Asli Hassan Abade

Africa's first female pilot, Somalia's first & only pilot

After more than two decades of flying across the world, Africa's first female pilot and Somalia's first and only female pilot, returned to her homeland.Asli Hassan Abade, 59, learned to fly in Italy in the 1970s. She returned to Somalia and joined the Somali Air Force and started flying planes in 1976.She served her country for 10 years before deciding to relocate to the United States where she married an American aircraft engineer.

In 2011, still flying beyond 50, Abade got the chance to revisit Somalia to airdrop some medical supplies to famine stricken patients at the Forlanini (Lazaretto) Children's Hospital in Mogadishu. That trip lasted less than 24 hours due to problems with the insurgent group Al-Shabaab in the capital.Her return to Somalia in September 2017 is celebrated across the continentwith many seeing her success as an inspiration in the aviation sector,especially among women.

Most African countries don't have airlines and lack skilled pilots and other aviation personnel.

The situation is particularly contentious in Somalia as the country continues to be wrecked with violence and problems with extremism since the civil war broke in 1991.