Lotfia ElNadi

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Lotfia ElNadi (also spelled El-Nadi, El Nadi, Alnadi, Al Nadi) (1907–2002) (Arabic: لطفية النادي‎) was an Egyptian aviator.

At the age of 26, Lotfia ElNadi became the first Egyptian female to fly a plane from Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt.

In order to achieve her dream - in a time when Egyptian women were fighting to obtain equal rights - Lotfia informed her father that she was attending a study group, when in fact she was attending flying lessons twice a week.

When her mother discovered her secret desire to learn to fly, she decided to help her daughter achieve that goal.

It is said that her first time in a plane was when she worked as a receptionist at Cairo airport and she hid in a 2-seater plane, just to experience what it was like to fly. She once experienced living in the desert as part of a survival training course. As 1 of 2 women in a group of men, they earned the respect of the many men due to the continuous hardships that they faced during their time in the desert.

She was also a friend of Amelia Earhart who sent her many letters when away on trips. She was a very honest, funny, and very independent woman.

She has been decorated with medals from a number of Presidents and notaries around the world. Her respect, determination, and ambition gained her the status as a Women's Equal Rights Advocate in the Middle East and an inspiration to the rest of women around the world.

In 1996, the 60-minute documentary film "Take Off From the Sand" (35 mm format) was made by Wageh George about her life. When asked why she wanted to fly, she replied "I learned to fly because I love to be free."

Lotfia never married, and lived in Lausanne, Switzerland most of her life. (Switzerland made her an honorary citizen.) She also lived with her nephew in Toronto,Canada for a few years before she died at the age of 95 in Cairo, Egypt, among family and friends.