Meet @PilotAnnie, Anna Rusinowski, a Canadian based pilot who is storytelling through Sky Magazine. An avid lover of things aviation related, she has taken both her passions in her hands to create her dream opportunity. Newly engaged to her beau, who is a helicopter pilot himself she is showcasing the dream life of someone who chose to follow her dreams. Here’s her conversation with Goss Magazine.
Have you been flying lately?
A little less flying in the past month. The reason being is that our airplane is in the shop getting an upgrade. We originally were supposed to get it into the shop in February, but the maintenance facility that was doing our upgrade had a COVID outbreak, so everything was put on the back burner. I did some great flying in February and March. The machine had been down for a good chunk of April, unfortunately. I’m just waiting for that. It should be ready this coming week. I should be doing my instrument hours on it.
Give me a bit of a breakdown about your journey coming to now. How many hours do you have?
I’ve been working on my commercial license for what seems like a very long time. I started it back in 2019 and there obviously were a bunch of things that came up in my life and all over the world, so it’s been a lot more of a drawn-out process than I would have liked it to be. That’s more aviation. You have to pivot and be flexible because there are things that just come up all the time, especially in aircraft ownership. There’s a delay at the maintenance facility, or maybe you have trouble finding a part that you need. There’s a long list of things that come up.
Remind me, you own the Piper with another couple?
Exactly. It’s myself and my fiancé, and our friends who are a married couple. They own a maintenance facility as well. They specialize in GA aircraft. and we’ve been doing a lot of the work together for our airplane, which has been super great and cost-effective. They’re actually not able to do bigger installs. That had to go to another job. That’s what has caused a bunch of the delay. I have all the requirements met for my commercial license, it’s really just a matter of passing the flight test. I wrote the exam and passed that already. The exams are a nightmare. Now, it’s just a matter of getting our airplane back and getting re-situated in it and getting comfortable again. Flying a plane is not like riding a bike. You can jump in after a few months and still be competent as a pilot, though. I’ll probably take a good couple of weeks to hone in on those skills and to make sure I’m feeling really good about going into the flight tests. Once that’s behind me, it will be all engines revving for the instrument rating. I’m hoping to knock that one out of the park soon. I completed the ground school for it, and I’m on the waitlist to write the INRAT. Transport Canada has had huge delays, and with every lockdown, they shut down their facilities. I originally got on the waitlist in January. They suggested that it would likely be an April exam, but nobody could have foreseen another lockdown. I don’t know when I’m going to be writing the exam. It’s difficult for a lot of pilots and training in COVID. The training is inconsistent and you’ll feel prepared for it one day, but something will come up, another delay, and all that training and studying you’ve done is for nothing.
You have your CPL already, and your PPL. Do you have your Night Rating as well?
Yes. Some people do their single-engine or their multi-engine, depending. I haven’t done them. I’m trying to save some money, so I’m trying to be as cost-effective as possible. I’m trying to focus on doing my single-engine instrument on my own airplane. When I feel really good and have a good handle of flying in general and all these different approaches — because I have never shot an approach before. I find it difficult because I have never done any of those approaches before. Other than reading about it in books, I have no experience with that. I’m thinking that once I can get my single-engine, I’ll think about multi-engine. I really enjoy flying single-engine aircrafts. I can’t say what the differences are, but in my love for aviation, it has always been for general aviation. Flying has always been a means of experiencing the world. I love flying airplanes closer to the ground. Generally, when you’re flying a multi-engine aircraft, you’re flying at higher altitudes, and they’re usually pressurized. It’s just a different world. That world doesn’t appeal to me as much as the world that I’m living in right now.
As a career, where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years with aviation?
I’ve been increasingly interested in corporate aviation. There are a lot of really great single-engine aircrafts that operate in the corporate world. That would be a really great experience. With that, there’s no consistency, which I love. You never know where you’re going to end up or who you’re going to be flying. That really excites me. You’re going to fly to all these different places, some in the middle of nowhere. That appeals to me. That would be something I would be interested in as a career. Do you know what’s funny? The path you think you want changes in ways that you never would have expected.
Do you think that it’s because your desires change over time, or that you’re adapting to where your life is headed?
I think both, actually. Before I even started my aviation journey, I wanted to be a writer. I focused entirely on writing. I took English classes throughout my high school years to establish myself for university and to become a journalist. I took media at Carleton. I really didn’t love it in my first year. I transferred universities, went back home to Toronto, finished my Bachelor of Arts majoring in English Literature. That was it. I thought I wanted to do it, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would.
Do you have your blog still active when you did personal writing?
The original blog that I kept before I knew I wanted to be a pilot is no longer active because I stopped paying for the domain a few years ago. I have my personal website now, which is www.pilotannie.com. I have a blog on there, which I have to be better at updating. I do have quite a few personal blogs. There are probably nine or ten of them there. I have two years worth of articles through COPA Magazine.
Annie is newly engaged to Marcus, who is a helicopter pilot.
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