Before moving to Georgia in 2014, Akhenaten Mswia lived in Brooklyn, New York, and Reisterstown, Maryland. Mswia’s mother is originally from Tanzania, so he was able to travel between the U.S. and Africa frequently during his childhood, becoming fluent in Swahili in the process. Over the past several years, Mswia has accomplished impressive feats in aviation, his hobby, and engineering, his career aspiration. With his father and brother both pilots before him, Mswia explains that his family’s willingness and openness to support him in all his endeavors was something that allowed him to discover his passion for engineering.
Following his brother’s footsteps, Mswia joined the Civil Air Patrol – a voluntary auxiliary of the United States Air Force serving local communities, the state, and the nation through emergency services, aerospace education, and cadet programs. As an active participant in his local squadron, serving in a staff position, Mswia demonstrated aerospace and leadership knowledge and passed a physical fitness test to earn the rank of Cadet 2nd Lieutenant. His roles included flight commander, emergency services officer, communications officer, and operations officer. Mswia participated in four search and rescue missions with the Civil Air Patrol, one of which was as the team lead.
Mswia completed his flight training after school at Falcon Field in Peachtree City. At age 16, his first solo flight came after passing the written test for his private pilot’s license and 20 months of flight training with an instructor. “The first time I really took in that I was flying thousands of feet above the ground by myself was on my first solo cross-country flight to Columbus,” recalls Mswia. “It was the first time I had a chance to fly in a straight line and take it all in.”
At 17, Mswia obtained his private pilot’s license after passing the oral and practical test at Tri-Cities Regional Airport.
In July 2022, Mswia spent a week at the EAA AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as an attendee of the Blue Beret training school. In conjunction with attendance at leadership training sessions from figures such as United States Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown Jr., Mswia’s duties included supporting the event staff and ensuring a safe environment, controlling crowds, guiding aircraft on and off the runway, logging tail numbers to keep track of all aircraft on the ground, and disabling emergency locator transmitters.
Mswia’s affinity for motorsports began after playing his brother’s old racing games and tagging along with him karting with friends. Mswia placed third in a six-hour endurance kart race at Atlanta Motorsports Park.
In 2019 he attended the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta. After assisting the Lexus team by helping push a broken-down car back into the garage, Mswia encountered someone analyzing data and inquired about his job. “I’m a mechanical engineer,” the man responded. At that moment, Mswia knew what he wanted to do. He aspires to work as a mechanical engineer in series such as the International Motor Sports Association, National Auto Sport Association, and World Endurance Challenge and become a driver in Gridlife and the Sports Car Club of America.
“For me, there really isn’t a plan B. I will accomplish what I set my heart to,” declares Mswia.
By Laura Garrett