13 June 2004

Aline Parsekhian:First Lebanese Woman to Fly a Plane

Amal Al Nuaimi, a journalist in the Abu Dhabi Arabic daily newspaper Al Ittihad has interviewed in the 9th June 2004 issue of the newspaper Mrs. Aline Parsekhian, an Armenian-Lebanese, based in Abu Dhabi, who was the first Lebanese woman to fly a private plane in the sixties of the last century.

Here are parts of the interview:

- I was obliged to discontinue my studies early, because my father died and I had to take over the management of his company in Lebanon (a factory known in the neighboring countries and in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, with a total of 600 employees).

- During the same period I got married and brought to this world a boy and a girl. Later, in 1976, my husband came to the UAE and I visited him in the Summer of the same year, with the children and a small suitcase enough for a typical vacation. But my plans changed and I settled down in the UAE ever since.

- After graduating from the High School my children went abroad and continued their studies there. My son returned back and took a management post in the same company, but my daughter is still following postgraduate studies and working in Washington DC.

- My origin is Armenian and my ancestors belong to a country called Armenia. Our religion is Christianity and language is very ancient.
- In the sixties there was a club in Lebanon for learning how to fly. My family had some friends who were themselves professional or amateur pilots. I liked the idea of observing the earth from a height and looked forward to fly freely in the sky. I was accepted in the learning sessions with big difficulty. I was the only girl there. I took some fifty lessons from a British instructor. Then the crucial moment came. I chose to fly in the early morning, when there was almost no one in the club. I saw beautiful Beirut from the sea to the mountain under the wings of my sailing plane. I was feeling as a child with a doll for the first time in her life. I shouted with all my energy and nobody could hear me. Although there were some restriction on the height and the extension that we were allowed to fly, nevertheless, I was happy to live this experience. AZAD-HYE.

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