Guyana: AVIATION is a CAREER CHOICE for WOMEN – by Francis Quamina Farrier

AVIATION is a CAREER CHOICE for WOMEN – by Francis Quamina Farrier

Capt. Beverley Drake

Guyana’s most celebrated female airline Pilot, Capt. Beverley Drake, recently received an invitation to deliver a presentation as part of the International Woman’s Month 2019 activities in the USA. The presentation was held at the City Club of Washington, DC., and attended not only by Americans, but nationals from other countries including Guyana.

After being introduced to the audience as the Programme Manager at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the Office of Government Affairs, and also serving as the Federal Women’s Programme Manager, the retired veteran Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC) pilot, spoke extensively about her long career as a woman in aviation at the presentation she entitled, “THE SKY IS THE LIMIT – VISIONARY WOMEN IN AVIATION”.     

Capt. Drake addressed her audience about her early interest in aviation, while growing up in Guyana, and about those who tutored her along the way. She told her audience about her fascination with flying since she was a young girl.

With the theme of her presentation, “The Sky is the Limit – Visionary Women in Aviation”, she told quite a number of stories about her studies, first in her native Guyana, continuing in the United States, as she followed her life’s passion of aviation; to, as it were, get into the cockpits of a wide range of airplanes, and fly the skies of Guyana, the Caribbean and North America, while having the distinction of being Guyana’s first woman pilot.

During her presentation, Capt. Beverley Drake told her audience of her early flying activities with the Guyana Defence Force, (GDF), and the way in which she was treated; not pampered in any way as a woman. “I was a woman in a man’s world in the army, and I had to do all the tough chores as the men did”, she said. One of the aircraft she flew with the GDF, was the popular twin engine Britten Norman Islander.

After her stint with the Guyana Defence Force, (GDF) she continued her aviation career with the Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC), flying among others, her beloved Twin Otter aircraft, to many of Guyana’s far-flung hinterland communities. “The Twin Otter was very popular in Guyana because it can take-off and land on short runways, of which there are many in Guyana’s hinterland” she noted.

From my own vantage point in the room, I observed the rapt attention of the audience as Capt. Beverley Drake spoke of flying internationally in the cockpit of the Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC) jet aircraft to destinations such as Miami and New York in the USA, and Toronto in Canada, and of building a reputation of professionalism for which, years later, she was awarded with her image being put on a Guyana postage stamp. She is one of just a hand-full of living Guyanese whose image graces a postage stamp. One other such Guyanese celebrity, is the international superstar, Eddy Grant.

“I would like to advise girls and young women, that aviation is a career choice” she said as she concluded her very interesting presentation, leaving no one in the room any doubt that, The Sky is the Limit for Visionary Women in Aviation.

Capt. Beverley Drake, as she delivers her presentation, “THE SKY IS THE LIMIT – VISIONARY WOMEN IN AVIATION”, at the City Club of Washington, DC, on Wednesday March 18, 2019

Capt. Beverley Drake at age 20, and a pilot with the Guyana Defence Force flying the Britten Norman Islander twin-engine aircraft

Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC) Twin Otter aircraft

Guyana-Airways-757-200-N757GA – one of the jet planes which operated non-stop flights to Miami, New York and Toronto

Farrier with Capt. Beverley Drake at the end of her presentation with an image of her postage stamp on the easel.

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