Graeme Ferguson

Graeme Ferguson

Graeme Ferguson flies into fame

Long-time Peninsula resident and rookie pilot, Graeme Ferguson, has been catapulted into the world of reality television.

Long-time Peninsula resident and rookie pilot, Graeme Ferguson, has been catapulted into the world of reality television.

Ferguson, a Stelly’s graduate, began his flying career shortly after high school. “My parents booked me a discovery flight package out of the Victoria Flying Club and I remember going up with the pilot in the afternoon. We flew around for a while and he let me take the controls, and after that I was totally hooked,” said Ferguson of his first flight experience. “I signed up for the private pilot course that same night,” he said with a laugh.

After he completed his private pilot’s licence, Ferguson moved on to his goal of conquering his commercial pilot licensing.

In the spring of 2009, Ferguson was finally ready to start looking for full time work in the industry.

“I had a friend who knew of some openings up north, so we went up and started working as rampies,” said Ferguson. “I took a job in Hay River and he took a job in Yellowknife.”

Soon, Ferguson was working as a rampie, an airline employee who loads and unloads airplanes parked on the airport ramp, full time for Buffalo Air, the company which is featured in the History Channel’s hit show Ice Pilots NWT.

“I remember when I started they kind of told me that they were going to be doing some filming for a show — I didn’t really know what it was all about and I didn’t really think too much of it and then I got there,” said Ferguson. “There were lights everywhere and the camera people were all over the place, it was definitely a surprise.”

The show, produced by Omni television productions, airs regularly on the History Channel. It has been airing for two seasons and is one of the channel’s most popular shows.

Ferguson explained what it was like to be a part of the experience of reality television. “It’s pretty amazing to see how they put these shows together. The camera people are always on the ball, and they film absolutely everything. They film so many hours of our day-to-day activity and really only a small portion ends up actually airing, it’s kind of bizarre.”

Ferguson, who will be 26 this year, moved from being a rampie to a rookie pilot after an exciting introduction to the flying world from the company’s founder, “Buffalo” Joe McBryan. He plans to stay with Buffalo for the foreseeable future.

“I’m just enjoying it all while it lasts,” he said. “It’s definitely been a crazy ride and you never really know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.”

Ferguson is spending the summer months based out of Hay River, NWT fighting forest fires. “I’ve already been out there fighting fires this season on the DC-4 (a Second World War aircraft) and I’m sure there will be plenty more to come,” he said.