Xolisa Diko, Tambo
I am a 32 and started my career in flying helicopters in 2012 and achieved my private pilot’s license to fly helicopters in 2013.
In 2014 I commenced my Commercial Pilot License (CPL) but due to a lack of finances I ended up doing my CPL for two years (2014-2016).
My journey was not easy at all but I managed to achieve my goal. In aviation things are not easy as people think they are. You can become a commercial pilot but that doesn’t guarantee you to get a job easy in the aviation industry. You need to get more hours in order to have a better chance at getting a job.
As I qualified to be a commercial pilot in 2016, I am only a freelance pilot and do not have a permanent job. This affects me financially because I need money to renew my licence every year.
But it doesn’t end up there. The issue of building hours just kills me.
To get a job, you need a minimum number of hours in an operation, and some insurance companies have their own minimum number of hours for pilots to be covered when they fly certain aircraft and in case of accidents.
When I was studying to fly helicopters and to get my commercial pilot’s licence, I didn’t get a bursary, but did get help from a local businessman and local farmers and I managed to achieve my goal.
Today I decided to express how I feel about building my hours and pay my yearly renewal.
This industry is very difficult if you go solo. I have asked for help from the Premier’s office and even the Department of Transport and I wouldn’t mind even they can sponsor me with three or five hours monthly in order to achieve my goals because I do not have permanent job as pilot.
It’s even worse now during this Covid- 19 pandemic.
To add up more the issue of hour building does not affect only black pilot but it affects all fresh commercial pilots. I believe that the involvement of provincial government and local government will help us as youth to develop more pilots in this province.
Furthermore its very painful to lose such a huge skill just because of lack of money to build hours and pay renewals. Any help at this stage is needed and will help me to fly further and higher. I am currently busy with instructor’s course which I think will help me to qualify as helicopter instructor but its not easy for me to pay for my fees. Any help is appreciated from anyone.