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Two more young Caymanian pilots flying high with Cayman Airways

Two more young Caymanian pilots, Nathan Myers and Leanni Tibbetts, have successfully completed Cayman Airways’ rigorous recruitment and training programme to become the newest First Officers on the airline’s Twin Otter fleet operated by Cayman Airways Express, a subsidiary of Cayman Airways Limited (CAL).

“We are thrilled to welcome these two very talented and qualified Caymanian pilots to the Cayman Airways family and we look forward to watching them advance up the ranks to Captain of the B737-8 jet fleet,” said Captain Dave Scott, Executive Vice President of Operations, and Chief Operations Officer (COO).

Cayman Airways offers a special training programme for entry-level Caymanian pilots. These two new pilots both joined Cayman Airways Express on May 23, 2022, with First Officer Myers passing his training flight on September 2, 2022 and flying his first commercial flight with Express on September 13th, and First Officer Tibbetts passing hers on Friday September 23, 2022. She will fly her first commercial flight with Express on October 3rd. Their Ground School and Flight Training was conducted in-house by Captain Johan Bjuroe who is the Manager of Flight Training for Cayman Airways Express.

“It has been a pleasure working with Nathan and Leanni,” said Captain Bjuroe. “I’ve trained a lot of Caymanian pilots over the years and I’m very proud to see another group of young Caymanians come through successfully.”

A total of eight Caymanian pilots, including Nathan and Leanni, were recently offered the position of First Officer on the Twin Otter fleet, and the remaining six are awaiting the required Ground School Training in the coming months. 

Captain Gary Hydes, Acting Chief Pilot for Cayman Airways, noted that the airline’s objective is for all new pilot hires to someday become B737-8 Captains. He explained that a pilot’s career progression at CAL starts with the entry level pilot position of First Officer on the Twin Otter fleet, followed by the First Officer position on the Saab 340B+ fleet. They then progress to Captain of the Twin Otter fleet, which is followed by movement to the B737-8 fleet as First Officer, then Captain on the Saab 340B+, and finally to Captain on the B737-8 jets, which is considered the pinnacle of each CAL pilot’s career.

“I would like to congratulate both Leanni and Nathan and welcome them to the Cayman Airways pilots fraternity,” said Captain Hydes. “I look forward to working with them as they navigate through their careers at Cayman Airways.”

When asked how she feels about achieving this milestone, First Officer Tibbetts said: “It’s exciting because it’s been a long time coming. I graduated in 2019 but Cayman Airways wasn’t hiring at the time so I left the aviation field for a while until I heard that Cayman Airways was hiring pilots again, and clearly the love and passion is still there for flying.”

First Officer Myers shared similar sentiments, stating: “Ever since I was a young boy, it was a goal to fly for Cayman Airways, so now that I’m finally here it feels surreal, and I can’t believe it’s actually happening!”

Both new pilots praised the extensive time and attention they received from CAL’s pilots throughout their training process, and thanked them for their encouragement and support.

In addition to their pilot licenses and Cayman Airways' pilot training, both new Express pilots have Bachelor of Science degrees.

First Officer Myers has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics from Liberty University in Virginia and an Associates in Science degree from the University College of the Cayman Islands with a concentration in Physics and Environmental Science. He has a Commercial Multi-Engine License with Instrument Rating.

First Officer Tibbetts has a Bachelor or Science degree in Aviation Management with a Flight Minor in Aviation Environmental Science from Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). She has a Commercial Multi-Engine license with Instrument Rating. She was also President of Women in Aviation at FIT and currently serves as a volunteer Sub-Lieutenant with the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps and is a volunteer Call-Taker with the National Emergency Operations Center. First Officer Tibbetts was also crowned Miss World Cayman Islands 2022 on Saturday September 24, 2022.

First Officer Tibbetts is now the fourth active female pilot at Cayman Airways overall, which is 10% of the 44 pilots currently employed by the airline. The female pilots are: First Officer Giselah Ebanks, B737-8 fleet; Captain Crystal Godet, Twin Otter fleet; First Officer Amber Hydes, Twin Otter fleet; and First Officer Leanni Tibbetts, Twin Otter Fleet.