ZAMBIA’S FIRST FEMALE HELICOPTER PILOT AT ZAMBIA AIRFORCE.

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ZAMBIA’S FIRST FEMALE HELICOPTER PILOT AT ZAMBIA AIRFORCE.
29 YEAR OLD OBTAINS 6 POINTS AND BECOMES THE FIRST FEMALE HELICOPTER PILOT
“Women too have rights to great opportunity”GEAC

29 year old Maj Rita Mweetwa, Zambia’s first female helicopter pilot working for Zambia Airforce,She has undoubtedly made history for taking up a position that was once believed to be only for men.The determined helicopter pilot has made an incredible stride in gaining recognition by proving that women can take up tasks that people think can only be done by men,During an interview Maj Mweetwa Rita narrates “When I am flying a helicopter, the aircraft does not look at the pilot whether one is a woman or man. All that is needed is for one to have the competence to fly it regardless of gender,” she said. .
Conquering the awesome skies has not been seen as a feat meant for the average woman who, according to local tradition, has her place tied to the kitchen.Born in 1991, Maj Mweetwa completed her secondary school at Fatima Girls secondary School in Ndola in 2008 She were she got six points at grade 12.
This success was the beginning of an unbelievable career journey that was nothing but a humbling experience and bravery of a young woman who believed in taking up a challenging career.After her secondary school, Maj Mweetwa wanted to be a medical doctor
particularly a neurosurgeon. However, when she heard that the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) was recruiting, she applied and was among recruits
selected in 2010.
“When I joined ZAF, I wanted to be a doctor but unfortunately they were only recruiting qualified professionals as doctors, so I was advised to choose another profession under the direct entrants,” she said.
She opted to go for flying training as a pilot because she wanted a challenging career that would help her reach full potential.
Maj Mweetwa recalls how she opted to be a pilot as her second career option as she wanted to pursue a male dominated career.
In 2010, she pursued her basic and advanced training at flying training school in Livingstone.
She was the only female in the course of 18 during her training.
Maj Mweetwa noted that despite being the only female in her class, she was given the same opportunities and tasks as her male counterparts.While in Livingstone, Maj Mweetwa flew aircrafts like the Saab MFI-15 as well as SF-260-TW.
In 2012, she was posted to Lusaka for her helicopter training at the ZAF training school.
At the time, ZAF did not have any female helicopter pilot as it was a male dominated area of training.
“I wanted to be a helicopter pilot because it was challenging and at the same time no female pilots had flown helicopters, but most of my colleagues would tell me that only men can train as helicopter pilots as they could stay away from home for long periods,”
Her colleagues told her she could not stay away from home for long periods when she becomes a wife and a mother,”she said.
Maj Mweetwa did not give up on her dream and kept on working hard so that she can one day train as helicopter pilot.Fortunately in 2012, her dream actualised and she was the first femaleto be selected to train as the first helicopter pilot.