Monday, 11 November 2013

Changing course...but not the destination

Patricia spends a great deal of time sharing her knowledge that has been gained over the past 7 years. Safety and appropriate personal protective equipment must be worn and used - even just one day exposure can change a persons whole approach to working with such tools. The skill set needed to successfully weld includes patience, precision, perseverance, outstanding hand-eye coordination and lots of attention to detail.

In the new year, AvTech will be shifting its focus away from full time courses and towards increasing exposure through short courses - to a wider range of candidates.

Patricia is planning some short (1 to 3 day) workshop exposure courses for teachers, lecturers and students from schools and universities around Ghana. Courses will cover welding, sheet metal working, milling, turning, how aircraft fly, how engines work as well as first aid and community health matters. We believe that linking STEM (science technology engineering and mathematics) with increased health education is key to stimulating positive change in the community.  

With Patricia as a role model in these courses we are sure that 2014 will be a year of great impact.

If you are interested in helping to fund - or to assist with - these short courses please contact

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Circuits.. a shocking concept

It amazes me how few people understand electricity. Especially electricity in automotive and aviation
applications where the chassis or airframe is used as one side of the circuit.

To help stimulate greater understanding we built a quick steel base board and introduced the young ladies to the joys of building innovative switch and light circuits.

This will move to the museum next year for visiting school groups to learn more from those learning today.

Monday, 16 September 2013

In the eye of the beholder...

It is unbelievable how many people find it difficult to represents a simple drawing of any object

placed in front of them, therefore all the ladies today were asked to sketch the side view of our CH701.

For a lot them, this was a struggle. I then asked everyone to help draw it up on the white board together and realised how easy it became for all.

A lot more effort was then made to do more, the whole desire to make it a reality was very pleasing.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Learning by doing

This morning four of the apprentices are operating the plasma to produce 40 new fence posts.

All loading, unloading and button pushing including Gantry clearance moments are carried out by the girls in turn.

Learning to make things and to operate complex machinery is all part of the learning to work and take responsibility that Avtech is all about.

Of course the programming and mathematics of the machine will come later on in their training.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

And then there was 10....

For the first we have taken a large number of apprentices, eleven young ladies into the academy at the same time.

We took a slightly larger number knowing that, not everyone of them would make it through to the end of the four year training successfully.

Today, one of the girls decided to go back and write remedial exams in order to go into nursing.

When we heard the news and knowing that this young lady is very able and is doing very well at the academy, we wanted to know more about the decision but she said she would rather put it in writing so, this is what she wrote;

Lydia heads to Germany

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

By the numbers....

We have quickly discovered that, the new ladies have lots of holes in their education and this week, we realised that, they lack the basics with numbers.

Today we went back to those basics like, place value and rounding of numbers.

These young ladies all use numbers everyday and yet have not realised how important it is to know to carry out even simple mathematical arithmetic without the use of calculators.

They have only been here just a little under three weeks and are beginning to gain the understanding of numbers. We are winning and moving forward sustainably.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Cogs in the machine.....

The girls are learning about cogs, pinions, gears and moving parts.   They have been learning through

dance and making things such as this demonstration cog plate.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Safety training..

This is the second week of term for the new ladies at the avtech academy. So the second week brought with it the need for safety training.
The day started with what would happen if someone stands in a maneuvering area of an aircraft whilst operation is going on.
Then the demonstration with water melon being hit by the wings of an aircraft to simulate what would happen if a human being should get hit by an aircraft.
Two 2*6 were strapped onto the back of our K2700 truck representing the wings of an aircraft. The Kia drove at 60km/hr, hit the melon which got minced up and the shock on the faces of the young ladies was spectacular.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Painting by the numbers

 Today the ladies all had the chance to learn about spraying from Lydia who is our best sprayer.

She took them through safety briefing and procedures concerning paint work. Lydia also taught them about the prep aspects and the fact that the actual spraying is a little part of it all but the preparation is the biggest and most important part of the spraying.
It is very essential that, these ladies understand the importance of learning to spray because in our part of the world, where everything rusts so quickly, there is the need to get them painted very early on before they rust and become difficult to work with.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


Monika and Petra are with Medicine on the Move and Avtech for the next few weeks. They are filming the preparation and surgery for Lydia who will soon be heading to Germany for hand surgery.

 Patricia could not resist trying out the camera rig that Petra usually has surgically attached to her body.

Hopefully we will be able to share some of the stories that our European volunteers are putting together, not only on Lydia but also following the progress of the new intake of young ladies from rural Ghana in training.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Simple, life saving navigation skills. Class two, put to the test.

The young ladies today were given a map and blindfolded then driven around to a location where they don't recognise the terrain.

