Google Doodle celebrates first Arab female pilot’s birthday

Lotfiya al-Nady, the first Arab and African woman pilot, would have been 107 today. (Photo courtesy: Google)

Egyptian Lotfiya al-Nady, the first woman pilot in the Arab world and Africa, would have turned 107 today, and Google designed a doodle to celebrate it.

The doodle reached Google users in Arab countries, including Egypt, North African and GCC countries.

Born into an upper-middle class family in 1907’s Egypt, al-Nady developed a love for aviation when she came across an article about Cairo’s newly-opened flying school.

According to a profile about the aviator in Al-Ahram Weekly, Lotfia’s father frowned upon her sky-high aspirations but later came around when he saw how successful his daughter was, having passed her flying test only 67 days after she began training.

It is reported that she had taken her father on a flight over the Pyramids, which he enjoyed.

In 1933, the press corps attended her graduation from flight school, during which then 26-year-old al-Nady passed her flying test.

In the same year, she competed in an international flying race which began in Cairo and ended in Alexandria.

Although she finished first, she did not win the race as she reportedly missed two mid-points the pilots should have flown over.

Nevertheless, she catapulted to fame as Egypt’s King Foad congratulated and Egyptian women’s rights leader Hodaa Shaarawi commended her for bringing “honor to your country.”

Al-Nady passed away in her hometown of Cairo in 2002.

In a 1996 documentary about her, film makers asked her why she chose the career she did.

“I wanted to be free,” she answered.


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45