Aviation stalwarts recognised for collective 150-years’ service

Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague (fourth right), with the recipients to the Aviation Trailblazer Awards for 2019 – retired Chief Air Traffic Controller, Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Randolph Jones (third left); former Commanding Officer for the Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing Reserves, Major Dudley Beek (Ret’d) (fourth left); and Leroy Lindsay (third right) who received on behalf of Retired Air Jamaica Senior Vice President, Maintenance and Technical Services, Captain Lloyd Tai. Others (from left) are JCAA Deputy Director General for Regulatory Affairs, Rohan Campbell; JCAA Chairman, Phillip Henriques; General Manager of Aeronautical Telecommunications Ltd. (AEROYEL), Howard Armstrong; and President of Airports Authority of Jamaica and Chief Executive Officer of NMIA Airports Ltd., Audley Deidrick (Photo: JIS)

Three stalwarts of Jamaica’s aviation industry were recently recognised for their contribution to the sector.          

Former Commanding Officer for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Air Wing Reserves, Major Dudley Beek (Ret’d); Retired Chief Air Traffic Controller, Randolph Jones and Retired Senior Pilot, Captain Lloyd Tai, received the Aviation Trailblazer Award for a total of 150 years of service.

The presentations were made during a ceremony at the AC Marriott Hotel in Kingston on December 7, which is observed as International Civil Aviation Day (ICAD).

The event was jointly hosted by the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), and Aeronautical Telecommunications Ltd. (AEROTEL).

Major Beek was recognised for 54 years in aviation, which included work as a pilot while serving the JDF. His service also included working in the areas of weather modification (cloud seeding), mosquito control, and crop fertilisation and treatment.

In 2014, Beek undertook a project for the government of Haiti and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which entailed the planting of 133 million seeds aimed at reforesting 100,000 acres of mountainous land in that country.                     

Captain Beek currently operates Dustair Ltd., a crop-dusting entity, formed in 1984, which initially focused on the planting of rice from the air, but now concentrates on spraying bananas.

He is a third-generation aviator who flew aerobatic displays using an aircraft he helped to build in Jamaica, and was cited by the industry as being committed to the revival and revitalisation of general aviation.

Jones was passionate about his job and meticulous with an eye for detail and committed to the advancement of aviation in Jamaica.

He was recognised for his selfless and generous contribution to the field of air traffic services, where he rose through the ranks from being Jamaica’s first certified radar controller to Chief Air Traffic Controller.

He was also lauded for his stints as President of the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA), and Board Member of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers (IFATCA).

Jones, who is in his 47th year of service, now serves the JCAA as an instructor at the Civil Aviation Authority Training Institute (CAATI), which trains Air Traffic Controllers.

Captain Tai’s 40 years of service to Air Jamaica, from which he retired as Senior Vice President, Maintenance and Technical Services, were highlighted, as well as his extensive experience in commercial route and infrastructure planning and evaluation and implementation of new information technology tools.

The 49-year veteran is currently a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Aviation Industry Advisory Board, and through the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit Programme is certified to consult with airlines and aviation authorities on best practice safety procedures.                       

Among the criteria for the awards are demonstrable, positive impact on air transportation policy, practice, personnel and/or promotion and over 10 years’ contribution to the local and/or international air transportation industry.

ICAD, which was being observed on the 75th anniversary of the International Civil Aviation Organization, was celebrated this year under the theme ‘Assuring Safety and Quality within the Aviation Industry’.