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|CAPTAIN FERIEL ALLY - Guyana’s first-ever female pilot of turboprop aircraft|
|Saturday, 14 July 2012 22:10|
“I love the challenge of flying aircraft in Guyana’s hinterland; I just love bush flying,” were the words of Captain Feriel Ally of the local Air Services Limited (ASL), the first-ever Guyanese female to be certified to operate aircraft with turboprop engines.
Feriel is the daughter of Guyana’s aviation pioneer Yacoob Mazaharally. Last week, she earned herself a place in Guyana’s aviation history when she qualified for flying Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, which have far more powerful engines than the lightweight piston engines of the Cessna 172 and 206, generally regarded as the workhorses within the local aviation industry.
“It was necessary for me to train for this aircraft, since its engine is so much more powerful, and it requires a different approach to start-up and take off and other aspects of flying than the piston-powered aircraft,” she said.
Her training included a programme in a flight simulator in Miami, United States of America. A flight simulator is a device that artificially re-creates aircraft flight and various aspects of the flight environment.
She then had to complete at home 75 hours of turboprop flying time with an instructor, to satisfy insurance requirements, before receiving approval to take off on her own.
For a modest Feriel, the qualification is just another aircraft type on her commercial pilot’s licence, rather than the history-making event it actually is on the local aviation scene.
Feriel began her aviation career in 1988 when she trained for, and obtained, her private pilot’s licence in the USA. She returned to Guyana and built her hours flying the Cessna 172 and 206, ferrying supplies into the remote and challenging airstrips of the timber concessions owned by A. Mazaharally and Sons Limited, the parent company of ASL.
She qualified on the Islander twin-engine aircraft, the aircraft of choice for the
tourism and corporate sectors; and on returning home became a fast favourite with corporate executives, who would request that she be their pilot.
ASL had also invested heavily in its Mahdia hangar in Region 8 (Potaro/Siparuni), from which over 300,000 lbs of cargo, besides passengers, are shuttled every month to the challenging interior airstrips in communities which are not easily accessible overland.
And so Feriel became a well-known shuttle captain, tirelessly carrying on the ASL tradition of commitment to community development, and unbroken service to the residents of Region 8.
The Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft she is now qualified to fly is a 13-seater which is in demand because of its greater speed, relative silence, and superior seating and cargo-carrying capacity, besides its fuel efficiency.
Besides flying, Captain Feriel Ally worked as Deputy Manager of Airport Operations at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, and with the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) as an aviation inspector.
Commenting on Feriel’s turboprop pilot’s achievement, ASL Operations Manager Annette Arjoon-Martins, who is also Feriel’s sister, said: “ASL is extremely proud of Captain Feriel’s achievements, and celebrates the fact that it has the first female Caravan pilot in its crew. This milestone will be captured when celebrating 100 years of aviation in Guyana, in 2013.”
So what’s next for Feriel?
Will she move on from turboprop to the even more powerful turbojet?
“I doubt whether,” she said last week. “I am a Guyanese, I am a patriot, and I love what I do for the hinterland communities in Guyana. Turbojet? Not likely,” she said.
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