Hamutenya Hidipo Katewa (29) has said people only have mindsets that being a pilot is the only choice one can have when it comes to aviation, enlightening that there are many fields within the industry; therefore, more research needs to be done by prospective students before they head to universities.
He said this on a familiarisation tour Youth Corner had at the Eros Airport in the capital, where Katewa was on duty, overseeing the in and outflow of aircraft as an Air Traffic Controller in-training.
The Eros Airport is a busy hub of general aviation and some commercial aviation, which includes Wilderness Air, Bay Air, Westair Aviation and Scenic Air, with Air Namibia offering scheduled domestic flights.
“People only have a mindset of pilots when you talk about aviation but there are many fields to study within aviation, such as Aeronautical Information Management, Aircraft Engineering, and many others. Make sure you research more as in what you what to study and become before you go for it. This is a very unique career and one of the best in the world,” informed Katewa.
With the year coming to an end and some prospective university students caught at crossfires on deciding which career paths to choose, Katewa added the passion for air traffic controlling started after he completed his studies in transportation management.
“I always wanted to specialise in air transportation, aviation, so when the opportunity presented itself; I felt it was the right time to start my journey in the air transportation industry. To add on that, I always wanted to do a job that mentally challenged me, and air traffic control is most definitely the one,” he informed.
He said: “The most exciting thing is that every day is different. The feeling of making sure planes take off and land safely gives me a smile in my heart. Since we are the eyes in the skies, the most dangerous thing is that one mistake means lives,” stated Katewa with a huge grin on his face.
He added air traffic controllers’ primary concern is safety. “We must also direct aircraft efficiently to minimise delays. We manage the flow of aircraft into and out of the airport airspace, guide pilots during takeoff and landing, and monitor aircraft as they travel through the skies,” informed Katewa.
Duties of an air traffic controller include monitoring and directing the movement of aircraft on the ground and in the air, controlling all ground traffic at airport runways and taxiways, issuing landing and takeoff instructions to pilots, transfer control of departing flights to other traffic control centres and accepting control of arriving flights.
“We are also tasked with informing pilots about the weather, runway closures and other critical information, as well as alerting airport response staff in the event of an aircraft emergency, among others,” stated Katewa. With the lack of academic institutions in the aviation industry, Katewa studied various courses like Abinitio, which is theoretical, completed courses such as Flight Information Course and Aerodrome Control in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) academy.