Abu Dhabi: Crown Princess of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum on Monday became the world’s first female to pilot the AW609 tiltrotor aircraft.
The granddaughter of the Emir of Dubai, Sheikh Marwan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, flew in the tiltrotor aircraft during a visit to the headquarters of Leonardo, the global aircraft manufacturer, in Philadelphia, United States.
Sheikha Al Maktoum said, “Riding the AW609 has been on my wish list since I saw the first images of the prototype. It’s the natural evolution of my piloting experience, mixing fixed and rotary wing piloting skills. I’m still pinching myself for this opportunity! Aircraft like this makes me feel very excited about the future of aviation, a future now open to more women who have chosen this industry,” the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.
Sheikha Mozah said the AW609 tiltrotor was pilot-friendly and amazing to fly. She forgot what type of plane she was commanding until she looked out of the windows at the big rotors.
The AW609 is the first tilt-rotor aircraft intended for civil use. The machine is a combination of an aeroplane and a helicopter, providing the speed of vertical flight and the versatility of vertical landing.
The aircraft can fly at a speed of more than 500 km/h with a range of approximately 1,400 km, and the range can be increased to 2,000 km by using additional fuel tanks.
William Hunt, Managing Director of the company, welcomed the visit of Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum and expressed his happiness that she is the first woman to experience the ‘exotic’ machine.
He said, “The Leonardo Company was honoured to host Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum, as she carried out this unique experience, which is piloting one of the first group of tiltrotor aircraft.”
Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum
Sheikha is an important figure in UAE society. She belongs to Dubai’s main family, the Al Maktoum, to which the rulers of Dubai belong, led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, US Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
It is noteworthy that Sheikha Mozah became the first woman from the Al Maktoum family to pilot a commercial aircraft.
Sheikha Mozah set her foot into the cockpit of an aircraft at the age of 12 and has set several records in aviation.
At the age of 17, Sheikha became the youngest student enrolled at Oxford Aviation Academy in England.
After receiving Boeing 777 certification, she was appointed as a first officer with Emirates in 2015 and soon after set out on her first passenger flight from Dubai to Amman, Jordan.
She was also the first lieutenant pilot in the Dubai Police Air Wing in 2019.