The Spark Spotlight

The Spark Spotlight

Rwand Air First Officer, Captain Joan Obasi, On Being A Pacesetter In Your Own Right.

Rwand Air First Officer, Captain Joan Obasi, On Being A Pacesetter In Your Own Right.

Her Aviation Spark is no other than Captain Joan Obasi, a First Officer at RwandAir, who moved from being a Cabin Crew Official to becoming a first-rate Pilot. She was recognized by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2017 and was also included in the FAA Airmen Certification Database. Before joining RwandAir, she was a Senior First Officer at Arik Air.


Launching Out

Launching out into the aviation world for me, my career in the aviation industry was born out of curiosity. I was in my twenties and fresh out of university with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, and I was ready to conquer the world. 

I still needed to figure out everything, but I was intrigued by what the future held for me. I knew very well that I didn’t want to do a routine job, so I stayed away from some jobs.

Out of curiosity, I took the advice of a friend and applied for a job as a Cabin Crew member and that became a perfect job fit for my personality. I had always wanted a job that would allow me to travel the world, go to new places and meet people. This job gave me all of that and more. 


From Cabin Crew Official To Pilot

When I kicked off my role as a Cabin Crew official, I immediately knew this was a perfect job fit for me. It was like a match made in heaven. I got to travel and meet a lot of new people from countries all over the world. It was completely different from what I had studied in school, but I loved every bit of it. Over a ten-year period, I grew steadily at it and rose to become a Senior Cabin Crew member. But then, I began to yearn for more.

As a result of my quest for more, during my time as a Cabin Crew member, I worked closely with some female pilots, and seeing them do what they do fuel a bigger desire in me. I wanted to become a pilot, and that is how the journey began. 

I went to Phoenix East Aviation School in Florida USA, where I got my initial PPL, CPL, and Instrument Ratings. After that, I went on to the Pan Am International Flight AAcademy, also in Florida, for a type rating on Boeing. Today, I am an FAA ATPL Boeing 737-rated pilot and have flown to numerous countries in Africa, Europe, and Asia.  


My Driving Force

My driving force has always been to be the best version of myself. I want to constantly prove to myself that I can do whatever I set my mind to do. As humans, we can attain the best version of ourselves. We can always do more. 

I want always to keep evolving and getting better. This is what drives me daily. An important lesson I have learnt in building my career is the power of the mind. If you can master control of your mind, you will conquer fear and fight off all limitations. 

A major lesson I have learned in the course of building my career is the power of the mind. If you can master control of your mind, “you will conquer fear and fight off all limitations”.


On Women Empowerment

On women’s empowerment, as a woman in a male-dominated job. Things have greatly improved over the years, and women are comfortably doing jobs that were seen only for men some years back. Today. I would like to see more women in the aviation industry.  It is not surprising to find women in the engineering departments of Airlines with greasy palms working on airplane engines. Women are taking the bull by the horn and blazing the trail. A perfect example is Mrs 

Yvonne Makolo, the CEO of RwandAir, is a pacesetter in her own right. She has been CEO of RwandAir, the national airline of Rwanda, since 2018. Before that she was the company’s Deputy CEO responsible for corporate affairs, a position she has held since April 2017. She is a perfect ideal of woman taking charge.



To girls and young women out there trying to make career decisions, my advice to you is to ensure you do not put a limit on yourself. 

Age, gender, family background, or even educational status should not stop you from dreaming big and chasing after your dreams, do not stop working on yourself. Change should be constant. Keep on building capacity and climbing the ladder. Success is sure to come by.