A few very close shaves ……..

AeroplaneDear Alec

Your site is brilliant. Keep it coming.

An integral part of my career in the Chemical Engineering Project Management sector in the 60s through to the 90s was flying as a passenger all over in Southern Africa and in North America, in small to medium sized corporate aircraft, plus many flights in commercial airliners operated by the more dubious African airlines. The many flights in the bigger, more organised airline flights had their minor moments of fright, irritation and boredom, but the smaller corporate aircraft provided the ultimate pleasure and terror.

As a person who grew up in a post WW2 flying family(father in SAAF based at Roberts Heights……..ha, who remembers that evocative name?) and an Uncle who was in the Western Desert with the RAF, my heroes as a boy were Sailor Malan, Leonard Cheshire, my RAF Uncle and anybody who had flown a Spitty or a Mosquito in WW2 .

Hugh Kelly, a beloved and much admired legend of Port Alfred, taught me the rudiments of flying, and the bug has remained with me for life. The corporate flying taught me to appreciate the wonders and recognize the terrors lurking in the clouds, in bad weather in particular.

A few very close shaves sharpened my already(like you) sense of spirituality, and observance of how fellow passengers react in tight situations, was a fascinating study. I had the habit of retreating into a deep, introspective reflective study of sheer terror, masked by feigned nonchalance. One of the ways I developed my protective carapace was to study air crashes. I still do. The number of light aircraft crashes in Southern Africa in recent years is horrifying, and the regulatory bungling is even more alarming.

The best we can do is select your airline/charter operator as carefully as you can, and look deep into one’s spiritual opportunity and attitude.


Gavin Fernie

[email protected]

(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)