Flying is a driving force in the life of the only Qatari female to fly multi types of ultralight sport aircraft – her name is Reem Al-Kuthairi.
“Everything is possible! Just aim, insist and follow your passion.” – Reem Al-Kuthairi
OHLALA – Tell us a bit about yourself and how you fell in love with aviation? How was the path to arrive where you are in the sport today?
Reem Al-Kuthairi – I’m Reem Al-Kuthairi, a Qatari adventurer and a recreational athlete specialised in ultralight sport aviation and a former elite handball player for the Qatar National Team from 2001 to 2009. It all began at a very young age, as I grew up in a family that believes that sport is essential for a healthy life. My father, in particular, was my biggest supporter and the main reason behind my achievements. I love travelling the world and try many extreme sports, and this was how I tried paragliding, my first air sports experience in France in 2008, and this was when my passion for air sports started.
OHLALA – What have you achieved that makes you the proudest in your ultralight sport aviation journey?
RK – When I entered this field, I was never thinking about the achievements. I did it for myself as it became a passion that I wanted to specialise in. But I did achieve lots of things in the field. After obtaining my national private pilot licence (NPPL) in microlight from the UK in 2014, I became the first female in the Middle East in this field and the only Qatari female so far flying multi types of ultralight sport aircraft. I own the first aircraft registered for a female in Qatar at the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority. I am one of the very few people around the world, and the only one in the Middle East, to fly a microlight aircraft every winter over the French Alps peaks at altitudes that reach 12,000ft (3,657m) or more above sea level. And, for that, I had to develop my skiing skills as the only way to get to the snowy airfield and return to my hotel. So. it’s like a ski-fly-ski daily routine. I am also the first and only Qatari female paramotor pilot to be sponsored as a team pilot with BGD (Bruce Goldsmith Design), one of the world-famous glider manufacturers (you can find more about them here: www.flybgd.com).
OHLALA – What do you think was the biggest challenge you had to face?
RK – My decision to enter the ultralight aviation field was in 2012 when I became the first and only female member at the Qatar Flying Club, and this was something new for our community. The second challenge was my decision to travel alone for intensive training and get the UK NPPL licence, in 2014. It was tough training, and the UK is famous for the rough weather. Very often you find negative people on your way and some negative questions in your mind, such as what am I doing? There were other questions. Are you serious? Do you think that you’ll be able to fly on your own one day? Will you be able to communicate with airports and radars on the radio on your own? Make the right decisions? Land without an engine? Never listen to these people and their negative thoughts!
OHLALA – How do you feel about having conquered so much as a woman?
RK – It feels great. I learned how to face fears and challenge myself at a very young age, and that’s the way my dad raised me. He always wanted me to try things I was afraid of, and that stayed with me. I’m now applying this in my life. There were no women in Qatar in this field when I started back in 2012 in the Qatar Flying Club, and I’m still the only female member with a microlight licence here. It would really be great to see more females in this field. However, I’m also a paramotor pilot and a member with Skymasters Qatar Air Sports Club, where there are a few other females flying paramotor.
OHLALA – What’s your motto in life?
RK – Everything is possible! Just aim, insist and follow your passion.
OHLALA – What piece of advice do you give to young ladies out there with big dreams like yours?
RK – Listen to both your heart and mind. Be positive and chase your dreams! And if people or your own thoughts tell you that you can’t do it, never listen, and take it as a challenge and show them you can!