I feel safer on air than on ground -Ladidi Kolo, female pilot
Ladidi Victoria Kolo is among the few women who have broken through barriers, to fly an airplane.
Kolo believes in gender equality. In her view, people wrongly perceive that training as a pilot should be or designed for young, mechanically-inclined males.
She stated that male trainees face difficulties like their female counterparts, so they should be treated equally.
During training, some men even dropped out, some gave up. But that is not the case for this ambitious, youthful yet bold, 22-year old from Nupeland.
Today, she stands tall among her peers in the industry and tells the story of how what began as a childhood passion has seen her soar in her chosen field.
Growing up, for me was much fun. When I looked back at those days, I smile. I remember my childhood years in Maiduguri then, I was always curious about flying objects. Back then, in my innocence, I didn’t understand the mechanism of flying until I got to know that airplanes were flown by human beings and that the object was called an aeroplane. I was really fascinated by aeroplanes as a child and I had the feeling to be high up there flying.
In 2014, after I completed my first degree, I decided to open up to my daddy concerning my dream. He got in touch with his very close friend, Mr. Akin Eric Garuba who works at Capital Airlines.
They had a lengthy discussion and promised to get me into a school to start from.
Mr. Garuba contacted his colleagues in South Africa and they assisted me to gain admission. After I secured the admission, the issue of payment arose. The private pilot license training cost a substantial amount of money. It’s quite expensive and my dad had a panic attack because he didn’t even know where to get such money.
But, to our surprise, his friend came to our rescue, I guess he saw how passionate I was, qualifying as a pilot. He told my dad to calm down and that he would sort things out which he did. According to him, it was payback time for him. He told me my father was a good man who showed him so much kindness some years back. I am really grateful to God and to Mr. Garuba because if not for his kindness, I won’t be a pilot now.
First flying experience
It was terrifying, but as time went on, I got used to it. Owing to the love and passion I have for flying, I overcame my initial fears. You know what it feels like when it’s your first time to learn how to drive.
You are a little scared and careful but as time goes on, you’ll get used to it. It is funny though, but right now, I feel safer on air than on ground. I don’t even think about plane crash. If it is possible, I can relocate and live high up there.
My fear is about the road. When I came back and I was told to ride an Okada I was so scared. I wish I could go anywhere, I want to by air no matter how short the distance is.
My flying hero is Captain (Mrs). Chinyere Kalu, Nigeria’s first woman commercial pilot.
Parent’s reaction to chosen career
Well, they told me it is a risky profession but they gave in and saw it as fate .You know, I had passion for it. It was all I wanted to do at that time. So, they had no choice but to encourage me and help me take it to the highest level.
More female pilots are needed
Enlightenment is the key. In Africa, Nigeria being no exception, females are relegated to the kitchen. Even the educated ones still have issues fitting into jobs perceived to be for males only.
In addition, the males often feel threatened when a female rises up to some professional levels. I believe females should be educated and accorded the equal opportunities. Their confidence level should be elevated as that of their male counterparts.
Pilot trainings are capital intensive. Aside encouraging females, I feel the fees should be subsidized. The females should be accorded the enabling environment to bring into the industry.
The pride of being a female pilot
I feel great and delighted seeing myself doing what is considered more of men’s career. I am happy, very happy I’m where I want to be.
Women are better at flying planes
Although being a good pilot is not about gender but more about professionalism. However, women have innate advantage because of their ability to switch between multiple tasks, which are necessary skills when flying a plane and reacting to the unexpected situations that might lead to accident. I also think that women have intuitive advantage too.
I have big dreams but top on my priority list is to serve my country. I want to use my experience here in Nigeria because of the love I have for my country. I told my dad sometime that I wouldn’t mind joining Nigerian Air Force, and he strongly believes it is possible but we all know what it is like joining any of the Armed Forces in Nigeria.