Who is Nigeria’s youngest commercial pilot?

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Contrary to recent reports that Favour Odozor, 20, who graduated at the Afrika Union Aviation Academy, South Africa, is the youngest Nigerian licensed commercial pilot there are indications that this record belongs to Sam Phil-Ebosie (1951 – 2012), who graduated as a licensed commercial pilot at the age of 19 in 1970.

Chinedu Ozordi, a journalist reports that Sam was born to Emman Phil-Ebosie and Yewande Phil-Ebosie on the 271h July, 1951, in Lagos and was the third of four brothers. Sam’s father was the foremost indigenous ENT Surgeon in Nigeria. He attended Ladi-Lak Institute and later transferred to Government Demonstration School, Surulere, Lagos, for his primary education.

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He proceeded to Kings College, Lagos, for his secondary education; after which he shocked his family, teachers and mates by his decision to become a Civil Aviator.

To accomplish his ambition, Sam sought and was admitted into the second course at the Nigerian Civil Aviation School Zaria, graduating top of his class as a pilot in 1970.

He thereafter commenced his commercial flying career with the then Nigerian Airways Ltd. Through his career, he was trained on the Fokker 27, Fokker 28, Boeing 737, Boeing 707 and DC 10.

While he at Nigeria Airways, Sam was said to have been confirmed the youngest Fokker F 27 Captain at the age of 25 years in 1977.

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The height of his professional flying career was when, as the youngest ever captain in the world, he flew the wide bodied aircraft at the age of 30 years in 1981.

During his career, he was the preferred long haul Captain for the Presidency on the Presidential Fleet. He flew the then President Shehu Shagari to the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, Australia for the Common Wealth Conference in 1981, New York to the United Nation’s Conference and several other destinations; and the Vice President Alex Ekweme also on several occasions.

Sam later retired from Nigeria Airways in 1985, after which he joined Saudi Airlines, Saudi Arabia in 1985 where he worked as a Lockheed Tri-Star Ll 011 Captain. Between 1986 and 1995, he worked at PH Aviation Teterboro, New Jersey, UPS, New York and Federal Express Memphis.

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Sam retired from commercial flying after 27 years in 1995. Upon retirement he set up his own private aviation support company called Skynote.

Sam, until his death, remained a keen aviator, consulting in different areas of the aviation sector.


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