Caymanian helicopter pilot gets first officer bars

Caymanian Darren McLean receives his First Officer bars from Captain Nicholas Nothnagel, of National Helicopters in Trinidad, where he is receiving his flight training. - Photo: Submitted

Aspiring police helicopter pilot Darren McLean has received his first officer bars.

The auxiliary constable recently received the bars as part of his training and development as a helicopter pilot with National Helicopters in Trinidad, according to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

“This is a significant milestone for Darren,” an RCIPS statement said.

Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne, in the statement, said he was very proud of the training that McLean has done so far in Trinidad with National Helicopters.

He commended him for achieving his first officer status.

Caymanian pilot in training Darren McLean at the helicopter controls.

“[It] is a significant milestone in his professional development and training. He is a very fine ambassador for the RCIPS and the Cayman Islands,” Byrne said.

McLean returned to the Cayman Islands for Christmas break where he met up with his colleagues at the Air Operations Unit.

The RCIPS said McLean reported that he is excited about the challenges ahead and looks forward to completing his training and qualifications before returning to the Cayman Islands where he will transition to Flight Captain with the RCIPS Air Operations Unit.

He is expected to return to the RCIPS before the end of 2022.

McLean left Cayman to train in Trinidad last year to gain experience and hours as a pilot at National Helicopter Services Ltd. After he completes 3,000 hours of flight time, he will undergo H145 training. H145 is the model of helicopter in the RCIPS fleet.

Byrne said the CEO at National Helicopters has been complimentary of McLean’s commitment to the training environment and has commended him for receiving his first officer bars in such a short period of time.

“National Helicopters has reported that they are very pleased with Darren’s progress and that he is showing all the signs of becoming a fine pilot,” he added.

The CEO’s comments came as no surprise to Superintendent Brad Ebanks, who is in charge of Special Operations.

“Darren has always shown such ambition and potential. I had no doubt that he would make us proud here in the RCIPS and the Cayman Islands as a whole, given his aptitude and passion for flying. Darren has a great support team within the Air Operations Unit, and they follow his progress, as well as ensuring that he does well while away from home,” Ebanks said in the RCIPS statement

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