Pilot who 'borrowed' plane suspended
Johannesburg - A young SA Air Force pilot was earlier this week grounded pending the outcome of a commission of inquiry, after he 'borrowed' a plane to visit a friend in Botswana.
He also allegedly stole a petrol card from 21 Squadron, the air force's VIP division, to fuel the plane for the trip, Beeld reported on Friday.
He crossed the Botswana border with a Cessna 172 without submitting a flight plan, and without obtaining permission to enter a neighbouring country's airspace.
A traffic controller at Gaberone airport, allegedly one of the pilot's friends, facilitated easy passage and landing of the plane in Gaberone.
Air force spokesperson Brigadier-General Marthie Visser said on Thursday that air force chief Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano had grounded the pilot.
A commission of inquiry had been set up to investigate the incident, and if the commission found sufficient cause, it could mean the end of his career.
The pilot's colleagues reported him to the authorities, after he apparently boasted of his daring and told them that he was untouchable, because he had the right contacts.