Celebrating Success Series #3: Abimbola Jayeola: Nigeria’s first female helicopter captain

By Elkanah Nyauma

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Captain Abimbola Jayeola is Nigeria’s first female Helicopter Captain, currently flying for Bristow Helicopters Nigeria.

She drew inspiration for life in the cockpit from reading articles on aviation and aerodynamics. She began fantasizing about flying aircrafts and imagined herself soaring at extreme heights while helping people and goods move from one point to another at a very young age.

In 2008, she completed an ab-initio training at Bristow Academy Titusville, Florida, USA. In 2009, she did her type conversion on the Sikorsky 76 at Flight Safety International, Florida, USA, and graduated as the first Nigerian female Helicopter Pilot from Bristow Academy. She officially joined Bristow Helicopters Nigeria as a First Officer in the same year.

In 2014, she was promoted to the rank of Captain, becoming the first female Helicopter Captain in Nigeria.

In February 2016, her heroic act saved the lives of 11 passengers aboard a helicopter she piloted, after the chopper developed a fault. The helicopter was headed to Lagos from Port-Harcourt when she landed in the Atlantic Ocean to prevent a fatal crash.

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