June 2, 2023

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Capt. Oluwatoberu Thomas and Pilot Pius Odioko

Two Nigerians in the United States have done Nigeria and the entire African Continent proud as they smoothly and safely took charge of the cockpit of Frontier Airline, the eighth biggest US airline, in the first all Nigerian flight crew from Philadelphia, PA, USA to Miami, FL, USA.

Pilot-In Command, PIC, of the historic flight was Capt Oluwatoberu Thomas, a product of Aviation Training International, ATI, in USA, established and managed by Captain Solomon Adio, a Nigerian, who also is the Executive Director, International College of Aeronautics, ICA, Lagos Nigeria. The Co-Pilot was Pius Odioko.

Speaking at the inaugural occasion, Capt. Thomas, who was full of excitement thanked God for the feat and expressed optimism that more Nigerians should stand and be counted for excellence in their various endeavours in the effort to change the narrative about Nigerians and Nigeria.

Capt. Thomas relayed his observations before and during the flight with his Co-Pilot thus, “We had a great time, and all our passengers kept looking at us with astonishment like, these two Africans taking command of their jet!! We definitely enjoyed all the gazing at us”.

Capt. Thomas said he yearned to see more Nigerians in the cockpit and to very soon, witness “the day that a small black child looks at me in my pilot uniform and completely ignore me- not because he/she doesn’t care, but because instead of being the first black or Nigerian or African pilot he/she has ever seen in his/her life, but to conveniently sight over FIFTEEN black Captains in a single day! That is my dream.”

The Pilot-In-Command, PIC, said of the First Officer, “Pius Odioko had flown all over the world including in Nigeria, and I am so very honored to have shared the cockpit with him on today’s flight from Philadelphia, PA, USA to Miami, FL, USA.

Tobe Thomas however expressed gratitude in particular to Capt. Solomon Adio, Director and Founder, ICA, Lagos, Nigeria. Referring to his mentor, Capt. Adio, he said, “Thank you! thank you!!, thank you!!! It’s an honor to continue standing on the shoulders of giants!

It will be recalled that Capt. Oluwatoberu Thomas started his career as a summer student in Aviation Training International, ATI, in USA, the Flying school established, and managed by Capt Solomon Adio.

Captain Thomas was then a participant in the Summer Flight Academy hosted by ATI, under the mentorship of Capt. Adio, but sponsored by Tuskegee Airmen, the famed black Aviators that flew for USA in the World War Two.

Also, Capt. Adio had few years ago flew with Capt. Thomas on the latter’s first flight as Captain of Frontline Airline. Presently Capt. Thomas is a financial contributor to International College of Aeronautics’, ICA, Aircraft project and also a mentor to the students of ICA, Lagos Nigeria.

Tobe Thomas, as fondly called by his admirers at Frontier Airline said of the Cadet program Pilot, “the mission of ICA is so dear to my heart!”

Pius Odioko is also a mentor for Cadets at ICA, Lagos, Nigeria.

Sadly though, as these two young and vibrant Nigerian Pilots were making exploits in Miami, USA last Tuesday, 14th July, 2020, another amazon in the Nigerian Air Force, Flight Officer Tolulope Arotile, was being murdered by a reckless driver at the Nigerian Air Force base, Kaduna, Nigeria.

Frontier Airline is headquartered in Denver, USA. It is the 8th largest airline and the proud recipient of the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2015 “Diamond Award for maintenance excellence”. The airline was recently named the industry’s most fuel-efficient airline by The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) as a result of superior technology and operational efficiency

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