Zambia’s youngest commercial pilot Kalenga Kamwendo has clocked 1,000 hours of flying with the countries’ leading scheduled airline Proflight Zambia.
The 21-year-old First Officer reached the milestone while on an early morning flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe last week, just one year and nine months after he started flying for the airline.
The achievement brings him closer to the 1,500 hours mark, at which point he can sit exams to achieve his Senior Officer licence. With a further 1,000 hours under is belt he can apply to become a captain.
“My family and friends were all shocked and astonished when they heard that I have clocked 1,000 hours,” said a delighted Mr Kamwendo. “I told my family and friends when I got started as a commercial pilot that I would clock 1,000 hours when I reach 25 years of age, but I am happy that I have done it at 21 years. It is a big milestone for me and my career.”
Kalenga joined an elite team of pilots flying for Proflight Zambia on routes from Lusaka to Livingstone, Mfuwe, Lower Zambezi, Ndola, Solwezi and Kasama, as well as Mbala being lunched on June 28 this year, Durban in South Africa and Lilongwe in Malawi.
Proflight Director of Government and Industry Affairs Captain Phillip Lemba, said that for any new pilot, reaching 1,000 hours is a benchmark, as a pilot’s experience is not measured on the years he works but the hours he flies.
“It’s quite a milestone for Kalenga, I encourage him to be level-headed, well composed and focused on his career. We as Proflight Zambia praise our young pilots for the hard work he has demonstrated from the time he started as a commercial pilot a year ago,” Captain Lemba elaborated.
“Kalenga’s 1,000 hours remind me of the olden days when I got my 1,000 hours, 46 years ago. When I got my 1,000 hours I was still in the Zambia Air Force. Those days in the force it was a great millstone and achievement; with my friends and colleagues we celebrated together. I have flown over 20,000 hours in my lifetime, hence my young man Kalenga still has a broad road of adventure and hard work ahead of him,” he added.
The number of hours flown by pilots is important, but there are also regulations restricting the total number that can be flown in a given period to ensure safety.
“I have learnt a lot from the Proflight family and am happy to be part of the many achievements the airline has accomplished. Great expectations await me and am surely proud to be part of Proflight at 25 years,” said Mr Kamwendo.