By Emeka Mamah
The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) will soon resume the training of its pilots with the â€œlocally madeâ€ Air Beetle aircraft which have been out of use for over 10 years due to technical problems, thus saving the country huge expenses on foreign exchange.
This indication was given by the Provost of the NAF Institute of Technology (AFIT), Professor Emmanuel Ezugwu while speaking in an interview with Vanguard in Kaduna Friday.
He had been asked to explain whether or not the Air Beetle aircraft which the then military government claimed to have been locally produced, is actually a locally made aircraft in view of his assertion that it will take the nation 10 years of hard work to produce a locally made aircraft and seven years to produce an automobile.
His words, â€œmore or less, Air Beetle is a Nigerian product because it was the components that were assembled in Nigeria.
â€œRecently, there were problems associated with the Air Beetle which I have since coming here (AFIT), put together a research team and we are solving it.
â€œI am glad to tell you that we have had significant success in the problems associated with the Air Beetle.
â€œTherefore, it will now be put into flight because, we are trying to transfer this success into other redundant Air Beetles so that the NAF will now have training equipment. Ab initio, it was the training equipment for trainee pilots.
â€œYes, you can say it was a made-in-Nigeria aircraft because, it was assembled in Nigeria but whether the extent of input of Nigerians in the manufacture or production of these equipment, I donâ€™t think â€¦ â€œThere should have been more involvement (of Nigerians) not just providing the location for the assemblage.”