Top-ranking Chavakali Boys High School in Vihiga County was the beneficiary of a used Aircraft Engine donation, courtesy of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), at the Service’s headquarters, Monday 21st November, 2022.
Whilst handing over the engine, intended for use by the School’s Aviation class comprising seven boys, KWS Director General, Brig (Rtd.) John M. Waweru welcomed the school team, saying that the Service was an integral player in Kenya’s aviation industry. He commended the pioneers of aviation studies at high school level, noting that trained students would eventually find their way into the industry, which would ensure continuity.
The DG said that it was fortuitous for KWS to contribute to this continuity, adding that whenever similar CSR opportunities arise, the Service will readily step in because such arrangements are quid pro quo, in that Chavakali School benefited today, and KWS will benefit by access to trained students – engineers and pilots - in future. He likened it to the growing of trees, whose benefits are not immediately accrued.
The DG invited the students to visit KWS Airwing as a means to foster hands-on learning and better internalize maintenance and aircraft flying, adding that KWS was unique in that it owns gyrocopters, not common in Kenya’s airspace. He promised that should there be more engines available in future, and indeed other aircraft parts, KWS would take the opportunity to donate them. Brigadier (Rtd) Waweru averred that Chavakali School should, in turn, endeavour to Zuru KWS Parks, should they venture into conservation aviation, to have a feel of what they will be protecting, because KWS is in the business of recruiting young, energetic conservationists. He suggested visits to protected areas close to the school, such as Kakamega Forest, Kisumu Impala and Ruma National Parks.
Brigadier (Rtd) Waweru explained that conservation aviation is different from all other aviation in that it requires extra special skill sets, such as regularly patrolling over the protected areas in order to protect our wildlife and its habitats.
During the handover, KWS’ Senior Assistant Director - Deputy Accountable Manager, Captain John Munyori, said that the donation was geared towards supporting Chavakali High School in training Kenya’s future generations of aircraft pilots and engineers. He reiterated that physical access to a tangible engine for students hands-on instruction was a milestone for the school, in that it further enhanced the students’ understanding of the subject in a way that theory classes were not able to.
Mr Johnstone Smith received the engine on behalf of Chavakali School’s Principal, who was unavailable due to commitments surrounding the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Schools Examinations, which commenced today. Mr Smith is an instructor at East Africa School of Aviation and former Quality Assurance Manager at Kenya Aeronautical College in Nairobi. He also holds a license in maintenance and coordinates the Aviation studies programs in Chavakali School. He initiated similar programs at Maseno, Lenana Boys, Sunshine Secondary and St. Hannah’s – all top performing schools in Kenya. He is a former teacher at Pioneer School; and technician in the Kenya Air Force, where he was trained by Kenya Airways before his retirement 30 years ago.
The Aviation Studies coordinator expressed gratitude to KWS because training students on the practical aspects of aircraft engine faced bottlenecks due to the lack of an engine. He explained that KCSE candidates at Chavakali were slated to sit for their inaugural aviation examinations this month, adding that the donation would significantly boost their performance.
The donated engine was manufactured by Lycoming Engines, USA, and initially exported to Kenya in January 2010. A brand-new engine similar to the one donated is valued at US Dollars 30,600 (approximately Kshs 3.7 million).
The engine log book, 5Y-KWY, was officially handed over by KWS Airwing engineer Januaris Ndaisi to David Akirega Kigalu, Aviation teacher in Chavakali High School. Mr. Akirega, a teacher with 15 years’ experience, said that the donation would be used for practical purposes in manual aviation technology knowledge.