Teen ready for take off

FLYING HIGH: Zanell Bester with chief instructor Shane Smith Picture: SUPPLIED.

Reach for the stars, but always keep your eyes on the horizon.”

These are the words young female pilot Zanell Bester, 19, lives by.

Bester, who hails from Kayser’s Beach, said it was when she went to South African Airways (SAA) in Johannesburg while in grade 11 to job shadow Leonie van Schalkwyk in the technical department that she fell in love with flying.

“I got the opportunity to fly their full-motion simulator and I fell in love.

“In my matric year, I started my private pilot license [PPL] at Border Aviation in East London.

“On August 4 this year,  I successfully passed my competency test and became a private pilot,” she said.

“The biggest challenge by far is funding. It is an expensive career path and the hour- building is also expensive.

“There are many companies willing to employ female pilots in SA South Africa once they have done the required qualifications, but many are not willing to invest in the training process. It is also a male-dominated industry, so it’s a challenge for girls to be taken seriously,” she said.

The dedicated youngster said she had has her eyes set on becoming a commercial pilot.

“I love the freedom [of flying] and adventure the most. And I also love the fact  it challenges your mind and body, forcing you to grow as a person,” she said.

“My advice to aspiring pilots is to be true to yourself. Make sure that this is in fact what you want, seeing as it could get quite expensive.

“Work hard, persevere, keep your head down and your wings up. And most of all, when things get tough, do not give up.”said Bester.

Border Aviation Committee member Johan Odendaal said: “We are proud to call Zanell one of our own at the Border Aviation Club. She is a local girl and fitted in perfectly at our club and flight school.

“Completing her PPL in no time with lots of perseverance,  we know she will succeed in completing her commercial pilot’s license, no matter how tough it is.

“She has our support and we are sure the local community’s support too. Zanell has that attitude which is infectious and she never says never. As a club, and friends, we wish her all the best and many hours of safe flying.”


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