Early in November, 2017, Jean Vladmir Mwezi Huriro set a record as the youngest commercial pilot in Rwanda to be licensed to fly Boeing planes.
He was licensed to fly Boeing 737-800NG after completing his course at South Africa’s 43 Air School.
Raised in a family of five children and the only son to Jean de Dieu Ngirabega and Godelieve Uwantege, the 19 year- old was born in Ruli-Gakenke before relocating to Kabeza-Kicukiro. It is at his new home, located close to Kigali International Airport, that his love for the aircrafts developed.
He told Sunday Times’ Sharon Kantengwa about his passion and dreams for his new career.
When did the whole pilot dream begin?
It all began when I was 11 years. I used to watch planes landing and taking off and I wished that I was the one flying them. It was very exciting to see a very big machine on full power takeoff.
I kept wishing as I grew up and imagined myself flying an aircraft. When I talked to my parents, they supported me and told me to pursue what I love which was flying airplanes.
Last year, I joined 43 Air School in South Africa hoping that one day I will be flying the beautiful machines commercially.
How was the experience like?
I have done multi-crew cooperation on Boeing737 but I only got a few hours there. A type rating is required to fly passenger jets which I don’t have. Usually an employer takes charge of a pilot’s type rating when selected.
The pilot is then sent for a three months training on a specific aircraft. I have hopes of being selected so that I can get a rating on passenger jets.
Did you at any one point feel like giving up?
Yes, at some stage I felt like giving up. It wasn’t easy for me especially in the beginning of the course, because I struggled with a few lessons but I kept reminding myself why I am here. My dreams and sacrifices gave me the strength to keep pushing.
What are your career goals?
My ultimate goal is to become a captain on Boeing 777-300. I have watched some documentaries about Boeing 777-300 and I am impressed by the technology behind it.
Being the youngest Rwandan to ever fly an aircraft, has it ever crossed your mind that you are too young to begin this big career?
No. I believe I received proper training needed to safely and efficiently fly an aircraft. My belief is that as long as you are trained and have the knowledge, skill, attitude, age does not matter. I am quite excited to start living the dream and fly for a living.
What do you attribute this milestone to?
God’s grace, a supportive family, commitment and hard work. Also my instructors who always improved me as a pilot and as a person.