Patience is a virtue
While other kids in Lusoi Primary School in Nyeri played regular games, Samuel Mwaura Muthinji spent his time creating aircraft models from iron sheets. Muthinji was fascinated by how huge heavy metallic objects floated in the air and moved from one point to another. His enchantment for flying came at a tender age and he then developed an utmost adoration for flying. After completing his primary school in Nyeri, Muthinji enrolled in Moi Forces Academy near the Moi Air Base in the Eastleigh suburb for his secondary education. Everyday, when coming out of class heading to the dormitory, Muthinji observed the landing of the aircraft at the nearby Air Base. He made a vow to his peers that one day one time he will become a pilot.
After his secondary education, Muthinji executed his patriotic duties by serving in the National Youth Service for three months. Upon completion he enrolled at the University of Nairobi for a Bachelor of Arts in Design. Not exactly what a flying fanatic would opt for but he got his degree and worked as a designer for four years at Kenya Medical Research Institute.
A glimmer of hope emerged in 1998 when Muthinji travelled to Nigeria and was sponsored by the federal government of Nigeria to train as a pilot. For one and a half years, Muthinji never touched an aircraft and was instead doing groundwork. Frustrated and disappointed, Muthinji travelled back to Kenya to reassess his next step in life.
In early 2000, Muthinji travelled to America and enrolled for a masters program in design and studio art at Webster University in St. Louis Missouri. This lasted for a couple of months before the ultimate breakthrough came. Muthinji abandoned his masters program and started from scratch at Thunder Aviation School at Spirit of St. Louis.
Upon completion, Muthinji joined Airman Flight School in Oklahoma and by the end of 2003, he completed his training and obtained his license. In 2004, he came back to Kenya, converted his license and freelanced for two solid years before landing his first job. Since then Muthinji has been steering through the airways fulfilling the vow he made to his peers in Moi Forces Academy.
“I’d advice the younger generation, the upcoming pilots to be really patient and not to lose hope. The first job that you will get, hold on to it, build up hours through it and gather experience from it. In the end, the wait will be worth it,” Muthinji advised.