By Andy Vevers 01 Jun 2023 7 min read

My journey so far to achieve my goal of becoming a Pilot

We recently spoke with Taremwa Joshua, a Flight Operations & Management Graduate from Spacetech Aviation College. Taremwa tells us the career path he took to join the aviation industry, the challenges she has faced, and advice she would give to aspiring aviation professionals.


As is written around the walls of The Tottenham Hotspur London Stadium, “to dare is to do”, and then for me, “to do is to dream”. 

These are the two statements that have pushed me to keep believing till now.

 

 

Where did the dream start for you?

One Friday evening assembly in my Senior Six around 2016 first term, as l took my way to the assembly ground, my eyes pop to a not so dark-skinned gentle man, his name will come along in the story as we go ahead. He was actually accompanied by a chocolate skinned very beautiful lady dressed in a way I now come to know as a flight attendant or Cabin crew and the gentle man was in a white shirt short sleeved, without epaulettes, (of course I didn’t know what they were called at that time) so I was eagerly waiting to hear from them.

Shortly after the school announcements and the weekend routine program were passed on to the students, they were given space to speak. 

So, man goes, “Hello students, good evening to you, my name is Mr. Mulase Constant, (you now know the name) am a Pilot by profession and am a Ugandan like you” 

Someone should have looked at how my eyes almost popped out of their sockets. These are people I had only heard of or even seen in movies. Yes, my school was only a few kilometres from our International Airport, Entebbe, and planes would fly by, but, for starters had never heard of Africans taking charge of those jetliners, and now a fellow Ugandan was telling us he flew them. 

Among all my fellow students, I had never ever heard of anyone saying that they wanted to be Pilots in their future, apart from the songs we used to sing in Nursery section and early primary level. Deep in my heart, I was like this can be real and for me since then, l said to myself l want to be a Pilot and l was ready to drop medicine at whatever cost.

He went ahead to tell us how possible it was as long as we committed ourselves to it. 

That’s how l caught the ‘aviation bug’ and l can confidently say that am now on course to become a Pilot. l bagged a Diploma in Flight Operations and Management, albeit not licensed yet. Many know it as Flight Dispatch, others as Ground Piloting and funnily, Dispatchers are nicknamed ‘Pilots’ hand bags’. To be honest, I’m happy to be called as long as it has the word Pilot in it.

The lady, sadly I don’t recall her name since I saw her, but she introduced herself as a flight attendant, going on to explain what they do on a flight. l began to believe that it's actually possible, something that has been alien to me for the last 19 years of my life by then.

It was amazing to see how my fellow students were happy, just like myself, and by the next day, out of the blue, I was part of those that were behind the formation of the first ever
Aviation Club at school. Sadly this came in the later years of my high school life.

So, from there I began attending Aviation seminars within and outside of school. From here, I began connecting with other students and am happy to say I’m still in touch and supporting them; one is almost through with his PPL! 

Our patron later held our first Aviation trip; the first-time l went to the Airport. I was right there, looking at the jets I had only ever seen in movies, like the Boeing and Airbus aircrafts. We also head into the tower room to see how the air traffic controllers communicate with the Pilots. Up there… my goodness! The feeling was unexplainable. I touched my skin several times to convince myself that I was not in a dream land. 

We had a chance to visit the National Meteorological Station, and looked at those beautiful and innocently looking instruments. The meteorologists there were humble people, and they motivated us. They told us it’s possible as long as we got focused, worked hard and believed we would get there.

We then dashed off to Soroti where we have one of the oldest flying Academies or Schools in East Africa, Soroti Flying School. We visited the hangar and saw their training aircrafts, the pipers and the Cessnas.

It’s actually from there that they now told us what is required of us if we are thinking of being Pilots in the future. For example, someone in high school should offer Mathematics and Geography, these are the top essentials. Then, physics as well. 

They told us the course durations and the charges per course. This is where l learnt the stages of Piloting right away, from Private Pilot licence (PPL) to Commercial Pilot licence (CPL) to Air Transport License (ATPL), Multi-Engine Rating onwards and of course with the costs involved before even thinking of applying for pilot jobs

Truth to be said, Aviation is a hard nut in terms of costs. 

 

So how did you get into the industry?

I will admit, my high school results were not as good as we expected them to be, so now my future as a Pilot was very much at a crossroads. I was depressed, stressed and I didn’t know what to do next much as I knew aviation would be my end route but the journeys  how to get
there was clearly skewed, blurry, not clear at all in all ways.

I prayed about it, and sure enough, there was a new course on the block at a certificate level “Computer Science” at Saipali Institute of Technology and Mgt. Well, it’s not exactly new, but this one was unique in a way, given that it had real mathematics and physics embedded in it. In the back of my mind, I knew these two were pivotal if l was to continue with my not seemingly clear journey into Aviation. 

Like they say, the rest is history. I aced that course with first-class honours! 

That was throughout the years of 2018 and 2019.

During my period at that school, in my unoccupied time, I used to surf the internet for books, podcasts, tutorials… listening to aviation related talk became my lunch. During lunch breaks, as others used to get out to go and enjoy lunch, I would be learning. 

That’s how I landed on quite the list of aviation personalities who fueled me even more. 

Those personalities included Captain Joe, Pilot Amireh, The Dutch Pilot girl, Easy Jet’s Emma Henderson, KQ’s Irene Koki Mutungo, (The first African lady pilot to command a 787), MenTour Pilot, Captain Ann Divya, to mention but a few. 

It was, and always is, fun listening and watching people already there. I downloaded enough books and movies that made me occupied even during the lockdowns aside from the intense farm work that I was doing at the time.

I was grateful that l learnt a lot during that period. I made sure by the time I got into an Aviation school, I was already familiar with all the modules covered in the course.

 

Getting into Aviation School

Fresh from the scars of the pandemic, questions began running in my mind, What next? Where? When? How?

I must confess with such things rumbling in my mind, settling during the day and having sleep at night was a problem. I left everything in the hands of God.

During my time at Saipali, as l was on the internet searching for a school l could join that would not stretch my family financially. l found a school and straight away sent them an email, filled in the forms and was asked to come and pick my admission. I am grateful that I had a 50% scholarship but still my family had to dig deep in our pockets, thank God my family stood in for me! That’s how I joined my first school in 2021.

My first day in an aviation college? Oh my goodness! The feeling is out of this world, it's Heavenly, it’s insane. Rubbing shoulders with fellows with whom you breathe the same air career wise. I couldn’t be any more convinced this was where I belonged.

Being in a place where an hour could never elapse minus hearing the word “pilot” knock your eardrum at whatever angle. The feeling is unexplainable!

 

My life at Aviation school 

I promised myself to do all it takes, smash all the boundaries of my capabilities if need be to make sure I do the very best I can ever do. I read all of the books, did consultations where I had issues, stormed YouTube, read tutorials, had discussion groups at school. I used to be the first to report at school and used to be the last to leave. 

Eventually, I graduated with a first-class honours CGPA 3.75/4.00. 
I am now fighting hard to be FAA certified then embark onto Piloting. I am currently applying for the latest pilot jobs as that’s my career road map.

My instructors were no longer instructors anymore for me, they became my friends. Wherever they are, I pay tribute to them for giving me a chance to dream. 
 

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Photo by Rayyu Maldives on Unsplash

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