YOUNG Cape Town aviator Ijaaz Sayed, 19, has a private pilot's licence (PPL) and leaves for Pretoria next month to learn how to become a commercial pilot.
Sayed’s dream is to fly relief missions to disaster areas, delivering whatever is needed.
A former pupil at the Cape Academy of Maths, Science and Technology and the Cape Town Flying Club, he received a bursary from the Transport Education Training Authority (Teta), which paid for his private pilot's licence.
He initially worked two part-time jobs to help his parents pay for his studies.
“I'm leaving in the next two to three weeks for Pretoria to work on obtaining my commercial pilot licence (CPL) at Wonderboom Airport.
"I'm hoping in the next five years to be flying for an airline,” he said.
Sayed said he wants to build up his flying hours after completing his CPL by flying relief missions in disaster circumstances, or delivering resources of food, blankets and clothing to such areas.
The CPL course comprises 10 theoretical modules and about 200 flying hours, and will last for about 18 months.
Coming from a disadvantaged background, Sayed began the course in 2013 while in Grade 10 and completed it last month.
The PPL course currently hosts 16 Cape Academy pupils from all over the country. Five of them, aside from Sayed, have also benefited by each receiving a Teta bursary of R100 000.
They are Austen Beukes, Zayyaan Williams, Brad Coutts, Saarah Abrahams and Zaitoonisa Khan.
Sayed is the first among the Teta-sponsored pupils to successfully complete the course through the academy.
Cape Academy teacher and the aviation course's co- ordinator, Yusuf Sadar, said teacher Solly Prinsloo, who is now in the private sector, initiated the PPL course at the school.
The Cape Academy is the only school countrywide offering the aviation course as an extramural subject.
Highlighting that the majority of Cape Academy pupils were from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, he said: “Previously, black children could only dream of becoming a pilot, but nowadays we are making it a reality for children from a disadvantaged background.
“That's why our aviation programme is aimed at providing opportunities for disadvantaged children.
"We get enquiries from around the world to enrol at the aviation course at our school, but presently we are only open to South African citizens.”
His school's community were ecstatic at Sayed’s success in obtaining a pilot's licence.
They were also proud that two of their school's former matriculants – Ricardo Prinsloo and Ronald Davis – also completed the course in 2013 and 2014, paying for it out of their own pockets.