Kenya School of Flying soars higher with new Sh13m state-of-the-art simulator

The Kenya School of Flying, a premier aviation institute in the region, has aims to soar even higher with its newly-acquired state-of-the-art simulator. The Redbird FMX, twin-engine full motion simulator, which cost about $150,000 (around Sh13 million) seeks to help reduce the cost of training pilots.

The institute is believed to be the first in Africa to acquire such a model, which is manufactured in the United States.

First of its kind

While commissioning the simulator, at the school based at Nairobi's Wilson Airport, the then Transport Permanent Secretary Dr Cysus Njiru, now Industrialisation PS, commended the school for the initiative. He said the move will greatly reduce the cost of training pilots in the country. Dr Njiru said the country has a severe shortage of commercial pilots. He attributed this to the high cost of training.

Lucrative career

Dr Njiru said that there was need for the government and private aviation firms to embark on training more pilots to counter this shortage. Such training institutions, he said, should strive to reduce the cost of the programme so that more young and ambitious Kenyans could enroll and train for the lucrative career. Capt Joseph Ririani, the school's founder and managing director, said the simulator would greatly help reduce the cost of flying, from Sh45,000 per hour to Sh8,000. "The Redbird FMX, twin engine full motion simulator gives a student every bit of experience as on a real aircraft," Capt Ririani, a former pilot with the defunct East African Airlines, told the Metro during the event last year.

“Freeze” the simulator

Another advantage, he said, was that an instructor may "freeze" the simulator should a learner make a mistake. "The instructor would point out the mistake to the learner before proceeding. Such a thing cannot happen in the air, and learners would only be corrected once they land. The simlutator also gives students the confidence before they take to the skies," said Capt Ririani, an experienced instructor, and also the director of KSF’s sister company, Aeronav Air Services.

De-congest Wilson Airport

The school’s main training field is the the Orly Airpark, a 250-acre airfield in Kajiado County, about 28 kilometres from Nairobi, and Wilson Airport. It also has a base at Malindi Airport, where students are trained on sea-level flying. Capt. Ririani, a co-founder of Orly Airpark, says the idea of the an airpark came following the need to help de-congest Wilson Airport.

“The simulator will help reduce the cost of flying from Sh45,000 per hour to Sh8,000," -Capt. Joseph Ririani