Proflight hires a youngest female pilot named

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AT just 19 years of age, ambitious

teenager Besa Mumba has just

secured her dream job as a pilot

flying with the nation’s scheduled

airline, Proflight Zambia.

The bold move makes Ms Mumba

the country’s youngest commercial

pilot and a role model for women

across the world, as well as

cementing Proflight’s positon as a

champion of training and nurturing

young local talent.

Ms Mumba was born in December

1996 in Lusaka. She began school

in 1999 at Sunshine Primary

School, then went to St Mary’s

where she was head girl for the

2011 to 2012 school year before

heading for flight training in South

Africa.

But what spurred he to have the

heart and passion to become a

pilot?

“Curiosity made me venture into an

aviation career. Initially I wanted

to be cabin crew but I thought to

myself: ‘why not be the person

who flies the aircraft?’ From then I

had questions on how planes fly,

how they moved in the sky and I

wanted to know how pilots knew

where they were and where they

were going. My curiosity grew,”

said Ms Mumba.

“That’s why I decided to venture

into the aviation as a pilot. I am

very blessed, and proud to have

had the opportunity to go to flight

school to study and become a

pilot,” she said.

Shortly after receiving grade 12

results in March 2013, Besa was

accepted to attend the South

African Flight Training Academy in

Heidelberg, Gauteng. There she

started her Private Pilot Licence

course in April 2013 and began

flying the same month. The flight

training course lasted two years.

To get her commercial licence she

underwent extra and more complex

training at SIMU Flight in Pretoria.

Through the first quarter of 2015

she did final training towards

obtaining a Commercial Pilots

Licence, which she earned in July

of that year at the age of 18.

She was employed by Proflight

Zambia as a First Officer this

month and she has already flown

more than 15 hours, on Zambian

domestic routes to Kasama, Lower

Zambezi, and Luangwa.

As a First officer she flies

alongside the captain of the

aircraft on the airline’s Caravan

aircraft.

“Proflight Zambia was impressed

with Besa’s determination and

drive and we believe she has the

will to succeed in what is very

competitive industry,” said

Proflight’s Director of Government

and Industry Affairs Capt. Philip

Lemba. “We will support Besa all

the way, and look forward to her

growing her career with us.”

Besa comes from a family of three

and is the last born. One sister is a

fourth-year law student at the

University of Zambia and the other

is a medical doctor. She is very

grateful to her parents as they

supported her career plans. “I love

you mum and dad. Thank you for

your support, as you never doubted

me,” she said.

Besa is happy to have been given

an opportunity by Proflight

Zambia, “I am extremely humbled

they gave me a chance to live my

dream and this shows they have

confidence in me to have given me

the opportunity.”

“I am grateful to all the pilots I

have meet so far both at Proflight

Zambia and in South Africa during

my training. I have been received

very warmly, everyone has really

been nice to me as a young female

pilot and, I don’t feel intimated I

actually feel at home when in the

skies, my colleagues are doing

everything to make me feel

comfortable,” she said.

A vibrant and intelligent young

woman, Ms Mumba looks forward

to inspiring more women in

Zambia to take up flying as an

attainable lifetime career.

Her experience so far shows that

the industry is not biased nor

favours anyone be they male or

female, it is equal opportunity for

everyone, only hard work and

determination will take you there.

“If you have a dream, work hard

you can get to where you want,”

she said. “I feel amazing! I hope

the Zambian people will be

inspired by my story to also reach

for their dreams and goals because

I think the sky is not the limit.”

In five years she sees herself

becoming a captain, flying the big

jets at Proflight Zambia. She is

proud of her country and wants to

continue working for her home

country to make it better.

Otherwise, for Ms Mumba things

look pretty good and she seems to

love what she does.

Ms Mumba is following in the

footsteps of a number of illustrious

female flyers, including Zambia’s

first female pilot Yichida Ndhlovu,

and Major Nina Tapula, who was

the first female pilot in the

Zambian Air Force.

Speaking in 2012 at a Proflight-

sponsored Women’s Day event,

Major Tapula told guests about

her career path and its highs and

lows and said: “Becoming the first

female pilot in the air force – you

will all agree it is still a man’s

world and as much as we are

trying to break down those barriers

there are still a few hurdles to get

over.”

But she added: “My trailblazing

has paid off and there are now

quite a few women in the air force.

I would like to encourage ladies to

think about what you want in your

life. What goes hand in hand with

the importance of time is good

decision making. Even if you make

a wrong decision it is important

that you keep going or know when

to back down.”

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