Monica Nabakooza has just gained her wings in aviation, and she is spreading them wide to girls dreaming of becoming pilots.
Confident with more speed and space, Monica is learning to fly a multi-engine aircraft, while inspiring young women who would like to take up a career in the male-dominated industry.
Uganda has one of the lowest rates of women aviators but these trailblazing enthusiasts are changing the perception.
“There is nothing like this is for men and this is for women. I want to inspire you that you can do it, you can do anything. You can become an engineer; you can become a pilot like me or those many other jobs that people think are for me” said Monica.
10-year-old Cecilliah Kayesu is taking her first flight in what she hopes is takeoff for a career in conquering the skies.
“I thank Captain Monica because she has flown me up in the sky. I had never been up in the sky. I really thank her and now my dreams will come true because of Captain Monica,” young Cecilliah expressed.
More women are joining the industry but the idea of ladies in the cockpit still startles many despite the fact that over the years, the number of female aviators onboard has increased. While the demand is growing, statistics show that women account for just 9 percent of pilots globally.
“Long time ago it used to be only boys coming to flying school, ladies were not looked at as if they are confident enough and capable of flying airplanes but today with affirmative action in, we have found ladies capable of flying airplanes,” explained Chris Sentabile, a flight instructor.
With over 250 hours logged, Monica’s dream is to serve with the police air wing.
However, young Cecilliah will have to wait until she is 17 - the minimum age requirement in Uganda - to enroll in pilot training.