First Officer Damar Walker

First Officer Damar Walker

Airbus A319, YYZ

“I love seeing the different lives being lived and all the landscapes from above. You cannot get that view anywhere else…It really is a whole other world up there.”

First Officer Damar Walker, Airbus A319

From the airports he sees to the people he meets, there is never a dull moment in Damar's work life. Here is his story...

In Jamaica, pursuing a career as a pilot was considered out of the ordinary. There is typically a lot of pressure in a Caribbean household to enter the medical field instead.

I inherited my passion for aviation from my father. Although he was never a pilot, nor was he ever part of the industry itself, he loved watching airplanes. For years, my dad would take me to the airport where I would sit on top of our family van and watch plane after plane take-off and land as he would name each one. I still recall him saying “That right there is a Boeing 747!”. This time spent with my dad never got old for me.

My first flight was in 1988 when my family moved from Jamaica to Canada. The pilot let me into the flight deck of the aircraft, a Boeing 747, an experience which fuelled my fascination for aviation. Even more so was my excitement with airports which I got to experience first hand during this excursion.

To this day, airports amaze me. They are places where people meet, re-unite and are starting points for life’s adventures and special moments.  

My decision to become a pilot was an obvious blend of ambition and nostalgia. My parents were very supportive and always told me that “whatever you are passionate about, whatever you want to do, just be good at it and give it your best.”

With their encouragement and that of a friend who mentored me along the way, I enrolled at Western University, in London, Ontario where I graduated with a major in Commercial Aviation Management and a minor in Geography. From there, I spent 12 years in the military where I got to fly the CT-156 Harvard II, the King Air C90B, the King Air 200 and my personal favourite, the Lockheed CC-130J Hercules.

After retiring from the military, I flew at WestJet Encore for just under a year, before I was offered my dream job with Air Canada in 2018.

Since then, no two days have been alike and there has never been a dull moment. Each flight brings new faces and experiences. Even though I spend most of my time in the flight deck, I am able to get to know my fellow pilots and passengers on a personal level. This has not only taught me to be confident and social but has made my job even more worthwhile.

In the years since entering the field, I have become the proud father of a son and daughter, the latter of whom seems to have her eye on aviation! I am excited to share my experiences with her as she grows so she can achieve her full potential wherever her future takes her. One thing I learned over the course of my journey – which has come full circle as the father of a daughter who has inherited my passion for flight, is that while things may not always go as planned, I firmly believe they do tend to work out and there are always opportunities to succeed. It makes all the difference when you love what you do, and I hope my children experience the same in their careers someday.

These are all reasons that made me want to pursue a career in aviation as a pilot, and perhaps after a long and satisfying career, I can retire in the left seat of the Boeing 777!

“If you have a goal that you are passionate about, it will come to fruition.”