Many probably think my first day was that first day I stepped into Wilson in 99s Flying school uniform and got into class and started the actual ground school classes. No. My first day in flying school started 12 years ago. Trust me. It has been such a long time coming and I am still stuck at the first level that is not “the first level”. I did not take selfies, I did not take a picture of my uniform, I did not. I don’t even know how that passed me. The first period in aviation was spent in a class high in the scent of new uniform and anxiety of a new form one class. We all wanted to be pilots. Let me try to be specific. Many wanted to be pilots. I was among them. Not just Pilots, Type Rated Pilots for the Beechcraft – King Air that was the pride of the school, as well as a glider and a refurbished Kenya Airways Simulator. These were around 200 students from around the country, who wanted to have a taste of aviation. Truth be told. People go to Mang’u to fly. In addition, even if it is not to fly in the actual sense. To “fly” in their endeavors. So here we were being told that as much as the administration wanted, it could not manage a 200 member aviation class and so we were advice to decide & figure out other options. Those who wanted could pursue aviation at a higher level. By the time, there was no Degree in Aeronautical Engineering in Kenyan Campuses. Only a diploma from the now Technical University of Kenya. Long story short, from 200 we reduced to a hundred and something and by 2006, 19 of us sat for the National Examination.
My first lesson was the basic principles of flight, history of flight and introduction to aviation. After many stories from the Ex Air Force lecturer, we were given an assignment to make a Kite, which we would fly, the next lesson. This seemed juvenile at a point then later it turn out fun. A weekend was spent making kites, which we flew on Monday’s double lesson… That was fun. It was very simple but very inspiring. My decision had been made. So this journey began that way, that February of 2003. Fast forward to 2015. The Flying school itself, I do not know where the excitement was hidden. But I can’t remember anything. In any case. I was scared to hell and back because I could not believe it was happening. It took me a week to calm down. Out there, most people have wondered what it is to be a pilot, I still am. Now; our Radio Telephony lecturer framed this question in another way. “Why Aviation?” & “When did you know?” This question caught me off guard and several others. It sounded like telling someone you fell in love with them, and lacking no response… The questions. I have had so many reasons along the way that I did not even know how to respond to that question. Remember I was still in shock that I was here in the first place. After we all spoke out, I learned that, not everyone wanted to get to the skies and live there as such. Others just want to have a feel of the plane on the step to pursue other aviation careers, others wanted to travel the world, someone wanted to fly to his parents, others were there because the entire family is in aviation, we had someone to who Aviation was a second choice after he missed medicine by a few points. Among the lessons that I learned, what may seem so big to me may not be big to someone else and vice versa. This goes across the board for all careers. It does not matter where and at what level. That is why; I never got into conflict with my former colleagues who think I was mad to leave a ‘secure salo’. It had to be in your heart to serve and serve diligently. Such, is the case for all those people who I have met doing what really settles their ambitions.
The lecturer went ahead to say we should just be frank enough and accept that we were here for the money, we probably loved our friend’s, houses, lifestyle, new cars, haha of course I love The Subaru. But, never saw piloting as the doorway to one, funny enough, I will have more flight hours than road hours in a few, unless a miracle happens on the contrary. I never had a chance to look at it that way – from the financial perspective. At least not yet. This far, I have been into jobs because either I was bored or because I tried to pursue my ambitions, an occupation I may say. The Surveyor’s Clerk job was because I felt too idle staying at home. The Active Service, because I wanted to be in the skies so bad. Maybe as I grow, into this, I will love the money. Just maybe. I am back in the vicinity of runways and planes flying overhead. This calms me more than anything does. Now that I am here, I am still as unsettled as I was back in the day. In any case, more because it is a tight balancing act. A lot has been sacrificed many risks have been taken, and a lot has happened to make this happen. Again, why am I doing it, I don’t know. Because that is who I am? I have children at Sunday school, who keep asking me what the skies are like, an entire circle of friends and family who do not know what I do or why I am the way I am… I think I am flying just to answer questions. Frankly I don’t know. It’s like asking me “why am I the way I am?” But, we have to keep moving. The unseen bit of this journey is its secondary purpose. The encouragement & the inspiration it gives many out there and myself, after the rest of the world has peeled off. Anything is possible. It does not matter how tough it might seem. If you work it smart and hard, as long as it is constructive, everything will work out, for the best. At several points, I thought it would not go through. Now the fight continues one flight level at a time.