Life is full of possibilities but only those who are think and bold enough to embrace opportunities when it glides by emerge victorious and even go further to change status quo.
Audrey Maame Esi Swatson born February 23, 1997 made history at age 21 when she became the youngest Ghanaian female pilot to obtain a commercial license and has now become major inspiration.
At age 19 she obtained her privot pilot license and her commercial pilot license at age 21.
She is currently a First Officer with Passion Air, a Ghanaian airline company, flying the Dash8 Q-400 aircraft.
Ironically, Swatson who hails from Saltpond, Ghana didn’t start off knowing the aviation world for sure was for her but settled for it because she wanted to be different from her peers as kids who all wanted to be doctors or lawyers. She had her primary education at the University of Ghana Basic School before proceeding to Ghana Christian International High School for her secondary education where she studied General Science.
Reflecting on how it all started, in a chat with Ghana Web she recalls;
Ghana Web, “In the beginning, it was just saying something big close to being a doctor or a lawyer. I was nine years old and in class four, and there is this frequent question society would always want to know what you want to be in the future, and then I just had to say a pilot. And then again, in the beginning, I was really quiet. So I thought for a pilot you have to be in the cockpit and probably the passengers would just be behind you so you keep quiet, but during my flight training, you really talk a lot.
“I also wanted to be different, because when they call doctors in class there were a lot of people that are standing up; lawyers as well. And when I stand in class, they are like wow, and it’s like the wow thing kept me moving.”
At age 19 it started officially when Swaton had her first solo flight with Mach1 Aviation Academy on April 4th, 2016.
Swatson who speaks fluent Twi, Fanti, and English, dishing on Ghana’s aviation industry disclosed more efforts need be put in place for the industry to be supportive in launching people’s dreams.
In her words, “Towards aviation, the system here in Ghana is not friendly. It limits your option as to who you want to be. The system doesn’t support your dream if you want to be a pilot because it is extremely expensive. It’s easy to train the doctors and other professions but to be a pilot, it is tough.”
On how she achieved this feat: “Apart from God and my parents, I owe everything I am and everything I hope to be to school. Without the education I have received during my lifetime, the friends I have met and have networked with, the great teachers that have been there for me since day one, I would not be able to move on to a more positive place in my life. I would not be able to have a chance to even become a pilot, to be given a chance to inspire other children that whatever they dream of, they can actually be. Education has fulfilled me and I am a more positive person because of it.”
Audrey Esi Swatson’s remarkable achievement which inspires the every girl to conquer limitations and barriers has been celebrated beyond the shores of Ghana. She was recognised by the Ministry of Aviation, In 2016 she attended a sponsored conference in the USA as the first African female pilot by International Women in Aviation. She was nominated and honoured at The Future Awards Africa Prize for Young Person of the Year.