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She loves flying airplanes

EXCITING LIFE: Nonhlanhla Radebe
EXCITING LIFE: Nonhlanhla Radebe

MPHO Sibanyoni speaks to Nonhlanhla Radebe, who is the co-founder of Vukani Aviation and who is also a pilot for SA Airlink.

What inspired you to become a pilot?

NR: I grew up in a township where I could see the Durban International Airport for years. I wanted to do something different and exciting with my life. I simply and madly fell in love with everything about aviation.

What does your job entail?

NR: My job is about planning, flying planes, a lot of paper work, calculations and the application of science,technical theory, aviation law and meteorology.

What are the challenges in your job?

NR: Challenges are minimal, but the biggest one is that there are many variables. Weather, technical issues, crew changes, delays, passengers and safety concerns. All of these can make your day very long and very interesting.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

NR: The flying. I love planes and to be inside them. I also enjoy the perks of travelling and experiencing different people in different ways all the time.

Your job involves a lot of travelling, so how do you balance work and personal life?

NR: Most of the people in my life understand that flying and my work are my passion. I have a lot of support. Making time for my personal life is not an issue because with the hours I work, everything just falls into place.

What qualifications do you need for your job?

NR: To fly for remuneration, you need a commercial pilot's licence. This is the minimum licence required to fly in charter companies or airlines. You can upgrade this to an airline pilot's licence if you want to be a captain.

Where did you qualify?

NR: At 43 Air School in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape.

How long did it take to qualify?

NR: One year and eight months

What kind of characteristics do you need to be a pilot?

NR: Patience, persistence, passion and professionalism. These four P's drive me and are key to keep me on the right path in my career.

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