Right now, Colette Morin is busy organizing her 10th Women Of Aviation Week event. Because of Covid this year, the event will be mostly virtual. In past years, Morin has been so effective with organizing events that she won the Most Acclaimed Organizer Worldwide Fly It Forward® Award twice and has seen more and more women start flying lessons. Meet this inspirational female role model.
What are you currently doing in aviation?
I am the sole owner, operations manager, chief pilot and chief flight instructor for Glacier Air in Squamish, BC. We specialize in VFR flight training, mountain flying, air tours and charter flights. I have a fleet of 5 aircraft, two Cessna 172’s, one Cessna 206, one Citabria 7GCBC and one Super Decathlon for fun aerobatic flights!
I really enjoy teaching and flying air tours. Showing off my beautiful backyard from the sky to people from around the world is always fun but teaching someone to fly is extremely satisfying!
My Mom has been my greatest supporter of my aviation career and helps keep the business running with her exceptional financial management skills!
How and why did you get involved in WOAW?
I don’t recall exactly how I came across the WOAW organization but I hosted our first Fly it Forward event in 2011 and Glacier Air along with the BC Coast 99’s, has been hosting one every year since! The idea of and organization that promotes women in aviation and introduced girls to aviation opportunities just resonated with me.
Hosting WOAW events is a natural fit for me and Glacier Air, as I love to introducing people to flying, I believe more women are needed in the industry, and I have the perfect platform to promote both!
Our first year event introduced less than 20 women to the excitement of the skies but each year, as word spread, our event grew and became more organized. The weather in March in the mountains can be unpredictable, ranging from beautiful, clear spring days, to rain showers and snow squalls, but despite the weather we have managed to safely conduct some flights each year. Knowing that the weather can be and issue, I began inviting guest speakers to our event and added activities to entertain and educate people while they waited out weather and for their turn to fly.
Why do you continue to organize WOAW events?
In the last 9 years Glacier Air’s WOAW events have introduced over 600 girls/women of all ages to the joy of flying from our little mountain airfield! Some girls have started taking flight lessons after participating in our WOAW events, but most have not. Regardless, I love the excitement and enthusiasm of a day filled with flying!
Everyone involved from our volunteer pilots, ground crew and guest speakers to participants and spectators have fun and leave with a new understanding of aviation, a smile on their faces and hopefully a spark that will ignite into a new aviation enthusiast!
Organizing this event each year with a group of women pilots (the BC Coast 99’s) all with a shared passion and common goal to promote aviation and encourage girls to follow their dreams is very satisfying and empowering!
Unfortunately with the global Covid pandemic in the interest of public health and safety, we are not able to host our 10th flying event in
2021 but this wont stop us! We are going virtual and will be hosting an online event on March 13th, 2021!
How has the presence of women in the industry evolved over the length of your career?
I grew up knowing women can fly as my Mother was a pilot. I was never told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. I always tended to participate in activities that were considered non-traditional for girls but never had much resistance in doing them, at least that I was aware of. Maybe I was simply oblivious but just did my thing to the best of my ability and didn’t get at blow back from the guys.
When I started flying in the early 90’s I flew with both male and female instructors and after I got my PPL I was introduced to the 99’s. I started hearing of the challenges many of these women faced while pursuing their aviation training and careers and was genuinely shocked. When I started up my flight school almost 20 years ago I noticed that we had more female students than other schools yet the ratio of male/female was still steady at less than 10%.
Over the last 10 years through initiatives by organizations like WOAW and the 99’s and through the use of social media, there has been an increased awareness and interest by girls/women to enter the aviation field.
Glacier Air currently has a 17% female student population overall. 20% of our commercial students are female. My hope is that these numbers will continue to increase each year until there is an equal gender balance throughout the industry. I’m proud to be a part of the WOAW initiative and to provide women a strong, safe and nurturing environment where they can learn to spread their wings and fly!