They then had to navigate their way back to the airfield using the maps given to them. It was very interesting seeing how they all worked as a team and moved as one body being each other's watch to trek through the bush safely to the airfield.

Eventually, they used the features around them and used all sorts of techniques such as climbing trees, standing on rocks to see x, y or z in the. Mu distance. They then saw the airfield from afar and runned towards.

This is no different to navigating by plane to a particular place and towards the end of the navigation, the pilot sees an obvious feature in a distance and aims for that object.

In the afternoon, they were introduced to handling metal work such as sanding and prepping it for painting.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Listen and learn... communicate and stay safe... Simple, Critical skills

When a new batch of apprentices starts at the academy, it is very important to get them to respond to commands to assess their their ability to follow simple instructions.

Most of the repair work we do on the aeroplane is such that, when a person is holding a plane up for the undercarriage to be changed, they cannot just drop it when tired.

The ladies all went through the stress test to determine the point at which they need helped.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

New Term ... New Faces... Getting ready

This weekend 12 new girls are scheduled to arrive on site for training.  A long overdue set of drying lines are currently being made - in house of course - to make washing days less stressful, and they look as if they may even be airworthy!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Gaining the skills to succeed

Part of the Avtech girls training includes learning to weld. Patricia is getting in some practice for term starting next week.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Problem solving...

The young ladies are now just beginning to do more work using the different tools for problem solving more and more in their daily given tasks. Young Lydia is getting more comfortable with the use of the small hand tools.

After a day's work, everyone goes to bed with satisfaction in what have been achieved in the day.

Sharpening and balancing sit and ride john-deere lawn mower blades in order to improve on the quality of cutting the grass at the airfield.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The right photo may change the world...

Since the next phase of our health outreach is to make some very innovative posters using photographs of people who are inspiration to the people in the rural Ghana. Photographs that puts across punchy messages to these communities about staying away from schistosomiasis.

The young ladies in the academy were very enthusiastic on how we should go about the whole concept. Some role models from the Afram plains were invited to the airfield to participate in the photo shooting session for the new posters for their communities.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Mowing between the rain drops...

We have been staying on top of mowing since we have been experiencing a lot of rain lately on the airfield.

The grass is able to change colour from brown to green overnight. When the rain is non-stop, it creates a lot of additional workload.

This workload enables the ladies to improve on their skills in the use of machinery; such as sit and ride mowers, lawnmowers, ,tractors, amongst others.

When cutting the airfield, we are ensuring that the cut lines are straight and keeping to specific pattern which makes sense, which does not cause distortion for pilots. This makes for an easier approach for all pilots and students learning to fly.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

So tell me.... what makes you happy?

In the academy, students are interviewed once every month to find out what their views about the progress on the airfield.

This month's one on one interview was very interesting because each student mentioned that, the things which makes them happy about the school is;
Family environment

We then compared the subject most liked were; flying in the actual cockpit
Workshop (servicing the engines, names of tools, building the planes....)

They expressed that, they like learning by doing because they gain more experience.

Monday, 27 May 2013

A new game at Kponge.. Wac-A-Brit.. ;-) ... A team building excercise

Team building is very important when it comes to working in the real world.
This week, the ladies were taught how to quarter-staff and the reason behind that exercise is to improve on their personal defense mechanism in the case of an attack
The team leaders who were Jonathan and Marcel demonstrated how this is done after which the ladies followed.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

How do you say CNC in French?

As we get ready for the coming of our machines into the new CNC centre, we are working on the gate for protection of equipment against rain and sunshine.

Everyone is working hard to meet the deadline since the project manager Marcel Stieber journeys back to the USA after a four month voluntary work with us at the airfield.

The new gates have been funded by Ben Serisen and a very big thanks goes to him. The ladies have been working hard between their classroom work and getting the gate ready.

Miss Safiatou who teaches them both French and mathematics is working hard with them in order to achieve these different tasks.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Schools back in session

Once again, school is back in session and as usual, the students are working positively towards achieving their diploma at end of this academic year. They will then go through a one year internship with WAASPS, who is offering these students guaranteed jobs upon successful completion of the course.

Each student is already able to work as a team, on their own and communicating with international groups.

This week, they helped in the development of the new AvTech offer and presentations for the next intake into the academy and removal and replacement of brake lines in a client's aircraft.

Monday, 15 April 2013

End of term Exams

The end the second term of the third year is coming to an end and with the ladies taking their random exams.

They were separated for the practical, hands on. The ladies took their exams seriously since they each have to demonstrate the ability to work individually.

