My story : Noma Khumalo

My name is Nomathemba Khumalo, and I am a qualified Aeronautical engineer and a certified Drone pilot. I grew up in Stanger, located in KwaZulu-Natal. Ever since I was young, I dreamed of pursuing a career in aviation and becoming a pilot. However, during a career expo in my grade 11 and grade 12 years, I had the privilege of meeting the GFPA team (formerly known as SAWIA), who introduced me to various careers within the aviation industry. While I had a basic understanding of how aircraft operate, I was intrigued by its science and decided to pursue a career in Aeronautical engineering. During this expo, I had the opportunity to meet a black female Aeronautical engineer who became one of my role models and further fueled my interest in this field.

After graduating high school, I pursued an Aeronautical Engineering degree at Wits University. The GFPA team provided invaluable assistance in helping me obtain a scholarship from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), which covered my university fees. I am incredibly grateful for their support. Although my aviation journey has been exciting and challenging due to the fast-paced nature of learning at university, I appreciate every opportunity to learn and grow.
I have drone piloting experience (Having briefly worked for a Drone Company), and I am currently working as an Aircraft Certification Engineer.

“The rapid development and achievements in aircraft and aerospace technologies have interested and motivated me to add drone piloting to my skillsets. I am passionate about the unmanned field as I read literature on various drones, their design, and the new possibilities this new major technological revolution promises to provide in multiple applications. I want to be part of this constantly evolving field and hope to be involved in designing the next generation of uncrewed air vehicles. For my final year design project, I developed an agricultural UAV that analyses crop health and soil. I selected this project to explore how drones can support farmers in enhancing crop yield, farm productivity, and profitability in agricultural systems. This cost-effective and time-saving solution can promote agricultural management.

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