Meet Captain Abimbola Jayeola, Nigeria’s First Female Helicopter Pilot
It is no mean feat to become a helicopter pilot. Today, I am writing on the lady who damned everything to become the very first female helicopter pilot in the world’s most populous black nation. Aviation is one of the most tightly-regulated industries in the world so when you meet an expert in the industry like Captain Jayeola, you can be sure the person knows what he or she is doing. It is hoped that her story will be an inspiration to everyone out there with lofty dreams and ideas for the future.
FULL NAMES AND TITLES
Captain Abimbola Jayeola aka Captain AB
She hails from Abeokuta, Ogun State, southwestern Nigeria.
TRAINING AND CAREER
She graduated from the Bristow Academy in 2008 and said of her training in Florida:
‘From a technical perspective, my Academy experience is the foundation of my success on the job today. More broadly, exposure to the rich and multicultural diversity at the Academy greatly facilitated my understanding and appreciation of different cultures and the way they do things. Effective communication, establishing good interpersonal relationships, networking and sharing ideas are just some of the important ‘soft’ skills I developed and honed during my Academy training. Coming from a part of the world where some professions are viewed as the exclusive preserve of men, I found enormous encouragement in the Academy. I learned to believe in myself because I was determined in my choice of becoming a pilot. I’ll always remember what one of the instructors said to me: ‘If you have faith in yourself, other people will have no choice but to believe in you.’’’
“In Nigeria we are particularly committed to training local manpower,” says Human Resources Manager Femi Collins. “To date, we have trained more than 90 Nigerians as pilots. Our trainee entry standards are very high, and the process entails several layers of tests and screening.” After the initial training to private pilot’s license level at aviation colleges in Nigeria, the cadet pilots are sent to Bristow Academy in Titusville, Florida, in the U.S., where they are immersed in the Target Zero culture of safety. This year alone, 13 fully qualified pilots have gone through the Bristow Academy from Nigeria. “In addition to giving us highly trained pilots who contribute to ensuring safe transport for our clients, this has helped to grow capacity in the Nigerian aviation industry, as the Academy turns out highly qualified pilots,” says Collins. – Bristow World, 2013.
- She works for the Bristow Group and her base is Port Harcourt, Rivers State. BRISTOW HAS OPERATED IN WEST AFRICA FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS, SERVING CLIENTS IN SIX NIGERIAN FEDERATION STATES, INCLUDING LAGOS, WARRI, EKET AND PORT HARCOURT. Clients consist mostly of major integrated oil and gas companies. More than 1,000 employees work for these companies operating in Nigeria:
- Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited (BHNL)
- Pan African Airlines (Nigeria) Limited (PAAN)
- BGI Aviation Technical Services (BATS)
More about Bristow:
Helicopter Services from the Leader in Safety
As the first civilian helicopter transport company to work in the oil and gas industry, Bristow Group has provided exceptional transportation, production management and related services for 60 years. The company offers point-to-point scheduled and charter transportation services, combining fixed-wing with rotary-wing services to clients around the world. With its global experience and extensive modern fleet, Bristow provides operational and geographic flexibility that is unmatched in the industry.
In addition to providing helicopter transport services for energy companies and others, Bristow is a leader in search and rescue (SAR) services. Bristow operates private sector SAR services in Australia, Canada, Norway, Russia and Trinidad, and public sector SAR services for all of the UK on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Bristow owns and operates Bristow Academy, which is the world’s largest commercial helicopter training service provider. Bristow Academy is the only helicopter flight school approved to provide helicopter flight training to Commercial Pilot level both by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Joint Aviation Authority.
Bristow’s goal is to provide the safest and most reliable service to clients around the world, and its industry-leading safety program, Target Zero, has created a culture of safety that resulted in Bristow achieving the industry’s best safety record.
Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Ltd. (“BHNL”) is a joint venture in Nigeria in which Bristow Helicopters owns a 40% interest, unrelated local Nigerian partners together own a 39% interest, a Nigerian company owned 100% by Nigerian employees owns a 19% interest and an employee trust fund owns a remaining 2% interest as of March 31, 2014. BHNL provides helicopter services to clients in Nigeria.
Pan African Airlines (Nigeria) Limited (PAAN) is a joint venture in Nigeria with local partners. PAAN provides helicopter services to clients in Nigeria.
BGI Aviation Technical Services (BATS) provides aviation engineering and technical services to the Nigerian aviation market. BATS headquarters is at GRA Ikeja Lagos, and a service office is located at the General Aviation Area of Murtala Muhammed Airport, including a fully equipped heavy maintenance hangar and management offices. In Port Harcourt the company has a full maintenance hangar in addition to its support facilities. BATS also operates from customer bases in Warri, Calabar, Eket, and Escravos.
Before joining Bristow, she worked with Geointel and Associates.
Abimbola flies the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. See photos below:
LOVE, FAMILY AND MARRIAGE
Her siblings are Ontario, Canada-based Dr. Adedamola Jayeola (aka Dr. Jayejeje, her kid brother) and Remi (Remmy Jayeola Ajayi, sister).
INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT HER
She makes really interesting tweets, here are some:
I think someone just got into my twitter account. HACKERS!!!!!
— Jayeola Abimbola (@bLoOmInG_AB) August 25, 2013
If Cinderella can get her prince charming without taking her dress off, then so can you and I.
— Jayeola Abimbola (@bLoOmInG_AB) September 9, 2012
Spend your life with someone that makes you happy. Not someone that you have to impress. — Jayeola Abimbola (@bLoOmInG_AB)September 9, 2012
“It don’t matter what people call you. It only matters what you answer to.” — Jayeola Abimbola (@bLoOmInG_AB) August 30, 2012