What is your name?
What are your pronouns?
He / Him / His
Where is your hometown and where are you located now?
Kelowna is my hometown. I am located in Sioux Lookout, Ont., for my job now.
What did you take at OC? When did you graduate?
I completed the Commercial Aviation Diploma in 2019.
What got you interested in aviation?
I’ve been interested in aviation since I was a kid. When I was 13, I went on a helicopter tour. From there, I joined the Air Cadet program and earned my Glider Pilot Licence. Once I graduated from high school, I got my Private Pilot Licence at Southern Interior Flight Centre.
How did you find out about the program you took at OC?
When I was 14, I attended the Camp OC All About Aviation session. It gave me a chance to explore my interest in aviation. When it came time to decide about schooling, I already knew about the training at OC and it made sense to stay in Kelowna to continue my education.
What is your current position?
I am a Navajo captain at SkyCare, an air charter and air ambulance flight service in Sioux Lookout, Ont. The plane I fly, the Navajo, is a twin-engine piston airplane that carries eight passengers with two pilots. SkyCare has a ground to flight-line training program that moves employees through different pilot roles with the goal of eventually qualifying as a medevac captain.
How did your training at OC prepare you for what you’re doing now?
The commercial aviation program at OC has a very professional focus and prepared students to work in the airline industry. I think an aviation diploma looks good on a resume when it is time to find a job.
What was one of your most meaningful memories during your time at OC?
We had a tight class with 13 students. In a small class, you become friends with your class and I am still friends with those people today. One of the benefits of training at OC for me was the connections that I made by being in this class. Typically, people get jobs from people they know – my first job was from one of those connections. My time at OC brought me valuable networking opportunities and relationships.
Another great memory from my time at OC was flying in the mountains around the Okanagan and in B.C. It’s a beautiful area. Some of my favourite spots include flying through the Rocky Mountains, between Rogers Pass and Golden, as well as Big White.
What do you think has been the biggest turning point for your career success?
I think the aviation industry recovering from COVID has been a significant turning point. Now, a lot of people are getting hired into the industry. There are a lot of opportunities for pilots, even if you don’t have much training or experience.
What advice would you pass on to current/future students?
I think that if you want to be a pilot, you really must enjoy flying. Starting in an entry level job, the pay is not great. I’ve had to work long hours and move to a remote town. It starts to sound like a lot of negatives, but I love to fly and I enjoy the variety that this work brings.
When you’re not working, what are you doing?
Hanging out with friends, going outdoors, snowboarding when I’m in B.C. I enjoy Okanagan Lake and travelling to visit friends and family.
Connect with Joey Rood on Instagram.
The Commercial Aviation diploma program and the Commercial Helicopters Pilot certificate program are for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in aviation. These programs provide students with business experience along with the aviation training required by Transport Canada.