Nanaimo, B.C. sales rep Ken Welte volunteers at the Air Cadet squadron in Nanaimo offering weekly instruction on airframes, navigation, engines, air law, meteorology and airmanship. He also takes students flying for free in his Cessna 172 so that they can gain practical experience.

“I encourage students to take advantage of every opportunity through Air Cadets,” says Welte, who is with Sutton Group – West Coast Realty. “I teach the cadets the academics towards earning a scholarship so they can receive their pilot’s license for free… As well, we focus on current events locally, nationally and internationally, making these young men and women fantastic ambassadors for Canada.”

Welte, who has been volunteering for more than 20 years, says many of the students he has taught over the years are currently flying for both large and small aviation companies, as well as serving in the military as pilots, non-pilot officers and non-commissioned members. “I teach them that no goal is too high to obtain. After all, Chris Hadfield started out in Air Cadets.”

His father and grandfather were pilots and his children share the family’s passion for flying. “My son Andrew Gates is a 21-year-old officer cadet at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston. He is studying physics and his trade in the Air Force is as a pilot. My daughter Victoria Welte is 15-years-old and a flight sergeant in the Nanaimo Collishaw Royal Canadian Air Cadets.  She has her glider pilot’s license.”

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  1. Good for you, Ken.
    You are doing something for those kids that is definitely enlarging their world view of possibilities. Very exciting.
    I used to take my daughters’ (three) classmates up for a ride in my 310.
    I always put one of the kids in the co-pilot seat, showed them what to do to steer with their feet, push the throttles forward and take the plane off. I kept my hands near but not on the yoke just in case. Every one, they were teens, successfully took off and steered away from the airport. That does wonders for their self confidence.
    At 16, my oldest daughter bought a share in an Aero coupé and earned her pilots license on here 17th birthday. Then the youngest daughter bought that share and got her license. Later on both got twin ratings and instrument ratings. One became a missionary pilot in Africa.
    You just never know what those experiences will do for those kids.
    Fly High!


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