Air Transat (Montreal)
Stéphane Auclair earned his pilot’s licence at age 16, almost at the same time as his driver’s licence. That’s how passionate he is about flying. At the time, his dream was to become an airline pilot, but the training costs slowed his progress.
“There is no one way to become a professional pilot. Some people earn their licence after attending flying school for a year, others do so in the army and some go to the Cégep de Chicoutimi (Quebec). I started by taking a mechanic’s course at École nationale d’aérotechnique (national institute of aeronautics) and, after working on the ground for seven years as a technician, I was lucky to be hired as a flight engineer on one of Air Transat’s Lockheed L1011 aircraft.”
Even while working as a technician, he did not lose sight of his dream. During his free time, he took theory and flying courses, accumulated hundreds of flying hours with individuals, fire patrols, sky-diving schools, etc. At age 32, he finally found himself at the helm of a Lockheed 1011, as a co-pilot. Sheer bliss!
For the past three years, he has been captain on an Air Transat Airbus A310. Has his work changed? “Not really. In the cockpit, the captain and co-pilot do the same tasks. I’m often in charge of the controls one way and the other person takes over on the return flight. Only the responsibilities change. In the event of an incident, I have the last word.”
Even after more than 14,000 hours of flying time – in other words approximately 240 flights a year – Stéphane is still driven by the same passion. “Travelling the world, discovering new destinations…that’s fascinating. And there’s no routine. My schedule changes from one month to the next. I never know where I will be going, when or with whom I will be working.” The only downside, however it is difficult to make long-term plans with family and friends! “I never know when I will be on duty…”