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In the last edition of Hangar Talk XPress we reported on Nkululeku Basela (Freedom) and his ambition to fly. Since we last reported Freedom has made a lot of progress and completed two more PPL subjects advancing well past the schedule that was originally set for him. Finally, the big day of his first flight arrived and it is best if Freedom conveys the experience in his own words.

FIRST FLIGHT… Captain. In the making

“Friedrich Oblessor once said that, “the fascination of flight can’t be expressed with words, but it really lies beyond the capabilities of human endeavour. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll never be able to forget it”.

My journey to my first flight was not an easy one, it was filled with a lot of triumphs and a lot of failures, but I knew from the first place that this journey that I am about to embark on was not going to be an easy one and with all the good strong support systems that I have both at home and work, I very much understood that it was my responsibility and mine alone to make it all possible.

When I was given the challenge to pass my first three subject exams in order for my flight training to commence I knew and understood that for me to win the public victory, I first needed to win the private victory. That is to believe that I will do it, and see it in myself before anyone else can see it in me.

It was on the 25th of the September 2018 when it happened, my first flight, in a stunning Cessna 152 with the registration ZS – KSL. I remember the morning of that day like it was yesterday, I woke up with a smile on my face. The thought of having my first flight and being behind the controls filled my heart with so much joy, I just couldn’t believe that this day had finally come.

Not only was I excited about the flying, but the fear of doing something completely new, also kicked in. Nevertheless, I didn’t let it get the better of me, I made it a point that I was in charge of my feelings at all times and it was so. The support I got from my colleagues was incredible, Mr Stefan, Anne, Amanda, Thato, Yolandie and Lizzy, I really do appreciate them.

I felt so privileged when I found out that my instructor would be the one and only Captain Shane Cade, one of the best and most respected pilots in Southern Africa. He made my first flight one to remember for ages and for that I will forever be grateful. Cruising at 5500 feet in the Magalies general flying area in the Cessna 152 felt so good, I can’t compare that feeling to anything else in the world, it felt so blissful. My most prized possession is the day my dream came true and my vision became reality, the view from the cockpit of a Cessna 152 forever imprinted in my heart and memory.

I really thank everyone who is involved in my training, it makes such a huge difference to have people that believe in my vision and dream. It’s not every day that one finds people that supports and believes in his/her dreams and that to me is not only a privilege but a blessing. I thank you all.

Captain in the making, signing out.”

Freedom is working towards going solo before Christmas and we are looking forward in sharing that achievement. What a way to end the year!