The ladies were asked to prepare a bush stretcher for dragging out a patient with two broken legs, who cannot walk and required dragged through the bush for about a 100meters before handing over to a physician.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The end is near.. end of term that is..

Is coming to the end of term and the girls have to sit their end of term exams both written and practical but are not told when the exams will be conducted.

But they are advised to be ready with every thing that, they have been taught since the exams will come from everything they have learnt for the past two and half years.

Yesterday, there was a scenario about a victim who went flying on her first trial flight and got hypoglycemic and turned out to be that, she didn't have anything to eat that morning and low blood sugar kicked in.

She then became non-responsive and the pilot in command declared a pan pan.

The ladies then handled the emergency very professionally, going through the different procedures on what a first respondant does in such a situation.

It was the best they have done with any scenario in a long time. They were then told they have all passed one of their practical exams for this term.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Flying disabled children

Everyone always likes to have memorable days in their lives and this week was a very important one for our girls and some special children.

We have been considering the option of flying disabled children for a long time but this week, our dreams became a reality.

We visited one of the local schools with Ute Hoelscher who is a teacher to visually impaired children in order to select some potential ones for a special fly me day.

There were six special children present for that memorable day. Two of the kids were deaf and four were partially visually impaired. Francis Norman and his two other friends from Germany who are musicians (violinist, drummers and and singers) came along to assist.

The deaf kids were shown how to touch the drums, violin and drum sticks in order to feel the vibration from the musical instruments to give them ideas of what is going on around them.

After all the interactions, all six of them were flown, after which they all left for their homes happily and with good memories.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Christmas time in Ghana....

So carol who was a good friend of the late Kitty Houghton arrived on the airfield today with a lot of goodies for the workshops to make our lives easier when in tight spaces.

The team at the moment all got very excited at the gifts and then realized how important those parts were. We all got around the gift box to express our excitement together as a team

The ladies then showed some love to the tools that will make their lives a lot easier in the coming days to achieve more in the day to day running of the workshops.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Pay it forwards...

Lydia's mother is not well. We managed to get her to spend a couple of days at the mini clinic- where Lydia is the primary care giver.
Lydia is busy trying to establish any pertinent history related to her current conditions.
For the family it is a big thing to allow this lady to come for support in the non-traditional manner.
We will need to let her go back on Wednesday for market day, so we are against the clock to try to put her on the right course for recovery.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Time to tidy up...

The girls decided to take other sources of physical education seriously and so they wanted to do some
weeding exercise this morning around the their accommodation surroundings to make the place a lot more appropriate in order to keep snakes and other dangerous creatures away from the area.

Is very good that, the young ladies are taking initiatives in their chosen carrier to enable them become young professionals to help change the perception towards not educating girl children in this culture since girls are not given the same opportunities as boys gets. These ladies are becoming the pioneers of training of young ladies from rural Ghana.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Belly pob progress

The belly pod is coming on, the front aerodynamic shaping is rather becoming a very interesting concept.

Everyone working really hard to get it to the stage where it will be made available to other people who interested in developing one for their use to change lives.

We are currently working out the best way to brace the different parts in order to not compromise airflow over the oil radiator and the drop materials when being. dropped out.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

EMT Training

Unexpected occurrences do happen, but how we respond to them when they happen, is the most important thing.

Everyone at the airfield is being trained for EMT(Emergency Medical Technician). This is to enable each individual be able to help render first aid service should the need arise.

Every week always ends with a scenario to keep the team prepared for a real case, meanwhile today's scenario was one that will definitely need revisited.

The ladies were given a situation which goes as follows;
A volunteer gentleman using the chainsaw and mistakenly got his arm cut with the saw and as a result fell straight to the ground helplessly in shock and with a potential head injury.

The ladies approached the scene and the first thing that happened was; everybody stopped and in first aid, thus
1. I am number one.
2. What happened to you?
3. BSI (Body Substance Isolation)
4.Are there any more?
5.Dead or alive?
They then emobilised his head put him in wheel chair and took him to the clinic in order to work on him easier since he has been working in the sun for a long time and perhaps is part of his panic, the clinic will keep him cool.

Direct pressure was applied to the wound to stop the bleeding and to help the blood clot quicker. the wound was then cleaned and covered. To start with, the victim's LoR was zero but by the time they had reassured and dressed his wounds, he was fine with LoR×4 ( meaning that; he knew his name, where he was, what time of day it was and what happened to him).

Vital signs were taken and a soap report prepared for handing over to a responsible physician.

In all the students performed brilliantly.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Maintenance time...

Maintenance is not a strength in this culture, it is not usual to come across machines that have never been maintained throughout their entire life.

Today, as the young ladies were working with our John Deere lawn mower, they noticed the warning for a fifty hour service. They then drove and packed the precious machine in front of the workshop ready for carrying out the service.

