The Old Diocesan Issue5 Mar2020 - Page 35



PILOTS
Mike Bosman (1978O)
Richard Newton (1972F)
Mike Bosman, previous chair of the College Council, has been flying for more
than 40 years, and has previously teamed up with fellow OD pilots Paul Weich
and Graham Back to provide job-shadow experiences for Bishops boys.
In Richard Newton’s youth, Sunday
mornings were flying mornings: all
the boys in the family would head
to the field to battle the elements
with radio-controlled aircraft.
“I learnt the basics of flying at the UCT Flying Club in 1979, before spending
time in the South African Air Force as a National Serviceman and later Captain
at 110 Squadron at Ysterplaat. Back then, I flew Citation II jets. Today, I hold a
US and a South African airline pilot’s licence, and I fly both jets and helicopters
commercially – and, occasionally, for a bit of adventure!
“Between 1990 and 1996, I represented South Africa at several international
flying competitions. I was also awarded Protea colours and the Gold Wings
of the Aero Club of South Africa.
“Some of the most thrilling flying I’ve done has involved trips to Europe
and across the North Atlantic, to New York and Vancouver, in relatively small
aircraft. I’ve also flown helicopters at pretty high altitudes – about 18,500 feet
– above Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
“I have been fortunate to often fly an Airbus H125 helicopter (previously
known as a Squirrel B3) and a Learjet 45. I regard those as two of the most
amazing aircraft to fly, from a pilot’s point of view. They are sensational. I don’t
have many remaining flying ambitions, but I would love to fly a Spitfire one day,
or a Gipsy Moth biplane, the type of aircraft used in the Out of Africa movie.
“There are those who enjoy being pilots and those who enjoy flying; they
are completely different individuals. I definitely fall into the latter category. The
sense of freedom one gets from flying, outside of commercial and scheduled
operations, is incredible. In many ways, flying has been a parallel career to my
primary business career, and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have
found time to do both.
“For those at SAA, the situation is a disaster, and so completely unnecessary.
I feel desperately sorry for the pilots at the airline because they are among the
best in the world – they don’t deserve the uncertainty and mismanagement
they have been subjected to.”
“The idea of becoming a pilot was
always in the back of my mind, but
it never seemed possible. Only once
I got to UCT, joined the Flying Club
and started to work towards a private
pilot’s licence did I realise that, above
all, flying was what I wanted to do
as a career. I ditched university and
joined the South African Air Force
(SAAF) – and by mid-1977, having
trained on Harvards and Impalas,
I had earned my SAAF wings.
“My plan was always to fly
for a commercial airline, so after
completing my airline transport
pilot’s licence, I applied to SAA,
where I ended up spending 35 happy
years. I initially flew Boeing 737s
and 747s, then the Airbus A300,
A320, A330 and A340 aircraft.
“A few years before my retirement,
I started constructing an RV-7 kit
aircraft. It’s a two-seater, low-wing
monoplane with aerobatic capabilities,
and it first flew in 2015, after almost
five years of building. Now that I’m
retired, I keep myself busy flying
and maintaining this aircraft. I’m
also halfway through another build
– an RV-14 (below), which is a slightly
larger version of the RV-7.”
Mike Bosman with daughter Lisa, also a helicopter pilot.
THE OLD DIOCESAN | 33





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