A few years ago, a friend asked me if I would consider taking her daughter for a flight on her 9th birthday. They have a tradition that every year, part of her birthday present is a new experience,ranging from a visit to an Elephant sanctuary to a ride in the Monte Casino Balloon.
I agreed, and started planning the flight. I was not at all sure how she would cope with the flight, and planned a route that kept us close to the airport to begin, and then routed south to include Soccer City and the Vaal dam, if she was comfortable.
On the day, I started out with a visibly nervous mom, and daughter - I did my usual passenger briefing, and we loaded up - only to find that she could not see out of the back windows ! A quick replan, a borrowed car booster seat, and a discussion with her parents resulted in Mom sitting in the back, and the birthday girl sitting in the right hand seat. After a second briefing, which included some effects of controls, and a very thorough discussion on who has control - we set off. The flight was a huge successes, and the absolute highlight was the period that she had control (very closely supervised, at altitude). She absolutely loved the experience, and having taken control did wonders for her confidence.
I now do air experience flights - always with the child in the front seat, and a parent in the back seat, becasue this flight is about the kids ! We start with a safety briefing - how to behave at an airfield - and then do the preflight inspection, where we explain the control surfaces and the engine and propeller workings. We then do a passenger briefing, including the route, what we expect to see, transfer of control, and normal and emergency procedures, and then get everyone settled in the plane.
The flights last about 45 minutes, and always include a period with the child in control - I hope to provide them with an experience they would not otherwise have had, and maybe to help create a few more pilots in the future - because, lets face it - we could always use a few more pilots !!!
Glen and I were married 35 years on 4 October 2015. Glen has always wanted to do some real flying…Glen has been through the wringer this past year. All the hassles started towards the end of last year, and came to a head when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The growth was removed 28 January – Glen was sooo sick. He got home 2 weeks later on a Friday evening. Very early the Saturday morning he complained of severe pains in the chest/lung areas. Was rushed back to hospital – Pulmonary Embolism. ICU, stresses, bladder infections, port insertion for chemo, bladder infections, supra-pubic insertion. More infections, more chemo, developed a stoma hernia etc etc.Our little work car bashed by a driver without a licence jumping a stop street……
So, taking all the stresses, strains and setbacks into consideration, I got to wondering what I could organise for Glen to celebrate our 35th anniversary, which led me to wonder if we could afford to let Glen do some ‘real flying’ to give him a special treat after all he has been through. This started my web search, and I ‘happened’ to make contact with you Chris.
Chris you are a real honey – from the word go you were so helpful and more than kind. You made it possible for Glen to realise a lifelong dream! I have no doubt in my mind that it was the Lord’s leading – what a blessing! And at no cost to us – impossible dream come true!
Chris, saying thank you hardly seems enough after all you have done for us.
The special blessing you gave us has been hemmed with thankfulness so that the blessing doesn’t unravel!
Below are a few quotes which come closer to expressing the HUGE thankfulness we feel to you for helping Glen realise a lifelong dream.
I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.
- William Shakespeare
One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind. ~ Malayan Proverb
• The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. ~ Oscar Wilde
• Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~ Mark Twain
• How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it! ~ George Elliston
• Something that has always puzzled me all my life is why, when I am in special need of help, the good deed is usually done by somebody on whom I have no claim. ~ William Feather
Chris (and Glen….) doing the pre-flight inspection and discussing the possibility of marketing “Avi-Fuel for Petrol Heads” aftershave.
Since this flight, Glen has been driving me crazy with his Googling of Cessna planes – the safety factors, the construction, the magneto firing system….if he is too old to learn to fly……..the list goes on and on…..
Renovations a soaring success
The Krugersdorp Flying Club renovated and re-opened Bokamoso Crèche after it was out of use for months.
Click the link below to read the article
A group of learners from Rabbedoe Nursery School visited the Jack Taylor Airfield. Safety Officer, Chris Kyle, and owner of Aviatech Academy, presented a short introduction to flying to the enthusiastic future pilots.
Also seen above is Dale de Klerk, owner of Alpi Aviation. After the presentation the learners enjoyed a complimentary cold drink outside the clubhouse.