Pilot Mick Egan describes his career in aviation as “striking a balance between adrenaline and safety.”
At Harbour Air, Mick flies seaplanes between Victoria and Vancouver. Since he is the solo pilot during his scheduled flights, his duties include delivering a safety brief and engaging his guests throughout the flight. “It’s important to build a rapport with customers,” Mick says, “especially since there is a guest sitting in the co-pilot seat.”
In addition to being a pilot, Mick sees himself as an ambassador for Victoria. “I love giving tours, and had to become really knowledgeable about Victoria and its history,” he explains. This seems fitting, considering that he was once a tourist in Canada.
Originally from Australia, Mick’s career history began with seven years in the Royal Australian Navy. After taking a pilot course, he worked as a crop duster in North Queensland and New South Wales. In 2000, Mick took a vacation to Canada and spent six weeks in Victoria where he completed his seaplane training. He met his wife Tracey, a Canadian, and decided to move to Canada. He says, simply, “I wanted to fly seaplanes and put roots down somewhere.”
Although the process of immigration might seem daunting, Mick explains that his transition was very smooth. “Many immigrants leave their countries to find a better, very different place, but that wasn’t my experience,” he clarifies. “Australia and Canada are quite similar, so I found it very easy to move here. I don’t feel like a foreigner.” He credits the Internet for simplifying his immigration, and assures potential immigrants that the paperwork was “actually pretty easy”.
There are challenges in every job. “Even though Victoria and Vancouver are close, there is a lot of weather to encounter. Bad weather days and low visibility can be tough.” Mick explains that the biggest challenge is the predictability of his routine, and in order to combat it, he focuses on getting to know the guests. “The different people that you meet are so interesting,” he says, “and it’s always worth it to be friendly and have fun with them.”
For anyone considering a job in the tourism industry, Mick stresses the importance of good communication skills. “You have to like people and be interested in talking with them. Put your ego away and be genuine. If your guests leave thinking that the trip was fantastic, then you can feel good about yourself.” He adds that a strong work ethic is necessary. “My work ethic comes from my parents and participating in team sports,” he says, “and it has made me stay committed. Harbour Air is all about commitment.”
Mick finds his work with Harbour Air rewarding. “It’s a growing company, but still small. You get to work with the same team and it is truly like a family. Plus, it still gives me a kick to see guests get excited about the seaplanes.”