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Prospects for future upcoming pilots in East Africa

African Aviation Regional issues that affect the numerous pilots who work in this area of the world.

Prospects for future upcoming pilots in East Africa

Old 25th Jan 2019, 09:05
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Prospects for future upcoming pilots in East Africa

Hi folks!

Direct to the point.

What does the future gold for upcoming junior pilots particularly those in East Africa? I am 29 and considering flying south for pilot training, upon which i intend to come back to Kenya for conversion of the licenses and possibly look for work. Considering that this is very capital-intensive thing, whats your advise? Should i invest the money somewhere else as some pilot based in Nairobi told me, or should I just continue pursuing my dream. Being a pilot is something that I have always wanted to be ever since.

Whats the job market like for someone with less than 500 hours, especially in Nairobi? I wouldn't mind the low pays for maybe 1-2 years!! (This is assuming i have acquired all the licences required and converted them to Kenyan standards)
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Old 26th Jan 2019, 18:35
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What's your nationality?
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Old 26th Jan 2019, 22:11
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Icelandic perhaps
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Old 26th Jan 2019, 22:33
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Originally Posted by smellytailwind View Post
What's your nationality?
this is a very pertinent question. Also, why east Africa only? A lot of EA pilots work for carriers in the ME now. Some quite happily, others because they couldn’t get on with KQ for whatever reason, others because they left KQ for whatever reason.
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Old 27th Jan 2019, 08:51
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Hi there,

From my point of view finding employment in Kenya is in itself a challenge, more so in the aviation sector.
After completing all your training you may find it very hard to find employment or even get access to employers hiring staff, Imagine dropping your CV to a watchman!. Its all about the right ''connections''
You will also notice very few firms advertise on job openings and that those that do just do so to meet regulations (Google pilot jobs Kenya vs South Africa etc). Hiring is also very biased based on ethnicity (yes i said it ).

Another thing to consider is that you may not get the dream job you envisioned, You may get a job that sends you ''out-station'' to war torn countries keeping you away from your family for long periods of time. These are places you cannot invite your loved ones to visit!!

The buck does not end with acquiring a licence, pilot jobs have plenty of requirements that everyone cannot meet i.e Minimum total hours, minimum hours on type, Type ratings and finally keeping up with renewals of medical, licenses & ratings.
It can become an investment that never ends with very low returns.

There are plenty of young pilots with no jobs and are willing to fly for minimum pay or even for FREE! Guess whose going to get the job

I hope my view on this matter helps you make an informed decision.
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Old 27th Jan 2019, 09:50
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South has become less favourable with the main/wilson carriers. Too many lots have to redo their training when they retun back to 254 before converstions creating less confidence about them when it comes to jobs prospects.

Why not try USA way cheaper and you may return back with more hours and plus the wilson carriers like FAA girls /boys not to mention the main carrier too.

I would say YES go for it and ignore most of the negative stuff others may say to you here.
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Old 27th Jan 2019, 15:59
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Originally Posted by smellytailwind View Post
What's your nationality?
I am a Kenyan citizen
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Old 27th Jan 2019, 16:01
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Originally Posted by 254HEAVY View Post
South has become less favourable with the main/wilson carriers. Too many lots have to redo their training when they retun back to 254 before converstions creating less confidence about them when it comes to jobs prospects.

Why not try USA way cheaper and you may return back with more hours and plus the wilson carriers like FAA girls /boys not to mention the main carrier too.

I would say YES go for it and ignore most of the negative stuff others may say to you here.
Thanks a lot bro, this is very encouraging. I was also eyeing Canada. Your opinion is highly valued.
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Old 27th Jan 2019, 16:04
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4runner this is because i don't want to be over ambitious. i know the first few years after flight school, i might not get employed by the big carriers.

254HEAVY Thanks a lot bruhh, this is very encouraging. I have also been eyeing Canada. for 4 million, i could complete all the licences including flight instruction.
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Old 27th Jan 2019, 19:44
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I personally think the future is bright for up and coming African aviators. I'd strongly suggest completing your training elsewhere other than Africa as you should know FAA/EASA/TC/JAA licences hold more weight than local licences and worst case scenario...South Africa.
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 07:18
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Hi Sankara,

Good to hear you are keen to make your dream a reality. Hope that my experiences will give you some perspective on what you may experience.

