Meet some pilots who fly our military jets

Capt Collins Omoro.  [PHOTOS: PIUS CHEROITICH/STANDARD]
            Capt Collins Omoro. [PHOTOS: PIUS CHEROITICH/STANDARD]
By JACOB NG’ETICH

The 23 aircrafts were in nine categories. These included the Green section of Grob aircrafts, which was followed by Red section with Y-12 planes, Violet section with Buffalo planes, while the Blue section had the De Havilland Canada (DHC-8), popularly known as Dash 8, VIP aircraft, and the Presidential Fokker 70 jet airliner.

Alpha section had smoke-producing Tucanos. The sixth category was the popularly known military F-5 fighter jets.  The three last ones included Mi 17 under the White section, which was followed by the Orange section that included Puma helicopters and the recently acquired Kenya Airways’ Boeing 777 300ER. Below are profiles of some of the pilots who were flying the aircrafts.

1. Capt Collins Omoro,

He is a fighter pilot of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).

He joined the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in 2002 before moving to Kenya Air Force (KAF) in 2004 where he trained as a pilot and later posted to his Laikipia Air Base (LAB), where he is currently based.

 The father of two boys joined the military a few months before he was to join Kenyatta University to pursue a degree in Computer Science. “The experience of flying the Hawk, the first jet in the UK Royal Air Force Valley was amazing. When I took off, the plane was moving very fast and the runway ahead was getting smaller at an alarming rate, I almost overshot the runway,” he says.

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2. Capt Douglas Muthuri

 He is a fighter pilot with the Kenya Air Force.  “I was enlisted into the KDF in the year 2002 August and KAF later in 2004. I joined Laikipia Air Base, Tactical Fighting Wing, No. 15 Tactical Fighter Squadron. I opted not to pursue Computer Science degree at Moi University since Air Force was where my heart belonged and I believe the job satisfaction I have right now is epic,” he says.

He adds, “I grew up in the environs of Nanyuki and every now and then I could see fighter jets flying all around because of the proximity of

Laikipia Air Base to our home. That is what kept fuelling my burning desire to become a fighter pilot.”

3. Capt Cornelius Maiyo.

Fighter pilot of the Kenya Defence Forces Laikipia Air Base.

“I was enlisted into the KDF in 2001, joined KAF in 2003 before posted to Laikipia Air Base Tactical Fighter Wing as a squadron pilot in September 2006.” “Challenges vary from rigorous training, which is very involving physically, and psychologically. The training requires mental preparedness, physical fitness, and good physiological and psychological health. However, basic military training adequately prepares an officer for any task ahead.”

4. Col Eric Kinuthia, Deputy Base Commander, Laikipia Air Base.

“I was enlisted into the KDF in April 1987 and posted to KAF (FTS), based in Moi Air Base. I underwent basic and advanced flying training and graduated on March 30, 1990. I was later posted to LAB as a fighter pilot. I have flown the jets since 1991. My first experience was in the US, Colombus Air Force Base in Missisipi where I spent one year before coming back to the country,” he says.

“I read to keep up with aviation world. I am also pursuing a degree in Business Management. I also engage in charity work whenever I can. I have a passion of working with children and usually mentor them in some of the children’s homes in Nanyuki.”

5. Lt Col John Omenda

Fighter pilot

“I was enlisted into the KDF in April 1987, and posted to LAB as a fighter pilot. I have flown the jets since 1991,” he says.

The father of four taught as untrained teacher in local high schools for two years before joining the military in 1991.

“A fighter pilot is trained to be self-reliant in the air environment as an individual. By this I mean that a fighter pilot flies, navigates, communicates, hunts and engages enemy targets while defending himself from any danger,” he says.

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23 aircraftsmilitary jetspilotsDe Havilland Canada (DHC-8)Presidential Fokkerjet airline