I'm a Commercial pilot, aged 44, living in a place called "George" on the Southern tip of Africa and have been flying for 25yrs, mostly as a PPL. I have a successful car rental company as well but have always yearned to fly for a living, so in 2000 I knuckled down to the studying, cracked the exams, and then once licenced, applied for and was granted, an non-scheduled air operators certificate. I was now in business to fly for a living!!
My main market is tourism. Flights to the local game areas, and to regional hubs where international passengers can fly in and out. Starting out with singles (I own a Trinidad), then moving up to Senecas, Barons and Aztecs, and finally at the stage of Chieftains and 404s I have experienced most of the flying I always dreamed about. Yes, you don't just sit in an airconditioned cockpit, shout orders and push buttons....you write tickets yourself, meet and greet passengers, load the aircraft personally, file flightplans and refuel, prepare logs, check weather...and then do all the flying, subsequent de-planing of passengers, luggage and then do the billing......! Charter flying is not for sissies!
Besides the incredible people I have met (well.... most of them), the interest includes long distances, wildly varying weather, challenging airstrips (some don't even deserve the name) and general satisfaction at the end of the day that the job has been safely done, with passengers leaving with broad smiles,and you knowing that you were a good ambassador for your country that day.
Safety in my business comes first. I have no qualms in cancelling a flight if the outcome looks doubtful for any reason at all. I am in the business of giving paying clients good value for their money, and guaranteeing a safe passage. If either of these looks dodgy, I would rather resort to a plan B. I may be a (relatively) old pilot ...but I'm definitely not bold!
Any pilot that flies for me has the same attitude.
Good luck in your aviation career! www.sccr.co.za
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