The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has graduated 74, donier 228 and super mushskak aircraft engineers and technicians on type rating course at 431 Engineering Group in Kaduna.
54 out of the 74 participants, were trained on Dornier 228 and 20 Super Mushskak. The Donier 228 training lasted for 16 weeks and Super Mushskak training was for 8 weeks.
The Chief of Aircraft Engineering (CAcE), AVM Abdulganiyyu Olabisi who spoke during the graduation on Thursday, said, described it as a milestone in the drive towards self-sufficiency through local training to sustain robust logistics support to sustain NAF platforms and equipment serviceability.
“Indeed, it goes without saying that the bold steps taken to establish the Nigerian Air Force Type Rating Course (NAFTRAC) as an in-country training avenue for aircraft and armament engineers and technicians has paid off as regards prudent sustenance of NAF platforms serviceability.”
Olabisi said it was peculiar not only for being the first time in 431 Engr Gp centre since change of nomenclature from Local Type Rating Course (LOTRAC) but also the first in-country type training for the Super Mushshak fleet recently acquired.
According to him, the seamless coordination between the Pakistanis and NAF maintenance personnel to transfer knowledge to participants is quite commendable considering their short period of experience.
“No doubt, the graduating participants will surely add value to the maintenance activities of engineering units like 431 Engr Group at least in reducing total aircraft ground time.
“For most of you this training which authorizes you as aircraft engineers and technicians opens up the gate of professionalism in the specialist field of engineering in the NAF,” he said
The engineering chief said the training was very timely due to dearth of skilled and authorised technical manpower which he said were increasingly becoming a concern in allowing units to meet up with aircraft maintenance considering the expanding fleets of the NAF in recent years.
“Skilled aircraft maintenance personnel go on retirement each year, amounting to pressure on units and the few skilled personnel.
“This in-country training effort will therefore not only reduce this growing pressure but will also build an enduring knowledge foundation for further specialist training on various platforms.
“This approach no doubt optimized the opportunity of having the Pakistani expatriates on the Super Mushshak aircraft. I therefore respectfully applaud the laudable initiative of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar to approve and commence the Course,” he said.
He averred that training as a major agent of transformation, remained a key driver of the vision of the Chief of Air Staff especially regarding logistics support for sustaining serviceability of platforms and equipment.
”You are therefore encouraged to commit yourselves to becoming assets and not liabilities as you will henceforth be giving aircraft maintenance tasks with little or no inspections.
“I therefore charge you to work even harder in your various deployments after today and become an indispensable resource for building a sustainable aircraft maintenance culture for the Service and the aviation industry.
“You must do all in your power to be good ambassadors of NAFTRAC through your professionalism and exemplary conduct, in order to justify the resources that went into your training.” olabisi said
In his remarks, the Commander, 431 Engineering Group, Air Cdr.Abubakar Suleh said this was the first DO 228 NAFTRAC to be held in the past five years, and the first ever Super Mushashak NAFTRAC.
According to him, the Group took advantage of the presence of the Pakistani Technical Assistance Team to commence the NAFTRAC on 22 Oct 18 enabling the Pakistanis instructors for up to 3 weeks before their departure on 20 Nov 18.
The commander also disclosed that approval has been given for DA 40 NAFTRAC which is scheduled to be inaugurated January 7.
“For the Group to be given approval to conduct NAFTRAC training on 3 different aircraft types within 6 months is a remarkable and unprecedented achievement.
” Additionally, for the first time NAFTRAC is being conducted on the Super Mushshak and DA 40 aircraft.” he said.