CAF Story | “High risk, high consequence and high rewards” – The fuel for one of Canada’s next Astronauts

Video / August 25, 2017


To be successful as a test pilot takes a number of things. It requires you to get good, I like to say, at environments that are high-risk, high-consequence. In environments in which your decisions really matter because the consequences of a mistake, where an error in judgement or the wrong decision, can be very, very grave.

I’ve been flying the F-18 for over ten years now. I’ve flown it all over the world in all kinds of different operations.

I’m Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Kutryk, I’m the 4 Wing Operations Officer.

I recall a night in 2011, we were flying back from Africa during the middle of the night, and when the mission was over, we had about a 500-mile transit back to Italy. I remember it because it was just a very calm and quiet experience. The excitement and the mission had ended. There were few other jets in the air at the time. It was just myself and my wingman. And we flew for about an hour to cover the 500 miles across the Mediterranean. And without saying a word, without hearing a word, it was just pure quiet. A very dark star-filled night, and we were able to turn the lights down in the cockpit on a night like that and you just look up and think to yourself. You see the stars from a situation like that in a way that you never really see them here on the ground. It’s a very calming, soothing experience and one that gets you thinking about bigger things.

To have been named one of the next Canadian astronauts is… it’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and it’s something that I’ve been working very hard for. My family’s very excited by the news as you can imagine. It’s happening very fast. There’s a lot of excitement in our life, and we’re both very eager to get down there and to see what the new environment and the new job is going to be like. My mother’s very excited as well, but I think that she’s probably a little anxious about some things. She’s probably a little bit anxious about the fact that I’m leaving Canada, and probably leaving Canada for a long, long time. And as most mothers would be, she’s also a little bit anxious about the whole “rocket ship flying into space” thing. Yeah.

It’s important to find what it is in the world that really, really, really excites you and go after it.

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