Victoria Welte

Nanaimo air cadet aims to blaze trail for female pilots

NANAIMO - A Nanaimo teenager will be among a select few who will go for a glider pilot's licence this summer.

A Nanaimo teenager will be among a select few that will go for a glider pilot’s licence this summer.

Victoria Welte, 15, drum major for the 205 Collishaw Royal Canadian Nanaimo Air Cadets, has been awarded a National Air Cadet flying scholarship and will head to CFB Comox in late June for glider training.

More than 500 cadets applied for one of 42 spots, according to a news release. Only three scholarships were handed out to female cadets last year, said Welte.

Welte scored the second-highest grade (67 per cent) in an exam and underwent an interview with a review board. Only three people from the Nanaimo squadron moved on to meet the three-person board, she said. She had to pass a medical examination as well.

“I’m really proud of myself because it was a lot of hard work and for me, it’s like, ‘OK, I’ve got it, now I have to work on my next goal,’ which is passing,” said Welte. “Just because I got the scholarship doesn’t mean I can take a break. I’m even working harder now, so I will be able to pass the course.”

The Armed Forces are male-dominated, said Welte, and her aim is to blaze a trail for other women.

“Sometimes it’s a little tough being a female in that world, but I like the extra challenge. Some males might say, ‘Oh, she’s a female, so she might not be good at it,’ but I’d like to break that stereotypical thing and prove that, yes, females can do this.

“It’s cool because for Canada and flying in general, there’s only something like seven per cent of all pilots in Canada that are female, so it’s really cool that I’m going to be a part of that,” Welte said.

After glider training Welte said she wants to set her sights on earning her power pilot’s licence.

To find out more about the air cadets, please call 250-754-0076.

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