91-year-old Calgarian fulfills lifelong dream of taking to the skies

Getting behind the controls of a commercial aircraft has long been on the bucket list of 91-year-old Calgarian Margaret Hitchcock, and on Tuesday the lifelong aviation enthusiast got to experience the next best thing.

As part of the Signature Living List program, Hitchcock was invited to WestJet’s Calgary campus to tour their facilities and visit the airport’s control tower.

But the highlight of the day was a spin in the airline’s full motion simulator, complete with an aerial tour of the city.

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“I enjoyed it,” said Hitchcock. “I’ve accomplished something that I didn’t know anything about.”

The program is facilitated by the Prominence Way Retirement Community where Hitchcock lives.

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Every year, residents were asked to write down a wish they’d want to accomplish and the staff figured out how to grant them.

Prominence Way executive director Jenna Gorgas said getting residents out in the community is an extremely valuable and rewarding experience.

“It’s an opportunity to take them outside of their day-to-day experience and… make a difference in the lives of our residents,” said Gorgas.

Tuesday’s tour held additional meaning since Hitchcock first fell in love with all things aviation while working in Pearl Harbour.

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While she’s also fascinated with ships, the nonagenarian says in another life, she could’ve seen herself pursuing a career in aviation.

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“It’s something that’s been roving in my mind,” said Hitchcock. “I’ve been interested in aircraft facilities and planes — I should’ve been in that field.”

The program is aiming to give other seniors a chance to fulfill their dreams with more excursions planned for the summer.

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