When it comes to be to the aviation industry, you can either by a pilot or an aircraft engineer. Mike Sisimolu is one of those rare individuals that is a fully licensed aircraft engineer and a licensed pilot.

Mike grew up in Simbrigi village in the Southern Highland Province and as a child, Mike would run to the airstrip whenever a plane arrived but was often told to see the aircraft from a distance and never allowed to touch. This was the start of his dream, to one day be able to touch an aircraft.

Mike says, “That’s challenged me; why is it so hard? Why can’t they even let me touch the aeroplane? This led me to try to be a pilot and because where I come from, no one has ever been a pilot, so would the first from that area. It was a challenge for me to try something that on one has done”.

The journey to being a pilot started from the schools in the village and stepping up into National High School at Sogeri.

And after, year 12, Mike got the opportunity to go to Mt Hagen and started his apprenticeship in aircraft maintenance in 2012. After seven years of apprenticeship, he got his Australian License and was able to work as a Licensed Maintenance Engineer on the Twin Otters aircrafts.

Whilst, working as a maintenance engineer, Mike saw an advertisement by HeviLift and MRDC for a program to get nationals into flying, an opportunity to see high childhood dreams come true. Fortunately, for Mike, MRDC’s mandated to focus on the beneficiaries of the project impacted area and being from Simbrigi, which is a village in Gobe project area, was a bonus to his qualification as a licensed maintenance engineer.

Through the funding from MRDC, HeviLift was able to train Mike in Mareeba, North Queenlands – Australia and he was able to attain his Australian Commercial Pilot’s License and multi-engine instrument rating.

Mike is currently in the process of converting his Australian Commercial Pilot’s License into a PNG Commercial Pilots License which will enable him to serve as a first officer HeviLift’s Twin Otters.

“I have worked with Twin Otters and it’s more interesting, knowing the aircraft mechanically, working on it and now flying manually give the extra excitement.”

“Obliviously, everyone wants to go into flying but the financial aspect has always been the biggest setback. But when clients give contracts to HeviLift has enable HeviLift in invest in this program. Without the financial commitment from the clients, HeviLift would not have the financial capacity to support individuals like me”.

“I’d like to encourage guys, particularly in the project areas are opportunities here from MRDC, MRDC invests in a lot of scholarship opportunities. And with these opportunities anything is possible,” said Mike.

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