Pilot | Captain
Father and son
Provide a brief general introduction of yourself.
My name is Darren Anderson. I am a pilot from Kasabonika Lake First Nation. I work for Wasaya Airways as the Captain of the Cessna C208B Caravan. I fly on freight trips, which means I deal with groceries, materials, mail, etc. I also fly for passenger charters or side trips. The Caravan holds nine people with two pilots. The other pilots and I have to manage the fuel, commercial fuel, gas, and diesel.
What does your daily job entail?
As a pilot I have to follow the air law as we do on the road when we drive vehicles. There are things we have to memorize in order to become a suitable person to fly an aircraft. I also have to get a flight test done and have to do simulator evaluation. Every year I have to see a medical examiner, which will state whether or not I am suitable to fly for the year.
What got you interested in your chosen career?
I have been interested in aviation since I was a kid. My mother worked as a Post Office Service Clerk. When I was younger, she would go to the airport to pick up the mail from the aircraft. One day, she went to the airport with me and the pilot showed me the cockpit inside the aircraft. I remember it was the Yellow Caravan. I always wanted to fly that plane and now I am!
How did you get to where you are today? (i.e. Education background, challenges, etc.)
I did my flight training at Confederation College in Thunder Bay. I finished college in 2015. It was probably the hardest thing I went through mentally. It required being on the books all the time and not much time to myself. The funding came from Wasaya Airways as a part of the “Sky is the Limit” program. There were 13 people that started the program and only two people made it all way, Thomas Nodin and myself. After I finished the program at Confederation College, I went to Cornwall for a month to do multi Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) training to get some ratings. After that, I went to Pickle Lake and started the Apprentice Pilot Program there. I started flight ground school and flight training for the Cessna Grand Caravan 208 in early October and gained some hours to become a First Officer for Beechcraft 1900D in August 2016. I was doing that for about a year and now I am a Captain of Caravan.
How do you keep developing your skills in your career?
Even now I still have to be on top of things and on the books at all time. That makes it easier to be a good pilot. I cannot forget anything because there are people's lives at risk. That makes it less stressful if any emergencies happen. I have to remember to stay calm too. It’s always a constant learning experience.
Outside of work, what kind of things do you do to take care of yourself?
Outside of work, I like to hang out with my family and friends. I enjoy being physically active to stay healthy, so I go to the gym once in awhile or play hockey.
What has motivated you?
I have support from my wife and parents. They are always there for me emotionally and sometimes financially. They never gave up on me.
What do you still hope to achieve?
I feel I am helping out in the Northern Communities. I like seeing all the places up north where I grew up. I am hoping I will inspire some of our youth to be what they want to be.
What would you like to share with the youth reading this?
It’s not an easy road to becoming a pilot. It was a long and difficult time at school. You have to have a mindset not to give up on yourself. I just want to make a difference, I want anyone from northern communities to believe they can do it.