Meet Abimbola Jayeola: Nigeria’s First Female Helicopter Captain


Being a female captain in charge of an aircraft is a significant achievement being that the gender is by default synonymous to “fragility”. There used to be a reported case of a man who cancelled his trip because the pilot was female, I guess those days are gone.

On Wednesday, 4th of January, Nigerian history registered yet another “Bristow Chopper” accident. The helicopter was probably heading towards a more fatal crash but somehow the brave female pilot Abimbola Jayeola, impulsively came up with the initiative to crash-land on water.

See Also: Amazing African Female Pilots

In 2008, Abimbola Jayeola graduated from the Bristow Academy and in 2014, became Nigeria’ first Helicopter captain; and according to The Cable News, Captain Abimbola Jayeola was the pilot on duty when the 5B BJQ  Bristow chopper that was headed to Lagos from Port Harcourt ended up “ditching” into the Atlantic Ocean, last week.

For a while now, there has been unprecedented developments in Africa’s aviation department with specific emphasis on what I’d rather call the female gender amazement. Women in African aviation are taking the bull by the horn, and although it is a mainstream sector for the male gender, some women too have stood out in all aviation aspects; Abimbola Jayeola for example has earned herself a spot on the list of successful aviation women in Africa.

See Also: Bristow Helicopter S76 Series Suspended By Aviation Authority

Africa applauds her for the last-minute decision to ditch the aircraft which fortunately saved  over 10 lives, majority of whom were ExxonMobil staff. In August 2015, a similar situation had presented itself – but unlike this time, lives were lost.

As much as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is taking precautions to prevent a repetition of this ugly incident, it is just good to know that a woman saved the day regardless of the widely believed social construct about women.

“Coming from a part of the world where some professions are viewed as the exclusive preserve of men, I found enormous encouragement in the academy. I learned to believe in myself because I was determined in my choice of becoming a pilot. I’ll
always remember what one of the instructors said to me: ‘If you have faith in yourself, other people will have no choice but to believe in you’’ – Abimbola Jayeola

With her wealth of experience, skills and recent life-saving stunt, Abimbola Jayeola is an African aviation amazon to have on a pedestal.

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