Mark Dizon is one of Canada’s best non-commercial pilots. He recently won a provincial competition that included flight and written exams provided by NavCanada, and in a few weeks he’ll compete for the Webster Memorial Trophy, emblematic of “Canada’s Top Amateur Pilot.”
Dizon, who was born in the Philippines before moving to Steinbach, MB with his family, is also a Providence student entering the third year of his Bachelor of Arts in Aviation, provided jointly by Providence University College and Harv’s Air. He says his studies at Providence and Harv’s have helped make him a highly skilled, well-rounded pilot.
“To be a Pilot for hire, one can typically do his or her training in just one or two types of aircraft,” he explains. “However, since I’m doing my training to Providence I take courses that require that I fly different kinds of aircraft and learn more about general aviation in North America.”
He points to the flight to and from California that second-year students organize and undertake as one of the unique components to the aviation program at Providence.
“We had to fly through different kinds of airspace and weather,” he says of last year’s cross-border journey. “In the span of those 10 days I think I learned a lot as a pilot.”
He has also enjoyed student life at Providence, citing the school’s small class sizes and an overall experience that allows him and his peers to “get more compared to students at big universities.”
At the upcoming Webster Memorial Trophy competition in Peterborough, ON, Dizon and eight other pilots from across the country will participate in flight, simulation and written tests, as well as interviews with the event’s judges. It will be a challenging few days, but, he says, he’s looking forward to showcasing his ability.
“This event benefits the contestants,” he explains. “It gives us exposure to aviation organizations that can help us get jobs in the industry. It will help get a foot in the door.”
The competition was established in 1931 in memory of John Webster, who was involved in a fatal accident not long after representing Canada at the King’s Cup Air Race in England. Sponsors of the event include NavCanada, Air Canada and the Snowbirds.