Pilot Profile: Evan Redka

Evan’s love of flying started at an early age. At just 10 years old, he took a scenic tour in a helicopter at a local airport and as his sister sat up front with the pilot. Evan sat in the back wishing he was in the pilot seat, knowing that one day, he too would be a pilot. 

Evan’s exploration into aviation training began with an intro flight in a Cessna. His adventurous and outdoorsy spirit was too restless for fixed wing and an intro flight in an R22 gave him the challenge he was looking for. Evan landed on Essential’s program at Canadore College (now Helicopters Canada) and was intrigued by the operational courses so he took the tour, and was enrolled 1 year after high school. 

The variety of instructors gave him plenty of opportunity to learn in new ways from different teachers. A structured college schedule, and being at a college campus gave Evan a more focused and professional feeling. The operational courses, duty pilot program, and flying in the North Bay landscape helped to realistically prepare him for the working world. Fun fact about Evan: After going solo for the first time his mom happened to be at the school and she got to watch him land. And as Evan got out, with a big smile on his face, his mom came over and performed the ritual of dumping icy cold water on him. Well played, Mom.

As a graduate, Evan’s passion for flying in new areas and landscapes like out West in the Rocky Mountains never gets old. He has been meeting new people, hearing their stories, living in different places and learning skills that will stay with him for life. A proud moment for him?  The feeling of trust. Using someone else’s machine on someone else’s time and someone else’s money, that’s when you know the company trusts you enough that they give you the freedom to get the job done. If you ever get an emergency while flying it gives you confidence that all the training you do is for a reason and you can reflect back to the moment when you were able to stay calm, just react and let your training take over.

Evan also added that “no matter how many jobs you get sent on you always remember every single flight and everyone you work with. Nobody in this industry doesn’t want to be here and isn’t enjoying it… the pilots are always happy.”

As for advice, Evan recommends having a plan for your career trajectory but also be prepared to be flexible and spontaneous. Expect to make some sacrifices to find balance both personally and professionally. Figure out if this career can cater to your lifestyle or if you need to be more picky about the type of flying you want to do. Pay attention to the little things that aren’t necessarily about flying, and soak up as much information along the way as you can because you never know what’s going to help you in the future.

Vertical Magazine, local groups and forums, social media pages for pilots are just some of the places Evan goes to for industry information but finds the best resource is always people – “This is where the best information and most passion comes from. Take advantage of working at different bases in different places where new pilots stop through who you might never see again. Try to talk to as many people as you can, listen to their stories and understand that having that personal connection is just as valuable as hard work.”

Thank you Evan for sharing your stories with us and all of your words of wisdom.