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Captain Orlando Tantoco Africa

93 years old and the latest recipient of the FEATI Aviation Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 is a graduate of Airline Maintenance Engineering Class of 1948.

1948 was just three years after World War II ended, when FEATI University was FEATI Institute of Technology (FEATI Tech), an offspring of the Far Eastern Air Transport, Inc. that plied the Iloilo-Manila-Hong Kong route with American soldiers making up the general population of passengers. Having passed the last years of the war in Zamboanga, the young Africa had traveled to Manila and enrolled along with many others to make his dream of flying and being around planes come true.

And come true, it did, going beyond his wildest expectations.

At 93 years, still armed with a razor-sharp memory and legs strong enough to travel to the awards ceremony, Captain Africa still recalls moments from 71 years ago…June 1946 to be exact, when FEATI University was known to him and his classmates as Far Eastern School of Aviation (FESA) which after one semester, changed to FEATI Institute of Technology (FEATI Tech), until 1959 when the Department of Education recognized FEATI as a university.

In 1948, he graduated from the FEATI Institute of Technology with no less than FEATI founder and first president Salvador Z. Araneta in attendance. Later on, Victoria Lopez-Araneta would run the affairs of FEATI when Mr. Araneta was called to serve as Secretary of Agriculture by President Ramon Magsaysay.
After graduation, Africa worked as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer for a commercial airline at Nichols Field Manila from1948-1949.

In 1949, he was employed at the Island Aviation School at Nichols Field, Manila International Airport, where he earned his pilot’s wings. He moved on from there, accepting the position of Company Pilot for Basilan Estate locator and international rubber company, Sime Darby, from 1949-1957.
His thirty-year stay as Company Pilot for the prestigiously enduring American tire company, BF Goodrich (now Michelin) cemented this Captain’s ample capabilities as a pilot until his retirement at 63 with zero violations and still in great physical form.

Despite being retired, Captain Africa still took on freelance work as consultant for various aviation companies and was also a licensed instructor-pilot and a “check pilot” for the Air Transport Office (now CAAP).
Captain Africa and his wife have four children, all girls; a doctor, a nurse, a school official, and a flight attendant.

His recent award was one of the most memorable ones given by FEATI to an alumnus because of his ‘pioneer student’ status and the incredible decades-long career that followed.
His success story is one that he hopes will inspire students to focus on doing the excellent work, never giving up, and giving back. (AMD)

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