All over the world more and more Africans are proving to be bold, relentless and unstoppable, shuttering stereotypes and eradicating all devaluing labels that have been placed on them. Recently Nigerian pilot Ademilola “Lola” Odujinrin did just that, becoming the first African to circle the globe.
On the 29th of March 2017, the 38-year-old African pilot completed the final leg of his historic expedition tagged, “One Man, One Plane” landing safely at Washington Dulles International Airport.
The massively experienced pilot who has been flying for 17 years completed the entire circumnavigation in a specially configured SR22 Cirrus, a 9-year-old aircraft with registration number N313CD. With the craft that can fly 17-and-a-half hours before refuelling, He stopped in more than 15 countries spread on five continents, before returning to Washington DC, where his journey began back in June 2016.
As a young boy, Lola looked up to his uncle who was a commercial pilot and went flying with him. Not long after that He realized that his calling was actually to be an airline pilot. He began to dream of one day flying around the world.
Around the age of 15 Lola began saving towards achieving this dream. His love and craving for aviation grew with every passing day and he started to tell his family that he wanted to be a pilot. In 1999 at the age of 20 he qualified for his Private Pilot License (PPL). For some years after this He had to pause his dream and focus on making a living. In 2011 he earned his Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and has since logged over 4,000 hours as a commercial Boeing 737 pilot.
Captain Ademilola says his love for not only his country, Nigeria but also his continent, Africa, was his motivation for embarking on this voyage. In an interview with journalist Adedayo Fashuna he revealed, “(I wanted) to reshape the perception of Nigeria through great achievements that defy expectation and to redefine the African narrative”.
He also highlighted that the other major reason for his expedition was “to inspire the youth of Africa to ‘Dare to Dream,’… Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of one day flying around the world. We have a responsibility to lead by example and follow our dreams. I want African children to think: ‘I can do this too!’”
Ademilola was trained in the UK and US and for five years flew for Arik Air before going on to work for Air Djibouti till present. His flight was part of Project Transcend, a foundation which aims to inspire young people to achieve their goals, regardless of their personal circumstances.
Feature Photo Credit: Punch Newspaper
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