Preeceville youth soars for the sky

Eric Prestie of Preeceville is well on his way to fulfilling his passion of becoming a pilot.

He took his first solo flight at the Yorkton Airport through Leading Edge Aviation on May 2. His first flight was taken in a four passenger Cessna 172 aircraft. “My instructors are really great and have taught me a lot already, but it surprised me when she jumped out of the plane on the runway and told me to do a circuit on my own” said Prestie.

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"I first got bitten by the flying bug when I joined the Preeceville Harvard Air Cadets when I was 12 years old. That first year that I joined we were introduced and familiarized with aircrafts in Yorkton. From that time forward I became very interested in attaining my pilot’s license. I took a three-week basic aviation course at a Cold Lake, Alta. military base after my third year in cadets and a three-week advanced aviation course in British Columbia in the summer after my fourth year of cadets. During the advanced course I stayed on the military base at Comox, B.C.," he said.

Last summer, he took three weeks of ground school since aviation students are required to participate in 40 hours of ground school before writing the final exam.

Prestie has currently 20 hours of flight time and is required to have a minimum of 45 hours before he can achieve his license. He will also be required to pass a flight test and a Transport Canada test.

Previously Prestie had attained a scholarship but COVID-19 resulted in the program being cancelled. That has not stopped Prestie from reaching for his dream.

"Flying is a passion for me. It is so peaceful with only the birds for company and I feel so tucked away from everyone in the world. The responsibility and actions that I get to carry out while flying is something that I have wanted to do for years, and finally have the opportunity to do so."

Prestie, son of Peter and Heather Prestie of Preeceville, has been a member of the Preeceville Harvard Air Cadet squadron for six years and will be graduating from high school this year. He has the option to do another year in cadets as he is only 17. He is looking forward to a career in the Canadian Armed Forces as a pilot.