Giselah Ebanks is a young Caymanian
whose career is set to soar.
The 20-year-old is the first
Caymanian female First Officer pilot with Cayman Airways Express and can now be
found in the cockpit of the Twin Otter planes flying between Grand Cayman,
Little Cayman and the Brac. “The First Officer is assistant to the Captain, so
our duties are to facilitate a safe flight from point A to point B. My duties
include ordering fuel, helping the captain, assisting with radio calls and
sometimes we will swap and I’ll do the flying,” said Miss Ebanks, the youngest
female pilot to ever be employed by Cayman Airways Ltd.
Her interest in the skies began at
an early stage, she told the Compass – a model Boeing 737 was one of her
favourite toys as a youngster.
“I always liked aviation; my
parents used to take me to the airport every Sunday to see the planes come in
and take off. They knew their daughter was interested in aviation back then.”
The first officer obtained her
private pilot license from San Diego Flight Training International at the age
of 18 and continued her flight training at Fort Lauderdale Professional Flight
“I was the only female at training,
and I’d get teased about my height or being female, but I can do anything with
my skills. [My story proves] that any young lady can succeed in an industry
that is largely male-dominated.”
After joining Cayman Airways she
passed the airline’s standard training programme for the Twin Otter aircraft,
plus subsequent practical training. Depending on the schedules, she now flies
between six and nine journeys per day.
“It’s been interesting getting to
understand the Caribbean climate, which is very different to the American
climate. During the hurricane season there can be more weather build-up, but in
my experience it’s not been too turbulent. Here, we do thunderstorm avoidance,
whereas over there it was clear skies so we just go out, fly and land.
“There’s something magnificent
about flying home in the afternoon, when we’re getting the sunset and I think
‘I can’t believe I’m actually getting paid for this.’”
The ambitious professional added
that she would like to still be with Cayman Airways in ten years, and aims to
captain the 737 jet aircraft. In the immediate future Miss Ebanks revealed that
she is planning to continue her education with evening classes or online
courses to complement and develop her career. The drive to succeed is very important,
she added, regardless of what other people might say.
“I am encouraging all young
Caymanians to go out there and do what they want; follow your dreams, follow
your passion, no matter what anyone says. If anyone says you can’t do something
because you’re too young or because of your gender, I say ignore them and
follow your passion.”
Acting chief executive officer of
Cayman Airways, Fabian Whorms, said Cayman Airways has hired 12 young
Caymanians in the past five years as pilots for its Cayman Airways Express
“We are very proud of Giselah’s
accomplishments as a pilot and we hope that her success story will inspire
other young people in our community to go after their dreams, knowing that
nothing is out of reach,” he said.