John Wyndels

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Hello all and greetings from the flight levels!  My name is John and I thought I would take a moment and share some thoughts and my experiences with any and all who are interested in aviation and training at Harv’s Air and where it has led me professionally!  Where has it led me?  Well in brief I’ve accumulated nearly 6000 hours in a variety of aircraft ranging from the fine training aircraft at Harv’s Air, Pilatus PC12, B1900D, to my latest types including the amazing and beautiful Hawker Siddeley 748, ATR42, and ATR72.  I’ve traveled all over and seen parts of the world some can only imagine.  It all started with a dream…

My training started with Harv’s Air back in 2001.  Like all of you who continue to strive towards excellence as aviators, my days as a pilot started with catching the “bug.”  You know, that little tingle inside when you took to the sky during your first flight?  That big smile on your face as you left terra firma and soared above?  That’s the “bug!”  Once you catch it you can’t get rid of it!  If that most certainly describes you then CONGRATULATIONS and welcome to the skies!   If you haven’t taken that first step, then I encourage you to do so.   Soaring through the sky whether in a 152, or an A380 is simply an amazing experience, and one which many do not have the chance to do! 

I discovered Harv’s Air by way of a 100% positive recommendation from the President and owner of Bearskin Airlines, Harvey Friesen.  If you’re a local to Canada you’ve most certainly heard of this airline and chances are you’ve heard his name too.  It’s quite something else when you think of it, for an airline operator to “highly recommend” a flight school.  At the time I worked an office away from Mr. Friesen as one of Bearskin Airlines “Northern Area Coordinators.”  I spent my days in an office above the Bearskin hangar looking at Metros, Beech 99s, as well as Pilatus PC12s.  I couldn’t stand it anymore!  I had to follow my heart and my childhood dream!  I had to take the step forward and I’ve never regretted it. 

Mr. Friesen recommended I check out the online ground school that Harv’s Air provided.  To his surprise (and I always like to think to his slight disappointment in seeing me go) I took things one step further.  I quit my job at Bearskin and put my home town of Sioux Lookout, ON in the rear view mirror and arrived in a small town that would eventually become my new home, Steinbach MB.

One of my first instructors if my memory serves me right (don’t have my logbook in front of me) was a gentleman by the name of Al Auton.  I remember that flight, and will never forget it.  Not only did we go for a flight, he flew us out to one of the training areas (Zhoda) and introduced me to a familiar exercise for any pilot who has done training in Canada.  SPINS!!!  I think I nearly put my hand through the floor of the 152 we took up in absolute terror!!  However, the demonstration was a vital one and forever sticks in my mind along with all of the other important skills required to achieve my goal of obtaining my Private pilot licence.  The licence “to learn” as Harv Penner would tell me.  The demonstration also sent a clear message.  Flying is fun, BUT it requires your full understanding, and commitment to forever honing and fine tuning your skills.  I was so very much in awe of Al and instantly I wanted to be that “gentleman” one day.  The entire experience was inspiring.

From that point on I had the pleasure of working with some of the fine instructors Harv’s Air has.  Each had great confidence, patience, and a professionalism about them that is second to none.  I’ll never forget those people and their lessons.  Those are essential skills to bring to the task of training someone to fly safely.  That brings to me a thought that I must share, but one more quick memory first.  It’s a memory of Harv Penner signing me off on my PPL.  I don’t remember the exact words but I remember these:  “Here’s your licence… TO LEARN.”      

You, the students of Harv’s Air, are training or commencing with training shortly I hope,  at what is in my opinion, and that of many other professionals in the industry, one of the very best flight schools available.  You have the privilege and honor to be trained by folks that put great emphasis on your safety and success.  You have a world of options open to you.  From the fine folks at CKK7 to those at CYAV you have so many tools available to you.   Use them all!

You must ensure you bring your best at all times.  Flying to a “standard” isn’t really the hard part or even the end goal of great pilots.  Great pilots are created within.  Great pilots strive to raise the bar for themselves every day they fly.  They strive to be their very best even when not in the sky.  They eat, they sleep, they dream everything that is aviation.  The most important thing to understand though, is a great pilot is humble.  He/she knows that there are always new things to learn.   Not one person who has success at anything in life thinks that they know-it-all.  Great pilots never claim to be “great!” There is no rest for the mind when flying.  You must be fully engaged and switched “on.”  As soon as you think you have it all figured out, aviation in general will remind you quickly, that you don’t.

There is a point in all of this that your instructor will not be there.  There is a point when only your skills and knowledge will be your companion, and most certainly there is a point when you will have the lives of many people in your hands.  These people rely on your absolute commitment to their safety.  That requires your absolute commitment to your craft.

To your success! 


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