The Old Diocesan Issue5 Mar2020 - Page 31

Last issue we celebrated two
heroic fighter pilots of World War II.
Now we ask current OD pilots – who
fly without the world at stake, though
several do so at SAA – to tell us what
drew them into the air
Paul Weich (1991B)
Paul Weich always knew he wanted to fly
– and no amount of school career guidance
could change his mind. Now, after nearly
22 years and more than 18,500 hours of
flying time, he hopes to get his upgrade
to the super-modern Airbus A350-900.
“After matriculating, I trained for a private
and commercial pilot’s licence at the Cape
Aero Club at Cape Town International Airport,
learning to fly on small Cessna 152s and 172s.
When I obtained the licence in 1994, a
gentleman called Bruce Johnstone (1977O)
happened to call the flight school, looking
for pilots for his company, Rossair Contracts.
My interview was cut short when he heard
I had gone to Bishops. He was an OD as well!
“I gained amazing experience flying
King Air 200s and 1900s as well as Twin
Otters for Rossair, subcontracted to the
Red Cross in Angola, Rwanda, Afghanistan
and Pakistan. Afghanistan involved some
of the most challenging flying of my life,
at a time when the Taliban were taking
control of the country.
“In 1998, I was employed by the national
carrier. The jump from a King Air to the
Boeing 747-200 was a big one. In 2004,
I commenced my co-pilot conversion to
the Airbus A340, and flew the aircraft for
nearly nine years. In 2013, I got my upgrade
to captain, and trained on the Airbus A320,
which I have since flown on domestic and
regional routes.
“I am involved in the Bishops mentorship
programme, which I find very rewarding.
In 2017, I teamed up with Mike Bosman and
Captain Grant Back [see following pages]
to fly nine boys to OR Tambo International
for an aviation day. Mike flew the boys to
Johannesburg in his Learjet 45; Grant and
I flew them back to Cape Town in the cockpit
of two SAA A320s. In September 2019,
I took another two boys to Johannesburg
as part of a job-shadow experience. After
landing, they tried out the Airbus A330
simulator, and both managed a successful
take-off and landing.
“Very few careers are also a passion.
Flying certainly qualifies. I would not
change my job for anything.”

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