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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Incredible Female Pilot: A Travel Memoir by Tunde Ipinmisho

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My flight from Lagos to Abuja yesterday was unusual in some ways. Because I stayed in Ajah during the visit, I had to rise at 5 am and eventually left for the airport at Ikeja at 8 am. My flight was billed for 5:50 pm but I was determined not to be caught in the legendary Ajah-Lekki traffic gridlock. That’s even if it meant spending the whole day waiting at the airport, as I eventually did.

Virtually every other airline announced a delay or outright cancellation of their flights yesterday while I waited it out. Lucky me, my flight was announced by a whisper around the departure hall of the Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 2. Then it became real.

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Boarding was fast and we soon settled on our seats. Then from my vantage point where I was on a front aisle seat, I peeped into the cockpit and saw behind the instruments on the Captain’s seat, a petite woman. She must be idling away the time there, I thought.

After a while, she had cause to go down to the tarmac and that gave me a full view of her. Then I thought to myself what a small lady was doing behind the controls of this complicated monster. Soon, it was time for our departure and I expected the real pilot to take command but instead, our petite lady began to press one instrument after the other, in front of her on the panel or overhead and at each touch, the great machine responded appropriately to Madam’s every command.

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Then we were airborne and soon Lagos city began to recede below us. Shortly the fasten seat belt lights were off, meaning that we had attained cruise level. In no time, I was comfortable enough to permit myself a short sleep.

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Landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja was soft and seamless. Then came the sonorous voice of the air hostess welcoming us to the nation’s capital in time and on schedule.

Welcome to the world of Captain Imoleayo Adebule, Director of Flight Operations, Aero Contractors, the amazing woman in the cockpit. Indeed, the women of Nigeria are breaking every limitation, announcing their arrival in every sphere of national life.

May the Lord bless the great women, petite or large, of this wonderful nation.

Mr Ipinmisho, a journalist and corporate communications expert, first published this piece on his Facebook Page

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