Legendary Ethiopian Pilot Captain Alemayehu Abebe passed away at 93

The late Captain Alemayehu Abebe in his early years.

Captain Alemayehu Abebe, Africa’s first pilot to fly 720 jet passed away at the age of 93, reported Voice of America Amharic Service. He was ill for a few days.

He is survived by six children and four grand children.

His funeral will be held on Saturday at 2:00 pm local time at Petros Wo Paulos church. The mass service will take place at Legehar Catholic Church, added the report by VOA Amharic, citing captain Alemayehu’s long time colleague, Colonel Araya Maru.

According Ethiopian Airlines’ inflight agazine, Selamta, he flew first commercial aircraft in 1957 when he made his solo flight as captain. The magazine added : “Before coming to ET, Captain Alemayehu taught Colonel Semret Medhane in the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force. As the captain’s first student, Col. Semret claims that he taught Capt. Alemayehu how to teach. When they both came to ET, says Capt. Alemayehu with a laugh, “He came in as management, and my student became my boss.”

In 2005, Captain Alemayehu Abebe  wrote a book entitled “Hiwote Bemidir Na Bayer” roughly meaning “My Life on Land and Air”.

The book describes the beginning of Capt. Alemayehu’s interest in aviation, which began with his fascination as he saw two airplanes fly over him at the age of 10 in Babile, Harar

Selamta Magazine

Captain Alemayehu Abebe is the first black African commercial Jet pilot and the first black African to command a commercial jetliner across the Atlantic. He was appointed as the first Ethiopian aircraft commander in January 1957. He is a central figure in Ethiopian aviation history as the pioneer in the field. He deserves praise for taking on a new technological field that no other Ethiopian did before him. It is known that he became interested in flying airplanes at the age of 10 as he saw airplanes fly over him in his home town of Babile – Harar. Unlike many pilots, he was not from a privileged family. Yet through determination and self-discipline he was able to fulfill not only his dreams of becoming a captain, but also to have his name in the history books as the first African commercial Jet pilot.

Captain Alemayehu immediately after his first flight in command of a DC-3 on 27 January 1957. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Ethiopian Airlines Facebook Page

Paying Tribute to a legend; the first Black African commercial Aircraft Captain, Ethiopian Cap. Alemayehu Abebe has passed away on January 5, 2018. He has been an inspiration to many and remains an icon in Ethiopian Airlines History. His legacy lives on for generations to come.

Inside the cockpit of the airline’s third Boeing 720-B, at the end of its September 1965 delivery flight with an all-Ethiopian crew (left to right): Captain Alemayehu Abebe, Captain Desta Haile (First Officer) and Second Officer Hapte Tesfamichael.