HomeNewsArticle Display

Nigerien Air Force’s first female pilot trains at Little Rock AFB

A woman watches as a man teaches her.

Capt. Ouma Laouali, the Nigerien air force’s first female pilot, watches her instructor pilot as he completes pre-flight checks on a C-130 Hercules at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., March 5, 2020. Laouali completed her C-130 Hercules pilot training at Little Rock AFB April 22, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AFNS) --

Capt. Ouma Laouali, the Nigerien air force’s first female pilot, accomplished the next step in her pilot career April 22, by completing her training to become a C-130 Hercules pilot in the C-130 Formal Training Unit’s six-month international pilot training program at Little Rock Air Force Base.

The 314th Airlift Wing, in close partnership with the 189th Airlift Wing, trains more than 1,200 students a year. Approximately 150 of those are international students who travel from countries around the globe to become combat-minded C-130 Hercules crew members.

According to Laouali, her interest in aviation began as a child while chasing planes overhead, imagining what it would be like to be in the sky. During her 10-year career, she has flown aircraft such as the Cessna 208 Caravan and the Diamond DA42.

“What’s interesting about flying is to be up in the sky like a bird, and getting to see the incredible view that is not given to anyone else besides a pilot,” Laouali said. “There is nothing but open sky in front of you and you see how big the world really is.”

Becoming a pilot proved to be no easy task for Laouali, but the pressure of setting a good example for the women who might follow her provided a constant reminder for her to try her hardest at every challenge along the way.

“Becoming a pilot made me feel very proud,” Laouali said. “At the same time, it put a weight on my shoulders because I knew I had to perform at my best for the women who will follow me. I wanted to set a good example so they would have the chance to prove themselves too. I feared that if I failed, everyone would remember that a woman failed and people might hesitate to give another Nigerien female pilot a chance.”

Laouali accomplished the goals she set to achieve: becoming the Nigerien air force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron Operational Detachment commander – while facing many challenges during her 2,600 flying hours as a combat tested pilot – proving to everyone that women are capable of doing the same thing anyone else can, she said.

“She is a pioneer in every domain,” said Nigerien air force Col. Amadou Moctar, Nigerien Air Base 201 commander. “She has been flying with the other crew members and they don’t look at the fact that she is a woman – she is a pilot – performing just as good as the others.”

Her participation in the course marked the first time Laouali trained with the U.S. military – learning to be a combat-capable pilot of a C-130 Hercules.

“This is the first time I've trained on a U.S. base,” Laouali said. “It has given me the opportunity to see how the U.S. Air Force operates. The most important part was that there were other female pilots here. I felt like I could talk to these women and we could share and learn from our experiences.”

The opportunity for the C-130 FTU to train Laouali – along with all other international students – strengthens the U.S. Air Force’s strategic and international relationships with countries across the globe.

“We can show our commitment to our partnerships by training together,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Stephen Hodge, 314th AW commander. “The interoperability and the opportunities to train together now will pay off in great dividends if we go into a potentially hostile or contested environment together in the future.”

Engage

Twitter
Another Air Force week complete, and we've got it in photos! View the rest here: https://t.co/OkjRFKvDjz https://t.co/HXcWkJN35U
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: On behalf of our #Airmen and families, congrats and welcome to Ms. Jones, our new Under Secretary of the @usairforce. #…
Twitter
Jumping into the weekend Tactical Air Control Party Airmen assigned to the 14th Air Support Operations Squadron pe… https://t.co/VLRxCb90mw
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Getting ready for the big leap into civilian life? #Airmen preparing to separate from active duty service can take steps towar…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary Roth on the confirmation of Gina Ortiz Jones to serve as the Under Secretary of the Air Force. ⬇️ https…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Confirmed yesterday by the Senate, Gina Ortiz Jones will be the next Under Secretary of the Air Force! Read more ⬇️ @US
Twitter
The Senate unanimously confirmed Gina Ortiz Jones to be Under Secretary of the Air Force, clearing the way for the… https://t.co/Q8SFw2fq45
Twitter
Hundreds of Airmen participated alongside @USArmy Soldiers in the inaugural Pacific Warriorz 2021 Joint and Total… https://t.co/fAPp4UGjmW
Twitter
RT @US_EUCOM: #JF21-2 is designed to test simulated emergency response procedures, ballistic missile defense & crisis response assistance i…
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Thanks to the conservation upgrades, Keesler AFB expects an annual savings of 113,840 million British Thermal Units, a 15.8 p…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: .@Spangdahlem_AB was the first wing in @HQUSAFEAFAF capable of Agile Combat Employment. Being agile & persistent is a m…
Twitter
After catastrophic flooding in Germany & Belgium, @Spangdahlem_AB volunteers provide relief. “80% of people on Sp… https://t.co/6roLIRoFT0
Twitter
RT @Southcom: Supporting our partners in #Suriname: A @usairforce C-17 from @TeamCharleston delivered a field hospital to Suriname July 1…
Twitter
Congratulatons! 🎓 https://t.co/dzK8o0E9rK
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: On the latest edition of the Air Force Starts Here Podcast, we discuss the modernization of the @usairforce Career Developm…
Twitter
F-16s from the 555th Fighter Squadron fire munitions at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base range during Thracian Star 21 i… https://t.co/aYEY5PoEWD
Twitter
The #AirForce Civil Engineer Center, in partnership with the USAF Installation Contracting Center, has streamlined… https://t.co/8iFGwfrYHR
Twitter
A-10 Thunderbolt II's auxiliary power unit insulation is on the path of modernization as the Ogden Air Logistics Ce… https://t.co/3vWCDmV8Sf
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr made his first trip to Europe as CSAF, to visit European counterparts in France, and virtually at th… https://t.co/fnK8dTaHA4
Twitter
RT @AFResearchLab: Have you ever had that lightbulb 💡 moment where a new game changing idea pops into your head? Well the @usairforce, @S
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,354,126
Follow Us