The Nigerian Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has stated that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), as stakeholders in the Nigerian aviation industry, has always encouraged local talent in science and technology, especially in aviation-related innovations.
Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar stated this on Tuesday, 20 October 2020 when the NAF was hosting four talented Nigerian youths who built an aircraft prototype capable of ground motion.
The efforts of the four youths – Musa Aliyu, Abdulateef Anafi, Abbas Jamiu and Jimoh Ahmed – came to light after a video of them taxiing the prototype aircraft they built was circulated via social media.
The CAS, represented by the NAF Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Remigius Ekeh, said the youths were hosted that in pursuant to its commitment towards the enhancement of Nigeria’s National Research and Development (R&D) efforts as well as the encouragement of youth participation in innovative endeavours.
The encouragement of local talent, according to Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar stated, was in line with two of the key drivers of his vision, namely; Reinforcing a Culture of Self-Reliance and Prudent Management of Resources, as well as Strategic Partnership with MDAs for Enhanced R&D.
The CAS highlighted that the NAF had, on many occasions in the past, identified gifted individuals and facilitated the harnessing of their talent for increased capacity and the betterment of the Nigerian society at large. He further stated that having been appraised of the uncommon passion and efforts of the 4 youths towards aircraft development, the NAF had invited them to Kaduna with a view to encouraging them, while also exploring avenues to best harness their potentials.
“The intention is to expose the gentlemen to aircraft engineering, aircraft R&D and aircraft operations. By this, they will have a good conception of how an aircraft is designed, manufactured and operated”, he added. He asserted that, with the experience of the tour and exposure, the gentlemen were better prepared to make decisions about their future. “The NAF remains willing to assist them in any way possible,” he said.
The gifted youths were taken on a tour of the Air Force Research and Development Centre (AFRDC), Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) as well as 401 Flying Training School (401 FTS) and 431 Engineering Group (431 Egr Gp) in NAF Base Kaduna to further expose them to aircraft engineering, aircraft R&D and aircraft operations.
At the AFRDC, the young innovators were shown the processes involved in R&D as it relates to both manned and unmanned aircraft. They also had the opportunity to interact with Aerospace Engineers and other Specialists involved in some of the R&D efforts of the Service.
At AFIT, the innovators were briefed on what they need to study in order to be good maintenance or design engineers for aircraft systems. At 401 FTS and 431, the youths were shown the basic mechanisms of aircraft flying as well as its components, maintenance and repairs. To give them a feel of what it means to fly an aircraft, the young men were given the opportunity to conduct a tutored taxi of the NAF Diamond DA-40 trainer aircraft.