Guyana’s pioneer female pilot impressed with industry’s transformation

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) today Thursday, November 13, at the Silhoutte Restaurant.

“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 with one of her sons, Stanislaus, and 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 in his remarks 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 a pilot in Guyana.”

He noted that during the early 21st Century it was a pioneering event for a woman to be licensed as a pilot, and 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.

Meanwhile, Chairman of GCAA Board, Hugh Denbow acknowledged that GCAA has always paid tribute to the sector’s 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 go on,” he said.

Paula McAdam, GCAA’s Chief Accident Investigator, chaired the ceremony. Ankar Dubay, acting Director General; Astel Paul, a Director on the Board; Courtney Frank and Dorris Sammy were among the GCAA’s officials present at the ceremony.

A tower of strength

After receiving her pilot license 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.

Unfortunately, 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. Furthermore, her niece Susan recalled that “she always had the family with her” and wished her long heath and strength.

Nowadays, Ms. Dawsey travels extensively especially to Costa Rica, the US and Canada where her children reside.