Like¬† the popular Lufthansa Airlines pay-off line, Captain Mrs. Chinyere Kalu¬† MFR,¬†¬†¬† 56¬† 28th¬†¬† December, 2011, made¬† history many¬† years ago,¬† when¬† she¬† performed¬† the (then) rare feat of being ‚ÄúFirst in the¬† Air.‚ÄĚ¬†¬†¬† She¬† flew¬† a¬† plane¬† and became a Captain at a time when¬† it was yet unheard of¬† in¬† these parts‚Ä¶
The¬† mother¬† of¬† three¬† finished¬† Primary¬† and¬† Secondary education¬† in¬† Lagos¬† and¬† on¬† leaving¬† Anglican¬† Girls Grammar¬† School¬† Yaba,¬† trained¬† as¬† a¬† Private¬† and Commercial¬† pilot¬† at¬† the¬† Nigerian¬† College¬† of¬† Aviation Technology¬† (NCAT)¬† Zaria¬† in¬† 1978¬† as¬† part¬† of¬† the ¬†SP.12 batch.
Member¬† of¬† the¬† African¬† Women¬† Leaders‚Äô¬† Think¬† Tank Group,¬† Kalu¬† was¬† at¬† Nigeria‚Äôs¬† 50th¬†¬† Independence Anniversary¬† in¬† 2011¬† named¬† one¬† of¬† the¬† country‚Äôs¬† 50 greatest women to-date, even as she was inducted as far back as 2004 into the Nigeria Women Achievers‚Äô Hall of Fame by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development‚Äôs National Centre for Women Development Centre. Also in 2007 her achievement was celebrated the bestowal on her of¬† the African¬† International Achiever‚Äôs Merit Award.
A professional with¬† insatiable thirst¬† for knowledge and self-improvement,¬† Captain¬† Kalu¬† attended¬† training courses¬† in Bolivia Aviation, Memphis Tennessee (USA)¬† for the¬† Air ¬†Transport¬† Pilot¬† Licence¬† (ATPL),¬† the¬† Aircraft Accident Investigation and Prevention Course with FAA Tulsa¬† in¬† Oklahoma,¬† USA.¬† She¬† went¬† on¬† to¬† the¬† Flight Instructor‚Äôs Rating at CAA Oxford, United Kingdom and the Commercial Pilot Licence¬† (CPL/IR)¬† at¬† the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria.
That¬† is¬† not¬† all,¬† as¬† Captain¬† Kalu¬† also¬† holds¬† the¬† Post-Graduate¬† Diploma¬† in¬† Transport¬† Management¬† and Logistics¬† of¬† the¬† Nigerian¬† Institute¬† of¬† Transport Technology¬† (NITT),¬† Zaria.¬† Other¬† professional¬† and Management¬† courses¬† Kalu¬† attended¬† in¬† Nigeria¬† and abroad¬† include:¬† Airborne¬† Collision¬† Avoidance/T-CAS Training¬† for¬† Air¬† Traffic¬† Controllers¬† and¬† Pilots¬† Human Performance¬† and¬† Limitations/Crew¬† Resources Management/Human Factors, courses.
Patient and a fast learner, Kalu rose through the ranks at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology from 1980 as an Assistant Flying Instructor in-training, then Assistant¬†¬† Flying¬† Instructor¬† in¬† 1981,¬† Flying¬† Instructor¬† Grade¬† I¬† in 1982,¬† Senior Flying¬† Instructor¬† in 1987, Assistant Chief Flying¬† Instructor¬† in 1988.
In 1991 she got promoted to Principal Flying Instructor in-training and then made it to Chief Flying Instructor in 2001;¬† thereafter¬† from¬† 2006¬† to¬† 2009,¬† she¬† headed¬† the Flying¬† School,¬† repositioning¬† it¬† for¬† greater¬† capacity¬† ‚Äď building and efficiency.
A member of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Women in Aviation International and the Nigerian¬† Chapter,¬† Kalu¬† became¬† Rector¬† of¬† the¬† Nigerian College of Aviation Technology with effect from October 2011 following the approval by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan¬† of¬† same¬† and¬† as¬† announced¬† by¬† the¬† Federal Ministry of Aviation, becoming thus the very first to be so appointed¬† from¬† among¬† the¬† College¬† Staff¬† and¬† not¬† from outside.
Captain Kalu‚Äôs¬† hobbies¬† include¬† home-making,¬† cooking, baking, weaving and travelling. She also spares time for other¬† people¬† to whom¬† she¬† serves¬† as¬† a¬† Life¬† Coach¬† and Career Counselor.
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