|Patricia Mawuli Nyedozki
PHOTO BY STEVE CUKIERSKI
In 2007 when Patricia Mawuli Nyedozki asked for a job with WAASPS, the only light aircraft building and maintenance center in West Africa, she was handed a machete and told to remove stumps at Kpong Airfield. She also mowed a 1,000-meter-plus runway every week by hand.
Nyedozki, 22, is now the first woman to earn Ghana’s National Pilot’s License and become an aircraft engineer and flight instructor.
She initially shied away from airplanes but her interest in aviation grew as she would walk several miles from her mud hut to watch the airplanes on her days off.
One day Nyedozki was asked to hold a wing during airplane assembly. She caught on quickly, and when asked if she’d done it before, she explained that she “learns by doing.”
Seeing potential in her, WAASPS offered her a spot on a ferry flight. During the three-minute flight, the instructor gave her the controls, and quickly recognized that she was a natural.
Working closely with WAASPS, Medicine on the Move, an organization that flies medical personnel to remote locations and transports patients to modern medical facilities, decided to sponsor Nyedozki in her flight training. She was 20 when she first soloed, and on her 21st birthday, she earned her pilot certificate.
Nyedozki went on to become the first woman and first black African to earn Rotax Aircraft Engines certification, going through training and assessment in Austria. Among 33 participants from 20 nations and five continents, she was the first female to take the course, and earned a score of 97 percent on her written assessment.
Now, Nyedozki, who will celebrate her 23rd birthday at AirVenture this week, is an aircraft engineer and flight instructor. “I build the planes that I fly,” she said.
Nyedozki has been offered jobs all over the globe, but she wants to stay in Ghana to help develop the country she loves.
Wanting to give back to those who helped her, she volunteers as a pilot for Medicine on the Move and teaches young Ghanaian women to fly. “The part of the world where I come from, women aren’t given the opportunity,” Nyedozki said, adding that she wanted to show them how amazing it is to fly.
Medicine on the Move, which flies a Zenith CH 701, can be found at the Zenith display, Booths 640-641. In addition, AirVenture guests can catch The Calling, a documentary about the organization, at the Skyscape Theater in the AirVenture Museum, showing Friday, July 29, at 10 a.m.
Learn more about Medicine on the Move at www.MedicineOnTheMove.org.