Today’s woman crush #womeninspire is none other than Ghanaian commercial pilot and first officer with Passion Air, Audrey Esi Swatson.
Audrey’s story is changing the aviation narrative and will inspire your guts! While scouting for outstanding women months ago, I came across her page on Instagram and was inspired by her works. Here’s why!
In 2015, Audrey’s dream of becoming a pilot began to take shape when she got admission into Mach1 Aviation Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the time, she was only 18 and had just completed Senior High School. With so much to learn in such a short time, Audrey persisted and it was only a matter of months when she had her first solo flight. On the 4th of April, 2016 at the age of 19 years, Audrey earned her wings to fly. Later that year, she got her private pilot license.
Three things propelled her to take up flight training— hope, faith and belief. That if she focused and worked hard enough, one day she will realize her dreams to be a commercial airline pilot, and she did!
Now 23, Audrey is currently a first officer with Passion Air, an airline company, flying the Dash8 Q-400 aircraft – a twin-turboprop regional transport passenger aircraft. Audrey has flown a total of 210 hours for the duration of being in school till she obtained her commercial license.
It is interesting to note the role Audrey’s father played in making her dreams a reality. According to Audrey, her number one cheerleader — her dad of blessed memory — started saving towards her future dream when she turned nine. The money he said he would keep, if she changed her mind not to fly, the story goes. This fueled her determination and passion to be a pilot.
Education also played a very vital role in Audrey’s life. According to her, education gave her the chance to become a pilot and fulfil her dream of flying.
Audrey’s natural proclivity to inspire did not end with herself. She went further to establish Excel Aviation Limited, a flight training company to inspire others like her to pursue their dreams. Audrey dreams of becoming a Captain in the near future and hopes to establish a scholarship scheme for young Ghanaian girls.
Audrey has been celebrated by the Ministry of Aviation for her contribution to the sector. In 2016, she attended a sponsored conference in the USA as the first African female pilot by International Women in Aviation. She was also honoured at The Future Awards Africa Prize for Young Person of the Year (Ghana).
Today I celebrate you, Audrey! Thank you for teaching us the value of persistence! Thank you for showing us that we are never too young nor too old to fulfil our dreams! Thank you for reshaping the conversation on women in male-dominated careers like piloting! Thank you for encouraging interest in the aviation field and empowering women to aspire to be in the aviation sector! Thank you! Thank you for being a woman who inspires! #womeninspire #womancrushwednesday