In a rare occurrence, an 8-year-0ld Ugandan boy has left many mouths open in disbelief. The young boy, Graham Shema, is a student at Kampala International School Uganda (KISU). His insatiable interest in all matters of aviation has acquired him the prestigious title of ‘Captain’.
What Triggered His Interest in Aviation?
One day, while Graham Shema was playing outside with his friends, he witnessed a bizarre happening. He was only three years old. He spotted a Ugandan police helicopter flying so low. In a blink of an eye, the low flying plane blew off the roof of his grandmother’s rental houses. Although many would have expected Shema to get traumatized by the incident, it lit an insatiable spark for flying instead.
Graham Shema’s Constant Nagging
After that incident, Shema constantly asked questions on how planes flew. His mother, Shamim Mwanaisha, who is a travel agent, could not take it anymore. She decided to enroll him at a local aviation institute in 2019. After enrollment, he took lessons on aviation vocabulary and aircraft parts at home.
Flying At Last
After just five months of taking theory lessons, Graham Shema began his practical lessons. His first time flying was phenomenal and he said the feeling is similar to a bird flying up. By March 2020, Shema had flown three times on a Cessna 172 as a co-pilot. However, his practice was interrupted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While children his age were busy watching cartoons during the massive lockdowns, Shema sharpened his skills. He watched numerous videos and read widely on aviation. Additionally, he enjoyed space explorations through his virtual reality viewer.
Taking The World By Storm
Due to his spectacular knowledge in aviation, Graham Shema has met many renowned personalities. He has interacted with the Ugandan minister for transport and the German ambassador to Uganda. The two have also invited him to high-profile meetings.
Graham Shema Achievements And Aspirations
Apart from becoming a huge social media sensation in 2020, Shema has also featured in newspapers, local televisions, and radios. He has also received a scholarship from Elon Musk. The young lover of science and maths considers Elon Musk, the founder, Chief Engineer, and CEO at SpaceX, as his role model. He said,
“I like Elon Musk because I want to learn with him about space, to go with him in space, and also to get a handshake.”
Uganda's 8-year-old Graham Shema Started learning how to fly a plane at age 7. He has flown as a trainee three times on a Cessna 172.
In 2020, he became a sensation in his country with his display of his aircraft knowledge and promising flying skills. pic.twitter.com/B9gyOnHZ1b
— Africa story Live (@AfricaStoryLive) July 16, 2021
Previously, the world has seen young and ambitious pilots. In 2014, 19-year-old Matthew Lee Guthmiller from America became the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the globe by air. This earned him a slot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Four years later, another young American pilot, Mason Andrews, broke the record as the youngest ever to solo circumnavigate the globe at 18 years old. Currently, the record holder is 18-year-old Travis Ludlow from the United Kingdom. Graham Shema has what it takes to become the youngest pilot in the world. But, will he get the support to get him there?