About Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre
Founded in 1932 at Lexington Field in North Waterloo, Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre (WWFC) is deeply rooted in the Waterloo region. With its beginnings as a flying club, WWFC has continued to grow over the years, including being the driving force behind the development of the Waterloo Airport in its current location in 1950.
Today, WWFC is proud to offer a state-of-the-art facility and is partnered with two prestigious post-secondary institutions, Conestoga College and the University of Waterloo to offer industry recognized training to individuals seeking a career in aviation. WWFC also strongly supports the general aviator, training more than 50 private pilots annually.
WWFC is a not-for-profit corporation and is governed by a volunteer board of directors who oversee the long-term development and operation of WWFC and its programs.
About Our Drone Training Program
The Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) program was established in 2014 and has been a leader in the the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle industry ever since. The program has evolved over the years to a once a month weekend course, custom courses and instruction in various sectors. WWFC has provided drone instruction for government, education, research, public and private sectors, as well as for recreational use. The program has nine staff, which includes a Business Manager, instructors, maintenance and professional UAV pilots.
The program is well-rounded in that it provides information on Transport Canada regulations, as well as RPAS operation and maintenance. WWFC RPAS courses include training to the TP 15263 knowledge requirements for pilots of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. WWFC is also an active member of Unmanned Systems Canada and participates in the working group at Transport Canada.
The WWFC RPAS program also has a number of industry and community partners. WWFC also attends and participates in a number of conferences and tradeshows across Canada and the US to stay up-to-date on RPAS technology, regulations and news.
WWFC has been training aviation professionals for more than 80 years. Our highly skilled educators consist of commercial manned aviation pilots and UAV industry specialists. By working together, they convey traditional aerospace knowledge within the context of unmanned systems. Our instructors are passionate about teaching and have enabled hundreds of new RPAS pilots to operate safely and reliably in Canadian airspace. Find out a little more about each below.
Sarah Spry, RPAS Manager & Flight Examiner
Sarah Spry is the RPAS Manager at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre and has worked in aviation education since 2011. Sarah leads the UAS training program and enjoys teaching students the fundamentals of flight and safety in Canadian airspace. She sits on the Training Committee for Unmanned Systems Canada, and has had various speaking positions, such as Ontario Science Centre and Xponential. Sarah is an advocate for Women in STEM and is working on her Private Pilots Licence.
Kyle McKinnon, RPAS Program Coordinator & Flight Examiner
Kyle McKinnon is the RPAS Program Coordinator, as well as an instructor and pilot. He began flying drones in 2014 in order to collect geospatial data for stockpile management, NDVI creation and silviculture management. With 100+ hours of flight time Kyle has experience piloting many different platforms and sensors. His experience performing highly accurate data collection allows him to give first-hand feedback to those looking to enter the drone industry. Kyle walks students through the many legal hurdles they may face while flying commercially. He also teaches new pilots how to care for and maintain their UAV.
Dave Wilson, Senior RPAS Instructor
Dave Wilson has been flying fixed wing aircraft for more than 20 years. He is a Senior, Class 1 Flight Instructor at WWFC and has experience in the commercial airplane side of the industry. He has been instructing ground school for the UAV program for four years. Dave enjoys training new pilots for the manned and unmanned industry.
Scott Gray, CEO AVIDRONE Aerospace Inc.
President & CEO, AVIDRONE Aerospace Inc.
A world renown designer and demonstrator of remote control and autopilot technologies, Scott has operated more than 2,000 commercial missions flown in film, photography and unmanned autopilot development. Scott is a champion R/C pilot with 23 National Titles and World Championship medals. Scott's unique UAV expertise combined with being a commercially licensed airplane pilot and aircraft owner brings a unique, high-level of professionalism to the program. AVIDRONE designs and manufactures industrial unmanned aircraft and autopilot systems.
Geoffrey Gurr, Fabricator AVIDRONE Aerospace Inc.
UAV Specialist, AVIDRONE Aerospace Inc.
Geoff is a professional fabrication expert with over a decade experience manufacturing and operating commercial UAV systems. Geoff has experience maintaining, and operating UAVs and payloads for hundreds of commercial missions. His work has led to advancements in UAV endurance, stability and manufacturing techniques integrating custom payloads and systems to flying aircraft. Geoff shares his experience in the industry with the WWFC course and students.
Heckle Fernandes, RPAS Instructor
Heckle has been a RPAS Instructor at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre since 2017 and a Flight Instructor since 2018. Heckle holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo, having graduated from the Aviation Program. He is a commercial pilot and training to be a helicopter pilot as well. Heckle assists with program development, as well as teaching the UAV courses.
Brian Riddell, Aerial Photography Specialist & Flight Examiner
Brian is an accomplished visual communicator, photographer and educator with over thirty years of experience and has a passion for new creative technologies. He is a Professor of Applied Photography at Conestoga College in the School Media and Design with more than 10 years of teaching and more than 250 hours of flight time. Brian has a talent for photography. His passion has lead him to create two companies; Brian Riddell Photographics focusing mainly in commercial, industrial and portrait photography
and Dragon Air UAS offering drone photography and cinematography applications around the globe.
Brett Danks, RPAS Instructor
Brett Danks has been involved with the UAV training program at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre for the last three years and has played a key role in the development and delivery of course. Brett has an honours degree in Political Science and Business from Brock University, as well as a diploma in General Arts and Science (Aviation) where he graduated with distinction. Since obtaining his commercial pilot license Brett continued his aviation education and is now a class three flight Instructor. His unique background and skill set has made his involvement with UAV education and training a natural progression.
Steven Prang, RPAS Maintenance Engineer
Steve’s main role is Aircraft Maintenance Engineer at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, maintaining the fleet of more than 25 aircraft. He has been flying, designing and building remote control aircraft since 1998, which includes large gas-powered aircraft, complex turbine powered aircraft, midsize helicopters and midsize multicopters. Steve enjoys working with remote piloted aircraft systems and training new pilots on how to properly operate and maintain them.