AB - With a few more hours of flying time, Coby Marsh, 25, will
likely be the first Native woman in Canada to obtain a helicopter
a member of the Lax Kw'alaams Band in northern British Columbia,
has passed her written Transport Canada exam and is close to logging
the required number of flying hours to qualify for a license.
came to Calgary four years ago to enroll in the flight school. Living
with relative, she worked at a bakery and a construction company
to save money for her tuition.
student loan and donations from Treaty 7 and the Lax Kw'alaams Band
helped her meet the costs of the "$46,000 course.
said it's been a long, but worthwhile journey. "I've always
been interested in flying, so I looked into it and pursued it and
her I am," she said.
has been around flying machines all her life, from making visits
to her grandparents in rural British Columbia to taking topographic
photographs for her high school.
that Marsh has competed the five-month ground school and air training
at Bighorn Helicopters Flight School, in Springbank, she is planning
to extend her stay at the school to work for the summer. But, she
has her eye on the future.
want to become a part of a seach-and-rescue team or coast guard."
she said, adding that she will go where a job lands her, but wants
to be near the ocean again.
up with challenges
wasn't sure about the lessons in the beginning, but knew if she
wanted something badly enough, she had to work hard for it.
Paul Bergeron credits Marsh's persistence for her success and achievements.
was this young female who wanted to fly and she showed dedication
and commitment right from the start," he said. "To be
a helicopter pilot, you have to be able to put up with the challenges."
said helicopter training is extremely difficult and Marsh finished
with about-average performances. She was also the first in her class
of eight to fly solo.
success represents the breakthrough Aboriginal women are making
wonderful," said Ruth Kidder, president of the Alberta Aboriginal
says that Aboriginal women are finally looking at other areas rather
than at traditional women's jobs," said Kidder, adding this
has been a trend for the past few years and is happening faster
than people realize.