Aviation: a silently growing area

Tuesday March 20 2018

Students of Moriah Aviation Training Centre in Entebbe during one of their lectures

Students of Moriah Aviation Training Centre in Entebbe during one of their lectures. Students are encouraged to take on courses in aviation to counter the increasing number of people embracing air transport. Photos by Eve Muganga 

By Desire Mbabaali

For many students, choosing a course of study is a critical time because it is the time one chooses a career path that will decide who they become in future. It is a time to actualise career dreams and picking on the best opportunities available. Choosing an aviation course, may therefore, sort out the confusion for some students.
Sofia Achan, a flight operations student at Moriah Aviation Training Centre, says: “I already have a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, however, I have always had a passion for aviation since I was little. Aviation is still a very fresh field of study in Uganda. There is so much to explore. When we look at the transportation industry today, there is going to be a lot of changes in the near future. It has happened already in other countries. That is why I came to do aviation, because I want to be part of that movement.”
She further adds that although there is a lot of career guidance in schools in the different professions there has not been enough guidance in aviation-related areas of study if at all. “Yet this field should be embraced because there is so much to study and explore which people are very ignorant about. Students are unaware of the industry, the different courses available, or where to get the training,” Achan adds.

But she is not the only one interested in this silently growing field of study. Marvin Nsereko, a Flight dispatch student at Moriah Aviation Training School, says he is a few steps to achieving his career dreams. “I have had a passion for aviation since childhood. I used to look at aircrafts when I was still young and say to myself; I will study a course that can make me fly a plane.”

The training
On the road to fulfilling his dream, Nsereko will undergo training for six months after which, he will go to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in Entebbe for a three months’ industrial training, making it nine months of study. He will further be subjected to a test by CAA, after which, he will have his diploma as a Flight Dispatcher.
“For the next six months, I will have classes from 9am – 4pm. In the evening when classes are done, I do more revision till late when I go home. Save for public holidays, my classes are consistent,” he explains his schedule.

What drives his passion so far is the high level of coordination between all the professions involved in aviation.
“Our principle is safety first and I have not yet discovered any other industry that has that much coordination. In aviation, everyone builds the other. It is not about the pilot alone,” he says.

How it works
Catherine Lumonya, the head of training and an instructor at Moriah Aviation Training Centre, notes that so far, there has been a very positive response from the students they have trained. Everyone is subjected to an aptitude test before they are admitted on the course to ascertain their ability. This is followed by a series of remedial tests every week and at the end of every module.

“For now, we offer the flight dispatch course which runs for six months. One is then subjected to in-house certificate examinations and on merit surrendered to CAA for three months of industrial training and a skills test. When they do well, they can have a license which is the working ticket,” she explains.
In all this, CAA, who are the industry regulators have to certify, inspect, advise and supervise the curriculum, courses, the training procedures, the structures, trainers and all operations.

Emmanuel Lumonya, an administrator at Moriah Aviation school, shares that the basic requirements are a Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education and preferably, students who studied sciences.
“There are a lot of science-related areas in aviation courses, so, that puts a student at an advantage. Nevertheless, anyone else who is able to go through our induction programme can fit in,” he says.

Current situation
“Aviation opens you to a lucrative world of opportunities. Today, the world has become a global village. More people are travelling around the world. This creates a need for more aviation officers,” Lumonya comments about the growing need for aviators, mentioning neighbouring countries which have advanced in that regard.
“When you look at our nation, there is very little going on in the aviation sector. This is an area we think should have more engagement to improve the aviation outlook of our country,” he concludes.

Duties of a Flight dispatcher A fight dispatcher manages operations of an aircraft, the difference is the practical flight training. Both the pilot and a flight dispatcher essentially do the same theoretical training. They are involved in planning for the operations of the aircraft, gather information the pilot or engineer will need, for instance about the weather, planning the loading of the aircraft, planning the crew that will fly the aircraft, fueling the aircraft, gathering all equipment for the pilot, knowing alternate routes, following the aircraft from the starting point to landing. Their jobs with the pilot are integral none can do without the other.

Courses and aviation schools
Moriah Aviation training school
• Diploma in Flight dispatch (nine months)
• Radio telephony
• Safety management
• Instructor training
• Flight operations

Uganda Aviation School
• Cabin crew – diploma (nine months)
• Airline customer care – certificate (six months)
• Aviation security awareness – certificate (three months)
• Global distribution systems, fares and ticketing – diploma (six months)