The Rector, Nigerian Col
lege of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, Captain (Mrs) Chinyere Kalu has said that the school would commence helicopter training and other Degree programmes this year.
Speaking in an interview on the transformation of the college in the past three years, Kalu said training of helicopter pilots would commence as soon as the college took delivery of its acquired Bel 206 helicopters presently in Lagos.
According to her, it became necessary to introduce helicopter training as 80 per cent of the helicopter pilots operating in Nigeria are foreigners being used for offshore oil rigs in the Niger Delta.
“It is a very sensitive area and key in our economy and should be well secured. Having such operations done by foreigners, you will agree with me that it is not in the best interest of our nation. If Nigerians are in the forefront in taking over fixed wings, I don’t see the reason why rotary wings should be left in the hands of foreigners especially the sensitive nature of it. We are very hopeful that we will commence this year, we are at the final stage and we will need smaller helicopters to start”, she said.
Captain Kalu also announced that the college was embarking on reflecting all its training aircraft in the college as the current ones were old and becoming increasing difficult to maintain by the college.
“We have 23 aircraft and we need more, we are in the process of reflecting because the single engine aircraft we have been flying are being depleted by the day due to age and incidences”, Kalu noted.
NCAT boss explained that the college third hangar will be put into use soon after repairs, adding that it will take care of the aircraft instead of flying them abroad.
She said it was extremely expensive and uneconomical to have these aircraft fixed abroad and returned into the country but emphasized that with such hangar repairs will be carried out.
With over 500 students in the college, Kalu hinted that the college would commence its Higher National Deploma (HND) programmes which would increase the students number to about a thousand including those on short courses, three, six and twelve months respectively.
The Rector explained that the college was pursuing and processing accreditation for its degree course with the Aviation Accreditation Board International in the USA.
According to her, “the college intends to offer courses on aerospace engineering, we want to offer degree course along with flying, dispatchers course, aviation management and so on so there are a lot of courses we would want to offer beyond what we are offering now and also in line launch with aviation training”.
She disclosed that more instructors would be employed as soon the courses commenced.
On the shortage of pilots and engineers in the country, the NCAT boss remarked that the country has produced a lot of jobless pilots and engineers but accused airline operators of going for expatriates at the detriment of trained Nigerian pilots and engineers.
She said Nigerian pilots understand the terrain and weather of the country better trained than their foreign counterparts and appealed to Nigerian operators to be patriotic by employing indigenous pilots.
The Rector, Nigerian Col