Pilot who 'borrowed' plane suspended

2012-02-17 13:39

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.

  • Sharon - 2012-02-17 13:46

    Last time I heard taking without permission is called "stealing", not "borrowing" He seems so cocky though, probably thinks he is Tom Cruise - rebel without a clue!

  • Alistair - 2012-02-17 13:54

    Stealing implies the intent to not return the item doesn't it? Although.. he had no intention of refueling the plane now did he.. lol

      aarchaic - 2012-02-17 14:29

      Borrowing implies you asked permission to use the aircraft, if your son or daughter just takes your car without consent it means they stole it.

      Keelvol - 2012-02-17 14:56

      Yes, like madonsela's son. STOLEN.

      Lucky Manaswe - 2012-02-17 15:16

      So what if I borrowed and the authorities agreed but I don't return it. Did I steal it?lol

  • Kala - 2012-02-17 14:00

    One would have thought he would need some sort of clearance and/or flight plan prior to departure. Maybe it's because Lindiwe Sisulu is too busy shouting the odds at Pieter Mulder that she has forgotten where he duties lie. And as Sharon stated, when did steal become borrow?

  • Shirley - 2012-02-17 14:12

    Makes you winder just how secure our airforce facilities are! Not only did he manage to steal a petrol card but take off and cross a foreign border!This tells me that any Tom,Dick or Harry can just walk up,get in and take off! Wonder if this guy is friends woth Malema? [Botswana of all places raises red flags] Bottom line-WHERE IS THE SECURITY?????

  • Thoka - 2012-02-17 14:13

    even thiefs deserve some respect. innocent until prven guilty, hey guys you just landed, welcome to mother land this is how it works.

      Desmond - 2012-02-17 16:12

      You are so innocent you should be in Jail like Malema

  • John - 2012-02-17 14:18

    I wasn't aware the air force had any Cessna 172 aircraft. What is not clear from this news report is who the aircraft was borrowed from, perhaps a friend lent him the aircraft?

      Kala - 2012-02-17 14:53

      John - I'm pretty sure they use them for basic flying training as well as spotter planes.

      Danie - 2012-02-17 16:52

      I agree with John, the 172 seems strange. Like any online news, the report is skimpy. Did this pilot take off from Waterkloof, under their their air traffic control? We don't know. The report says the pilot was reported by colleagues after boasting. The air force used to have a culture of being judged by your deeds, not words. I hope that culture continues in spite of current problems.

  • Gerhard - 2012-02-17 14:31

    Oh No!!! If they ground him, we only have five pilots left to fly eighteen fighter jets!! LOL

      Kala - 2012-02-17 14:54

      Which they can't fly as they don't have any fuel.

      Keelvol - 2012-02-17 14:55

      he's a bus driver. Prop job. Still intraining on cessna's. Nothing speshul.

      Gerhard - 2012-02-17 16:54

      Zuma is too worried they bomb the Union Buildings

  • chris.piro2 - 2012-02-17 15:00

    Some of the youngsters they still have a childish minds , where on earth a person can borrow an aircraft ?

      Kala - 2012-02-17 15:12

      Clearly from the SAAF. I'm sure on ecould borrow a submarine from the Navy. Hell our defence force is in such tatters there might even be guys borrowing the new SAAB fighter jet.

      Sharon - 2012-02-17 16:16

      @ Kala - I don't think anyone will be "borrowing" a sub any time soon - read article!

  • Layton Beukes - 2012-02-17 15:30

    not surprising at all!!!! welcome to the land of milk and honey

  • Mart - 2012-02-17 16:13

    Such ill discipline within the armed forces must be crushed. There cannot be any mitigatiing circumstances for this action by this pilot.....court marshalled, stripped of wings, fired and sentenced to serve time in a military detention barracks is my call.

  • Jobho - 2012-02-17 16:22

    This dude pulled a great stunt I envy him. He is now number 1 on my Hero's list the previous number 1 was a guy who stole a train locomotive in Zimbabwe and was caught trying to sell it in Zambia. Welcome to Africa land of possibilities

  • jaap.kotze - 2012-02-17 16:37

    Hi Chommmy! Leen my jou plain, ek se!

  • Jannie - 2012-03-08 08:04

    Maybe our journo does not know the difference between a 172 and a microlight

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