[Rochelle Roache] Vincentian female pilot becomes a Captain
Thu, Jun 06, 2013
Captain Rochelle Roache (2nd from right) and her flight crew of Arik Air, Nigeria.
Her mother, obviously proud of her daughter, recently informed THE VINCENTIAN, that Rochelle had created another ‘first’: She is the first Vincentian female pilot to be accredited a captain, flying in Nigeria, Africa.
The formative years
Rochelle was, in fact, born in Bequia. She attended the St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown, where she impressed with her athletic ability, winning numerous medals as a long distance runner.
With 11 CXC subjects to her credit, she pursued further studies at the Community College and upon graduation, took up an appointment as an Air Traffic Controller, at the E. T. Joshua Airport, and also served in that capacity in Canouan and Union Island.
Rochelle’s mother disclosed that her daughter, during this time, expressed almost incessantly, an interest in becoming a pilot.
“It was clearly a lifelong dream,” mother Marilyn Roache said.
A dream fulfilled
That dream took its first step towards fulfilment when Rochelle went to Canada to pursue training as a pilot. Once she had successfully completed her training, she returned to the Caribbean and served as a pilot with LIAT and Caribbean Star.
In her search for more experience, Rochelle looked further afield and was successful in obtaining a first officer appointment with Arik Air, in Nigeria.
Arik Air is West Africa’s largest commercial airline. It now operates a fleet of 23 state-of-the art regional, medium haul and long haul aircraft, including two Airbuses.
On May 17, 2013, Rochelle was formally commissioned as a full captain, in a ceremony in Nigeria.
Proud of her accomplishment
“I’m overwhelmed and very proud of her. I think words are not enough for me to express myself,” Mrs. Roache told THE VINCENTIAN.
Mrs. Roache admitted that initially she had misgivings about her daughter becoming a pilot. She, however, now concedes that her daughter’s “ability to excel at her chosen profession attests to the fact that following your dreams is an important notion for parents to instil in their children.”
She added, “Rochelle has widened my perspective of women and what they can and cannot be in society, and I would encourage young ladies to follow in her footsteps.”
Rochelle’s recent captaincy is surely just another rung on the ladder of success which she has been climbing, and this achievement is not only a feather in the cap of her mother and the Roache family, but also in that of all the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.