Madeleine Deshaies
2006

Pilot & flight instructor

In 2004, Madeleine Deshaies became the first – and only – woman to be appointed member of the Air Navigation Commission at ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency). This 15 member-commission includes some of the best technical experts in the world. It examines matters related to aviation safety and sets international standards for the 189 ICAO-member countries. Coming from a family of flyers, Mrs. Deshaies is the daughter of Louis-Gilles Deshaies, founder of Air Sorel. Highly respected by her peers, she learned to fly as soon as she was legally permitted to and started her profesionnal career in 1976 as flight instructor at the Sorel flying club. In 1978 she became flight instructor at Air Dorval, a company with a charter operation in the USA and Canada. At a time when aviation was still very much a male-dominated profession, doors to the charter division would remain closed for her. So she resigned. Eventually, with patience and conviction, she was able to fight prejudice. In fact, the company soon made her head instructor and charter pilot.

At a time when aviation was still very much a male-dominated profession, doors to the charter division would remain closed for her. Eventually, with patience and conviction, she was able to fight prejudice.

In 1980, she was appointed chief-pilot, in charge of hiring, supervision and training of more than 20 pilots certified on various types of aircraft. All this before age 30 ! Between 1981 and 2003 at Transport Canada, she was Inspector (Air Regulations), Superintendant (Airspace and Aerodromes), Regional Director (Aviation Enforcement) and Regional Manager (Civil Aviation), in charge of some 30 employees affected to licensing and registration, among other things. More than once, Mrs. Deshaies acted as the Ministry representative for the media over aviation related matters. She was also involved with the analysis of airport safety features. At the 2003 Distinction Gala held by the Quebec Federal Council, she was given an award for successfully presiding the seminar «Shockwaves» gathering more than 400 managers. Extending family tradition, Madeleine Deshaies’s daughter, Marie-Pier Caouette, also flies and works as air trafic controller for Nav Canada.

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