It certainly seems as though the phenomenon wasn’t planned, but the women were pleased to find they were all working together upon checking their schedules.
The crew consisted of Pilot Carly St. Onge, Co-Pilot Tamara Kulyk and medical team members Jen Rondeau and Crystal Lybeck, all of whom responded to a call out on the night of Friday 2 August to transfer a patient in respiratory distress from Buffalo Narrows to Saskatoon.
There are currently 25 pilots working for Saskatchewan Air Ambulance, and St. Onge and Kulyk are the only two females. This may seem like an extreme minority, but St. Onge insists that the organisation is leading the way when it comes to employing women in the field: “In aviation we have about six-per-cent females,” she explained. “And at air ambulance here with the government, Tammie and I make up almost eight per cent of the pilots here. So we’re actually doing industry standard or better.”
Kulyk hopes that the incident will inspire more women to consider careers in aviation: “If you want to work in aviation, you can do it,” she said. “It takes hard work; you have to be very passionate about it. But there is nothing that I have ever experienced to hold me back as a woman in aviation. It’s always been a great place for me to work."
What a momentous step forward for the organisation, and hopefully, for the aviation industry as a whole. We certainly hope that this case of an all-female emergency response crew doesn’t remain an anomaly. And hopefully it will discourage the notion that the aviation industry, and indeed all STEM industries, are less suited to women.