Female Vincentian-born pilot makes maiden landing in her hometown

Female Vincentian-born American Airlines pilot makes maiden landing in hometown

History was created last week when Rochell Roache-Lanza became the first female American Airlines pilot of Vincentian heritage to land at the Argyle International Airport (AIA).

Rochell Roache-Lanza

Roache-Lanza piloted flight AA1427, which was a Boeing 737-800, from Miami to her homeland with over 100 passengers onboard.

The 43-year-old Bequia native received a water salute as the plane taxied to the airbridge.

Roache-Lanza has been flying for almost 20 years.

She trained in Guyana and operated planes in Nigeria and the Caribbean.

Roache-Lanza worked for Caribbean Star, SVG Air and LIAT before taking up her position at American Airlines.

Several high-ranking public officials and Roache-Lanza’s relatives were at the AIA to witness the occasion.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said St Vincent and the Grenadines is proud of Roache-Lanza.

Rochell Roache-Lanza of American Airlines

“It’s a moment of great pride for the country. It may appear to be a small thing but it is of great symbolic significance. You have this major international carrier with someone from St Vincent and the Grenadines being a pilot. But in this case, it is a woman. A young lady who is very accomplished and experienced,” said Gonsalves.

Roache-Lanza told local radio that “the pressure was on” as she landed in overcast conditions at AIA.

“Everyone was expecting a very smooth landing, so I had to deliver,” she said.