News Local

Palleske has big dreams

By Robert Washburn, Northumberland Today

Reanna Palleske, 18, of Bewdley, is hoping to realize her dream of becoming an astronaut. She left Saturday to begin basic training for the armed forces. She was accepted to Royal Military College where she hopes to study space science.
ROBERT WASHBURN For Northumberland Today

Reanna Palleske, 18, of Bewdley, is hoping to realize her dream of becoming an astronaut. She left Saturday to begin basic training for the armed forces. She was accepted to Royal Military College where she hopes to study space science. ROBERT WASHBURN For Northumberland Today

If the adage reach for the stars is true, then an 18-year old Bewdley woman is living proof.

Reanna Palleske found out Thursday she can take the first tentative steps towards reaching her goal of becoming an astronaut. The Cobourg Collegiate Institute graduate has lived a few whirlwind days since she crossed the stage to get her diploma.

“I got into the Royal Military College (Thursday),” she said, adding that her immediate goal is to become a fighter pilot shortly. She also hopes to study space sciences while attending the Canadian military school starting this fall. It is all part of a larger dream to one day be selected for the prestigious job of becoming an astronaut.

It has been a steady journey moving toward her goals. She was initially drawn to flying when she was in Grade 3.

“I always wanted to fly,” Palleske said. “There are no roads in the sky. It is an amazing feeling.”

But it wasn’t until her mother took her on a surprise trip for her 12th birthday, Palleske caught the bug. Her mother took her to Peterborough airport under the guise of having some time together. When they arrived at the airport, she was thrilled to find out she was going up in a plane. The pilot took her around for the inspection. But, it was when they were up in the air, it became really exciting.

“He let me fly the plane a little bit,” she recalled.

That was the same time Palleske joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets 598 Sabre Squadron in Cobourg. For the first few years, she spent her time drilling. But by the time she was 16, she was allowed to begin training as a pilot through the various program in air cadets.

She was able to get her licence as a glider pilot through a summer training program at the CFB Mountainview airfield, outside Belleville. Then, last year, she was successful in getting her power flight training at the Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre.

Her early training involved some nerve-racking moments. Once, when she was learning to be a glider pilot, she was coming in for a landing, only to find the tarmac was blocked. Since a glider has no power, there was no alternative but to land. She called over the radio to get instruction, but there was not response. Relying on her extensive training, she chose to follow protocols and landed without incident.

“It was pretty scary,” she said.

But that is nothing compared to the challenges she will be facing shortly.

With only 48 hours to prepare, Palleske was rushing to get packed and prepare to leave for the Saint-Jean Garrison, Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, this past week. It conducts all basic training for recruits into the armed forces.

She will do seven weeks of intensive training and then start her first two years of military college nearby. Once she reaches her third and fourth years, Palleske will return to the Kingston campus to complete her education. She will begin her flight training over that time.

“I think it is important people know you can have dreams,” she said. “I want people to look at what I have done and see that it is possible to fulfill those dreams.”