Free flight gives lucky trio wings

Three East Londoners who had never flown before had an opportunity of to soar above the clouds, thanks to budding local pilot Sipho Mangesi on Saturday.

Last week, Mangesi shared a post on the “What’s Happening in East London” Facebook page urging people who have never flown, to respond and explain why they should be chosen.

“I was looking for three people who have never had the opportunity to fly in an airplane, to go up with me and explore the beautiful coastline. The free flight was intended to give others the experience and joy of flying in a light aircraft,” he said.

One of the lucky entries was Vuyo Mgqolozana, of Mdantsane, who said it was an experience she would never forget.

SPIRITS LIFTED: FLYING HIGH: Relishing in the opportunity to fly for the first time, are, from left, From left: Vuyo Mgqolozana, Michael Kalawe, pilot Sipho Mangesi and Somila Xakayi who had an opportunity to fly for the first time Picture: SUPPLIED

“It was great. We experienced a little turbulence due to the wind, but nothing major. I really had fun and Sipho was more than amazing. I got chosen after I posted my motivation as to why I wanted to be chosen and luckily I got enough likes to put me through,” she said.

Mangesi said he was honoured by the response he got for the initiative.

“I am profoundly grateful and humbled that I was the pilot who had the opportunity to take them on their very first flight. And thank you very much to everyone who took part and I am very grateful to the department of transport for funding my commercial pilot’s licence.”

“As someone coming from a very challenging background and having gone through many hardships at a very young age, I am aware of the challenges and struggles that people go through on a daily basis. Having been to most schools around the Eastern Cape, this time I decided to do something different and give the opportunity of experiencing the joys of flying to the general public,” said the pilot.

He added that the idea of the free flight was also to lift people’s spirits up and to give them hope.

“ I thank the Lord that I am able to practically demonstrate to people that just like an airplane taking off against the wind, your challenges will strengthen you to come out on top – bigger and better,” he said.

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