Press Releases

January 2009

HISTORIC…JDF graduates first batch of locally trained pilots

It was a historic affair on Saturday 17 January 2009 as the Jamaica Military Aviation School (JMAS), run by the Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing, produced its first batch of locally trained pilots.

Graduates, Lieutenants Osmar Fiddler, Melecia Sinclair and Victor
Dawkins, pose for a photo with their Commanding Officer,
Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Roper (right) and Minister of
National Security Senator the Honourable Colonel Trevor MacMillan (centre).

Lieutenants Osmar Fiddler, Melecia Sinclair and Victor Dawkins earned their wings as they completed their rotary and fixed wings training at the local pilot school.

For over 35 years the Jamaica Defence Force had been sending candidates oversees for pilots training. That era came to an end in April 2006 with the graduation of the final serial of pilots in Canada. However, this was not the end of the collaboration and partnership with Canada.

Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Roper Commanding Officer of the
JDF Air Wing (left) escorts the Minister of National Security (centre),
Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica (right) among other
distinguished guests to JMAS’ graduation.

It was the start of a new dimension of co-operation as the Canadian government offered to assist in renovation of the JDF Air Wing’s Manley Base, at the Norman Manley International Airport, to build the flying school.

In establishing the school, Canada Central Flying School was asked to conduct both helicopter and fixed wing instructor courses in Jamaica for JDF and Belize Defence Force. A new fleet of training aircraft was also acquired to conduct the training in Jamaica.

The journey for the students began with an assessment of their mental and physical aptitude. After being assessed they had to go through the three phases of the wings course: Primary Flying Training, Primary Flight Training (Extended) and the Rotary Wing Training or the Multi Engine Training.

Lieutenant Osmar Fiddler being presented with the award for
top student of the flight course by Minister Trevor MacMillan.

This is a milestone in the history of Jamaica as a country, “The entire Jamaica should be proud of this moment,” said Major Brian Creary Commandant of the Jamaica Military Aviation School.

Having earned their wings, Melecia and Victor will take up their seats in the operational aircraft of the JDF Air Wing and Osmar will join the instructing staff at JMAS, where they will continue to serve the people of Jamaica while Flying for All.

Families, friends and officers look on while graduates receive their wings.

“It is with immense pleasure and a deep sense of nostalgia, that I seize this opportunity to celebrate with the architects of this initiative as well as the graduates, on this historic occasion,” said the Minister of National Security Senator the Honourable Colonel (Retd)Trevor MacMillan.

He went on to say that he was particularly impressed with the fixity of purpose with which the JDF has seized the initiative to train its own as well as pilots from across the region.

He also made the presentation to Lieutenant Osmar Fiddler who was adjudge the top student of the course.