US-based Guyanese receives ‘Master Pilot’ Award
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70-year-old Captain Stanley Jhagroo being presented with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award
70-year-old Captain Stanley Jhagroo being presented with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award

–after successfully completing more than 50 years in the profession

AFTER being in the aviation sector for 50 years, Captain Stanley Jhagroo, a United States (US)-based Guyanese has received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, given by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
This award recognises pilots who have practised safe flight operations continuously for 50 or more years during the course of their careers.

Jhagroo, along with his five siblings, grew up at Babu Jaan, Port Mourant, on the Corentyne Coast, where he attended the Corentyne High School, now JC Chandisingh High School.
His dad, George Jhagroo, was a scholar who studied abroad and became the headmaster of St. Joseph’s Primary School in Port Mourant.

His mother, at first, did not give her approval for the career choice, as she told him that he could get killed.
He ignored his mother’s advice to choose a safer profession, and followed his dream. Jhagroo started his aviation career in 1972, when he was about age 20 years old, after being qualified as a commercial pilot in Opa Locka, Florida.

He returned to Guyana as Captain Jhagroo, and was hired by a private company, In-Air Ltd, at the Ogle Airstrip as a bush pilot.
In the mid-70s, flying with a map with very limited information and a compass to plot his course was an everyday occurrence. Those were the days of no turbine airplanes at Ogle, no Global Positioning Systems (GPS), no weather radar or weather reporting systems.

As the veteran pilot recalls: “It was only you, God and the airplane.”
In the latter parts of the 70s, Captain Jhagroo applied for a job with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Trinidad, specifically at the Caribbean Aviation Training Institute (CATI).

The position involved being a flight instructor, but at the time he did not have his flight instructor credentials as yet. However, in furthering his journey, Jhagroo earned a scholarship to Oxford Aviation College in the United Kingdom (UK), where he trained as a flight instructor.

He also did the conversion of his licence to a UK licence. The instructor training would be one of the many foundations that led to the rest of his aviation career as an aviation trainer.
Jhagroo then returned to Trinidad to work with CATI. In following years, Stanley moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands with his wife, Pansey, and their son, Darren. The couple later got their second child, Andre.

The veteran pilot was then granted the job as Chief Pilot for Turks and Caicos National Airways, where he was in charge of staff with daily flights throughout the Bahamas.
During his tenure in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), Jhagroo was approached by several aircraft operators based in Guyana with the idea of starting a flight school here at Ogle, on the East Coast Demerara.

His love for Guyanese aviation carried him back to Guyana, where he co-founded the Guyana School of Aviation. This organisation was based at Ogle and was the first flight school to train pilots from scratch to commercial pilot licence.

People would come from all over Guyana to train at the flight school, an achievement which gave Jhagroo an immense sense of pride to teach aviation in Guyana, and to empower people with a career that they could succeed in worldwide.

Most of the pilots trained at this school are now senior Captains at the Ogle International Airport, or Captains across the Caribbean and worldwide.
Satisfied with the progress of the school, Jhagroo took another step in his career, and moved to the US, where he now works at FlightSafety International. FlightSafety is recognised as being one of the top aviation training outfits in the world.

He started as an instructor, and moved to various positions, including Director of Standards, Chief Instructor, and then the top position of being a Centre Manager.
Jhagroo related that it was not an easy task to manage over 300 students and over 100 instructors.

Passionate about his profession, the pilot forged ahead and moved on to a corporate position with the company, and joined the Quality and Safety team.
This involved being trained as a lead auditor for the ISO 9001 programme of quality, and obtaining Sig Sigma qualifications.

Jhagroo is now 70 years old, and is still at FlightSafety, where he was presented this prestigious Wright Bros-Master Pilot award.
He related that he has seen his life come full circle. From his dream of being a pilot in the 1960s, becoming a pilot, becoming an instructor, and then providing aviation quality and standards.

“I must say that my biggest supporter of my aviation journey has been my wife, Pansey. She has followed me with our two boys to many countries for me to pursue my dream,” Jhagroo said.
He feels fulfilled with his dream, and now loves to spread his knowledge with other aviators.

Jhagroo said that he has come to embrace the saying: “Everyone has to work, but those that find what they love to do will never work a day in their life!”

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