Google Egypt is celebrating the birthday of Lotfia El-Nadi, the first Egyptian and African female aviator. An image of the pilot wearing an aviator helmet appears on Google Egypt’s homepage on Wednesday, what would be her 107th birthday.
Born in 1907, El-Nadi made news when she became the first Egyptian woman to fly a plane solo from Cairo to Alexandria in 1933 in an international race.
She’s considered the second woman to fly solo, after Amelia Earhart.
After graduating from the American College in Cairo, El-Nadi’s dream got started when she heard about an aviation school opening in Egypt in 1932, the country’s first.
She took a job as a secretary at the school and, without her family knowing, began taking lessons in secret with a French flying instructor, with the support of Kamal Alwi, the head of EgyptAir at the time.
Alwi thought women pilots would be good publicity for both the school and the airline.
She earned her pilot’s license after only 67 days of training, at the age of 26.
In 1955, El-Nady travelled to Switzerland for medical treatment and lived there for a long time. She never married.
She died in Cairo in 2002.