Each one of us was born for a purpose and that varies from individual to individual.
Patricia Mabviko Musanhu
New Ground with In seeking to achieve this purpose, one has to disregard all kinds of societal prejudices.
Sometimes society can place limitations on one’s purpose by defining that only certain people are qualified to do certain things.
For example, there is a perception that certain careers were meant to be for either men or women.
It is positive to note however that there are more people today who are breaking these barriers and disregarding these prejudices to “follow their heart”.
I had an opportunity to speak to one such individual this past week who shared with me her gravitation towards her purpose which had been a dream from childhood.
At 24 years old, Chipo Gatsi is the youngest female pilot flying as First Officer with Air Zimbabwe. Her desire to fly dates back to her primary school days when she got an opportunity to get into the flight deck of a plane, when she was flying to Cape Town with her family.
She was fascinated by what she saw and her desire to want to fly never left her from then. It was inevitable therefore that when she completed her “A” levels in 2007, she began to do something about this desire and in 2008 she enrolled with a flying academy in South Africa.
It is often thought that flying is a career better suited for men than women. However, Chipo took on this opportunity regardless of her gender. She was driven more by her passion than by this thinking. One thing she quickly found out when she started flight training was that she was required to work extremely hard.
“When I was in school, I could get away with studying for exams during study leave or a month or so before the exam. When it came to flying however, I had to change this attitude completely,” she said.
What she found challenging about flying was not so much the subjects but more the fact that there are different things that one learns in order to qualify to be a pilot.
For example, there is the theory aspect where you are learning how the engine works, the instruments, human factors, navigation, meteorology and principles of flight.
At the same time, one is also trying to grasp the practical side of how to fly and manoeuvre the aircraft, which includes how to land the aircraft, how to recover the aircraft from engine failure and night flying, among other things.
There are so many different stages that one has to pass through before proceeding to the next level.
Chipo admitted that there were times when the going got really tough and what kept her going was her passion to fly. “When things got very difficult I used to ask myself how badly I wanted to fly and because that is all I had ever wanted to do, that desire kept me going. It had nothing to do with whether I was male or female,” she said. “I kept the bigger picture in mind and at each stage I was willing to push myself to work harder,” She added.
She narrated an incident which happened when she had started flying solo, (without an instructor), and was in the process of building night hours after getting night rating (a qualification to fly at night). She flew out at about 7pm and had anticipated clear skies so she could see.
However, the weather changed suddenly as it does in Port Elizabeth and she found herself flying through a broken cloud.
It is a requirement that one is instrument rated, i.e. they qualify to fly with the aid of instruments if they are flying above the cloud for instance. She had not been instrument rated at this stage and was supposed to be flying below the cloud where she could see.
While in the clouds the instruments froze and were no longer giving correct readings.
The male student who had accompanied her on the flight to understudy her panicked as he thought she was going to lose control of the aircraft and crash. She quickly turned to the GPS to get an idea of the altitude and speed. She flew above the cloud for quite a while without any form of visual reference.
She was determined to complete the cross country flight and build her night hours. Her determination paid off because when she broke out of the clouds she was able to positively identify Grahamstown because of the lights.
She completed her flight and landed safely. This experience was proof to Chipo that anyone who has a desire to fly can do so regardless of their gender. “I believe that purpose and dreams are God-given and that in addition to giving you the dream, God also gives you the ability to achieve that dream,” said Chipo.
Patricia Mabviko Musanhu is a Company Director/Producer at Black and White Media Productions. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article source: http://www.thestandard.co.zw/2014/04/06/flying-high-sky-24/