If you are astute, you will recognize my title to the Harry Chapin song Taxi.  The theme of this week’s blog.

When I was 17, I was awarded an Air Cadet scholarship to obtain a Pilot’s license.  One of only 20 cadets in Saskatchewan to get this training that year.

Part of this initiative was the RCAF trying to get young guys (in those days there were no girls) to take training and possibly join the air force as a pilot.  I would like to think the other part was because I was a brilliant leader in my squadron.   Regardless, I ended up with a license and I loved flying, but it turned out to be an expensive hobby.  I briefly thought of pursuing flying as a career but I had a major issue:  I wore eyeglasses.

In those days almost all of the airline pilots earned their hundreds of flying hours in the various air forces around the world, and then got the chance to fly commercially.  Otherwise you had to pay major money to get commercial license hours of training.  As I wore glasses, I was told I would never be able to join the RCAF as a pilot.  Which caught me off-guard — it took me aback.

At the start of WWI,I my father joined the air force to be a pilot, but because he had a problem with the vision in one eye, he ended up as an engine mechanic.  Pat’s father also tried out to be a pilot but for some reason ended up as a navigator.  Everyone wanted to be the pilot of a Spitfire.

I quickly realized my dream of being a commercial pilot would not happen, and settled on being an Engineer, and later, a sales guy (which turned out to be my forte).

Anyway, I read in the news that there is a major shortage of pilots in Canada.  The Canadian air lines need a minimum of 3000 pilots over the next 4 years because of the expansion of flights … and retirements.  As well, there is a need for many thousands of trained air frame maintenance personnel.  Not a hope of getting these numbers from our air force.  Likely going to have to hire foreigners.

Centennial College in Toronto is expanding its school at Downsview to train 900 pilots a year, plus 1000s of support mechanics.  You can take a college program with a guaranteed high paying job at the end.  And wearing glasses is not an issue.

I wonder if this had been available when I was young, if my life would have gone in a different direction.  I could have taken off to find the sky.