When Josias Walubita took his first flight at the age of eight, he was fascinated by the mystery of what kept the aircraft airborne…

…skip forward three decades, and the inquisitive Zambian is now Proflight’s Chief Pilot.

Testament to his yearning for knowledge, Captain Walubita achieved the position at a youthful 36-years-old – in an industry where the average age of ordinary commercial pilots is 44.

His rapid career success has had its highlights, too. It was during flight training school at Zambia Air Services Training Institute (ZASTI) that he met his wife Mukamba Mwanamwale also a pilot, and their shared love of flying has seen them share more than 1,000 hours in the air flying together on the same cockpit.

Capt. Walubita admits his flying skills have been tested too, having flown in some unusual conditions before joining Proflight.

“In my career, there have been times I flew through conflict zones. This came with a lot of limitations when flying. We had to be very careful in maintaining our flight path – a very challenging experience, but it taught me to be precise.”

“I have also flown passengers to the oil fields in the West African deserts. The makeshift runways meant you had to know the limitations of your aircraft – as we often flew and landed in extreme conditions.”

From his previous job as Proflight’s Captain on the Bombardier CRJ-100 jet, Capt. Walubita was promoted to Chief Pilot in June 2018, a job he relishes, while revealing that it’s a very demanding role.

“It involves both office work and flying. You need to know what is happening among your pilots, be actively engaged in flying, and keep abreast of operations. It’s very involving,” said Capt Walubita.

The youngest of four, the Captain grew up in Lusaka. He says a good education is a necessary grounding for any pilot, and credits his secondary school, Mkushi, as “the place which built my character, making me the person I am today. It taught me to be confident, and to aspire for what I wanted to do in my life.”

Walubita never lost sight of his dream of flying – despite his family wishes for him to pursue a career in law – he won them over with his determination to unravel the mysteries of flight which had gripped him since childhood.

“I was on a charter flight going from Lusaka to Senanga, and I still remember feeling amazed that the pilots had never been to the western part of Zambia before and didn’t even know the airport, yet could still fly perfectly and reach our destination safely,” he said.

“It took a lot of convincing my parents to get them to accept my desire to become a pilot, but eventually they said I could go ahead and pursue my passion,” he added.

After studying ‘A’ levels in South Africa, the ambitious young man took up training at Lusaka’s ZASTI, where he received his private pilot’s licence, then went on to South Africa to gain his commercial pilot’s licence.

At 21-years-old, he began flying with Zambian Airways. After four years with the now-disbanded airline, he flew for an airline in the United Arab Emirates, he also flew for Oil companies in West Africa before returning to Zambia and taking up a pilot’s role with Proflight.

“I started off as a First Officer on the company’s flagship aircraft, the CRJ-100 for a year, then got promoted to captain. After that, I became fleet manager on the jet. Basically, I was the captain responsible for all aspects of the fleet, reporting to the chief pilot.”

Just three months after taking up that role, Walubita is now Chief Pilot himself. Surprised to be given the role, he said he expected a chief pilot to have grey hairs and longer experience.

“I sat down with my wife and asked her if this is something I should go for. In the past I served as chief pilot before in different companies. But in Zambia I thought it would be different – I thought chief pilots here had to have lots of grey hair and 30 years’ flying experience!”

Despite his lack of grey hair, and with just 15 years flight experience, Walubita was considered the right person for the job, which includes managing a team of 40 pilots. Why? He puts it down to his ambition, drive, professionalism and being a “well-rounded individual with a fairly relaxed demeanour and a stable character.”

On top of these characteristics, the Captain Is quick to point out that “It’s a great privilege and honour to have this position to serve a fine group of pilots. It’s a very easy job for me, as the pilots I represent are very professional and they know what is required of them. It makes my job a little easier”.

And what does his co-pilot wife think of the move? He admits it can be challenging to both be in the same trade.

“We cannot always make the same career move. Flying careers in Zambia are quite limited. So as result, what I consider a good move for myself might not be so good for my wife,” he explained. On principle, the dynamic and ambitious couple decided not to work in the same companies.

“Currently my wife is studying, and she keeps her pilot licence up to date. I am sure when the right opportunity comes up locally she will take it.”

And when the Walubitas are not in the air, their social life revolves around the family. The couple is blessed with four daughters. The first born is 12-years-old, the second is 9 years old, the third is 5 years old and the youngest will shortly by turning a year old. “It’s a busy family!” he declared.

“On weekends when I am not flying, I spend my time with my wife and children. We do a lot of farming activities, as we live on a farm. Sometimes we go camping – and pretend like we are far away from the house and the city. We do a lot of other activities as a family, to bond.

“I believe time spent with my children and wife cannot be compared to anything,” he added.

And what advice can he offer to those dreamy-eyed eight-year-olds taking their first flight out there?

“Often the route to your dreams looks long, narrow and rough. But I think if you keep yourself motivated, focused and know what your objective is, it will be easy for you to achieve those dreams.” 

About Proflight Zambia

Proflight Zambia was established in 1991 and is Zambia’s leading scheduled airline. From its base in Lusaka its domestic routes include Livingstone, Mfuwe, Lower Zambezi, Kalabo, Ndola, Solwezi, Kasama, and Ndola-Kasama, and regional routes to Lilongwe in Malawi, and Durban in South Africa and Harare in Zimbabwe.  Mfuwe-Lower Zambezi and Livingstone-Lower Zambezi direct services operates between June and October 2018.

The airline prides itself in providing a safe, reliable, efficient and friendly service, and offering good value to business and leisure travellers locally and internationally.

The airline operates a 50-seater Bombardier CRJ-100 jet, three 29-seater Jetstream 41 aircraft and two C208 Caravans.

More information is available at www.flyzambia.com.

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Welcome on Board

All of us in Team Proflight Zambia look forward to welcoming you on board one of domestic or regional flights.  With a history spanning over three decades, we are Zambia’s largest airline, offering reliable schedule flights to leisure and business travellers. We’re proud to connect Zambia to the world, and the world to Zambia.

Our fleet includes 50-seater Bombardier CRJ-100/200 jets and  29-seater Jetstream 41 aircraft.

Whether you’re embarking on a business trip, planning a safari adventure, or simply seeking a quick getaway, we are here to make your journey a seamless and memorable experience.

Our domestic destinations include Kalumbila, Kafue (Chunga), Kasama, Livingstone, Lower Zambezi ( Jeki & Royal), Lusaka, Mansa, Mfuwe, Ndola and Solwezi. We operate regional direct flights from Lusaka to Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

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Proflight sells FlySafair connecting flights within South Africa but currently not sold on our website. Please book through Proflight Reservations by emailing reservations@proflight-zambia.com or WhatsApp +260 777034742. FlySafair connecting flights are not available to book online and must be booked direct with Proflight offices.