Download Sport Guide
Arts & Entertainment
Download TV Guide
Submit an Event
The Jolly Lama
Those Camera Guys
Inspirasie viri Nasie
Life in the Slow Lane
Looking for a Car?
Local flight training academy soars
Heading the AIFA Flight Training Academy in George is, from left CEO Willie Marais, Tobie du Toit Head of Training, Westley Blom - deputy Chief Flight Training, Buks Hugo - Chief Flight Instructor and Cassie Nel - Base Manager.
SOUTHERN CAPE NEWS - The flight training academies in George and Oudtshoorn annually train 160 pilots using the very best flight instructors, top of the range equipment and the latest aircraft.
The current intake of cadets is 80 for Oudtshoorn and 80 for George per year, but it is foreseen that it will increase to 400 per year by 2015, spread over 5 bases in the South Western Cape. By 2017 the investment by the holding company, AVIC-International Flight Training Academy (Pty) Limited (AIFA), is expected to reach R400-million.
One of the first things young Chinese cadets at AIFA are introduced to is a traditional South African braai and all its customary hospitality intricacies. This is because the CEO Willem Marais believes that the cadets must become fully integrated into South Africa, its customs and traditions to feel at home.
AIFA has currently two Flight Training Academies - one in George (the first to be established) and one in Oudtshoorn, with a third to be established in the South Western Cape in the near future.
At the cadets' living quarters (rented homes in George and Oudtshoorn), the students are made to feel at home with a boarding school mother or father, a cook and cleaning staff in attendance. Because their flight training course is so intensive and all-consuming (56 weeks) cadets need to focus on home study work without any distractions.
In their holidays they are taken on outings to nearby attractions along the Garden Route. Highlights are outings over weekends to the beach and to the Garden Route Mall. Cycling and road running are some of the physical activities in George, and in Oudtshoorn a basketball court was built at a local school, where cadets and school kids can enjoy joint games. A court is to be built in George for the same purpose.
Marais, a former SA Airforce pilot with a passion for flying, is thrilled to be creating a pocket of excellence, where precision and a proud training tradition is being maintained: "We are the only flight training academy with international accreditation (with ATO) in South Africa, with facilities that include the latest technology, simulators, and a fleet of aircraft that has Piper Warriors and Cessna 172s."
Academy staff members were mostly recruited from George and environs, with the exception of Marais, who was only too glad to exchange his Midrand living for the Garden Route. "I have spent a lot of time in Oudtshoorn to get the Academy up and running, but never gave up my George office. Where else will you get this sort of view?" he asked, nodding in the direction of his window which faces the George Airport runway.
Marais is not the only former SA Airforce pilot. Tobie du Toit who heads training also has a wealth of experience with the Airforce as well as Cassie Nel, Base Manager (also an Airforce pilot). The rest of the team comprises of Buks Hugo, Chief Flying Instructor and Westley Blom, Deputy Chief Flying Instructor. Between them, the team has several decades of flying experience including flying fixed wings and helicopters.
Refilwe Ledwaba (left), a qualified helicopter pilot with the SAPS is currently getting flying instruction from Claire Wienand AIFA flight instructor.
ARTICLE: PAULINE LOURENS, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALIST
06:00 (GMT+2), Thu, 10 January 2013
you will be directed to the registration page. Once you have completed the registration process, please return to this page.
Latest Business News
Zero-water technology to roll out in Mossel Bay
De Jagers al vier jaar in die Baai
Leaving alliance will divide unions: Nzimande
10th 5-star Platter rating for De Krans
Lloyd's Banking Group says to cut 9 000 jobs
More Business News >
Police close off roads outside City Hall
ANC denies it is broke
ANC emotional about gun laws: Afriforum
Parachutist rescued from Missouri TV tower
4 killed in Van Reenen's Pass crash
More News >
New Zealand Dollar
Get your free daily horoscope + free daily forecast below.
Choose your zodiac sign:
March 21 - April 19
September 23 - October 22
April 20 - May 20
October 23 - November 21
May 21 - June 20
November 22 - December 21
June 21 - July 22
December 22 - January 19
July 23 - August 22
January 20 - February 18
August 23 - September 22
February 19 - March 20
In future Detroit, USA, abandoned brick apartment buildings from better...
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
This family comedy follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander (Dylan...
Dolphin Tale 2
The November Man
Former CIA operative Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is brought back...
More Movie Trailers >
Air hockey is one of everyone's favorite challenges! Represent your...
Mini Pool 3
This is the most advanced edition of the popular online version of Pool...
In this Digital Domino Game all the rules are the same as the real game....
The classic mind-wracking math puzzle game is now online! With a brad new...
More Games >
Are you satisfied with the service delivery you get from businesses in Mossel Bay?
YES: As a local customer, I feel that I get the same treatment as holiday-goers and that the service delivery standard is up to scratch.
NO: Because I am a local customer, businesses tend to take me for granted. The service delivery is not up to par comparing to the standard of bigger cities.
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 29 and 53.
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 39 and 52.
View more profiles...
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 45.
View more profiles...
Copyright © 2014 Group Editors Co PTY Ltd t/a Mossel Bay Advertiser