Have you always had an interest in aviation and becoming a pilot? If this is a dream that always excites and motivates you, then this is the article for you.
Finding a good school to train and gain a pilot license is something that is paramount for everyone who desires to be a pilot. In this article, WOK kicks off the weekly aviation series with Captain Waweru Mwangi, formerly of the Kenya Airways.
With over thirty years experience in aviation as a pilot, Captain Mwangi will discuss the most important factors you need to consider before choosing an aviation school in Kenya. He is also going to touch on aviation training in South Africa, and how it compares to that in Kenya.
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How can you compare aviation training during your time and currently?
When it comes to aviation training in Kenya, the experience has improved, compared to how it was years ago when I was doing training. There are more training schools, more facilities, more trainers and more infrastructure. Although we have come a long way, we still have areas to improve on.
I studied abroad, at the Boliver School of Auronautics in Tennessee, USA. After completing my studies in 1992 I came back to Kenya and sat a few examinations to secure a local license.
Area of interest
One thing to consider is your area of interest, coupled with passion. A person interested in pursuing aviation should really do research and understand what they are interested in.
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We have the options of flying airlines, charter planes, air force, forest service, police service and others like flying helicopters. Once you understand the different areas of aviation, you will be able to make an informed decision.
Time with family is another factor to consider. Aviation takes a lot of time away from your life and family. People who want to venture into this profession need to consider the fact that they will be away for long periods of time. This will affect their relationships and how they interact with other people.
As we speak, the divorce rate in the aviation industry is very high, because very few people are able to maintain relationships with partners who are rarely physically present.
Another factor to consider when choosing an aviation training school is the issue of finances. In Kenya, we do not have student loans available for aviation training in the country, hindering the uptake of this course.
We can go around this issue by dissemination information around aviation, so that potential aviators know exactly what they are getting into. The government can alleviate this situation by offering scholarships and financial loan programs for students seeking to venture into aviation.
Comparatively, aviation pays well, so paying back the loans would not be a difficult endeavor for the pilots when they start working.
How much does it cost to train as a pilot in Kenya?
The cost of training in Kenya is about Ksh6 million for a period of two to three years, to get a CPL (Commercial Pilot License).
It is also important to note that the training is standard for all pilots, despite the type of aircraft they are going to operate.
How can you compare training in Kenya and South Africa?
To a big extent, training in South Africa is better because the facilities are more developed and sophisticated. In South Africa, the government is keen on supporting students pursuing aviation by implementing friendly policies that enable these aviation schools to thrive. Training here is an option, but I would say that the training in South Africa is a bit better.
The cost for training in South Africa is more or less the same as training here in Kenya.
Unfortunately, other than South Africa, other African countries are struggling to maintain their aviation schools. This is partly because their governments are not creating a favorable environment for them to thrive. Whenever they are considering financial support for institutions, rarely do they include these aviation training facilities.
In Kenya, how many training institutions do we have?
We have a number of training centres that are putting in effort, but they really need government support in order to thrive.