In 2019, at the awesome Women in the Outdoors weekend, I won a free intro flight with Frost Aviation. I finally got to go on my flight in 2020, around my birthday, and it was AWESOME!
I’ve wanted to fly since I was a little girl, and it was a moment so intense when I got up there that I teared up.
I took off, I landed, I did turns and flew right over my home. It was incredible. I was keen to start the process of getting my pilot’s license. My husband said he would support me 100%, and he offered a portion of his GI bill to cover my initial costs, as, for some odd reason, all the sponsorships and grants only offer you money if you are going for a commercial license. So you are on your own for that first step.
Due to being a “foreigner” you have to jump through some extra hoops since 9/11 to even start with the pilot license process: Extra ID validation and verification, extra costs, and, finally, fingerprinting and background checks through the FBI and the TSA. I did the fingerprints yesterday, in El Paso, and it was such a simple, easy process. I am always nervous when doing anything that involves documentation and bureaucracy, thanks to my experience in my own country, but this was over in minutes and they even allowed me to go in early. I arrived an hour early, as we slightly miscalculated the time it would take and I made my appointment for 11 AM. The young man who helped me was VERY curious about it all, as he said they don’t get many foreign pilots coming through there, and he had never seen a South African passport, or met any South Africans before. He was quite intrigued by my accent as well.
And now, I wait. Denise, the lady who has been SO helpful with this whole thing, was very excited to hear that I would be starting to fly soon!