Tourism chopper operator is a businessman with vision

Soweto tourism entrepreneur Wiseman Ntombela flies visitors in choppers.
Soweto tourism entrepreneur Wiseman Ntombela flies visitors in choppers.

The sky is the limit for Wiseman Ntombela, the founder and managing director of FlySAWise, which flies tourists around the country, giving them a bird's eye view of SA.

The aviation business, which derives its name from Ntombela's first name, was established over two years ago.

Ntombela, a father of two, who lives in Diepkloof Extension, Soweto, said he has always been fascinated by flying and that is the reason his work involves showing people the country from a chopper.

"When tourists, both from outside and locally, want to visit the Mandela house in Soweto, they already have an image in their minds of how the house looks like, because of the high profileperson Mandela was.

"They expect to see a mansion but what they find is the opposite.

"I then offer them an alternative, to see the house and the rest of Soweto, using the bird's eye view. It has come to our realisation that Mandela's grave might become a heritage site, so we fly tourists to Qunu, where the late former president was born."

The business does not only involve giving tourists an opportunity to experience Soweto and other destinations from above but also introduces youngsters to careers in aviation, such as being a engineer fixing aeroplanes, a pilot, aviation lawyer and air hostessing.

" We have a basket of aviation careers that youngsters could be interested in. We know we cannot influence all the pupils at one school but maybe some of them could decide to get into aviation. After all, aviation does not start and end with being a pilot, there are many other career opportunities."

The business also provides day charters, lodge transfers, and venues for corporate meetings, weddings and parties.

Ntombela, 57, is not a pilot but working for a number of marketing companies has made him a man with vision.

FlySAWise leases the choppers from different companies. "To ensure safety, we enlist qualified pilots and reputable operators. We don't use 'fly by night' owners."

Ntombela charges from R250 per person to fly over Soweto.

While touring, visitors are live-streamed and then sent a link via WhatsApp to share with friends and families back home. ". we are taking South Africa to the world and bringing the world to South Africa with the use of technology."