Sky is not the limit for young PMB pilot

2014-05-05 00:00

AN UNWAVERING commitment to your dreams and perseverance are key to success, says a 23-year-old Pietermaritzburg pilot who helped fly a small plane across five countries in just over two days last week.

Mark Dixon and senior pilot Barry Williams flew from New Zealand, where they collected an eight-seater plane bought by a local company, Tekwani Sawmills, and flew it to Pietermaritzburg.

They arrived in the city on Saturday afternoon.

Dixon said the trip was challenging but also a great learning opportunity.

“I had the chance to command the plane all the way home and fortunately I had a very experienced pilot with me. We flew over five different countries and we flew a total of 52 hours.”

“I learnt a lot. We faced different challenges, from flying in different airspaces that we were unfamiliar with to the difficulty of understanding the people in different countries that are giving you the instructions from the control tower.”

Dixon, who flies for Tekwani Sawmills, said flying was his passion. The obstacle he has faced along the way to becoming a pilot, including not being accepted by the air force, had not deterred him.

“I applied to the SANDF air force and that did not work out, but I did not give up and I started flying here at Pietermaritzburg Aero Club.”

He has not looked back since 2011 when he received his commercial flying licence and has clocked up 3 000 hours in the air.

Now he’s set his sights on flying for commercial airlines. “I have the minimum requirements and all there is left is to apply and see if I get an interview, but I am not in a hurry to do that because I am very happy where I am — I work with a great bunch of people.”

• The name of Barry Williams was spelt incorrectly in our Saturday article. The Witness apologises for the error.

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