John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, has taken delivery of 20 new DA42NG trainer aircraft to boost training of pilots.
Speaking during the delivery of the aircraft to the college by Interjet Nigeria limited on Monday in Zaria, the Minister of state for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika said the federal government was determined to phase out obsolete trainer aircraft at the college.
He commended the college for acquiring the aircraft, stressing that the federal government was in full support of the re-fleeting of trainer aircraft at the college and was committed to the aviation master plan.
In his address, the Rector and Chief Executive of NCAT, Capt. Abdulsalam Mohammed, disclosed that 29 trainer aircraft in the college have become old and too expensive to fuel and maintain.
According to him, the latest trainer aircraft in the fleet was bought over 15 years ago.
“These aircraft used for ab-inition training TB 9, Trinidad TB 20 GT and Beech Baron 58 are old, the earliest being purchased 15 years, and quite expensive to fuel and maintain.
“In the light of this, the college initiated moves at refleeting its trainer aircraft. It is thrilling for us that we are gathered today to witness the culmination of that initiative.
“NCAT is acquiring a total of of 20 of these aircraft, five multi-engine DA42 and 15 single-engine DA40 trainers. Today we are taking delivery of the first DA42 multi-engine aircraft” the Rector said.
According to him, the new trainer aircraft would significantly improve flight training and reduce operating cost, especially in the area of maintenance and fueling.
“They are also equipped with glass cockpit and garmin 1000, which will make it easier for our graduating pilots to transition to new generation commercial aircraft” he said.
Also in his remarks while handing over the aircraft, Chief Executive Officer, Interject Nigeria limited, Mr. Seun Peters, said, the new aircraft were built by Diamond Aircraft Industries of Austria for NCAT in fulfilment of the federal government’s promise to phase out the old aircraft used by the college and replace them with 20 (Twenty) brand new modern DA42 and DA40 aircraft.
According to him, the re-fleeting exercise is in realisation of the need to enhance the capacity of the college and save costs of purchase of aviation gasoline (avgas) and also to boost its air power capability.
“Undoubtedly, this is a bold move to reposition NCAT into a highly professional and disciplined aviation college by making it a driving force through capacity building initiative for effectiveness and efficiency.
“The ultimate aim of the government is therefore to retool the college to comfortably compete with other similar aviation colleges around the world” he said.