The annual Webster Memorial Trophy Competition is committed to identifying “Canada’s Top Amateur Pilot”. It has operated since its inception in 1932, interrupted only twice (first by World War II and again in 1954 due to costs).
The competition is named after John Webster Jr., a civilian pilot who participated in the 1931 Trans-Canada Air Pageant. In July 1931, John flew his Curtiss-Reid Rambler representing Canada in the King’s Cup Air Race in England. A month later, while in St. Hubert, Québec practising for an aerobatic competition as part of the pageant, John Webster was involved in a fatal aircraft accident. The following year, John’s father (Dr. John C. Webster, of Shediac, New Brunswick) established the John C. Webster Memorial Trophy Competition to perpetuate his son’s memory.
See our history section for more details, past finalists and winners, and media from the competition.
Pilots first compete within one of nine regions across Canada (British Columbia and Yukon, Alberta and Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nunavut, Western Ontario, Central Ontario, Eastern Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic). The regional competition includes a flight test and written examination. The flight test can be either a recent Private Pilot flight test, Commercial Pilot flight test, or custom Webster Competition flight test. The pilot with the top blended score between the flight test and written examination in their region is the regional winner and becomes a finalist.
The nine finalists compete during the summer at a pre-selected venue. The national finals includes a flight test in an aeroplane, a flight test in a simulator, a written examination, and an interview with the competition judges.
The Webster Competition Today
The Webster Trophy Competition is a two-stage competition. The first stage is a regional competition with Canada being divided into 9 Webster Regions. With two exceptions, Webster regions generally coincide with provincial boundaries. The two exceptions are: all Atlantic Provinces are included in the Atlantic Region, and Ontario is divided into 3 regions, Western, Central and Eastern
Applicants are assigned to a region based where they completed their flight tests.
British Columbia and the Yukon Territory
Alberta and the Northwest Territories
Manitoba and Nunavut
Ontario west of (and including) 80o 00’ W
Ontario between 80o 00’ W and including 78o 00’ W
Ontario east of 78o 00’ W
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
The competition is split into two phases: regional and national. A regional winner is selected from each of the 9 Webster Regions based on combined and weighted scores from the flight test assessing pilot skills and the on-line assessment of knowledge of air traffic procedures and aerodrome operating procedures. The 9 regional winners meet during the summer for the national finals during Webster Week.
Throughout the various stages of the Webster Trophy Competition, applicants are assessed on the fundamental skill and expected of the holder of a Private Pilot Licence. The annual Webster Trophy Competition is committed to identifying “Canada’s Top Amateur Pilot”. By “amateur”, we mean someone who has not recently served as a pilot engaged in commercial aviation activities … but it still takes high levels of professionalism to shine among the many Webster hopefuls who apply each year.
The Webster Memorial Trophy Competition is an annual event, sponsored by Air Canada – Flight Operations and contributed to and supported by numerous other aviation companies and organizations. See our supporter pages.
Pilots aspiring to a career in aviation can be proud to affirm that they have competed in one of Canada’s most prestigious aviation events.
Applicants in the regional competition
Applicants in the regional competition must:
- submit an application package
- submit the results of a recent regional flight test, and
- complete an online assessment of knowledge of air traffic procedures and aerodrome operating procedures.
The regional flight test:
Applicants have two options with respect to the regional flight test:
- Submit the report of a licensing flight test for either a Private Pilot Licence of Commercial Pilot Licence, completed before 15 June of the competition year, but after 15 June of the preceding competition year, or
- Contact any Pilot Examiner authorized by Transport Canada to conduct either
Private or Commercial Pilot flight tests for aeroplanes. Arrange with a Pilot Examiner (authorized by Transport Canada to conduct either Private or Commercial Pilot flight tests for aeroplanes) to conduct a flight test using the Webster flight test report form.
- Applicants choosing this option should consult the Webster Administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a copy of the Webster flight test report form.
Applicants must submit the report of one or the other of the flight tests described above. Multiple flight test reports will not be accepted.
For the purpose of verifying results and avoiding situations in which flight test reports may have been altered or is otherwise unreadable, applicants must provide written permission for the Webster Administrator or representative to contact either the Pilot Examiner (in the case of applicants submitting a Webster Flight Test) or Transport Canada (in the case of applicants submitting a Transport Canada licensing flight test) and receive a copy of the original flight test report directly.
