Violet: If you didn’t like me then, why did you give it a second thought? (Laughter).
When did she finally give you sleepless nights that led to marriage?
Victor: It was when we met again in a South African flying school. I came to South Africa
to continue my training then as a pilot. The school I selected was where she was already attending, unknown to me. We still remained friends, but because she was on ground earlier than myself, she knew the place more and showed me around. She put me through and from there it began to grow.
What was the attraction?
Victor: We developed friendship then and she graduated before me. When she left, I felt
a void, and that was how I knew she was the one. I started calling and checking on her regularly. When I told her my intention, she said no; I begged her for four to five months. The day she finally agreed, I was the happiest man on earth. I spent all my pocket money to celebrate with friends when I got her positive response to a life commitment.
Violet: For me, the attraction was his confidence. He had a good sense of humour, always making me to laugh. There is this feeling of peace I have around him. He is patient and has a lot of self-control; very attentive to his surroundings. It is hard to surprise him because he does not miss anything. He is an understanding and supportive lover and has remained so as a husband.
Are you the only couple-pilots, who fly for the same airline?
Violet: Yes, we are the only couple-pilots who fly Air Peace in Nigeria for now, but there are other couple-pilots who fly for different airlines.
What is his favourite food?
Violet: He grew up in Lagos, and likes amala and ewedu with a lot of meat. He is a healthy eater. He can eat one bowl of vegetable soup without any form of ‘swallow’ and that is a whole meal for him. I grew up in Nigeria and can cook most African dishes. He is a stressless husband who does not demand immediate pounded yam. He is a caring husband and father. At times, he roasts potatoes and barbeque for the family’s dinner.
How do you handle female admirers?
Violet: It is a manifestation that I have something good.
From a professional point of view, what do you want the government to urgently do at the airports?
Violet: A lot, there is urgent need to upgrade all the runways to categories that will allow you land with lower visibility, renew all the needed equipment and install the latest equipment that controllers need.
What are the challenges you encounter as pilots?
Victor: Piloting has its challenges like every other job. When passengers are being managed because of poor weather; during harmattan periods and poor visibility, you could sit on ground for hours and passengers do not like to hear about delayed or cancelled flights. We are not different from surgeons who research and study, the same way we do. The only difference is that when something goes terribly wrong, the pilot goes down with his passengers, but surgeons do not go down with their patients. Meanwhile both are sensitive jobs.
What about the fears associated with flying, especially air crash?
Violet: It is not a normal situation. The thought would not present itself, because it hasn’t occurred and with God’s grace it will not occur. The opportunity does not present itself really.
Victor: As a pilot on its own generally, at times ‘speed second’ situation can happen and you would ask, ‘oh, what is this?’ But because of our training, that is why our job involves handling situations. We are also humans who have families. But because we are used to controlling situations, we are not like passengers that their heart is in their mouth from take-off to landing. That is our office, it is nothing.
What other experiences do you share together as couple-pilots?
Violet: We try to keep faith a lot; we take family vacations and do business together.
Do you operate a joint account?
Violet: No, we do not because we had separate accounts before we got married. But we do not have friction over our financial management. It is not a problem for us at all.
What was the longest flight you have flown? Violet: My longest flight was from Lagos to Peru. We ferried for eight hours or more and did three stops. We took off from Lagos to Monrovia, from Monrovia we crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil, and from Brazil we crossed the Amazon Forest and landed in Peru. We went to drop the aircraft for maintenance. Airlines do that every now and then; they pick their crew to drop an airplane and when it is ready, another crew would go bring it back.
How do you manage the home front as a busy pilot-wife?
Violet: What would have happened if both of us were working in the bank where you spend all day? Bankers leave early and return late. But in our own case, we are very okay with our timing. As he is coming back, I am going; we don’t have much of a time when the children are left alone with the nannies. We can just have an hour or two away from each other, before he comes or I come back. After this meeting with you now (referring to the day of the interview), we are homebound and it is just past 2:00p.m. When he is doing early morning, I might be on afternoon schedule. At times, he would have breakfast with the children while I am gone to work and would return to have lunch with my kids when they are back from school and all that. Our timing is not a problem at all. We are fine.
If you were not a pilot, what would you have loved to be?
Victor: I would have loved to be a mechanised farmer. I studied Agricultural Engineering at Ladoke Akintola University in Osun State.
Violet: I would have been an entrepreneur or an international motivational speaker.