Nigerians are mourning the death of Tolulope Arotile, the nation’s first female helicopter pilot.
Tolulope died in Kaduna yesterday, Tuesday, July 14, 2020, after suffering multiple head injuries from a road crash. Her death comes barely eight months after she was winged and conferred a special recognition.
As we reel from the loss, let us look back on the life she lived, with a focus on ten things that come to mind when we think of her.
- NIGERIA’S FIRST FEMALE COMBATANT PILOT
As was mentioned earlier, Tolulope was Nigeria’s first female combatant helicopter pilot; a rare and distinguishing accomplishment in a nation with mostly the male folk in that line of career.
Tolulope’s determination and commitment contributed to her success in her field as she overcame the hurdles in her way to make it to the top.
She was also the first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the service.
- A STELLAR CAREER
Born in 1995, Tolulope attended the Air Force Primary and Secondary Schools in Kaduna, joining the Nigeria Air Force 401 Flying Training school, Kaduna on December 22, 2012.
She graduated and became an officer in the force on the 16th of September 2017 after which she proceeded to train at the Starlite International Training Academy in South Africa.
By October 15, 2019, she had acquired 460 hours of flight within 14 months in the helicopter and was subsequently decorated as the first female helicopter pilot.
- AN INDIGENE OF KOGI STATE
Tolulope hailed from Iffe in Ijimu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
- AN OUTSTANDING STUDENT
When she was 22, Tololope graduated as the best flight student from the Nigerian Air Force. Her excited mother had taken to Facebook to celebrate her daughter, thanking those who shared in their celebration and expressing gratitude to God.
- INSTRUMENTAL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST BANDITS IN THE NORTH
During her short stay in the Nigerian Air Force, she contributed immensely in the fight against armed bandits in the northern part of the country and other criminal elements by flying several combat missions under Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State.
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