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Introducing Uganda’s Premier Flight Training Center: The Vine Air Academy

by Ronnie Afema
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Are you interested in taking on a career in aviation? Looking for a flight academy that will add value to you and make you a professional pilot? Well, look no further! Uganda’s Vine Air Flight Academy, located in the tourist hotspot of Jinja ticks all the boxes. It was the first flight school to be licensed by Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA).

Background of the flight school.

Vine Air academy was incorporated in Uganda in 2010, got aircraft on ground in Uganda in 2012 but started operations four years later due to a lengthy licensing process. The academy has had so far 77 students with 15 pursuing a Commercial pilot’s License (CPL) and 62, Private Pilot’s License (PPL). The school culture is deeply rooted on the foundation of Total Quality Management with Excellence in Flight.

The flight school got CPL clearance in 2018 and in just three years, 17 of its alumni are already working in the industry under various capacities such as, Line pilots, Flight instructors and ground instructors. Their Mission is: Excellence in Flight Training. Vine Air has aimed at and achieved this excellence in all ways. Currently all the students that have gone through the hands of the academy have exceled. All are recommended for exams by UCAA and pass in their first sitting. None of the Vine Air student aviators has ever failed a flight test! A remarkable achievement

Vine Air’s Piper aircraft establishes itself on a final approach path for landing at Jinja Airport

 

The school boasts of a 77% employment rate for their students. All this is because of the great hands-on training done by the five Flight Instructors of the academy. Vine Air currently has a fleet number of three growing to six this year. The Flight school’s vision is: To be the leading Flight Training Centre in the East and Central Africa Region by 2030 producing the best Aviators with World Class Skills for the Global Aviation Industry.

The Vine Instructors

The flight academy has passionate and professional instructors who take on the role of helping the enrolled students to master and enjoy the art of flying. The experienced instructors boast hundreds of flight hours and a number of ratings and exhibit an unfathomable desire to share knowledge and experience with all those passionate about aviation. They are qualified and take pride in the visionary work they do. In an interview, one of the instructors at Vine revealed:

“I have an Instrument Rating and Instructors Rating Aircraft, Aircraft Type Ratings C-152, C-172, PA-28”

 “[At Vine] there is an opportunity to learn and work.

The instructors at Vine are also equipped with a variety of solutions to suit different types of students. This, in turn, helps them to soar above all the ordinary and train safe pilots. They instill confidence in all those that go through their hands. There are amazing mentors who are readily available to share knowledge and advice on how to make it in the industry of Aviation. The aviation training at Vine is to die for as instructors maintain a strictly professional yet cordial relationship with the students. They are strongly convinced that it is not only the best but the only way excellence can be achieved.

 The Vine Air for Career-oriented students

Flight training is a good investment and for students that seek to develop a career in aviation.  Recent research has shown the Jinja based flight school to have some of the best products in East Africa. Its location being at an airfield gives sufficient training ground and the aviator trainees get the much needed airplane operation and flying practice.

A Vine Air Student earning her Pilot title after completing her first solo flight

Students intending to get the Flight Instructor Rating (FIR) will also discover gold at The Vine Air Flight School. This course helps one to build on their flight hours and become competitive to airlines and other operators. Flight Instructor intakes are done four times each year. As per the company’s website uploaded in June 2020, the minimum requirements are; a valid CPL, class one medical certificate, valid instrument rating and 18 years of age. If one has a foreign Commercial and Airline transport Pilot’s License, there is a provision for them to enroll and realize their dreams too!

“Holders of foreign commercial and Airline Transport Pilot Licenses will need to convert to the Uganda CAA CPL first with a likely additional 6 hours of flight at $200 each and sit for an air law paper with a 70% pass mark.”

 

Big deal for recreational flyers

There are several people looking for a hobby or maybe seeking to feel the thrill of a pilot’s license. The Vine Air Academy is a great solution. Their flexible schedule makes it possible for people in for the challenge of flying a plane to come aboard. There are weekend, holiday and evening programs to cater for people from all walks of life that have the desire to learn their way around the plane and become active pilots. Anyone that can gather a minimum of 45 flight hours gets a PPL for Private flying. How amazing can that be?!

Vine Air alumni include Uganda’s first female flight instructor

Scenic flights are also part of the business that goes on at The Vine Air Academy. Adventurous people now have something extra to look out for. Yes, you can book your flight around Jinja and have unforgettable experiences at affordable rates. There are several short trips that can be made to the cities around Jinja and back. This is a great deal to those that want to fly for fun and for the love of taking to the skies.

The Pilot shop at the Vine Air will take your breath away! You need to check them out for all your flying accessories ranging from aviator sunglasses, pilot license holders, ATPL training manuals, Pilot’s knee boards, chart organizers and gift sets. Very many other beautiful and original kits can be procured from here. Visit the Vine Air Flight Academy for all this and more!

The Vine Students’ experience

The students at Vine share heartwarming tales about their achievements while at the academy. These express satisfaction in the fact that they have lived to attend a fully-fledged institution like Vine Air  Academy. The psychomotor skills emphasized at the flying school allow students to feed their enthusiasm and curiosity about how planes operate, how it actually feels like to fly. Ronah, a female student at Vine shared her experience with us.

“Becoming a pilot was a dream I had but didn’t think would actually come true… the enthusiasm within was alive as long as I grew. I was 16 years of age just right after my senior four (ordinary level) and thought it was time to share what it was I wanted to do (piloting) with my mother. However, I was scared she would say no because I am a girl, and aviation in the days has been known to be a male-dominated world so I kept it to myself just until I was done with high school.”

Ronah says she did not give up on her dreams and immediately after high school, she started on her career and does not regret the decision much as it comes along with its setbacks just like any other path. She is super grateful to the great instructors and senior management at Vine that provided a safe and inclusive learning environment. She is proud that the institution is family and they all look out for each other. The relatively affordable learning experiences comforts many students and this, accompanied with the regular accountability given, makes Vine worth recommendation.

Airspace Africa meets a select group of Vine Air students, instructors and school owner at Jinja Airport

 

The students at Vine purpose to make the world a better place by practicing and implementing safe aviation and fulfil their allegiance pledges. They are keen on protecting their reputation, that of their school and all the other stakeholders in the aviation industry. The pilots in training at Vine hold in great spirits the values of integrity and equity. They seek to have a place where all people thrive regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion and ability. They have had unforgettable experiences in their first flights, first solos and all and wish that many other students out there that have the desire to fly planes come and share on the goodness at Vine.

“The world is big enough to accommodate everyone and their dreams so if they can dream it and achieve it, so can you as long as you have commitment, consistency, and most importantly discipline and always remember that if you’re in a place where you’re the best, it’s time for you to move on.” Said one of the female pilots at Vine.

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