Meet Kalenga Kamwendo, Zambia’s Youngest Commercial Pilot.
Kalenga Kamwendo is the youngest commercial pilot in Zambia, working for Proflight Zambia. What intrigues us most is that at only 21, Kalenga has flown to “more than 10 destinations, local and abroad over a 100 times”.
Kalenga Kamwendo is a First officer flying with captains across airline network, having been hired as part of the company’s commitment to support Zambian youth and nurture new local talent.
Kalenga joins an elite team of 36 pilots flying for Proflight on routes from Lusaka to Livingstone, Mfuwe, Lower Zambezi, Ndola, Solwezi and Kasama, as well as Chipata, Mansa, Lilongwe in Malawi and Lubumbashi in Congo DR. He joined the airline in September last year, having been given the job on August 26 – his 20th birthday
Born in Kitwe, the second of three children, his father Thomas Kamwendo, is an engineer and his mother, Mailes Kamwendo, a nurse. Having studied at Nkana Trust Primary School and Mpelembe Secondary School, Kalenga went straight to an Air School after graduating from grade 12 in 2012.
In one year and three months he graduated with his commercial pilot’s license, having flown 200 hours and been rated to fly Caravan aircraft
It was Kalenga’s parents who encouraged and supported their son’s dream of a career in aviation. He had originally planned to become an engineer.
Kalenga Kamwendo recalls his first day as a commercial pilot. “I was nervous; I didn’t have the full uniform. I was flying to Kasama and had to be up at 4 hours.” But the satisfaction of the job soon came through. “ There are tons of thrills, from something as simple as seeing a passenger happy, to the thrill of flying.”
Kalenga draws his inspiration from colleagues he is working with at Proflight, and in particular is guided by Capt. Vivian Sikazwe, who at 64 is the airline’s oldest commercial pilot.