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Captain Joseph Ririani: The Ex-KQ Pilot Who Founded The Kenya School Of Flying

Flying is one of the most expensive courses to pursue in Kenya. Most pilots train in South Africa but this trend is changing thanks to institutions like the Kenya School of Flying. Keen on starting an indigenous flying school run by Kenyans, Captain Joseph Ririani quit his job and founded one of the leading and professional flight training school in the country.

Here is the background of the institution founder as told by WoK.

Founder background

Captain Joseph Martin Ririani began his career as a pilot working at Kenya Airways (KQ) on the Airbus 310. After working for the company for several years, he got an idea of starting a pilot school in the country.

In June 1992, he established the Kenya School of Flying with the goal of having an indigenous pilot school owned and operated by Kenyans. He quit his job at Kq in 1996 to fully manage and operate the Kenya School of Flying.

In 2000, he joined hands with other like-minded individuals to establish Orly Airpark in order to take their training away from the overcrowded Wilson Airport. The school has grown over the years to own over 20 aircrafts that students use to training.

Apart from being the founder of Kenya School of Flying, Captain Ririani serves as the Chairman of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

Kenya School of Flying

The professional pilot training school has its main campus located at Wilson Airport. Other campuses are located at Orly Airpark, Malindi and Ukunda airstrip where they conduct the night flying training for their students.

The school provides personalized training with students having access to the 21 aircrafts including the first full-motion twin engine flight simulator in Africa.

Other flights available include a Cessna 152, Cessna 172, Piper PA-28, Cessna 150, Cessna 206, Cessna 208 Caravan and Piper PA-34 Seneca.

The programs offered in the school include PPL Holiday Programme, Private Pilot License that lasts for six months, Commercial Pilot’s License that lasts for up to 12 months and Initial Multi-engine/Instrument rating that lasts for a maximum of 6 weeks.

The school has 10 aviation examiners, a total of 1,500 students have since passed through the institution and 1,003 graduates so far. The school offers accommodation services for the three campuses outside Nairobi and advises its Nairobi students on the best places to find accommodation. 

Acquiring First Simulator In Africa 

KSF became the first flying school in Africa to acquire a simulator, the UniversityTimes Africa reported.

The state-of-the-art US-made Redbird FMX, twin-engine full motion simulator cut the cost of training pilots from Ksh45,000 per hour to Ksh8,000.

According to Capt Ririani, the USD150,000 (approximately Sh17 million at current exchange rate) simulator “gives a student every bit of experience as on a real aircraft”.

Qualifications and Requirements

In order to join the school for any course, one must be 16 years old and above, must have a minimum mean grade of C+ IN KCSE and at least a C+ in both English and Geography, a medical fitness certificate from an accredited Aviation medical examiner and a Certificate of good conduct.

Other requirements include copies of academic papers, ID/Passport/Birth Certificate, 6 passport size photos – three normal size and three 2cm*2.5cm, three internal evaluations in Mathematics, English and Psychometric Testing and Five lessons of flight assessment.

The School is led by Captain Joseph Martin Ririani who is the founder and Managing Director (MD) and Captain R. Shah who is the Chief Instructor.