- Asli Hassan Abade is Africa's first female pilot
- She made her maiden flight in 1976
- She recently returned to Somalia, where she was celebrated
Somalia is celebrating Asli Hassan Abade, Africa's first female pilot who was part of the country's Air Force decades ago.
Asli Hassan Abade made her maiden flight as a pilot in 1976. She remains her country's first and only female pilot.
She first left Somalia in the 1970s to train as a pilot in Italy and later in the US. Upon her return, she joined the Somali Air Force.
However, she left Somalia again after a decade and married an American aircraft engineer. They settled in Dallas, Texas and had four children.
In an interview, she said her successful career in Somalia's Air Force to the support the government gave women during that period.
She returned to Somalia permanently in July 2017 after making a short visit in 2011. The 2011 visit was cut short because Al-Shabaab's presence in Mogadishu.
Somalia's Foreign Affairs led the country's nationals in sending Asli congratulatory messages on social media.
Speaking of her latest return, she said: “There were several former colleagues, officers and pilots, waiting to receive me at the airport. I cried, and they all got emotional and cried with me. When I stepped out of the plane, I first kissed the ground.”
She added: “I could not believe that I was actually in Mogadishu. I looked at the ocean, raised my hands up and inhaled the fresh, natural and unpolluted air. It was a magical moment.”