Meet Captain Chinyere Kalu, The First Female Pilot In Nigeria

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.

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