The different tools and required materials were nicely laid out for this important work. It was very encouraging to see that, the very first thing was; general cleaning on the machine, draining the old oil, changing the oil filter, removing and cleaning air filter, removing the mower deck, sharpening and re-balancing the blades and general inspection etc.

I watched carefully and worked with the youngsters and saw how passionate they were, about what they doing, the eye for detail and perhaps this is the stepping stone towards changing the mindset about the need for maintenance across our culture.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Taking pride in what one does is really essential in our part of the world since we are always operating in very hostile terrain, with equipments failing all the time due to the high humidity every day.

I see how hard these ladies work in order to make sure that, the tools are kept clean and in a cool place to improve on their life span.

Monday, 18 March 2013

It's a global initiative...

This year, we receiving many volunteers across the globe. In the past few months, we have had some of the volunteers from US, Germany, Austria, Ireland etc.

This week, our youngsters are benefiting from lot of Mr Onniberg's many experiences in Aviation since he is an instructor for airline pilots. He going through all the CBT DVD with ladies and explaining the very technical words.

Some of the topics includes principles of flight, stall recovering, atmosphere, weather amongst many others. He is also taking the time to prepare some short notes for them to help answer most of their questions that they are yet to ask.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Afram plains drop mission.

All the volunteers helped in preparing the drops for the Afram plains communities who came for the fly me day.

The young ladies in the AvTechacademy are now at the stage of being the drop masters for dropping to these communities.

We got airborne as early as 07:00am to communities 90km due north of Kpong airfield. The trip was done by two aeroplanes with the intention that, one plane will provide safety watch for the drop plane.
After about 45 minutes to an hour, we arrived at the target zone, a couple of passes was done to ensure it was a safe area for doing the drops.

Patricia being the Pilot and Lydia as drop master, several drops were metted out to the communities which had about seven different school present in order to receive the packages for their communities. After about four passes, the risk factors rose due to strong winds, thermal activities, cloud build ups and tiredness on the crew's part.

The location for the drops is very hostile so, requires lot of lookout and planing to ensure safe operations but all the same better than most drop zones in the past.

It was a very successful mission and is just the beginning of drops which will help change their lives, helping them to spread the health message across the rural areas.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Fly Me day and our first Afram Plains Drops.

Melissa Pemberton and the AvTech girls
This year's fly me day was a success and all children from the selected schools arrived on time. The team was very much prepared to receive the young enthusiasts.

On Sunday, the 10th of March 2013, fifty young ladies were brought in by the Volta Lake Transport ferry which purposely made a special sailing to the Afram plains in order to bring them for the fly me day where they were flown at the Kpong field facilities.

The students arrived early as planned and were all flown before noon. They were also shown the facilities at the airfield.

Some of them have already started purchasing entrance forms for the AvTech academy intake in August this year.

At the fly me day, they were told, there will be planes flying into their communities soon to do aerial supply drops containing health related educational drops.
Supply drops were made up by the MoM volunteers, we then set off this morning for the Afram plains to do first aerial drops to the communities we promised on the fly me day. Lydia was the drop master.

Monday, 11 March 2013

It's official...

We had an official visit from the Ghana education service, the ladies were very proud to show them, the facilities.

After the thorough inspection, the authorities were full of praises for the Academy and gave some words of encouragement to the ladies.

Each young lady in the school was able to explain to the visitors about the different aeroplanes we teach them to fly in at the airfield.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Flyme day 2013

Fly me day this year, starts on the Friday, the 8th and the 10th of March 2013. On the 8th, flying started from around 07:45 am.

The first group arrived at 07:00am all very enthusiastic awaiting their flights from the pilots that will be taking them up through the cool morning breeze that blows around the beautiful hills in the locality.

About twenty two were dispatched by the three young pioneers of the AvTech Academy ( Juliet, Emmanuella and Lydia) into their various planes, three at a time.

On Sunday, the 10th of March 2013, we are expecting about fifty determined and enthusiastic ladies from the Afram Plains who are potential intakes for AvTechacademy this September and will all be from communities being selected for aerial supply of health education material from medicine on the move.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Belly pod progress....

Finally, our bellypod has gotten to the stage where, we are able to offer up without having to reposition clecos, that are hindering smooth fitting on the belly of the plane, in order to see how the project is coming.

I was very pleased to see the youngsters in the workshop, working through all the different stages of the pod which is involving hard work and determination to enable good results which will help boost the drops of health related materials into the rural communities.

These ladies are looking forward to working in the coming few days, to completing the next stage of the pod for mounting onto the aircraft and its functionality for full demonstration.