For 96-year-old Colleen Godard, there’s no expiry date on enthusiasm, especially when it comes to her grandson Ryan. So when the younger Godard earned his pilot’s license near his home in British Columbia earlier this year, he knew who would be among his first passengers. The duo slipped the surly bonds together in a 172 from Campbell River Airport and Ryan’s two-camera video of the flight has become a local viral sensation on Vancouver Island.

Granny lived up to her grandson’s billing as the most positive influence in his life whose attitude helped him decide to learn to fly. “Oh, this is so beautiful. Thank you, God, for making my life so beautiful. And take care of my most loved pilot,” Colleen said as they lifted off. The two took a few laps around the local area including a tour of some snow-capped mountains, and a second flight is planned.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Bravo Ryan! I never got the opportunity to take my dad up after I got my PPL at 18. We had planned it but he passed on prior to it happening. I was able to take my mother up about 4 years later, and many more times after that!

  2. Nice write up Russ and wonderful video. Excellent way to start the day. If we all just gave back a little, the world would be a better place. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I started lessons at Grand Bend ON at 14 (on a yellow J3!). My paternal grandmother drove me the 30 miles each way. When I got my private licence at 16 I flew her to Port Huron to visit family. I remember her asking, “Are you allowed to do this?” as we taxied out.
    Terrific lady. And thanks to all those at YGD and along the way that helped a kid become a professional pilot – 51 years, first RCAF [CP140/P3) then Air Canada, retiring off the A330.

    Well done Ryan.

  4. Great story! Wonderful that Grandma Colleen is enjoying her grandson’s new PPL along with him!

  5. Sweet memory for a lovely Grandma and her aviator grandson. I had the privilege of giving my mother her first airplane ride. With this first flight, she overcame a lifelong fear flying and it opened the door for her to take many vacation trips to various parts of the world.