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 Ladidi Victoria Kolo was much fun. She said: “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 Ladidi Victoria Kolo completed her first degree. She decided to open up to her daddy concerning her 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 her into a school to start from.
Mr. Garuba contacted his colleagues in South Africa and they assisted her to gain admission. After she secured the admission, the issue of payment arose. The private pilot license training cost a substantial amount of money. It’s quite expensive and her dad had a panic attack because he didn’t even know where to get such money.
But, to her surprise, her dad’s friend came to their 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.”
Ladidi Victoria Kolo was terrified the first time she was on air. It was terrifying, but as time went on, she got used to it. Owing to the love and passion she has for flying, she overcame her 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.”
Ladidi Victoria Kolo said 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. Males often feel threatened when a female rises up to some professional levels. She believes females should be educated and accorded the equal opportunities. Their confidence level should be elevated as that of their male counterparts.
Ladidi Victoria Kolo is proud to be a female pilot. She feels great and delighted seeing herself doing what is considered more of men’s career. She is very happy because she is where she wants to be.
Ladidi Victoria Kolo says that 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.