848 Royal Roads Squadron Air Cadets Navya Pottumutu and Caleb Laranjeiras have earned the opportunity to take courses that will help with their plans to become commercial pilots. Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff

848 Royal Roads Squadron Air Cadets Navya Pottumutu and Caleb Laranjeiras have earned the opportunity to take courses that will help with their plans to become commercial pilots. Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff

READY TO SOAR: West Shore-based Air Cadets enjoy opportunity of a lifetime

Training courses tie in with duo’s plans to gain commercial pilot’s licences

Rick Stiebel

News Gazette staff

The sky’s the limit for two West Shore Air Cadets who have their sights set on soaring above the clouds.

Caleb Laranjeiras, 18, and Navya Pottumutu, 14, both members of the 848 Royal Roads Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, have been selected for summer courses geared to enabling them to pursue their quest to become commercial pilots.

Warrant Officer First Class Laranjeiras obtained his glider license when he was 16, and earned his private pilot license last summer. “My goal is to become a commercial pilot,” he said. He is heading to Hong Kong for two and a half weeks in July as part of a National Scholarship Training Course, where he will spend time touring aviation facilities and other flight-oriented installations with cadets from other countries.

“I’m looking forward to meeting other like-minded individuals from different backgrounds,” he said. “I spent a month in Europe with my father recently and I’ve always had a fascination with travel and exposure to different cultures.”

Flight Corporal Pottumutu hopes to follow up becoming a commercial pilot by shooting for the stars and setting a goal to become an astronaut. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space, is her main inspiration.

“She was also the first neurologist to do that, a true role model for me personally,” Pottumutu said.

She’ll spend six weeks in North Bay, Ont. attending the Advanced Aviation Technology Course, where she will learn about airport operations at Canador College. “I’m looking forward to meeting people with similar or different career aspirations and learning more about aviation,” she said. “I went to Cold Lake for three weeks on a course, so that gives me a sense of what to expect.”

The two cadets have also been involved with different elements of the music programs at Belmont secondary. Laranjeiras, who graduated in 2016, played alto and tenor sax with the school band. He also enjoys volunteering with local elections.

“I have a passion for anything political,” he said, adding that he also enjoys reading historical literature.

Pottumutu plays alto sax with the jazz and concert bands and sings in the school choir. She plays badminton, volleyball and basketball, and finds the time she spends volunteering at the Victoria Hindu Parishad “very rewarding.”

Both credit their time with cadets for improving their self confidence and providing them with opportunities to achieve their goals, in addition to making new friends.

Capt. Mandart Chan, commanding officer of the 848 Royal Roads Squadron and music director at Belmont, said Pottumutu and Laranjeiras exemplify what the cadet program is about. “Their hard work has resulted in the opportunities of a lifetime,” he said.

reporter@goldstream

gazette.com

848 Royal RoadsAir Cadets