My whole life leading up to that point was playing outside, running around with the dog, attending school and not knowing what I was going to do with my life… I was young, does anyone know what they want to do with the rest of their lives at the age of 12?
Well… that air show… did that leave an impression!!
It was the 50th anniversary of the South African defence force. There were ground displays, bombing displays, military vehicles all impressing us, but what I could not keep my eyes off was the aircraft, and at that moment I realised, I have spent my whole life leading up to that point always looking up to the sky, and that was what I was looking for… an aircraft to fill it!
Years went by, as it does, and my parents realised that South Africa wasn’t the place that their children will have a future in and we moved to New Zealand.
My dad and I arrived first in January, 2000. Best time of my life… I got to spend about 32hrs flying time in a 747 (at that stage I knew exactly what a 747 was – I had a few years to research). New Zealand was a bit of an adjustment, but change is good. We were in a new country, knew no one, had no friends, and the locals were speaking with some weird accent which took a while to get used to but we were here now, there was no going back!
Luckily my birthday was early in the year and my dad, knowing I was trying to make new friends, and still a bit lost in a new country bought me a trial flight at the local aero club. Not a typical 16th birthday present but my dad knew me, this was going to be my life. Three days after my birthday I went for my first flight!
I can remember it as if it was yesterday, my instructors name was Russell, and he must have had a lot of experience because he let me fly the whole flight, the take-off, turns over the coast and back. He must have thought I did ok because he said, “Why don’t I talk you through landing it” … of course I was not going to pass on that offer… Long story short on that landing, my dad was recording the whole flight from the back seat and just before we arrived back to mother earth, that beautiful Cessna stall warning went off and in unison my dad was screaming like a little girl at the same time… all caught on camera.
That was it!! I was hooked!! Not only with the flying but I managed to find a way to finally scare my dad.
I started my training a few months later…