Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2015, 17:06 by GxMediaBefore letting down the LIAT ATR aircraft he was flying on Saturday June 13, Captain Paul DaSilva did the traditional low pass over the VC Bird International Airport on the island of Antigua and Barbuda to close a 29 year career with the “Caribbean Airline.”
DaSilva, a Guyanese-born pilot was greeted by scores of well-wishers, including family members and colleagues, gathered on the airport tarmac to watch him guide his last official flight into retirement.
Tipping the wing of the aircraft to acknowledge those who had gathered for the occasion, the Captain was also welcomed with a water salute from two fire tenders from the Antigua & Barbuda Fire Service; one bearing the Guyanese flag representing the land of his birth.
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.
LIAT’s review of the Captain showed that he joined the company 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.”