…laud her inspiration
The transformation of the country’s aviation sector as it relates to female involvement came in for high praise from Lucille Dawsey, the first female private pilot to fly in Guyana’s airspace.
The 72-year-old was honoured by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on Thursday at the Silhouette Restaurant in the city.
“I am very, very impressed to see other women more active in the local aviation sector. I have only been here for a short time and what I saw at Ogle and Timehri is very unbelievable in terms of human and physical developments,” Ms. Dawsey said, shortly after receiving a plaque from Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn.
Ms. Dawsey, who arrived on November 12, last, with one of her sons, Stanislaus, and her grandson, was pleasantly surprised with the warm welcome she received.
“I did not expect all of this,” she admitted. “I just expected somebody to come and say hi.”
Minister Benn said that it was an exhilarating experience to meet the mother of five, adding “We have to remind ourselves, to engage and to learn from her experiences as pilots in Guyana.”
He noted that during the early 20th Century it was a pioneering event for a woman to be licensed as a pilot. He pointed to the evolution of the previously male dominated field.
“We must know that we not only stand on the shoulders of men but on the shoulders of strong, brave women. We need to be reminded of how far we have come in our country. Our aviation sector is boundless,” Minister Benn stated.
Chairman of GCAA Board, Hugh Denbow, acknowledged that GCAA has always paid tribute to the trailblazers.
“We get strength from those who have done a good job. We are still in the primary mode of developing interior locations and you who have been before us give us strength to go on,” he said.
Paula McAdam, GCAA’s Chief Accident Investigator, chaired the ceremony. Ankar Dubay, acting Director General; Astil Paul, a Director on the Board; Courtney Frank and Dorris Sammy were among the GCAA’s officials present at the ceremony.
After receiving her pilot licence in 1961, Ms. Dawsey, fondly called ‘Lucy’ flew several Cessna airplanes [180, 206 and 172] in the hinterland where she and her first husband, George Golas, were into the precious minerals operation.
Several personal tragedies prompted Ms. Dawsey to migrate to Trinidad in 1974. She returned briefly in 1979.
Her son, Stanislaus, revealed that his mother, despite the challenges she faced, “kept her strength that I have not seen in anybody else I have come across.”
Ms. Dawsey’s vitality for life is another quality he admired and thanked the Minister and guests for honoring his mother.
Her niece Susan recalled that “she always had the family with her”.
These days, Ms. Dawsey travels extensively especially to Costa Rica, the United States and Canada where her children reside.
Other arms of the aviation fraternity wasted no time praising Ms Dawsey for her priceless contribution to the sector and for the wealth of experience she possess. Female pilots were most poised and even honoured to meet the pioneer female pilot who in many ways rolled out the carpet for them.
Dawsey was again recognized by the aviation sector in an event held at the Air Services Limited (ASL) hangar at Ogle Airport yesterday.
Ms. Dawsey, who became a licensed pilot when she was 19, was feted in a simple ceremony which included four of ASL’s female pilots who interacted with her and gave their perspective on how her pioneering achievement had influenced them in choosing a career in aviation.
Ms. Brittney Ally, an ASL pilot, expressed delight in meeting with the legendary Ms. Dawsey whom she credited for inspiring her at an early age in an interest in aviation which led to her obtaining her pilot’s licence in 2010. Ms. Ally is currently pursuing a degree in Aviation Management.
The event included a PowerPoint presentation by Annette Arjoon-Martins. It focused on Ogle Airstrip in the 1960s, with which Ms. Dawsey would have been very familiar, and on its growth since then to Ogle Airport today as well as ASL’s growth over the years which finds ASL, at present, with a staff complement of 250 with 40 percent being women.
Ms Dawsey said, “I am so impressed by the fact that there are so many female pilots now but also as impressive, is that they are playing an important role in all aspects of the aviation industry.”
The morning ceremony concluded with Captain Ferial Ally, ASL’s senior female pilot, and Ms. Dawsey captaining the Cessna Caravan to the Rupununi.
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