Piloting is a very lucrative job, but unfortunately not many people can be counted to have carved a niche for themselves in this profession. For the few that we have around, it goes without saying that the women pilots are even lesser in number. It, therefore, might surprise you to know that Ghana’s youngest commercial pilot is a female and she goes by the name Audrey Esi Swatson. Originally from Saltpond, Audrey speaks fluent English, as well as a variety of local languages including Fanti and Twi.
She was, however, born on the February 23, 1997 (she’s just 21 years old) in Ghana’s capital Accra. According to her, it has always been her dream to become a pilot ever since she was a child. Audrey had her basic education at the University of Ghana Basic Schools, Legon, and her secondary education at the Ghana Christian International High School, Dodowa. Having completed SHS at the age of 18, she got admission at Mach1 Aviation Academy in South Africa to pursue her dream of becoming a pilot.
Just a year later, at 19, she embarked on her first solo flight as part of her training.
Later that year, Audrey got her private pilot license from the South African Civil Aviation Authority. She obtained her commercial license to fly on the eve of Christmas 2018, a feat she says made her Christmas memorable. “My nuclear family was very supportive. Growing up they had seen what I was able to do and what I was not able to do as well. Extended family, they are not so close so hearing that I want to fly, they questioned my parents if they were going to allow me to do what I want to do. My dad doesn’t listen to negative vibes like that. He’d ask me time and time if this is what I want to do and over and over again I said yes,” she opined.
Read her story below:
“The journey has been tough and full of challenges. My flight training experience with Mach1 Aviation Academy has developed my ability to operate in a fast-paced ,high-performing organization , reinforced the requirement to make sound decisions in a sometimes ambiguous environment, lead by example, and deliver results with little margin for error . I had the privilege of flying with some truly inspirational, selfless flight instructors who embodied fortitude, grit, resilience, courage and integrity.
To anyone who is interested in pursuing an aviation career, set specific goals, take one day at a time yet having a long-term vision and plan. Hold yourself to high standards, collaborate and support others . Benchmark your performance against the best of the best and strive for excellence without arrogance. Build and grow your networks and lean into a mentor who can offer unbiased perspective.
Know that not everything will be a success and when it isn’t ,handle setbacks with grace and resilience—- keep going. When you do succeed, be humble, teach others and share your passion for aviation; it will be contagious!”