Capt. Victor Kwesi Amoah touched on salient aviation issues as a preliminary to celebrating the 118th aviation exploration of the Wright Brothers. Answering the following questions, Capt. Amoah outlined the aviation industry’s significance both locally and globally.
Q: Why is the world coerced into celebrating Aviation?
A: The saying that ‘truth crashed to earth will rise again’ plays a significant role in the aviation industry. Thus, some truths buried about the history of aviation are beginning to rise. Nobody knew about the Wright Brothers and the effect of what they did on today’s aviation.
Aviation has always been an industry evolving, wherein the current generation needs to know what has happened since December 17, 1903 to date. History is read for knowledge and to fill the loopholes to make the industry better, safer, more affordable and viable.
Q: What comes to mind when aviation is mentioned?
A: The history buried for long must be unearthed for even the unborn generation to access. People need to know what aviation is. It is the business or scientific study of machines that fly in the air. Some aviation terminologies should be known as well. Aerospace is the designing and building of air machines. Boeing, Airbus and others are examples of the leading aerospace industry we have today.
Air navigation services involve building airports and allied infrastructure. Airline services involve flying passengers from one airport to another for a fee. General aviation services involve supporting the whole aviation sector. For example, aviation training schools, travel agencies, fuel services, air ambulance and others.
Q: Why December 17?
A: December 17 is the International Civil Aviation Organisation Day (ICAO) – a collection of civil aviation authorities of the world that makes up a body to regulate all manner of aviation. In Ghana, there is local or civil aviation authority birthed from the International Civil Aviation Organisation whose headquarters is in Canada. Thus, December 17 is noted as International Civil Aviation Organisation Day.
However, that is not what’s being celebrated on December 17. The celebration on December 17 by the overall global aviation industry is for the day the Wright Brothers launched their self-motorised flight. More on such history will be showcased in the next feature.
That occasion changed the whole face of aviation. Prior to that, flying was not what the world is familiar with today. Before December 17, 1903, flying was of a different form – more like paragliding. What we see commonly at airports today is an aircraft accelerating to a point where it gets lighter than air by staying afloat in a controlled manner.
Aviation analysts believe that had it not been for the Wright Brothers’ feat on December 17, 1903, aviation would not be where it is today.
Q: Is the industry sustainable in the midst of challenges?
A: Yes, it is sustainable owing to the following: the industry itself has become the necessary devil when considering transportation. Admittedly, there have been a series of hijacking, economic down-turns, terrorist attacks, pandemic and air crashes, which were duly technical, weatherwise, air-traffic control-wise. All such have contributed to the myriad of challenges in the whole 118 years of aviation.
In spite of such challenges, the industry is still a necessary devil because it does not have any suitable alternative – until there is another mode of transport that can fly passengers using the same or equivalent speed range as the airplane.
Though the Chinese are building an undersea railway line from China to America, that cannot be measured as same as the airplane from one destination to another in terms of speed, safety, comfort, and reliability. A ship can also live up to the challenge, but cannot compete with aircraft – more so, considering the fast-growing population’s demand for aviation and its sub-branches will keep growing as the years go by.
Thus, it is a viable industry and air travel will continue to grow in the midst of challenges. The aviation industry is an economic booster in all sectors – for example, in health, agriculture, banking, journalism and other areas of the economy; not to talk of drones as medicine couriers, for spraying farms, tourism and transport business.
Q: How do people become part of the industry?
A: There are people who organise events in the aviation industry to showcase the industry better. There will be one of such quiz events to celebrate the 118th year of aviation.
Q: How do you see aviation in Ghana and beyond?
A: In the 118 years of the industry to date, Ghana came into the limelight from the mid-1950s when the airline started with British Overseas Airways Corporation. This later became the West African Airline Corporation (WAC) based in Nigeria. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah came into the story of aviation in 1958 by setting up Ghana Airways.
From 1958 to July 2005, Ghana Airways had had its fair share of everything by producing pilots, flight attendants, engineers and other related professions to serve the industry and the nation at large -which was a source of national pride. Subsequent to the exit of Ghana Airways, we have had so many domestic airlines come and go.
Although Ghana does not yet have an aerospace industry, people are being trained at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). However, there are enough airports like the Kumasi one taking a new shape – together with thos of Tamale and Takoradi, not forgetting the one at Ho.
So, Ghana aviation has come a long way; and I believe that over next 10 years every region will have an airport that facilitates movements. This feat will boost business alongside the airports. Kudos to all pioneers and players who have brought the industry this far.
>>>The writer is an aviation mentor and enthusiast