Desert Air, a flight charter company operating from Windhoek, recently awarded their first bursary beneficiary, Melkesedek Hamukoto with a certificate for qualifying as a pilot, passing his Private Pilot Licence (PPL) examination.
Hamukoto was sponsored with a full pilot training bursary, which he passed well and eventually led to him getting employed in the company under their aircraft maintenance division.
In an interview with Youth Corner, Carien Swanepoel from Desert Air described the graduate as outstanding, hard working, and committed, adding that the company is proud of their first bursary student successfully finishing his training.
Talking to this reporter, Hamukoto who was ecstatic for getting a lifetime experience said, “ Desert Air gave me a very good scholarship indeed, this included me being an employee at the company. With this employment, I got the necessary skills around aircraft maintenance, even more than an average pilot.”
According to him, the skills he gained being around aircrafts all day helped him out greatly during his journey to achieving his PPL.
Hamukoto is currently busy training towards his Commercial Pilot Licence of which the company will sponsor for his examination.
He said, “I am very grateful I have received this opportunity as it has been life-changing.”
The 22-year-old pilot from Ohangwena region said he has always dreamt of becoming a pilot since high school, adding that “It’s a choice that was final, this meant I never had a plan B like most of the students have nowadays. Watching fighter jets on TV gave me the necessary motivation to stick to my career choice. I love fighter jets.”
Even though the young man is enjoying his early experience of being a pilot, he said staying far away from home most of the time is quite a challenge.
Not so long ago there were speculations that local airlines would shut out local pilots and employ foreigners, a claim which was denied by Desert Air.
“We do employ Namibians. At the moment, our entire fleet consists of Namibian pilots,” Swanepoel commented.
According to Hamukoto, he is also unaware of the speculations.
“I hope this is not so, I believe the quality of learning in Namibia is the same as that in other countries which leaves us Namibians with the same quality of knowledge and experience,” he stated.
Hamukoto encouraged students to believe that all dreams are valid.
“If you are willing, put in the hard work it takes to achieve it. Just chase your dreams even if they seem impossible.”