Hiyam Afeef, the First Female Maldivian Float Plane Pilot
Maldives Promotion House – For the first time in the history of Maldives a Maldivian woman has become an aeronautical engineer. Hiyam Afeef, who has become the first woman from Maldives to get a degree in aeronautical science, graduated from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in USA.
“There are not a lot of airports. The main transportation is boats and planes. I want to start by flying seaplanes, but eventually I want to fly internationally,” Hiyam said, in an interview given to the University.
After Hiyam completed her O’Levels she started her career working in an architecture firm. It was there that she decided to become the first female float plane pilot in the Maldives. Soon she was offered an opportunity to study in a flying school in USA by an American friend James Mathieu.
In January 2005, Hiyam started a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science and commenced pilot training alongside this course. In addition to her degree and to ensure she had a solid aviation foundation Hiyam studied aircraft dispatching as well. Hiyam graduated in December 2008 with both her commercial pilot’s license and Bachelor of Science degree.
Though she would be working with Trans Maldivian Airways, she said that her real interest lies in aviation safety. While the aviation community in Maldives is still largely made up of males, Hiyam’s success brings hope to the industry.
While many Maldivian students continue to go for high studies in different fields of aeronautics some choose to work in Maldives as well as abroad. In addition to aeronautics, Maldivians have also proved to be successful in other fields as well. For example there are three Maldivian scientists currently working in NASA.