Thursday, June 17, 2010

Top marks for Air Niugini woman pilot

Air Niugini’s Cadet First Officer Rhoda Jane Ilave at the controls of the Dash 8 100 series that she is licensed to fly. She is one of six PNG women pilots flying for Air Niugini.

By BOSORINA ROBBY in The National

MEET 21-year-old cadet first officer Rhoda Jane Ilave, who recently graduated from Air Niugini’s cadet training course for pilots and engineers, and an awardee of the Sir Donald Anderson Trophy for female pilots in Australia.

The trophy, sponsored by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, is awarded annually to three women pilots with the highest aviation exam results over the past year.

Ilave is probably the first female pilot in Papua New Guinea to receive the honour in recognition of her outstanding academic achievements in professional aviation studies by female trainee pilots.

She received the award last week.

Air Niugini chief executive officer Wasantha Kumarasiri said yesterday Ilave’s achievement was not just for Air Niugini but also for PNG.

“Young Rhoda has made everyone proud, her family, Air Niugini, the airline industry and PNG in general,” he said.

Ilave was studying second year medicine at the UPNG Medical Faculty when she decided to apply for the Air Niugini cadetship programme in 2008.

Inspired by her elder brother, who is also a cadet pilot with Air Niugini, Ilave did very well in her studies at flight school in Australia in the 18 months she was there.

“She did very well in both her theory classes and practical tests. She passed all seven commercial pilot licence examinations in five months and accomplished brilliant results, scoring 100% for one examination, 95% and above for five other examinations and 88% for another,” Kumarasiri said.

“In the same year, she completed her seven Airline Trasport pilot licence examination in two and a half months, scoring 97% in two examinations and more than 80% for other examinations,” he said.

The cadetship programme is open to Grade 12 and above students with excellent results in all areas, particularly in physics, mathematics A and English.

Since 1989, the cadetship has seen at least six young people every year to be trained at various pilot training schools, the current being at the Professional Pilot Training at Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia.

Kumarasiri said Air Niugini invested millions of kina annually in training young pilots and engineers whose results were commendable and comforting for the airline and its valued customers.

Graduating last December, Ilave is now one of six female PNG pilots with Air Niugini.

Ilave said she was quite shocked to win the award but was grateful for the tremendous honour.

“It’s really good and I am glad the Australian Women’s Pilots’ Association does such things to recognise females and to encourage them.

“The cadetship is a good thing that Air Niugini does for young people to decide for a career in aviation.

“I now look forward to a promising career with Air Niugini and to progress onto bigger aircraft in the future,” Ilave said.


  1. Anonymous12:38 PM

    very proud to be a papua new guinean when i read news like this!! Congratulations Ms Ilave and may you fly even higher along with your other young pilot colleagues!!

  2. Anonymous1:00 AM

    Congradulations on your great achievement. As a Papua New Guinean and a female, I am very proud of you. good luck and fly us away in the near future.

  3. Anonymous6:34 PM

    well done Ilave..

    You made us PNG proud...

    Go girl


  4. mahke1:37 PM

    Congratulations on your achievement! great role model for education of png meri's....well done!

  5. Anonymous12:43 PM

    Well done but few if any airlines in the world continue cadet pilot training owing to the unacceptable training costs involved! The millions of dollars spent can be spent in recruiting fully qualified and "aircraft ready" pilots with vast amounts of experience who are productive from day one!

    Sending trainees away for eighteen months - normally six months - is a massive waste of money and resources and is only used by airlines wishing to show that their own people can "do the job".

    Very wasteful policy unfortunately with millions and millions of Kina going down the drain to put Nationals in the aircraft cockpits instead of no-cost pilots readily available on the world market right here right now!

    1. Speaking from experience? It's an excellent program that is slowly phasing out expat pilots. Great opportunity given the many not so privileged families in PNG.

      Airlines like Air Niugini prefer cadets trained according to standards agreed with by them and the flying school, than heavy weight or rookie pilots from God knows where with what standards.

      All in all, this investment by Air Niugini into human resource becomes immeasurable with the experience they enable the cadets over the years.

      Thumbs up to the Kumul

  6. Well done Rhoda. Your achievement is a pride for Papua New Guineans.
    Fly high Jane.

  7. Ambai Kru yu stap pinis. Mega Congratulations.