The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) made history yesterday, 15 October 2019, with the decoration of the first female fighter pilot, Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni, and first female combat helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolupe Arotile, with their pilot wings.
The 2 female NAF pilots were decorated alongside 11 other young officers after completion of their flying training courses.
The winging serves as the formal induction of the officers as Pilots into the Nigerian Air Force.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the 13 pilots qualified for the award of the NAF prestigious Wing.
“Today indeed marks another milestone in the history of the NAF and I am gratified to be part of it.
“I am particularly happy because out of the 13 pilots to be winged are two female Regular Combatant officers.
“They are not only female officers but outstanding aviators.
“While one of the two pilots is the first female fighter pilot in the 55 years history of the NAF, the second one is the first female combat helicopter pilot.
“The first female fighter pilot trained at the United States Air Force following an excellent performance during her initial flying training course at 401 Flying Training School in Kaduna.
“While the second graduated from Starlite International Training Academy. They both performed excellently well during their training.
“Our records indicate that as at today, we have trained a total of 67 Instructor pilots since 2015.
“Furthermore, with the winging of these pilots today, the NAF would have winged a total of 101 pilots within the same period.
“Currently, we have 61 pilots undergoing basic flying training, while 50 are undergoing various forms of advanced flying training courses both locally and abroad.
“As such we are highly delighted to see the rewards of our collective efforts.
“I am confident that the NAF and indeed Nigeria will soon be reaping the benefits that these pilots would undoubtedly add to our operations,’’ he said.