Rudo is a pilot here in Zimbabwe flying for Wilderness Air. She was born in Harare where she lived with her five younger siblings and attended Arundel Girls School. Just after completing her O Levels she participated in an “inside programme” which exposes the students to various career choice opportunities. At this point, Rudo wanted to be a criminal psychologist, but unfortunately they only had 20 places available on a programme that was heavily over-subscribed and so she missed out. Her second choice was marine biology, but you cannot really practice that in Zimbabwe of course, so she went back to consult the list and decided to give aviation a try!
So for two weeks she and two other girls went to Pegasus Flying School where they did admin and filing. They were also exposed to the subject of Aviation Law briefly and were rewarded with a short flight in an aircraft that had to be moved from Prince Charles to Harare Airports. A very short flight, but a great joyride for Rudo and the girls. This is the point when Rudo decided she was going to fly.
Rudo applied to a university in Australia to study a BA Aviation, and while she waited for the year’s intake calendar to commence, she started studying her Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). With only six hours left to qualify on her PPL she got the news that she had been accepted at the university. She made the decision to let the university wait and to finish her PPL which she did two weeks later. Unfortunately, at this point her father passed away and Rudo took up a job in HR at Cresta Hotels which then funded her flying to get her commercial licence. She supplemented the funding required by instructing flying at the same time.
Rudo then joined Wilderness Air as a student pilot doing hour-building which worked towards her instrument rating qualification. After flying freight as a co-pilot for a while, Rudo graduated to flying guests and then she got her final check and the go-ahead, and was awarded her Commercial Pilot’s Licence.
Wilderness Air Zimbabwe now has a total of eight pilots. Rudo is not the only female pilot as Natsai is currently a student pilot doing hour-building and will be joining the team as a commercial pilot as soon as she has reached the necessary milestones. Currently Rudo is also studying for her degree in logistics and transport through UNISA. Incredible how life turns out – from wanting to be a criminal psychologist to becoming a commercial pilot flying guests into wild and remote places. Who knows what lies ahead?