Mount A aviation student takes flight in national competition

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Mount Allison bachelor of science in aviation student Mark Nardei will represent the entire Atlantic region at the Webster Memorial Trophy Competition this summer.
The annual award, established in 1932, names the 'Top Amateur Pilot in Canada' and will take place in Kitchener-Waterloo Aug. 18-22.

Mount Allison’s Karen Korstanje is the first Canadian to present at the fourth International Workshop on Cryptography, Robustness, and Provably Secure Schemes for Female Young Researchers (CrossFyre 2014). PHOTO SUBMITTED

"I first heard of the competition after I completed my private pilot flight test in April. My examiner informed me of the competition and suggested I sign up," says Nardei. "I am always looking for an opportunity to fly, so the prospect of being able to compete at the national level was very exciting."

Nardei is one of nine competition finalists for the Webster Trophy.

The actual competition will consist of a written test, a flight test, and a flight planning exercise complete with a simulator evaluation to test navigation. Top prizes include scholarships, aviation resources and gear, and a professional development day with the Snowbirds.

Nardei, originally from Calgary, AB, has wanted to fly since the age of four. He looked at several options for training after high school and decided on Mount Allison's bachelor of science in aviation program for a number of reasons.

"Mount Allison had the best combination of academics and flight training for somebody serious about making a career of flying. It fit all my criteria for a flying program," says Nardei.

"Airlines are increasingly looking for university degrees in their prospective pilots, and a program that gives a degree and a commercial license with a group 1 IFR endorsement (multi-engine instrument rating) was exactly what I was looking for."

When not flying or studying, Nardei is also a classical musician, playing piano and pipe organ. He has formal training in piano and, in addition to the Webster competition, will also be writing an exam in August to obtain his Associate of Royal Conservatory of Toronto (ARCT) in piano performance. He also enjoys golfing and skiing in his hometown.

While Nardei is busy preparing for the August competition, he also keeps his long-term goals on the horizon, seeking experience in and outside the academic realm.

"I would like to fly for a major airline on trans-oceanic routes. I have been very fortunate to work with a fantastic group of people in the operations and maintenance department of the Calgary Airport Authority for the last two summers. I regard this experience as a valuable building block in my career."

Established in 2008, Mount Allison's bachelor of science in aviation program, offered in partnership with the Moncton Flight College, is one of only a few in Canada that allows students to earn an undergraduate degree incorporating flight and ground school training. Students earn a full degree in addition to more than 200 hours of flight training, preparing them well for many career paths in the field of aviation (

Organizations: Moncton Flight College, Royal Conservatory of Toronto, ARCT Calgary Airport Authority

Geographic location: Calgary, AB, Canada

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