Cadet Warrant Officer First Class Nicholas Lourens is having a summer he will never forget.
On Friday, the 17-year-old Lourens, a cadet with 222 Shushwap Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, acquired his private pilot’s licence at the Canadian Flight Centre (CFC) at Boundary Bay Airport, south of Vancouver, where he’s been learning to fly. In addition, Lourens was selected to have a VIP experience with a Canadian Armed Forces CF-18 Hornet demonstration jet.
Lourens was selected for the F-18 VIP experience based on his performance to date in a flying scholarship course he and only 33 other cadets from throughout B.C. receives from the Department of National Defence. The scholarship covers his flying lessons, accommodation and travel.
“My dad took me to Salmon Arm Airport one day after daycare when I was four years old,” says Lourens in a July 22 media release from the Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre. “I looked at a plane and I thought ‘This is it!’ I wanted to be a pilot since then. That is why I joined cadets and now I’m achieving that dream thanks to this program.”
Lourens, whose goal is to one day fly a Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter with the Royal Canadian Air Force, says he always felt a little ‘weird’ being so passionate about planes and flying. That changed when he joined the cadet program.
“I didn’t feel weird in cadets. I joined for the flying, but the best part is the friends I have made along the way. It feels cool to have found them and I have made some great buddies,” says Lourens.
Lourens recently graduated from Salmon Arm Secondary and wants to pursue a career in aviation.