Off Duty with Pilot Annie
I came from an adventurous family. My father was a mountaineer in the seventies and achieved many first accents in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I am of Polish decent and the first in my family born in Canada, where I live now. Growing up my parents wanted for my sisters and I to have a close relationship with my family overseas, so we travelled to Europe often. I had been on dozens of airplanes before the time I was a teenager and always loved visiting new places. My family encouraged travel and I am so lucky to have seen so much of the world from a young age.
I haven’t always known what I wanted to do for a living. When I was graduating high school I wanted to pursue a career in journalism but after completing my first year of University I decided to change my career path. I graduated From the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and after four years of studying I wasn’t any closer to figuring out what I wanted to do for a career than when I first started.
I decided to take some time and travel abroad. I moved to New Zealand for a year where I worked as a zip-lining guide. In that time I took every chance I had to bungee jump, river board, go caving, off-roading and more. When my year visa was up I didn’t want to move home yet, so instead I moved to Australia. I found myself in a tiny town along the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia where I began working as an Au pair, looking after two special needs boys. My house faced the outback and my backyard the sand dunes that lined the coast. Every morning I would run through the outback, through the sand dunes and make my way onto the beach. Every morning I would pass a tiny dirt strip where spotter planes would take off in search of marine life for the purpose of notifying the tour boats down in the harbor.
One morning I was running passed a little Cessna 150 as it was taking off and that’s when I decided that I would learn to fly. I began researching flight schools back at home. Contacted different admission councillors and began to make a plan. When I returned home, adjusting to real life was difficult. I had been so far removed from the hustle and bustle that I didn’t feel as though I fit in any longer. I went on my first discovery flight and started my flight training right away. Aside from being passionate about flying and learning about aviation it was also an outlet for me to continue experiencing the world and seeing it from a different perspective even at home.
I completed my private pilot license and received the news that my father had been diagnosed with ALS. Traditionally this diagnosis comes with a year and a half life expectancy. I was so scared of continuing into my commercial license from fear that this career would take me far away from where I needed to be. I decided to postpone my commercial training and began working full time while staying close to home.
Despite putting my aviation career aspirations on hold I continued to fly for fun as much as possible. A few months after I completed my private license an acquaintance of mine asked if I would be interested in flying with his grandfather, an 80 year old pilot, with a heart condition. I jumped at the opportunity and his grandfather and I have been friends ever since. I have flown 100 hours in his Piper Tripacer and we have gone on so many adventures together.
Shortly before my father passed away I decided to pursue my commercial license. The journey has been long and fraught with hurdles but I am happy to announce that all my requirements are met, my written exam is complete and now I wait for my airplane to get back from its panel upgrade so that I can complete my flight test. Aviation has been an incredibly rewarding path, I have met so many wonderful people and have experienced some unbelievable moments and I am so excited for what’s to come.
There is a certain level of romance associated with the Cockpit USA brand. It's authentic, American crafted heritage pieces are a part of aviation history. In my eyes, the feeling I get when I put on a Cockpit USA coat is priceless. There is a certain level of pride and excitement I feel when pulling my hands through the cuffs. I am confident and poised, ready to step out into the world and achieve my dreams like my idols did before me. For all of these reasons I decided to partner with this incredible company and I will continue to support and represent them because I believe in the product, and I believe in Cockpit USA.