Unlike flight tests and examinations used to qualify applicants for a pilot licence (where all exercises bear equal weight) flight tests and exam results submitted as part of an application for the Webster Trophy will be assessed by the Webster team using various weight factors for individual flight test exercises and exam questions. Therefore, the total exam or flight test mark used to determine the regional winner may differ from the total mark that would have been used for licensing purposes.
The regional examination:
Nav Canada has created an examination covering topics relating to pilot- controller interaction such as: airport operations, communications and airspace. The examination is administered on-line. Applicants will be notified early in the calendar year about procedures for completing the examination.
The applicant receiving the top weighted mark on this examination will receive the Nav Canada Trophy, whether or not this applicant becomes a national finalist.
The Regional Winner:
A regional winner is selected for each of the 9 Webster regions. The applicant in each region with the top blended and weighted score from the flight test and the examination is selected as the regional winner.
The national competition involves the 9 regional winners. The 9 finalists come together in a pre-selected location each summer. The finalists complete two flight tests (one in an aeroplane provided by the host training unit, one in a Redbird simulator), write an examination, and undergo a brief interview with Webster judges. The finalist with the highest blended score on these assessments is named the winner; the finalist with the second highest blended score is named the runner-up.
Flight Test Aeroplanes will be provided to the finalists. These aircraft will come from the fleet at the host school. After the regional winners are identified, the National Administrator will advise the national finalists of the aircraft available for the national competition
Candidates who prefer flying a different model are free to provide their own aircraft at their own effort and expense, keeping in mind that:
- While the competition will cover the rental cost for the actual flight test (up to the hourly cost charged by the host school for its aircraft), national finalists will be responsible for the cost of and making all arrangements for their aircraft to be onsite during the competition.
- Applicants making their own arrangements for a flight test aircraft will need to ensure that the aircraft can be available throughout Webster Week o allow he needed flexibility in scheduling the week’s activities.
- Applicants seeking to provide their own aircraft must advise the National Administrator well in advance to ensure the appropriateness of the aircraft for use in the competition.
The aeroplane and simulator flight test are assessed on a basis of:
- Precision aircraft handling
- Normal, abnormal and emergency procedures
- General operational knowledge
- Overall airmanship
- Pilot decision making, situational awareness and overall threat awareness and management
The written examination includes
- Air Law
- Aircraft operations
- Human Factors and Pilot Decision Making
- Theory of Flight
- Aero engines and airframes
- General pilot knowledge and airmanship
The interview includes:
- General Pilot Knowledge
- Knowledge of issues facing General Aviation
- Knowledge of issues facing professional pilots
The winner receives:
- a beautiful John C. Webster bronze medallion, depicting the Webster Trophy;
- an Air Canada pass for two, valid anywhere within the Air Canada system for Canada, USA & Caribbean;
- a Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind Auto Chrono watch;
- a framed print depicting John Webster’s aircraft painted by one of Canada’s foremost aviation artists, Robert Bradford;
- a professional development day with the Snowbirds;
- a cash award donated by the Air Canada Pilots Association;
- a cash award donated by Collegiate Aviation Canada;
- a Certificate of Achievement donated by the Air Transport Association of Canada;
- a position as a flight instructor with Brampton Flight Centre once qualified; and
- a $2,000 grant toward a Flight Instructor Rating donated by Moncton Flight College.
The runner-up will have his or her name inscribed on the Eunice Carter Memorial Trophy, given for excellence in overall piloting skills, and will also receive:
- a Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind Auto Chrono watch;
- a Webster plaque denoting runner-up status;
- a cash award donated by the College of Professional Pilots of Canada;
- a framed print depicting John Webster’s aircraft painted by one of Canada’s foremost aviation artists, Robert Bradford, C.M.;
- a $1,000 grant toward a Flight Instructor Rating donated by Moncton Flight College.
One competitor (not necessarily a finalist) will have his or her name engraved on the Nav Canada Trophy for excellence in pilot/controller communication.
All finalists receive:
- Webster plaques denoting their status as finalists;
- a $1,000 grant toward a Flight Instructor Rating donated by Moncton Flight College;
- all flying costs covered for any required familiarization or check-out flight and the two National Finals flight tests courtesy of Airline Pilot’s Association (ALPA);
- simulator passes donated by CAE;
- a one year membership donated by the Canadian Owners & Pilots Association;
- a one year subscription donated by WINGS magazine;
- a one year subscription to SKIES magazine;
- a one year subscription to Canadian Aviator;
- a copy of the online pilot training module from Online Single-pilot Resource Management;
- personalized Snowbird lithographs signed by the entire current year’s team; and
- a guaranteed job interview with Air Canada once they are qualified.