A pass with flying colours for nine lady pilots

6 Jul, 2017 | Kishugu Aviation

If she could, I am sure she would do victory rolls high in the sky over the Nelspruit Airfield. But Phamela Baloyi is far too professional a pilot to risk anything – especially in the air.

Phamela is overjoyed to have earned her Private Pilot License (PPL) and is well on her way to becoming a certified commercial pilot as well.

She passed her PPL with flying colours and she is adamant to do the same with her Commercial Pilot License.

Phamela (24) from Giyano, near Tzaneen in Limpopo, is one of nine female pilots who were granted the opportunity to undergo training at Kishugu Aviation Training Organisation (ATO) in Nelspruit. The nine young ladies were selected by the South African Police Service to become pilots for the SAPS air wing. The cost of their training was met by the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA).

Carel van de Merwe, head of Kishugu ATO said that Phamela is a very determined and hardworking student.

“She passed all her PPL exams first time around and passed her commercial subjects in just six months. These subjects ranges from Mathematics to Navigation and Routine Aircraft Maintenance and are extremely difficult. Phamela focused all her attention on studying and refused to allow anything to distract her from this goal.”

“I am loving every minute of it,” said Phamela. “This is an experience of a lifetime and I can’t wait to begin a career as a pilot.”

She said that she had been extremely anxious when the course began over a year ago. “I am less anxious now,” she laughed.

Phamela said as a child growing up in a township – where they hardly ever saw aircraft, never mind met any pilots – she had dreamed of flying. “I thought it was only a dream.”

Now that her dream is coming true, her advice to other youngsters is to read as much as possible.

“It is only through reading that you gain knowledge and learn of the opportunities that are out there for you,” Phamela added. “Be prepared to work hard. It is only through hard work that you succeed.”

She said her family and friends are very happy about her achievements so far.

The other eight young ladies who have completed their PPLs with Kishugu ATO, and are busy with their commercial subjects, are:

Tshomarelo Moima (24) from Pretoria, Tebogo Boshielo (22) from Pretoria, Linah Mphanga (25) from Hazyview, Mpumalanga, Happiness Sibiya (22) from Mpumalanga, Lindelwa Mdaki (22) from Durban, Usisipho Fanie (26) from Western Cape, Gloria Banda (21) from Danville Pretoria and Tobeka Shozi (20) from Pietermaritzburg, KZN.

Their success is all the more remarkable since many of them did not have a driver’s license, nor had any of them ever been in light aircraft before their training began.

They were selected as part of a SAPS initiative. SAPS Section Commander Col Fred Blaauw said the programme was aimed at skills development and creating jobs. He said Kishugu ATO won the contract to train the pilots after an extremely tough tender vetting process.

“I am very proud of these ladies’ hard work,” said van de Merwe. “They are all enthusiastic, focused and a pleasure to teach.”

“It is not easy obtaining your CPL and there is still a lot of work to be done before they qualify, but I am confident that their work ethic and passion will pull them through.”