Patricia Mawuli Nyekodzi is the first female Ghanaian certified pilot, aircraft engineer, teacher and trainer and the only female qualified to build Rotax Aircraft Engines. Mawuli became Ghana’s first female civilian pilot in 2009.
Mawuli grew up in a mud shack in Mepe, a small rural village in the Volta Region of Ghana. She developed the love for flying after spending years watching planes passing overhead. At the age of 19, Mawuli went to look for employment at Kpong Airfield but was turned down by the airfield’s technical director, Jonathan Porter. He employed her to weed around the school and pull stumps from the runway, when she offered her services for free.
Mawuli skilfully cut the trees, showing analytical ability to determine the most efficient means of extraction. Porter recognized the same skill when he asked her to help him with an airplane he was assembling. Mawuli’s ability to learn quickly learn, master the skills and tools used to build an airplane, prompted Porter to give her a paid job as his apprentice and teach her to fly.
Today, she holds the record as the first black African to be certified to build Rotax Aircraft Engines, as well as the first woman in West Africa to be certified to build and maintain Rotax engines.