Business

A Day With Captain Lanya

“After a year at USP, I told my dad at an evening family devotion that I wanted to take a year off.
30 Jan 2021 15:56
A Day With Captain Lanya
Fiji Link Captain Lanya Kaukimoce insde the cockpit on the Viking DHC-6 400 Twin Otter She Captains. Photo: Leon Lord. Inset:Fiji Link Captain Lanya Kaukimoce and First Officer Saula Naikatini at Savusavu on January 14, 2021. Photo: Maraia Vula

No two days are the same for Fiji Link Captain Lanya Kauki­moce.

Captain Lanya is one of four female Fiji Link turboprop pilots.

She captains the airline’s Viking DHC- 6 400 Twin Otters, aircraft, which she says are brand new, robust and strong machines. She has a beautiful daughter and is the eldest of three and is orig­inally from Qalikarua, Matuku, Lau with maternal links to Bua.

Born in Suva, lived there for a few years and moved to Lautoka then to La­basa because of her late father’s work at Fiji Forest Industries (FFI) at Malau in Labasa. The former head girl of Holy Family Secondary School wanted to be­come a doctor or chemist but was later introduced to aviation studies by her late father.

“It’s a funny story. I have always want­ed to become a doctor then after my first year BScience, I thought it was boring so later I wanted to become a chemist so that was my dream.

“After a year at USP, I told my dad at an evening family devotion that I wanted to take a year off.

“My mother wasn’t really keen on it but my dad said that’s ok, we will figure it out.Then couple of weeks later, my dad asked me: Do you want to be a pilot? I looked at him, I said yes ok. But then I knew that the fees were expensive.

“We usually travel by plane so when I used to see female pilots I am always intrigued. Because it just seemed to be something different.

“After that I went to flying school.

“Dad did everything for me. We came down to Nadi together, I did the inter­view and aptitude test then I joined the Pacific Flying School in 2005.

She completed her studies at Pacific Flying School in 2008.

“I was on the ground for six years be­cause there were no jobs available.

“I joined Fiji Link in 2013 as flight op­erations admin assistant.

“I started flying in 2015, and going into my second year of command.

“The best advice my father gave me was: never come out of aviation be­cause you can still keep the passion and the drive. I must say he was the captain of this career move for me.

“My dad passed away in 2019 and I miss him everyday as he is the balm to my soul. I’m sad that he isn’t here to see this me become Captain of the Twin Otter, because that was his dream too.”

She is fascinated by the aircraft and and the fact that no two days are the same.

Flying with different people is an ex­citing bonus, she says.

“Our main priority is to transport pas­sengers from A to B safely.

“There are days where you face chal­lenging weather conditions. This is where you apply everything that you have been taught. It tests you as a per­son.Everyday is a learning experience.

“What makes my day extra special is a simple thank you from a passenger. this gives me great joy and makes all this worthwhile

SunBiz had the pleasure of inter­viewing Captain Lanya on Thursday, January 14, on a flight from Suva to Savusavu. First Officer Saula Naikatini was her second in command.

Departure: Suva, FJ (Nausori Intl) Jan 14 – 08:45

Arrival: Savusavu, FJ – Jan 14 – 09:45.

Order of the Day:

Usually pick is at 6am. Because we have to take the first flight to Suva, where we start our Twin Otter flights.

I wake up at 5am of sometimes 4:45am I like to say a word of prayer thanking Jesus for another day

Iron my uniform even though my mum tells me to iron it the night before, I prefer it fresh.

Sometimes I have a cup of coffee, sometimes I don’t. While I wait for my pickup I do abit of reading.

Once we get to dispatch we do all the planning, the NOTAMs (Notice to Airman), so if anything is happening in the airport.

If an aid is not working that tells us. Opening and closing hours of the air­port etc. Minimum Equipment Listing (MEL) that’s from engineering. Weath­er briefing.

Check licence validity.

After that we catch a flight on ATR as a passenger into Suva, like for today, then I wait for First Officer Saula.

I do my own preflight, he comes in and does his own preflight as well.

After that we refuel and we brief each other, get our airways etc and then we wait for the team that checks the passengers in.

They bring in the load sheet and we sign off on it and we are ready to go.

Same routine again when we load from Savusavu.

After our flights (Suva-Savusavu and return) First Officer Saula goes home as he is Suva-based and I wait at the airport for the afternoon flight back to Nadi.

Highlight of your career so far:

Flying my mum as a Captain from Suva to Labasa and my dad when he was still alive as a First Officer from Nadi to Suva.

My daughter from Nadi to Savusavu.

As a pilot what question do you get asked most?

Are you a pilot? Even with my uni­form on, I still get asked this question.

What’s one thing that you pack for every flight?

My licence along with my overnight kit. We don’t know what will happen so we need to be prepared.

How can we encourage more

women pilots?

I would give the same advice to any­one whether male or female. If you have a lot of passion, desire and love for the challenge. The rewards and sense of achievement is definitely worth it

Our job has got the best view ever, every other day is different. Simply talking to other women pilots and find­ing out about their experiences would be a -positive start.

Ask questions when Flying Schools are at careers expos. or on their school visits. Having hands-on experience like a joy flight with the flying schools can encourage them to pursue a career as a pilot.

How many destinations in Fiji have you flown too? 14 destinations.

Moala,

Gau

Kadavu

Taveuni

Vanuabalavu

Koro

Cicia

Lakeba

Laucala

Rotuma

Labasa

Savusavu

Nadi

Nausori

Advice to young people:

Pray big.Dream big

Stay positive. Work hard

Enjoy the journey and remain humble.Whatever challenges you face, you have to be strong and over­come it. There is light at the end of the tunnel



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