By Lawani Mikairu
A Nigerian pilot, Captain Ademilola Odujinrin is set to undertake first Africa Solo flight round the world in a specially configured single Cirrus aircraft. The flight which is billed to take him to major cities in the world will commence and end in Nigeria.
Capt. Odujinrin, who disclosed this while speaking at a media briefing to herald the First Africa Solo Flight Round the World at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), Lagos, revealed that about 114 pilots have flown round the world but that no African pilot has done it.
He said this is a dream which the organizers have been working assiduously to achieve in the last ten years. And one of the major objectives of the flight is to change the world perception of Africans and put Nigeria on the global map. In his words, “this is to change Africa narratives, inspire the youths and to support selected charities especially children in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps.”
According to him, “It is a dream that we have been working very hard to achieve. No African has done it before .It is a big achievement.”
Captain Odujinrin also revealed that he would use SR22 CIRRUS aircraft with registration number N313CD and that the aircraft is nine years old, adding that the aircraft can fly 17 and half hours with special configuration before refueling. The pilot, said he has been flying these past 17 years.
He added that he was trained in the United Kingdom and United States of America and he flew for Arik Air for five years.
On whether he has been insured for the flight, Odujinrin said the project has been insured with a company that specialises in this type of insurance.
Speaking on what he would do when he arrives at any of the destinations, Lola, as he is popularly called stated that a register would be provided for him to sign as a prove that he was there.
The former Arik Air pilot, who stated that the journey would start from Nigeria, listed the country he would fly through to include: Cameroun, Kenya, Djibouti UAE, India and Singapore among others, and that the exercise will last for six weeks.
He stated that one of the challenges the solo flight project is having is lack of sponsors, adding that most of the companies do not believe in the flight, especially when it is yet to be done. Though they currently have support from some state government, more sponsorship is needed.
He is billed to go for both physical and mental training for five weeks as part of preparation for the solo flight.
Also speaking ,the Project Manager, Marketing and Public Relations, Ireti Bakare Yusuf , said that while the pilot would be away for physical and mental training, the rest of the team would be making other necessary arrangements to herald the august flight.
On what one of the supporting companies; Transcend does, she informed that the company creates extra ordinary initiatives to take Nigeria to a greater height.
She stated that the solo flight was proudly Nigeria project.According to her, “this project is bigger than me. It is time Nigeria has to celebrate after the elections and this is the time”