July 27 – Father Flies WestJet Plane, transporting daughters and Team Alberta



Gerry Erlam, an original pilot from WestJet and father of two Alberta divers, flies Team Alberta

(Winnipeg, AB) WestJet flight 132 successfully touched down in Winnipeg, transporting the bulk of Team Alberta athletes set to compete in week 1 of the 2017 Canada Summer Games.

The flight packed with athletes wearing Team Alberta uniforms was flown by Gerry Erlam, father to Marti and Margo Erlam of Calgary, Alberta, two divers on Team Alberta. Erlam has been a pilot with WestJet for 21 years since the inception of the Calgary-based company.

>>PHOTO: Gerry Erlam and his two daughters, Martine and Margo (Credit Diving Alberta)

Gerry wasn’t initially scheduled to fly the plane, but did some work in the background to be granted that privilege. “When I found out that WestJet was going to fly Team Alberta to the Canada Games, I did a bit of research with the scheduling agents, and found out who was assigned to fly the plane. I spoke to the pilot that was scheduled and explained to him the situation, and he gladly gave me his assignment.”

Both Marti and Margo were not aware that their father would fly until he surprised them at the airport, in uniform. “I told the ladies I was heading out to the gym as they were heading out.”

“I was so excited. I haven’t flown in a plane he piloted since my 11th birthday. The face that he’s flying us for Canada Games is a huge deal and that’s pretty cool.,” said Marti, who was overwhelmed and excited to have her father take on the task of operating the aircraft.

“It’s pretty cool to have our dad fly the plane. He surprised us at the airport this morning,” said Margo.

And the two girls have pretty high expectations when it comes to their father’s flying ability. “I think he was a little nervous since we are his biggest critics. But ultimately, we were pretty happy with the ride. His landing was good and that’s what he was most concerned about. He did a pretty good job,” confirmed a smiling Marti.

Responded Gerry with a laugh: “I’m happy the girls appreciated the landing. Now it’s my turn to critique their landing for the next week… in the water!”

During the flight, Gerry took the opportunity to acknowledge not only the divers and his daughters, but the entire Team Alberta delegation on the plane.

“He talked about Team Alberta of course, and he mentioned me denting the car a little bit,” laughs Marti. Margo weighted in by saying: “it was a pretty big dent!” Gerry’s reply: “I did mention to the plane how excellent they were at diving, but that they needed to work and practice at parking a car in a parking stall!”

>>> UNTOLD STORY: The power of sisterhood

Flight 132 carried athletes from Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Diving, Rowing, Sailing, Soccer (W), Triathlon and Beach Volleyball.

The 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg kicks off tomorrow, July 28, with the Opening Ceremonies. The celebrations will be broadcast on TSN (English) and RDS (French).