OBBI 311100Z 30014KT 9999 FEW030 19/09 Q1022 NOSIG
Becoming a pilot is Rebellion in itself... Rebellion against society, to walk the earth. Rebellion against nature, to break free of its tethers, and most of all a rebellion against one's self, against ones doubts and fears. Never did a romance take its lover higher than Flight, and never has there been a mistress more seductive than the Sky... Lotfia at the tender age of 26, was in Love...
As Head instructor of the Egyptian Aviation Academy, Mr. Carol took Lotfia under his wing and approached her with caution. Caution to the dangers of flight, caution to the politics of society. Most of all, Caution to humility, warning her of the intoxicating allure of pride and ego.
Oddly enough, inadvertently, he was the one to expose Lotfia to the public, by corresponding with European Newspapers and reporting on her progress. Unknown to her, she was gaining fame in a distant land. In all fairness, Mr. Carol’s intent was that of pride, but with that, word would reach her family.
Throughout the frenzy, and away from the public eye. Enraged by the deception, Lotfia’s father was hard to quell. It took loud praises by the public, and a flight with his daughter around the Pyramids to convince him of her achievement. Later, he came to be one of her biggest admirers, and she, in turn, became a great source of pride to his life.
1933 was also the year that the Fédération aéronautique internationale came to Egypt to convene. In celebration and a way to promote the industry, a series of competitive events were organized by the Egyptian Aviation Sporting Club. The Aim was to entertain and to allow international aviators to displace and challenge their skills.
License in hand, Lotfia signed up as one of 62 international competitors for the Cairo and Alexandria Speed Race. With less than 3 months of experience, she Strapped herself in her single-engine de Havilland Moth and manages to reach the finish line significantly ahead of the others. Only to be disqualified for not passing or being spotted over a checkpoint tent.
"شرّفت وطنكِ، ورفعت رأسنا، وتوجت نهضتنا بتاج الفخر، بارك الله فيكِ – الناشطة نسوية المصرية هدى شعراوى"
After years of treatment in Switzerland, and in recognition of her achievements. The Swiss, were keen to retain Lotifia, granting her honorary citizenship. All but a few years spent in Canada with her nephew, Lotfia spent most of her life in Switzerland. She continued her life grounded, yet untethered. Finally returning to the Nile, and Departing this life in late 2002 at the age of 95.
Lotfia’s story didn't end here, her achievements and stance still echo with empowerment and pride. Films and Documentaries were made about her, notably “Take off from the Sand – الاقلاع من الرمال” by Director “ Wageh George”. She is still celebrated with every new Egyptian and Arab Aviatrix and was honored by Google as a doodle on her 107th life anniversary in October 2014.
Immortalized with aviation's greatest, In one of her last interviews she was asked why did you fly? She simply replied “Freedom – حرية"…