The Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, NCAT, Capt. Mohammed Abdulsalami has disclosed that the school would soon commence training on the use of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, (RPAS) otherwise known as drones.
Abdulsalami said the move to introduce the course on the use of drones is in line with the mandate given to the college at the last RPAS symposium in Abuja in 2017.
Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday, December 11, at the Gateway Forum organised by the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondent, LAAC, Capt. Abdulsalami stated that the introduction of the course on drones and others will help in enhancing the college’s internally generated revenue, assist it in acquiring training equipment and double the capacity of the college to train personnel for the aviation industry beyond Nigeria.
He noted that the college has 10 serviceable aircraft in its fleet which is a good improvement on what the school used to have.
The Rector disclosed further that the supply of the Diamond Aircraft to the school is for 20 aircraft.
The NCAT boss stated further that because of budgetary constraints, the school cannot order for the entire aircraft at once, as it ordered for them in batches.
“When I assumed duty in 2017, the college took delivery of only one DA42 Aircraft. This was because when the initial orders were placed, the aircraft were manufactured , but due to the failure of the college then to make payment, the manufacturer decided to sell the aircraft. So, they couldn’t get the aircraft any longer.
So, we said we were not going to place any other until we have money. Last year, I placed orders for six DA40 aircraft, we made all the payments that is required to guarantee the payment of the aircraft. We are going to perform factory acceptance check on these aircraft in the third week of January 2020 and thereafter, by two weeks after that, sometime in the mid-February or so, the six aircraft would be delivered to Zaria.
This will greatly enhance our training capacity. With the delivery of these aircraft, we intend to place order for the batch of another aircraft. So, we will be ordering them in batches until we take delivery of the 20 aircraft,” the Rector said.
On staff training, the Rector explained that: “In 2018 alone within the college, we trained 104 staff and in 2019, we trained 181 of our staff within the college. In addition to that, we have sent over 80 people in batches to public services institutes in Abuja annually for training and these trainings cut across the ranks. That is from security men, cleaners up to the chief inspector. We didn’t differentiate. We recognise the need for thee kinds of trainings for being civil servants for civil service rules and procedures by the public service institute, which is ongoing and we carry on annually.
I keep trying to explain to people to stop looking at training as their welfare. Training is not a welfare, but for capacity building”.
Abdulsalami explained that foreign training is for licensed staff like pilots, Air Traffic Controllers, aircraft maintenance engineers and instructors, stressing that these ones are Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA requirements for recurrent training.
In his words: “In addition, we also send the staff to do attachment on the industry. For Air Traffic Controllers, ATC, they go to the facilities of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). For the pilots, ground dispatchers , we send them to the airlines and for the engineers also go to the airlines and the maintenance organizations. So, all these are parts of the local training”.
Abdusalami said NCAT has right size and calibre of certified instructors, adding that the school is running ICAO accredited courses and programmes as scheduled.
He said the school has an enviable record as the institution with the highest number of certified instructors and couses offered.
Abdusalami said NCAT re-positioning effort is yielding dividends especially in attracting both foreign and local students patronage.
He lamented that the security situation in the country has not helped much in bringing the right number of foreign students to training institution, adding that the school environment is about one of the most secured environments available .
Abdulsalami assured prospective foreign students of their safety and security in Zaria.
According to the Rector, the entire college prescient is covered by Closed Circuit Television (CCT), combined with a 24 hours security patrol by some members of the military and police forces.
He said the new NCAT Act is before the National Assembly as an executive bill submitted by Mr President.
The passage of the bill will greatly assist in the enhancement of the recognition of the college status as a tertiary institution qualified for TETFUND sponsorship of infrastructural needs and staff training, the Rector said.