Training Centre

The MAF Uganda program has become an international hub for many of our pilots as its training base expands and participates in upgrading more pilot’s type conversions. The Uganda training base is one of MAF International’s training bases, where MAF is providing training for its own pilots (conversion training, supervisory pilot, check pilot, and instructor pilot training).

The MAF Line Pilot Standardisation course which is currently held for MAF International pilots in Mareeba, Australia, will hopefully also be offered in Uganda by 2018. This means that pilots passing through the African region can more easily be given training more conveniently in Uganda and it also enables MAF Uganda to help offload the growing training needs that Mareeba has been fulfilling. During 2017, a full flight simulator was added to the MAF Uganda training base, further enhancing our training capabilities.

In 2016 the base helped train up to 6 non-MAF Ugandan pilots and after June of this year the program will be helping prepare 4 pilots who will be transitioning from Arnhem Land to South Sudan upgrading to flying the 208 Caravan and also 1 pilot from Bangladesh. An exciting addition to the base in 6 months time will be a 208 Caravan flight simulator which will enhance the training program and help with the growing needs of the base. Hansjoerg mentioned about the importance of quality training, “We train most of the caravan pilots so we see it as a big responsibility to train them right as it sets a precedence in the MAF Africa Region.”

The beauty of having this particular training base based in a busy operational program like MAF Uganda means that both Hansjoerg and Martin are able to also fly where and when needed. Martin and Hansjoerg also train our own MAF check, instructor and supervisory pilots for the MAF Africa Region.

The training base also offers training and checking for smaller programs that don’t have in-house check pilots for eg. Tanzania, Chad, Mongolia and Liberia. Training Captain Greg Vine also helps as a check pilot when needed outside of Uganda. Hansjoerg who began training in 2006 travels a number of times a year to different MAF bases and Martin who began in 2008, twice a year.

Hansjoerg commented about some of the highlights of his job, “It’s always good to see pilots through the base who go on to become senior pilots who then mentor other pilots. I also like the diversity of our job and the international focus.” Martin mentioned the satisfaction of seeing some of these pilots develop into strong assets for MAF. “One pilot came to us 2 years ago from MAF US and has gone on to become a pilot/program manager in Bangladesh. He has contributed a lot to MAF. Sometimes pilots need to be pushed into more senior roles to encourage them to grow and be stretched.”

Hansjoerg Schlatter

Training Captain Hansjoerg Schlatter at his desk in Kajjansi

A particular aspect of the base which both Hansjoerg and Martin are happy about is the National Internship Program which is addressing the vision of MAF to help equip local nationals from ‘doing’ to ‘enabling’. In Hansjoerg’s words, “It is exciting that we have this drive for the next 5 years to implement 1 of our strategic goals of MAFI to recognise the value in training local staff. It helps to appreciate that they can do what we do and there is also increasing pressure from immigration to replace international staff with locally trained professionals.” MAF Uganda is currently involved with training South Sudanese pilot, Dut Agwang (*see previous story) Hansjoerg commented, “It’s been amazing to see Dut’s progress. He has made good progress and is highly motivated.”

When asked what either of them would say to someone they wanted to inspire to fly with MAF, Martin replied, “Knowing that you’re able to impact people’s lives and you’re not just working for a company increasing their revenue. As a MAF pilot you’re not just flying the plane, you’re helping load the plane, preparing flight plans, liaising with customers and passengers….if you want to just get in the cockpit and fly, MAF may not be the best place for you. It makes the flying more fun when you’re ‘bush’ flying, (not just pressing ‘auto pilot’!) The diversity can be overwhelming but interesting. It’s also fun that we work with different nationalities.” Hansjoerg ended by saying, “There are a lot of changes to your everyday job…a lot of diversity. The main thing is to know that it is where God wants you….than you have purpose.”

Jill Vine – MAF Communications