JOHN’S Antigua, June 16, 2015 – Captain Paul DaSilva flew his final official flight for LIAT – The Caribbean Airline last weekend.
Scores of well-wishers, including family members and colleagues, gathered on the tarmac of the V.C. Bird International Airport on Saturday, June 13 as Captain DaSilva brought in his final LIAT flight after29 years with the airline.
Before landing flight LI 362 from Barbados, Captain DaSilva did a low pass over the runway, tipping the wing of the aircraft to acknowledge those who had gathered for the occasion.
He then guided the aircraft through a welcome water salute from two fire tenders from the Antigua & Barbuda Fire Service, one bearing the national flag of his native Guyana.
Captain DaSilva served as LIAT’s Chief Pilot from February 2008 to January 2014 when he reassumed duties, doing what he loved the most, flying the line and safely moving thousands of people up and down the LIAT network.
Captain DaSilva joined LIAT on June 16, 1986 flying the Twin Otter and Islander aircraft. He was later appointed a training captain on the Twin Otter fleet, then the fleet captain until the sale of the Twin Otter fleet. He then moved on to the Dash 8 fleet, being appointed a type rating examiner/instructor (TRE/TRI) in September 1997. In May 2013 Captain DaSilva completed training on the ATR aircraft and shortly after was appointed a training captain and designated type rating examiner on the ATR.
“While I consider flying my hobby, I found training to be the most satisfying part of my job. As a simulator instructor, I also learnt a lot from observing other pilots’ performance. My stint as Chief Pilot also taught me the ‘other side’ of the aviation business and the experience was invaluable,” Captain DaSilva said.
Captain DaSilva’s successor, Chief Pilot Captain Arthur Senhouse, recalled his first time meeting “this great little man” when he joined LIAT in the late 80s as a co-pilot on the Twin Otter aircraft.
“He was a trainer on that fleet. I quickly realised that, while he had an affinity for learning, there was a deeper desire to pass on all the information he had. This for me is what I will remember most about him; his unselfishness,” Captain Senhouse said.
LIAT Chief Executive Officer David Evans said: “Like many other distinguished airmen who have graced this great company of ours with their love for aviation, Captain DaSilva will remain etched in our memories as being special among them. His kind words of encouragement, and always looking for a good laugh, will remain with us forever.”
Photo: On this occasion, Captain DaSilva was the first to disembark the aircraft