Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Kurd’s Journey to Fly Jets in America

Lazo during pilot training in US

Lazo Akram Karadaxi, an Iraqi Kurd, has been enrolled in the Fargo Jet School for almost six months now, is training for a private pilot’s license that will allow him to fly in the United States.

The Kurdish pilot is working in civil aviation. He obtained his Master’s degree in aviation science from the University of North Dakota’s aviation department.

“First, it was not easy for me to be accepted on this academic program and I have faced many obstacles and challenges. I had to authenticate my Iraqi bachelor’s degree and do tests like GRE, TOEFL and Aviation English Language Proficiency Test (AELPT) and finally extensive interviews with the academic authorities”.

There are several reasons behind Lazo’s success in United States. First, he is proficient in English language as he graduated in 2000-2001 from the English department of the University of Sulyamaniah. Secondly, he worked for many international organizations and companies after his graduation from 2004 to 2012.

When he immigrated to the United States in 2012, he held a variety of positions in aviation companies. Through his work he had the opportunity to travel to many counties like Iran, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, and China and gained a great deal of experience in the aviation industry.

He is now 36 years old. He was born in Sulyamaniah and lived there most of his life, but is now settled in Moorhead, Minnesota. He works part-time as a Middle East aviation consultant.

The passion that Lazo has for his job is different from that of many people living in the US because the University that he graduated from is the third best university in the country and ranks 7th worldwide in the area of aerospace and aviation.

“UND has many projects in development for NASA and the aviation industry in the US. And there are many topics and classes that have never been taught in Iraq or in the Middle East in general; these subjects are so progressive that they are still developing them’, said Lazo.

Lazo gave some examples of the classes he took during his Masters; aviation statistics that deals with aviation data analysis and how to collect data on airports, aircraft, fuel, aviation environment etc. Other classes were airport management, fleet management, and human error.

Another class dealt with the environment, where negligence is identified and discipline is applied appropriately after a systematic review of the errors. Safety management systems is an extensive subject dealing with safety inside airports, aircraft, factories and aviation safety in general.

Lazo hopes that the aviation industry and aviation academics lead a new phase of study and development in Iraqi Kurdistan. He expressed his willingness to assist and guide any Kurdish student who wants to develop in this field, especially in the US.  

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