Celebrating African Leaders in Aviation – Philip Mafunga Quality Systems Specialist at Boeing

How did you get into aviation?

I started by attending a trade school in Kenya for 3 years and spent one of the years at Wilson airport on internship as an aircraft technician with East African Air Charters. From there I moved to the United States to pursue a full degree program in Aviation Sciences and aviation Safety.

Family support during your journey

My family were instrumental in getting me started toward my career. They sacrificially raised funds for me to be able to attend aviation school both in Kenya and the United States

How do you find your training

I was part of a pioneer group that joined a new college that had just opened up with an aeronautical engineering degree program. There weren’t many choices available at the time, so it was the only viable option for me.

How did you get to your current role (career wise, past jobs etc)

I went to college at the university of central Missouri in the United States and after graduation I got hired by ST engineering San Antonio Aerospace as a quality engineer. I worked in that role and also explored marketing assignments in order to diversify then I embraced a safety management systems role which is what I am doing at Boeing as well. In the same time period, I also got my pilot’s licence and have been working on that as time goes on.

Any mentors

I networked with ISTAT foundation personnel, and they were very instrumental in providing guidance on how to curve out my career path and ended up helping me find a job.

Life when not flying

When I’m not flying, I’m either playing soccer, tennis or music with my church band.

Advice to someone in training

Ask a lot of questions and study to detail anything you may even feel is insignificant. Even when making a photocopy, learn what the paper is about and what process it serves. Then ask more questions.

Advice to someone thinking of an aviation career

It is a great career path and offers lots of options even to lawyers, Information technology, engineering but ultimately, do something you enjoy doing.

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Celebrating African Leaders in Aviation ~ Lukhanyo JokoPrivate Pilot

I’ve been interested in aviation since I was young but only really wanted to be a pilot in 2019 when I was going through career counseling. Still, unfortunately, I didn’t have any family or friends in aviation to introduce and get me into the industry, so I only really got into aviation once I joined my flight school.

I found training to be extremely fun and exciting. Every single lesson was a joy. Yes some parts of it are difficult but a flight is easier when you mentally prepare for it in advance.

I’m fortunate enough to have met people that went to my high school and matriculated and joined the same flight school that I went to. Although I am still in school and they’ve since matriculated, they are always keen on giving advice that is still applicable to me. It also helped that I had a great instructor anyway.

In terms of family support, my family was very supportive and encouraging and I’m very much blessed and grateful to have a supportive family and for them to work hard just for me to achieve this dream. Sadly none of them are in aviation so they couldn’t really give any aviation related advice.

When I’m not flying I’m usually, studying or doing homework. As I said I’m still in school so where I slowed down in school work to pickup aviation, I try catchup the school work when I’m not flying.

My advice for anyone training or wanting to join the industry is you need to always keep your reason for why you want to become a pilot. When times get difficult think back to that reason and maybe save a picture or video that really inspires you or gives you that “I can’t wait to do that” feeling. This way you’ll maintain your motivation and if you have the motivation to do it then you can do it.

I’m thinking of also focusing on getting my learners license and drivers license now.