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Simon Diasolua, a civil aviation icon

Updated: Dec 20, 2023


Captain Simon Diasolua in the cockpit of a DC-10 (Air Zaïre)

Captain Simon Diasolua in the cockpit of a DC-10 (Air Zaire). | Credit: Simon Diasolua

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Simon Diasolua, an eminent figure in the realm of civil aviation, has long been a distinguished pilot at Air Congo, exemplifying excellence in his profession. From a young age, Simon soared to great heights, rubbing shoulders with world-renowned celebrities, all thanks to his passion for aviation.

Born on November 14, 1942, in Léopoldville (Kinshasa), Simon Diasolua's desire to become a pilot was evident even in his childhood days before the country gained independence. In an interview on Radio Mbote eight years ago, he fondly recalled, "Even as a child, I wanted to become a pilot before independence."


For Simon, flying is not merely a profession; it is a divine gift. Since his elementary school days, aviation has been his cherished pastime. He devoted himself to nurturing this passion, spending weekends observing and playing with aircraft being repaired at the Ndolo military airport, just a stone's throw away from his home in the commune of Barumbu.

His aspirations began to take shape in 1961 while he was still a humanities student at the Athénée de Kalina. Simon remarkably stood out in the entrance test for the newly established aviation company, earning him a spot among the selected students who would receive training elsewhere.


After completing his humanities studies, Simon Diasolua turned his childhood dream into reality by undergoing flying lessons at Sabena in Belgium. Upon returning home, he was employed as a captain by Air Congo in 1966.

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A young Simon Diasolua in the early 1960s (4th from left). | Credit: Canvas

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His journey as a pilot continued, as he pursued further training at the American Airlines Flight Academy, eventually leading him to become an instructor and examiner for McDonnell Douglas (DC-10) aircraft at Air Zaïre. Subsequently, Diasolua assumed the role of Operations Director at Air Zaïre.


Throughout his illustrious career, Simon Diasolua has crossed paths with notable figures from various spheres of life. "I'm proud, doubly proud to travel with the black pilot," testified freelancer Mohamed Ali in 1974, reflecting the sentiments of many who admired him. Additionally, he has had the honor of meeting the Belgian royal couple, Pope John Paul II, and other esteemed personalities.

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1. Captain Simon Diasolua (in the cockpit) with Air Congo stewardesses. (1970) / 2. Simon Diasolua with Mohamed Ali in Kinshasa. (1974)

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In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Simon Diasolua stands as a paragon of civil aviation, leaving an indelible mark on the Congolese aeronautical industry for over three decades.

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Henock Kalala - (LEBEAUZAÏRE)

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