Like the popular Lufthansa Airlines pay-off line, Captain Mrs. Chinyere Kalu MFR, 56 28th December, 2011, made history many years ago, when she performed the (then) rare feat of being “First in the Air.” She flew a plane and became a Captain at a time when it was yet unheard of in these parts…
The mother of three finished Primary and Secondary education in Lagos and on leaving Anglican Girls Grammar School Yaba, trained as a Private and Commercial pilot at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria in 1978 as part of the SP.12 batch.
Member of the African Women Leaders’ Think Tank Group, Kalu was at Nigeria’s 50th Independence Anniversary in 2011 named one of the country’s 50 greatest women to-date, even as she was inducted as far back as 2004 into the Nigeria Women Achievers’ Hall of Fame by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development’s National Centre for Women Development Centre. Also in 2007 her achievement was celebrated the bestowal on her of the African International Achiever’s Merit Award.
A professional with insatiable thirst for knowledge and self-improvement, Captain Kalu attended training courses in Bolivia Aviation, Memphis Tennessee (USA) for the Air Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), the Aircraft Accident Investigation and Prevention Course with FAA Tulsa in Oklahoma, USA. She went on to the Flight Instructor’s Rating at CAA Oxford, United Kingdom and the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL/IR) at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria.
That is not all, as Captain Kalu also holds the Post-Graduate Diploma in Transport Management and Logistics of the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Zaria. Other professional and Management courses Kalu attended in Nigeria and abroad include: Airborne Collision Avoidance/T-CAS Training for Air Traffic Controllers and Pilots Human Performance and Limitations/Crew Resources Management/Human Factors, courses.
Patient and a fast learner, Kalu rose through the ranks at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology from 1980 as an Assistant Flying Instructor in-training, then Assistant Flying Instructor in 1981, Flying Instructor Grade I in 1982, Senior Flying Instructor in 1987, Assistant Chief Flying Instructor in 1988.
In 1991 she got promoted to Principal Flying Instructor in-training and then made it to Chief Flying Instructor in 2001; thereafter from 2006 to 2009, she headed the Flying School, repositioning it for greater capacity – building and efficiency.
A member of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Women in Aviation International and the Nigerian Chapter, Kalu became Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology with effect from October 2011 following the approval by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of same and as announced by the Federal Ministry of Aviation, becoming thus the very first to be so appointed from among the College Staff and not from outside.
Captain Kalu’s hobbies include home-making, cooking, baking, weaving and travelling. She also spares time for other people to whom she serves as a Life Coach and Career Counselor.