Guy Gervais, Bush Pilot, who spent 20 years at the controls of Avions Sans Frontières (ASF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and who flew over the planet’s jungles and bushes servicing the most impoverished for nearly 50 years, is taking a well-deserved retirement.
As his replacement, ASF has chosen David Dancause, a young 27-year-old pilot from Saint-Rémi, on the South Shore of Montreal. Last December, a few days prior to his departure, he expressed the pride and feverishness he was feeling at the idea of taking over the controls of ASF’s Cessna 206.
Holder of a piloting techniques diploma obtained at the Centre québécois de formation aéronautique at the Cegep in Chicoutimi, David Dancause also completed a one-year study in avionics at the École nationale d’aéronautique at the Cegep Édouard-Montpetit, in Longueuil. At the time of his selection, the young pilot had 2400 hours of flying time to his name, of which 2000 were as captain, and mainly accumulated in the regions of Mont-Tremblant, Parent and La Tuque. He also piloted around James Bay and Schefferville. “I developed my resourcefulness and my judgment when piloting hydroplanes, which will help me in Africa. I will already have certain established reflexes”, mentions David, while specifying that his old bosses repeatedly praised prudence, an essential asset in the type of environment in which he must work. He also made sure to meet Benoit Lebeau, an ex ASF pilot, and he is counting on Vincent Ndombe, the director of ASF in Dungu, for precious advice. Everything will be new to him in Dungu, since he will not only find himself in a new airspace, but also in a part of the world that he is not familiar with. “I’ve traveled in Central America, but never in Africa” states David. He will have the support of his partner, Caroline Jean, who will also be in Africa for the first time. “In fact, I’ve never traveled, but I’ve always wanted to”, affirms Caroline. “Meeting new people, getting to know a different culture… everything will be a discovery. Of course, precautions must be taken, but that’s all part of the adaptation”, adds Caroline who has an idea about life in remote regions since she has always lived in La Tuque. “I will offer to help. There will certainly be something for me to do”, says Caroline, while stating that she is not nervous when David pilots. “He always explains what he’s doing.” The entire Terre Sans Frontières team wishes them a pleasant stay…. and safe flights!