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'National embarrassment': Aviation event scheduled for this weekend unexpectedly grounded

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Richmond, B.C. -

An annual event that hopes to inspire young girls to take an interest in aviation has been postponed indefinitely.

The Sky’s No Limit - Girls Can Fly Too was scheduled to take place on the first weekend of October, but it was abruptly cancelled at the 11th hour.

Kristen Brazier, a pilot and founder of the event, said the last few weeks have been a nightmare of uncertainty.

She was waiting on official word from Transport Canada on whether the event could take place, and she made the decision to cancel the event since she didn’t know if the event was going to get approved.

“We couldn't take the risk. So I had to do the difficult decision and that was to postpone the event,” Brazier told CTV News.

“It's been really frustrating. We've been doing this event for 10 years; we've been doing the same event for the last six years.”

Yet this year, the regulator had not issued the certificate that would’ve given Brazier the green light.

“This is a national embarrassment. This event is important to Canada and the United States to address the shortage of women in high-tech STEM fields. And Transport Canada has provided no explanation why they have acted in this manner and I think it's appalling,” she said.

She enlisted the help of her local MP for Cloverdale-Langley City, John Aldadg, who said he supports the event.

“I have spoken with the transport minister’s office and I think there was some disappointment on their side as well because, you know, they weren't trying to cancel the event, but they also felt that, you know, there were still some items that weren't satisfied,” Aldag told CTV News.

In an email to CTV News, the regulator said they received an “incomplete” application and there were outstanding safety concerns.

“Key areas of concern included insufficient event management and emergency response plans for an event of this size, a lack of information regarding the qualifications of pilots and aircraft that will be deployed during the event, and lack of details on human resources (security personnel, volunteers) required to provide crowd control at the event,” it wrote.

Brazier said Transport Canada has not been clear as to what needed to be fixed in the application.

“(We’re) baffled as to why Transport Canada would withhold certification and not even explain what the problem was or give us an opportunity to fix it,” she said.

Aldag said as a third-party who wasn’t involved in filling out and reviewing the application, it appeared there was clear miscommunication between the two parties.

“We have a bit of a communication breakdown here, where everybody thought they were being clear on what they were asking the other person and here we are without an event. I really want us to have a good look at this file and see how we can make sure that when the next application goes in that we’re not down to the wire and that everybody gets what they need,” he said.

Brazier still hopes to hold the event, but has not decided on a new date. 

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