Since the early 1990´s FMS has been licensed in Botswana to have an aircraft maintenance operation. Since this time FMS has been performing maintenance on its own aircraft as well as on other owner operators´ aircrafts.
In keeping with the desire of FMS to empower local people whenever possible, FMS began looking for a way to train nationals in the specialised trade of aircraft maintenance. Initially qualified candidates were enrolled in a school in South Africa with the intention that they would return to work with FMS for two years at the completion of their studies.
Struggling with the results of this training program, FMS began to explore the idea of starting its own Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) School. In 2004 this dream became a reality as the first class of students entered the program. As the only Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) training program in the country of Botswana, the school was formed to produce quality engineers of strong character who would be free to serve with other companies in the country or region.
Maintaining aircraft is a highly specialised job that requires precise technical knowledge and skills. Over the two year course of study, the students receive training applicable to both fixed wing and rotary aircraft, covering a wide range of subjects, with emphasis on developing practical skills. It combines theory and a considerable amount of "hands-on" training while working under the supervision of licensed AMEs.
Upon completion of the course work, the students spend time studying for the three required Botswana Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licensing exams. After successfully passing these tests, they receive a "basic" AME license, which enables them to seek employment as an engineer and serves as the foundation for all future license ratings.
Although the primary goal of the program is to train qualified engineers, FMS also desires the development of well-rounded individuals who will be contributing members of their culture and society. During the students´ time at the school, they are involved in daily devotional sessions with Flying Mission´s Gaborone-based aviation personnel and attend weekly lifestyle classes with various speakers covering different themes. Over time Flying Mission personnel often form strong personal relationships with many of the students.
While the initial class was open only to citizens of Botswana, Flying Mission plans to open enrolment to anyone from the Southern African region in upcoming classes. The first class completed the AME course in March 2006, all the students were employed by an aviation company in northern Botswana as aircraft maintenance engineers.