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A few more tests and AIA will be ready – Test pilot


Michael Bowlig, the pilot who took Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and his wife Eloise on the historical first flight into the Argyle International Airport (AIA), says that after a few more tests, the AIA will be ready for operation, as it relates to flights.

Bowlig who is an American citizen and a tester with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) landed the first plane at the AIA on Thursday, November 19, with his colleague Carole Thompson and the Gonsalves.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT after the landing last Thursday, Bowlig said that when he flew from the ET Joshua Airport over to the AIA, he circled three times as it was raining, but other than that, the landing and the flight itself were “great”.

“It took a couple of tries to land because it was raining, but it was great and it gave the Prime Minister a chance to fly over the airport and see the crowds. Everything was smooth, the landing everything,” said Bowlig.

He stressed that he had no problems at all with winds and noted that it was a great honour to be the first pilot to land there.

“It was very exciting, it took about 10 minutes doing the flight.”

He revealed that the initial flight into the AIA tested the lights and a few other things that relate to the runway approach, “and everything looks great and you will soon be ready to go.”

Bowlig, who resides in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), apart from working for the ECCAA, is also a pilot for the charter company Island Birds.

He has done work for the ECCAA all over the Caribbean and is charged with checking and confirming that everything that has do with landing at an airport is in place and working properly.

Four flights landed at the AIA on Thursday. Some of the other pilots who brought in planes were Jonathan Palmer, Everett Best, Ray deFreitas and Kelly Glass.

Pilots Palmer and Best, like Bowlig, both said that they had no problems landing at the AIA, with Palmer describing the landing as “routine”.

During the eight years that the airport has been under construction, some persons who opposed the multi-million dollar project raised concerns about the cross-winds at the site and the orientation of the runway.