Captain Robyn Shlachetka and First Officer Raven Beardy are seen here. Two Manitoba women have made history as the province’s first female Indigenous air ambulance team.
Captain Robyn Shlachetka and First Officer Raven Beardy flew the Missinippi Airways medevac flight earlier this week.
A photo of them in the cockpit was shared widely on Facebook after the flight, generating thousands of online reactions.
It’s believed there are fewer than a dozen female Indigenous pilots in Canada. Beardy and Shlachetka had never met another one until they met each other.
Shlachetka is a mother of four who had to leave her central Manitoba community of Wabowden for flight school.
Beardy, who is from the fly-in community of Shamattawa, got her commercial license at age 21, but was grounded for years before getting the opportunity to fly.
Both flew freight and charter flights before they got the opportunity to fly the medevac flights.
Beardy said it felt “incredible” to be the first.
“Yesterday I actually got to fly into my home community for a medevac flight, so that was pretty surreal and it just felt pretty amazing,” she said.
Shlachetka said she’s happy the achievement is getting attention. “I’m glad that it is getting the publicity that it is, because it is opening people’s eyes,” she said. “It is opening doors for kids to realize that this is achievable.”
The job involves challenges like flying in complete darkness and blizzards, but Schlachetka said it’s worth it.
“You’re kind of giving back to the community in a sense,” she said. “You’re helping people.”
With a report from CTV’s Jill Macyshon
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