Women of Aviation Week Profile – Capt. Sarah Dallaire

March 5-11 is Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. COPA is proud to support this and the many other initiatives that work tirelessly to promote women’s involvement in all different aspects of the aviation industry. Each day during WOAW week, we are profiling a COPA member who is promoting aviation in her own area of the industry.

Today’s WOAW member profile is Capt. Sarah Dallaire, of Quebec, who is a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. We asked Capt. Dallaire about what inspired her to get involved in aviation, about her plans for the future, and how she sees COPA’s role in aviation:

What inspired you to get involved in aviation?

My interest in aviation was truly sparked by my parents, as both of them were deeply passionate about They quickly introduced my brother and I to flying, as they flew us around on weekends. Often they would either sit us on their lap at the controls or have us sit in the back of a Cessna.They would also bring us to each airshow in Quebec city. At one particular show, I was very fortunate to have seen Maryse Carmichael perform. She was not only the first female Snowbird pilot but also the first female in the world to ever perform with an aerobatic team. She really put a little flame into my heart that day and I held on to it. My parents were also very involved with CASARA and recognized the opportunities that the RCAF had to offer and they absolutely loved the training they received. So I would say, it was a combination of my parents tremendous support, their encouragement toward the pursuit of an RCAF career and the awe-inspiring accomplishments of Maryse Carmichael. From that point on, I was determined to become a military pilot.

A short history of your aviation career up to now

When I was 12 years old, I joined the Air Cadet Squadron in Levis, and with the help of my parents, I immediately started seeking the prerequisites needed to apply for a career as RCAF I was also fortunate enough to take some air lesson at Grondair in St-Frederic, QC prior to the Aircrew Selection in Trenton, ON. A year later, in 2007, an offer was presented to me to join as a RCAF pilot under the Continuing Education Officer Training Plan, at which time I was then posted to St-jean-Sur-Richelieu, QC for the Basic Training Camp and language school where I became proficient in English. I completed Phase I in Portage-la-Prairie, MB on the Grob 120A and later was posted to Moose Jaw, Sk for Phase II on the Harvard II. In 2012, I received my RCAF pilot wings on the CT-155 Hawk and continued to Cold Lake, AB for the Fighter Lead-In Training where I experienced unforeseen hurdles and therefore moved back to Moose Jaw, SK to become a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Hvd II. Last year, I had the chance to take the Flight Safety Course in Winnipeg, MB and have since been steadily involved in the program. In 2017, it was time for me to take a shot at my dream and applied to become a Snowbird pilot.

What is your favorite part of the job?

What I truly cherish about being a Snowbird pilot is that for every mission we strive to learn from our mistakes. The constructive criticism that we provide one another is crucial as it not only betters our individual skill sets but it bonds us as a team to effectively fly as a Moreover, I am and always have been passionate i.e addicted to the mental aspect of competing. The combination of mental factors such as preparation, visualisation, coordination and anticipation are key components when striving to accomplish peak performance. It is clear to me that the best part of my job is that constant mental challenge.

Do you have any future goals in aviation?

I am very optimistic with respect to my future within the RCAF, in that, there are so many opportunities yet to be discovered and I look forward to progressing through I also have a keen interest in diversifying my aviation experiences and skill sets with respect to other aerobatic aircraft. Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to fly with the legendary Wayne Handley in California in an Extra 300L. I was completely hooked as soon as the engine started (LOL) because it became immediately apparent that the mental fortitude required within the precision aviation world is very similar to the training I am experiencing in becoming a Snowbird pilot. This is something for which I thrive.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to say that I love everything that has two wheels, three if it comes with wings. I was introduced to motocross when I was 14 year old and looking back, I realized now that it taught me a lot with respect to the mental aptitude required to progress and stay safe in the sport. I also absolutely love travelling and

What are some of the ways you are helping women get their start in aviation?

I am particularly excited about the opportunity given with the Snowbirds to travel around and meet the people of North America to share my passion. I know what it did to me when I saw Maryse and I fully intend in being the most accessible I can be for anyone to share what I have I realize now that the smallest details in my life made the bigger impact and with the Women in Aviation Week coming up, I hope I can make a difference. I like being involved with the conferences Canadian Women in Aviation held every two year and Girls Fly too held in Abbotsford every year. It is always such an incredible feeling to see all these successful women gathered together.

What does COPA mean to you? What are some ways the organization might help women get their start in aviation?

I am particularly proud to say that my parents started being member of COPA in One thing I remember are the magazines that would be in the house and piqued my curiosity. One of the greatest thing about COPA for me is that it centralized the information for Canadian aviation from Coast to Coast. It is also clear to me that the association has every Canadian pilot’s best interest in mind and keeps innovating.

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