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One on One with Kyokunda Esther, Uganda’s First Female Certified Flight Instructor

When many of us are young, we watch a lot of cartoons and movies and we envision being pilots but along the way, we give up on that dream to pursue other career paths.

However, Kyokunda Esther aka Theo has never lost sight of her childhood dream. She pursued it, now she is a pilot. She also goes down in history as the first female certified flight instructor that we have in Uganda.

We were able to get a hold of her to know how she got to beat the odds and solidify her position in the flight sphere.

Tell us about who you are, and how you achieved your dream of being a pilot.

My name is Esther Mwesigye Kyokunda, I am 25 years of age. I am a Flight instructor at The Vine Air Flight Academy in Jinja. I have always wanted to be a pilot. It was a childhood dream.

Personally I never thought it would be something that would come true, but it did and every single day I am thankful to God who made it possible. I am always humbled and thankful that I managed to achieve my dream.

So, tell us about your education background, where did it all start?

I did my primary at Kabojja Junior School here in Kampala, then I went to Maryhill High school in Mbarara for my O’level and Nabisunsa Girls Secondary School for my A’level.

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For my initial training I was at Flight Training College in South Africa and I later returned home and did my Flight Instructors Rating at Vine Air Flight Academy, Jinja, Uganda.

Vine Air Flight Academy is by the way the first school to be certified by CAA to train pilots from scratch to Flight Instructor level in Uganda.

Theo!

What is it like being a female pilot? What have been some of your high and low points?

Being a female pilot is something amazing. It’s a well-known fact women are better pilots than men. Ask any male pilot.

At the moment, getting my instructor’s license is the biggest achievement I have made so far in my career.  My favorite moment (and many pilots can testify to this) is when I went solo. Going solo is when you fly the aircraft for the first ever in your career.

For the lows, one of the challenges I faced was learning how to be patient and letting things happen in their time. Aviation training and aviation in general requires an immense amount of patience.

Things do not usually go in a set time so you have to really be patient and accept the situation and keep praying for it to fall in place.

Esther doing what she does best as a flight instructor.

Has your family been supportive with your choice of career?

I would not be where I am today without the support of my family, and from day one they have been my number one fans cheering me on to do and be better. I can’t thank them enough.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

Next 10 years, I see myself on the Captain Seat on Uganda Airlines.

Lastly, for the young people out there especially the females who want to be like you, what do you have to say to them?

My advice is pray, pray, pray, block out all the noise, the negativity and do your thing. Keep turning the pages and make that dream happen. It is possible because there are many girls out there in the aviation industry.

To those girls, keep on keeping on and let us get more ladies up in this place.

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