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200+ presidential flights - Inside Rtd Col. James Gitahi's impressive aviation career

Retired Colonel James Gitahi recently took his final flight, after four decades of an illustrious career in aviation.

KAF308 KENYA AIR FORCE FOKKER F70

Throughout his years in the military, Colonel Gitahi garnered an impressive reputation as a pilot, particularly known for flying VIPs, including two former presidents; late Mwai Kibaki & Daniel Moi.

Among his notable achievements were the over 200 presidential flights he conducted, serving as the pilot for the presidents.

After retiring from the military, he transitioned into a career as a commercial pilot.

As Colonel Gitahi prepared for his last commercial flight, he meticulously ensured that every detail was perfect.

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His military background instilled in him an inherent sense of precision and routine.

In the last flight, he had the privilege of sharing the experience with his family members including his wife.

Throughout his final flight, Colonel Gitahi commanded an aircraft he had been flying for the past decade, registered as "Five Yankee Victor Victor Oscar."

This aircraft had become his trusted companion, accumulating over 19,000 flight hours.

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Its significance extended beyond being a mere machine; it represented years of dedication and countless memories.

As he made his last landing, he was received by retired Colonel Hussein Farah who had once passed on the VIP Squadron's reins to Gitahi back in 1981.

Colonel Gitahi's journey in aviation began with a childhood dream to fly at altitudes above 30,000 feet.

This dream prompted his enrollment in the Air Force as a student pilot, where he had the privilege of being taken up for his first flight by Colonel Farah.

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As Colonel Gitahi bids farewell to his high-flying career, he envisions a future filled with new possibilities.

With his wealth of knowledge and experience, he plans to contribute to the aviation industry by imparting his wisdom to the next generation of pilots.

Through simulators and training sessions, he aims to share his insights and ensure the industry continues to thrive.

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