First off, I’ll remind you that no investment is 100% guaranteed. You may start a business with the cash and it fails or on the extreme end you may start flying and God forbid fail a medical. Your hard earned money will come and go, pursue you dream so you may never live life wondering “what if?”.

Now to my experience.
I completed my training last year in Feb and only just got my first job 3 months ago flying a twin turboprop with only 270TT. Jackpot right?
What you may not know is that I started my PPL in 2012 and had to work at my hrs slowly as cash was limited. So it’s taken just about 6yrs to get through to where I am now. I can’t complain because I also built great experience and a name for myself in my previous industry. However now I’m starting from the bottom of the food chain and hopefully the skills I used in my previous work will help me build a good reputation and career in aviation.

So how did I get the job?
Some years back, I quit a well-paying job to earn ¼ of the salary to work in a flight ops department for a few months. That company has now hired me as an F/O. It’s interesting to share a cockpit with the same people I did paperwork for. I didn’t last in this job and when my 3 month probation was over, they offered a full time position because I did a good job; I declined. I declined because with the pay and hours I would finish my training when I was 40! Like you, I am 29 turning 30 this year.

Why did I do my training here?
The reason I opted to do my training here was because from my previous industry I understood that relationships are key to getting ahead. I weighed in on saving up and going to S.A or USA for training and figured that
1) I’d be away for 2-3 years and have huge license conversion costs 2)
When converting, the few schools that can do it here will take advantage of you since they think you have lots of cash from abroad or come from a wealthy family
3)I have no paying job in either industry when I return
4) Nobody knows me and I am just another C.V stacked up with the rest.

Someone once told me “People do business with people they like and they trust” It’s no surprise hiring works the same way.
In those years I have trained here (training standards may not be the best) and had to make up for my instructors shortcomings by my own reading and asking more experienced people to share knowledge. If you do your training in the region, expect it.
One of the big advantages of training here is that you will build relationships that could be key to you landing your first flying gig and getting a foot in the door.

Is it worth it spending the cash?
Personally, I may be making less money than I was in my previous job but I have learned and proved to myself several important lessons ; Whatever your dream you have the power to make it happen, Patience and the ability to stick to something no matter how long it takes (This is important because the next goal is to be a Captain and God knows how long it will take)
Invest in yourself first and keep doing it until you find what a right fit is for you. At 29 I believe we have 30+ years left before retirement so better get cracking at failing and learning quickly.

SAA, USA or Canada
Of all the 3 options, Canada seems to be the best. Not only do you get to fly but also get a shot at being a PR(Resident) after you finish training. The more the world becomes interconnected the more you need a backup as you build your life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my country but we are living in uncertain political and economic times. You need to have access to something else should things go south on either end.

Is the business of East African Aviation growing?
“World Bank statistics show that African Aviation is growing tremendously with the number of passengers carried increasing from 37 million in 2005 to 74 million in 2015, tantamount to a 100% increase. However, these optimistic numbers mask the difficult reality and many challenges faced at country level.”
You may take this with a pinch of salt, but the truth is many African airlines are battling to survive and achieve profitability regardless of the huge population of the region. Factor in GDP and see how many people can afford to fly. Have a look at intercontinental trade for example how many Kenyans do business in Ghana?

So why do I still do this? Because having pursued the goal for so long I still don’t get over the fact that now I get paid to do my hobby. It’s remarkably different doing airline flying vs being a PPL holder and flying to the Mara for the weekend. I’m starting a new journey and happy to be here and no longer be a dreamer! (Even though the Dreamliner is a another Dream!)

Hope my two cents helps.

Clear Skies and tailwinds!
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 16:40
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Originally Posted by markaveli23 View Post
Hi Sankara,


First off, I’ll remind you that no investment is 100% guaranteed. You may start a business with the cash and it fails or on the extreme end you may start flying and God forbid fail a medical. Your hard earned money will come and go, pursue you dream so you may never live life wondering “what if?”.

Why did I do my training here?
The reason I opted to do my training here was because from my previous industry I understood that relationships are key to getting ahead. I weighed in on saving up and going to S.A or USA for training and figured that
1) I’d be away for 2-3 years and have huge license conversion costs 2)
When converting, the few schools that can do it here will take advantage of you since they think you have lots of cash from abroad or come from a wealthy family
3)I have no paying job in either industry when I return
4) Nobody knows me and I am just another C.V stacked up with the rest.

