Astronaut candidate's profile
What is your current job?
Officer Commanding, Fighter Operational Test and Evaluation Flight - I am an experimental test pilot and a fighter pilot. Currently I lead the unit responsible for the operational flight testing of fighter aircraft in Canada. I work with a team of aerospace professionals in order to safely conduct the initial airborne evaluations of new technologies and systems on the CF-18. I have worked on a variety of test projects, ranging from out-of-control flying to automated navigation and flight control systems to weapon guidance and control. I also teach other pilots how to fly the CF-18 on demanding missions.
Why do you want to become an astronaut?
As a child I was fascinated with space. I knew that my life would focus on helping explore it. As an adult, I realize human space exploration is important to us all as individuals and as Canadians. I have always wanted to leave the world a better place than I found it, and I believe that space is one area where I can do so. I want to serve Canadians in a way befitting my aptitudes and interests. I want to inspire them. Above all, I want to help humanity broaden its collective horizon.
What motivated you to study in your field?
Physics and math were my favourite subjects in high school – I was continually amazed by how those subjects explained the world around me. I couldn't fly into space as a child, but I could fly into the atmosphere. I went for a ride in a light aircraft when I was nine years old. When we landed I knew that I wanted to fly, and that I wanted to understand in detail the science and engineering that made flying possible. I was inspired. My motivation to study aerospace at the highest levels had been set.
Think back to a teacher who had a positive impact on your life. What did she/he do to influence you?
When I was in grade six my teacher (his name was Ted) had just returned to Canada following an extended cycling trip to India. To me, this was an initial glimpse at the kind of exploratory and adventurous life I wanted to live. His stories of riding a bike across a foreign country inspired me and had a very real effect on later decisions I would make. In fact, I still stay in touch with him. He is a principal now at a school in Whitehorse, Yukon, where I was fortunate enough to spend a few childhood years.
What do you like best about your job?
As a test pilot, I have a job that combines two of my favourite things on a daily basis: engineering and high-performance flying. I like the challenges of testing new technical systems aboard high-performance jets, and I especially like the teamwork that goes into solving those challenges. I get to work with aerospace engineers, analysts, aircraft technicians, program managers and corporate executives, all with the goal of making the F-18 safer and more effective in its mission.
Which living person do you most admire? OR Who are your heroes in real life?
Many of my real-life heroes are test pilots working on experimental spaceships for commercial space exploration ventures. Role models have played an important part in my life. Growing up I wanted to be like Amelia Earhart and Chuck Yeager because they challenged the accepted limits of the day. As a teenager, Neil Armstrong left a large impression on me because he combined academic rigour with test flying to help take humans to the moon. As an adult, I am motivated by Chris Hadfield, and I admire Elon Musk's ambitious attempt to improve humanity's future despite daunting odds.
What is your favourite sci-fi movie?
2001: A Space Odyssey. (There is a lot that we can all learn from HAL!)
What is your motto?
Live passionately so that you may learn about the world. Learn about the world so that you may play a part in making it better.
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