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New MRCU Hangar Underway

Demolition of Old Hangar

The Mosquito & Research Control Unit (MRCU) saw its 36-year old Aircraft Hangar demolished as part of the development of the new home for their Aircraft Section during the week of December 8th, 2008.

The Hangar was condemned due to damages from Hurricane Ivan which passed through Cayman in 2004.

The Aircraft Hangar was constructed in the summer of 1972, at the initiation of Dr. Marco Giglioli, who headed up the MRCU at the time. Over the years, the hangar has been used to store and service the MRCU mosquito-spray planes such as the first Cessna Ag Wagon B spray plane which was initially brought to Cayman in 1970 on New Year's Eve.

The MRCU planes have been used over the years to rid Cayman of millions of mosquitoes. Many people will recall that in the 1950's and 60's there were so many mosquitoes that they were like a thick fog said to darken the sky; there were even reports of them smothering farmers' cattle. Fortunately, thanks to the excellent work continued by the MRCU, those days are now a memory.

One of the MRCU's primary successes of its aerial programme, spear-headed by Dr. Giglioli and others back in the 70's, was the continued reduction and elimination of swamp mosquitoes and other related species, such as the Aedes aegypti mosquito which is the vector for dengue and yellow fever. In more recent years, the MRCU has continued its research and field work under the leadership of Dr. Bill Petrie to maintain the reduced level of these insects' numbers on the islands.

Lewie Hydes, current Senior Superintendent at the MRCU, recalls digging the foundation of the aircraft Hanger as a Heavy Equipment Operator back in the early 70's. Mr. Hydes, who has been with the MRCU for approximately 40 years, says that the old Hangar project started in 1971 and was completed by the summer (July or August) of 1972. According to Mr. Hydes, Mr. Harry Lynch, a Jamaican National, was the Head Foreman during the Public Works Department's role in the Hangar's development.

According to Richard Clough, Chief Pilot with the MRCU since 1989, "It was sad to see it knocked down, but this will mean a new and much needed facility."

Dr. William Petrie, Director at the MRCU, says a state-of-the-art hanger will soon be constructed. He says the new hangar will serve as a pesticide storage facility, while also housing workshops, a paint booth, offices and two MRCU aircraft.

The new facility is expected to take 12 to18 months to be constructed, and is scheduled for completion in early 2010. In the meantime, a smaller work-shed, located in the same vicinity where the old Hangar previously stood, has been left there to serve as a temporary workshop for the purpose of continuing MRCU plane-maintenance. The Pilots and Engineers have temporarily relocated their offices to the Eurocar Building on 1 Shedden Road.

For further information contact: Lennon Christian