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Arab Women Firsts


May 30, 2011 5:01 by

Lotfia Elnadi is the first Egyptian female pilot. At age 26, the aviatrix (woman pilot) became the first Egyptian woman to fly a plane between Cairo and Alexandria and became the second woman in the world to fly a plane solo.

Elnadi, who died in 2002 at age 95, had a strict upbringing and so she had to distract her father to be able to attend flying lessons twice a week without his knowledge or consent. The first time she was in a plane was when she worked as a receptionist at Cairo airport. She had hid in a 2-seater plane and when the plane took off, she popped her head up and told the pilot she only wanted to know how it felt to fly.

In 1996, a 60-minute documentary was made about her life called ‘Take Off From the Sand.”

Lotfia never married, and lived in Switzerland most of her life. She lived in Canada for a few years, then moved to Egypt where she passed away.

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