrews, MB. I then completed my PPL and CPL training and further attended Cornwall Aviation to complete my multi-rating and IFR.
Fortunately, I was lucky to have grown up surrounded by an extremely close knit family. One of my biggest role models has always be my grandfather who was an Air Traffic Controller in Winnipeg, MB. At the age of seven, my grandfather taught me how to drive a lawn mower and would always take us grandchildren to the local airshows. He would always quiz me for my exams and help me prepare for them as much as possible. To this day, he will always be someone that I truly admire.
One of the aspects of aviation that I’ve felt that I've struggled with the most has been the Transport Canada written exams. Personally, these exams have always felt comparable to English exams in which I had always found challenging in school. I don't believe grammar is necessarily my strong suit, however, my sister is an Attorney and will definitely be proof reading this article!
Despite challenges that arise with any profession, I continually remind myself to never give up and to never stop learning as I truly believe that aviation is one of the most rewarding careers. Having the ability and knowledge to fly is by far one of my greatest achievements. Although some aspects of aviation may feel redundant, I believe there is always something to be learned. Each flight that I am a part of, I try to reflect and find at least one positive from that flight, such as having the opportunity to fly with a different captain and learn something from them or their experiences as a pilot. The friendships I have made and continue to make along the way have helped me create a well-rounded outlook, not only as a pilot but also as a person. I’m thankful and lucky for the aviation family that I have.
Many of the close friendships I have had to this day are with people I had met in the first few days of flight school, or from my first aviation job. My aviation career started as a dispatcher for a private charter company. From there, I built flight hours and was given the opportunity to fly a King Air 200 and 350 in northern Manitoba. Currently, I pilot the Q400 aircraft for a regional air carrier in Canada. This company is amazing to work for and I could not be happier with where I am at in this stage of my career. I truly believe that everyone can achieve their goals and turn their dreams into a reality by working hard, being kind, and staying determined!