Someone once told me “People do business with people they like and they trust” It’s no surprise hiring works the same way.
In those years I have trained here (training standards may not be the best) and had to make up for my instructors shortcomings by my own reading and asking more experienced people to share knowledge. If you do your training in the region, expect it....

....One of the big advantages of training here is that you will build relationships that could be key to you landing your first flying gig and getting a foot in the door.....


Clear Skies and tailwinds!

Very nicely put. That's some solid advice there.
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 16:44
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What a great letter. I flew for QM and the best part was the BN Islander flying. The VC 10 was just long haul. At the end of the day, you remember the enjoyable flights, not the boring times, and I did fly the B747 right at it's inaugeration, which tells you how old I am.
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 17:18
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Originally Posted by studentpil0t View Post
I personally think the future is bright for up and coming African aviators. I'd strongly suggest completing your training elsewhere other than Africa as you should know FAA/EASA/TC/JAA licences hold more weight than local licences and worst case scenario...South Africa.
Thanks a lot. Much appreciated
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 17:29
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markaveli23;


Mr. Wiseman,
First, thanks for your prompt and detailed response. I really appreciate.
Secondly, congrats a lot for realizing your dream. I have always dreamed of flying, even for free. I intend to realize my dream, even if its just for fun flying.
You have raised one very serious issue about pilot license conversion. I head that here in Kenya the process is very chaotic and slow. Perhaps, I should factor in that as well.
I am eyeing Canada, i got a school that offers PPL, CPL., ME, NR & IR for about 3.8 million, and it has a very solid reputation. I also intend to do Certified Flight Instruction, what are my chances of getting an instructors job once i come back to kenya? or do most schools prefer older instructors?
Thanks a lot.
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Old 30th Jan 2019, 11:21
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If you were flying in the late 60s, then you are a legend. Big up
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Old 6th Feb 2019, 23:27
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Just for your FYI to what Markaveli23 said about Canadian PR you will need to do more than just your CPL/ME. You will need the core licenses then, CFI, CFIII and a Multi-Engine Instructor options as well. All that can be achieved if you have the money BUT the elephant in the room is you will need to show you have received an offer of employment as a flight instructor from a flight training center for you to be eligible to apply for a work permit and eventually permanent residence in Canada. 2 things you need not to kid yourself about. You will be heavily competing with the locals after the same job and also other international students.

The best thing about Canadian PR is straight forward so the prospect of you having that shot is worth thinking about seriously!
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Old 12th Feb 2019, 04:01
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Hey markaveli23. Great advice.

I just got into the game and I am late. In my early 30s and a low time pilot. Thinking about traveling to Africa to look for companies to start my flying career in bush flying. Are there companies in East Africa hiring expat low time pilots? I read in the forum, Kenya is nearly impossible. Any other places that I should try my luck?
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Old 12th Feb 2019, 18:33
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Originally Posted by flyingcrankshaft View Post
Hey markaveli23. Great advice.

I just got into the game and I am late. In my early 30s and a low time pilot. Thinking about traveling to Africa to look for companies to start my flying career in bush flying. Are there companies in East Africa hiring expat low time pilots? I read in the forum, Kenya is nearly impossible. Any other places that I should try my luck?
Hi there!
Where did you train? Which License do you possess? I understand that License conversion can be hectic, especially if you were trained using modern and newer planes and simulators. Though, I believe this will be to your advantage.
Kenya is competitive, as there are plenty of flight schools here, I tend to think so.
Today, I flew in a Dash Q400 from Lamu to Nairobi, and on the controls was a first officer who told me hes been working in the same company, now as a senior first officer, for 7 years! That tells a lot.

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Old 13th Feb 2019, 03:40
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Hey!

I trained in the US and got a FAA CPL SEL/MEL with IR. I am going to do some time building before heading over to Africa to try my luck. Planning to head to Namibia first before heading to other countries. Being a foreigner and having a foreigner license, license conversion is my second concern. My first concern is to be hired. I am hoping to fly for companies that fly tourists into safaris, hence will be making my first stop in Namibia or Botswana. Do you guys know of any such companies in East Africa or anywhere in Africa?
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