Lagos,Nigeria
Sunday, July 21st, 2024

Search
Search
Close this search box.

Uganda: Ibanda Girl Reaches For The Sky In Fighter Jets

No comment
Monday, November 21st, 2016
No comment

Kyomuhangi was the only female student out of 20 who graduated as Uganda People’s Defense Airforce pilots from Gulu Air Base on July 1, this year after intensive four-year training in flying L39 Albatross Fighter jets.

doreen-jet

Wearing a green khaki flight jumpsuit, the soft-spoken pilot Kyomuhangi, shares her story with poise. Growing up as the last born in family of nine, Kyomuhangi dreamt of working in a hotel or the fashion industry.

“I fondly recall admiring planes flying in the sky and cheering them during my childhood. But I never entertained thoughts of flying one, let alone a fighter jet that I used to fear so much,” Kyomuhangi recounts.

Kyomuhangi was the only female student out of 20 who graduated as Uganda People’s Defense Airforce pilots from Gulu Air Base on July 1, this year after intensive four-year training in flying L39 Albatross Fighter jets.

Wearing a green khaki flight jumpsuit, the soft-spoken pilot Kyomuhangi, shares her story with poise. Growing up as the last born in family of nine, Kyomuhangi dreamt of working in a hotel or the fashion industry.

“I fondly recall admiring planes flying in the sky and cheering them during my childhood. But I never entertained thoughts of flying one, let alone a fighter jet that I used to fear so much,” Kyomuhangi recounts.

In March 2010, without the consent of her parents and relatives, Kyomuhangi decided to join the army during a recruitment exercise by the UPDF in Ibanda Town. “To make sure I didn’t miss the UPDF recruitment drive, I escaped from home to participate in the drills and tests.

I was selected among the successful recruits and taken to Singo Training Wing in Nakaseke District,” narrates Kyomuhangi. Because she left for training right away, her parents only found out from her brother. Kyomuhangi would deal with their disappointment at a later date; for now she had work to do.

The training

Of her time at the training centre, Kyomuhangi recounts; “There were many women and everyone was treated equally irrespective of sex. Things were not easy and at one point I thought of escaping but remembered I had also escaped from home, so I gave up and continued.

“We had to adapt fast to the environment or we got punished. Despite the tough conditions at the training school, I continued to do my best. But, I never had any idea I would be selected for the aircraft training because I did not have any background in engineering. I had only stopped in Senior Six so I figured the selection would maybe see me end up as an aircraft cleaner, but never a pilot.

“There were many degree and diploma holders among those selected for the course and we were all later given a test which I passed.

As reality dawned on me during the aircraft training where I was really headed, I had to make hard decisions. The training was conducted by Bulgarian aircraft experts contracted by the Ugandan government.

“I started wondering why I was taking myself through such a risky venture. I had passions in life but flying an aircraft was not one of them. I was very nervous about my decision but I later had to relax and give my new career a try.

The trainings started with basic studies of jet fighter aircraft between November 2011 and January 2013, and then later, we started actually flying the jets. We started straight away with real fighter jets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *