British Nigerian, Lola Odujinrin, was the first successful global British African Pilot in history to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft. In this London Grilling we get under the skin of what Lola’s passions are, how he prepared for such a huge adventure and any advice he would give to young budding pilots!
Image: Lola Odujinrin
1. When did your interest in aviation start?
My interest in Aviation started as early as age 10 and this manifested into a massive passion following my experience with an uncle in the cockpit at the age of 14. I then pursued my first wings at the age of 20.
2. Why did you decide to fly solo around the world?
I used to dream of flying around the world at the age of 14 and the urge was so strong that I had to circumnavigate the globe in order to feel accomplished. The why I did it is perhaps one of those things that is hard to explain.
3. How did you prepare for this huge adventure?
Preparing for a round the world flight requires a lot of money and time. Most adventures of this nature would have a constituted project team. I had to do most things alone which meant there were lots of sacrifices that had to made.
4. What were the biggest challenges you faced when you flew solo around the world?
Raising funds has to be the biggest challenge followed by the weather. A flight around the world in a small aircraft designed to fly for 5 hours meant that the aircraft had to be modified to fly extra-long sectors. Flying for 10 hours at a stretch was very common and managing fatigue was very crucial. Flying over oceans with one engine and no alternate airports in case of emergencies meant there was little room for error.
5. Do you have any other passions aside from aviation?
Aside from aviation I also enjoy cycling and going on adventures on my motorbike.
6. What is your day job?
My day job is flying as a commercial pilot in Europe.
7. What advice would you give to someone looking to get into flying?
Learning to fly is very demanding but very rewarding. My advice to aspiring pilots is to first check their medical status with their Civil Aviation Authority before committing to the huge investment. Following this, booking a few hours with a local flying club is a good idea to assess your interest level.
8. Do you plan to complete any more challenges in the future?
I am planning on breaking an altitude world record soon in a light aircraft to around 60,000ft.
9. Would you ever consider flying around the world with a co-pilot?
The experience of flying around the world is priceless and I would consider doing this again with a co-pilot perhaps in a more relaxed atmosphere!
10. If you couldn’t fly, what job would you be doing?
I trained at University as an Aerospace Engineer however if I was not flying I would probably go back to my previous job as a computer programmer.
Are you a budding pilot or interested in flying? Let us know in the comments below!