THE Zimbabwe Commercial Pilot Cadetship Fund, founded by Pete Schuil to help young Zimbabweans aspiring to become pilots, is rolling out a programme for aspirants to have access to funds to bankroll their training.
BY TAFADZWA MUTACHA
The idea was born when Schuil, a veteran commercial pilot, was approached by Robinson and Stella Mudanga for assistance in paying fees for their son, Nigel, who is currently training to be a pilot at Lanseria Flight Training Centre in South Africa.
Schuil said the encounter showed him that the country’s aviation industry was facing a critical shortage of commercial pilots and could become severely incapacitated within the next 10 years.
“The main reason for this shortage of pilots is the serious financial challenges facing Zimbabweans due to the downturn of the economy as it costs upwards of $70 000 for an individual to attain commercial pilot licensing,” he said.
Schuil said he had now embarked on an ambitious drive to raise enough funds to help at least five Zimbabweans to get started with their commercial pilot training every year.
He said the sponsored individuals would be required to pay back the principal loan within a period of three years after they complete their training and become contributors to the fund by either paying interest on the loan or becoming friends of the trust.
“The trust’s primary aim is to raise funds that will be placed as loans to Zimbabweans that have demonstrated a high level of commitment to their training to finance their commercial pilot training licensing,” Schuil said, adding that the aviation industry was key to the country’s economic recovery, as it played a critical role in the rebuilding of the economy through tourism as well as an increase in Zimbabwean commercial bush pilots.