KAMPALA – As the world celebrates the International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8, the Civil Aviation Authority Uganda (CAA) has decided to have an all-female Air Traffic Control team to man the Ugandan airspace in order to share their working experience.
Uganda has marketed the day, with national celebrations held in Bunyangabu district, western Uganda.
Here is a brief experience of the 7 ladies at manning the Ugandan airspace today:
Among them is Prossie Zalwango who is an Air Traffic Management Officer with 21 years’ experience. She is passionate about controlling aircraft and managing the airspace they fly in.
Zalwango said, “We are faced with highs and lows. One moment you are plunged into managing an unexpected aircraft emergency on a bright sunny morning and still have to maintain traffic flow while keeping composed and providing the necessary support to the affected aircraft greatly appreciates my service after the worst has been averted” she said.
Zalwango says her duty is all about running a race where everyone has to win.
Esther Nanyonga who has 9 years’ experience is humbled every day when she gets a thank note after directing traffic well.
Acipa Annabel, a senior Air traffic management officer with 11 years’ experience says, one day while on a shift, she received a call from the Prime minister of Uganda. She adds that feel appreciated when a pilot passes on gratitude after safely landing.
Leah Nakasaawe says the very fast time she directed traffic for a jet aircraft awed her.
“It was thrilling passing on landing clearance to the public to the pilot of a Boeing 77W and my eyes kept on the aircraft until it touched down,” she said
She admits that every day in air traffic control is a whole new experience.
Abeko Miriam Agwou says her first experience was after her rating board, where an aircraft got a tyre burst on the runway after landing for the team on duty that day it blew their socks off but the situation was eventually contained.
Eva Luyiga revealed that her first day she cleared two fighter jets in formation watching them climb to very high levels instantaneously gave her a jaw-drop moment.
Gloria Namazzi with 9 years’ experience remembers while on her night duty, the weather took a turn with the wind at 02031 knots gusting at 38 knots coupled with heavy rain. Meanwhile, the aircraft on a final approach made a go-around but she had to remain composed despite trees swaying and the tower window panes ratting.