Entebbe, Uganda – Flight simulator unveiled – Uganda

Air Serv, a leading provider of humanitarian logistics support and aviation services in Africa, has unveiled the latest addition to its groundbreaking training program for pilots and engineers. The Redbird CRV-S flight simulator has been unveiled at Air Serv’s offices in Entebbe, Uganda, where the organization has established an additional training center. The event was met with great enthusiasm, with the participation of senior representatives from Uganda Airlines, the Uganda Professional Pilots Association, the Uganda Air Force and local flight schools. Mr. Fred Bamwesigye, Chief Executive of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, hailed Air Serv for acquiring the simulator, calling it “state of the art” and “the first of its kind in Uganda”. . “This is an important milestone for the aviation industry in Uganda,” Mr Bamwesigye said. “This will increase the country’s technical skills, which are lagging far behind due to an aging technical pool, with [fewer new] those who qualify because of the high cost of training.


Founded in 1984 as a US-based non-profit organization, Air Serv was developed to provide airlift to humanitarian agencies operating in hard-to-reach areas. In 1997, a permanent base of operations was established at Entebbe Airport, strategically positioned to support Air Serv’s extensive programs in Africa as well as the expansion of services offered, including aircraft maintenance, l freight forwarding, shed and ramp facilities and consulting. The organization eventually became a recognized and respected leader in aviation throughout the region and earned a reputation for adhering to the highest standards in performance, safety and personnel.

In addition to the services it provides, Air Serv’s comprehensive and specialized expertise has led to a broader mission of supporting and contributing to the growth of the continent’s aviation industry. Rated by the International Air Transport Association as one of the fastest growing aviation regions over the next twenty years, Africa is expected to experience an annual industry expansion rate of 5%. But with this advance comes challenges and obstacles, especially as industry growth outstrips labor capacity. Limited training facilities, high tuition fees and the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic result in smaller candidate pools of qualified pilots and engineers, especially in countries like Uganda where a rapidly growing aviation sector creates an equally demanding need for trained professionals. Uniquely positioned to meet this need, Air Serv has taken a step forward.

While it has long provided informal internship opportunities for local students and in-house training for staff, the organization has recognized a growing need for hands-on, formalized training to meet engineer and pilot license requirements. Funded by a generous grant from the Hilton Foundation, Air Serv has developed a structured training program that combines classroom training, virtual education through its own online portal, and hands-on experience. The program, which supports regional flight schools through the provision of additional training and experiential learning, also aims to stimulate interest in aeronautics, provide more opportunities for female students and contribute to the region’s workforce. “At Air Serv, we use our facilities as a tool to further drive the growth of much-needed aviation personnel, now and in the future,” said Johnson Mugulusi, Managing Director of Air Serv Uganda.


With the inaugural class currently in session, future participants will be selected from a growing list of applicants, based on criteria defined by the company. Selected students will benefit from transportation and meals in addition to their education and training. For engineering candidates, the practical portion of the program will include work at Air Serv’s on-site maintenance facilities. Experiential training for pilots, who must achieve a minimum number of flight hours to obtain an aircraft-specific type rating, was previously more restricted due to cost and limited aircraft availability. However, the addition of the flight simulator will be a game-changer for pilots in the area who need to save time. In addition to its own training program, Air Serv intends to offer simulator access to local flight schools, private pilots and other air service providers on an hourly rental basis.

Air Serv’s Cessna Caravan flight simulator is the first in the country to be released to student and civilian pilots. Working directly with the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and the International Civil Aviation Organization to ensure the utmost compliance, hours earned through the simulator will count towards a caravan type rating. The introduction of such a resource will create a safe, economical and accessible opportunity for pilots who may never have been able to complete their training otherwise. “With the generous support of the Hilton Foundation and the help of our industry partners, we are excited to make a meaningful contribution to the development of the next generation of Airmen,” said Mugulusi.

To learn more about Air Serv, please visit www.airserv.org and www.airserv.co.ug.

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