Meet The First Black Women to Fly a Commercial Plane Together



It is uncommon for two African female pilots to fly a commercial plane together; nevertheless, this changed when two black South African Airways female pilots defied convention and flew the airline’s jet together for the first time. Captain Annabel Vundla and First Officer Refilwe Moreetsi took command of a South African flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town. It is the first time in the company’s 88-year history that such a feat has been accomplished, according to airspace Africa.

Captain Annabel Vundla began her military career as the country’s first black female pilot and flying instructor. When she entered the service in 1999, the thought of women flying planes was still foreign to many. She served with the South African Air Force’s VIP Transport squadron for 11 years. According to buzz sprout, she was President Nelson Mandela’s pilot during this time. She began a new job after being dismissed from the military, flying the Airbus A320 for South African Airways.

She was born in 1980 and received an early education at Kingsway Christian School, where she completed her primary education. She was then admitted to Mmabatho High School, where she studied from 1991 to 1997. According to ladies of rubies, she later applied to the South African National Defence Force and trained there for two years. She has flown the Presidential Inkwazi BBJ1 (Boeing 737-700) jet, Falcon 50, and Citation II (C550) jets during her two-decade career. She began her career as a pilot with South African Airways in 2010, becoming the national carrier’s first black female captain.

First Officer Moreetsi joined the South African Air Force in 2006 as a pilot. She, like Captain Vundla, had a steady advancement in her schooling, and after graduating from Merensky High School in 2005, she proceeded straight to Stellenbosch University.

Before commencing her career in the cockpit, she acquired a higher certificate in Military Studies and a Bachelor of Military Science in Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science and Technology. She began her aviation career as a Student Pilot at the Central Flying School in Langebaanweg and later served as the Limpopo/Mpumalanga Branch Coordinator for South African Women in Aviation from 2011 to 2013.

She, like Captain Vundla, believed she had not given society enough of her flying skills. Her feeling of inadequacy drove her to join the Starlight Aviation Group, where she earned her Private Pilot’s Certificate in 2010. At the same year, she began professional training at the Helicopter Flying School, was dismissed from the South African Air Force, and worked as a First Officer for South African Express Airlines from 2014 to 2016.

In 2016, she joined South African Airways as a Senior First Officer and was later promoted to Deputy Fatigue Risk Management Specialist. In June 2022, she was promoted to Fatigue Risk Management Specialist.

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