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Monday, July 26, 2010

"Pie" in the Sky - South African Pilot Flies all over Africa

Those who know Amy "Pie" Shaw are not sure what she enjoys more, flying aircraft or jumping out of flying aircraft. Or off perfectly stable bridges for that matter. It seems she absolutely loves to scare the bejesus out of the rest of us mortals.

This almost two-meter tall long-legged bundle of energy was born in Port Elizabeth and as if two meters was not far enough off the ground she increased that to horse height and took part in, and this is a little complicated, a lot of horse riding stuff. What I know for sure is that she was the Eastern Province champion for eventing, showjumping and equitation in 2003 and was the reserve champion for dressage that year. Fact is she could ride horses very well and even rode other people's horses so well they gave her another trophy for that. They however did not give her a trophy for jumping her horse over a "bakkie" (pick-up truck for the Americans) that same year. Unfortunately the rest of the horse trophy stuff list is so long I am going to have to skip that.

It seems however that Amy preferred sky-diving and flying and used her skills at horse riding to train other horses and people to make money to pay for her pilot training. Today she is a pilot flying for Air-Tec who, fortunately for Amy, sends her off five weeks at a time to fly planes for organisations who specialise in operating in places where there is no effective road infrastructure. Currently she happens to find herself flying for the World Food Programme in Chad. She assures me she cannot recall ever noticing anybody shooting at her, but has been stoned once by some of those lovely Chadian men when she mounted a horse in the market and realised the hard way that for a woman to ride astride a horse in Chad is a big no-no.

Amy also assures me the companies she flies for prefer to keep them out of hot situations where the rebels have began to shoot at, well, whatever rebels shoot at. This however did not prevent them from once landing at Goz Beida airfield where one group were preparing to execute another group in some kind of "Desperado" stand-off. In the end it seems like nobody was executed. Amy says what really scared her once was when a Marabou Stork, probably the ugliest bird in Africa, decided it wanted to occupy the same space as their aircraft at the same time in flight. The bird missed their windshield by a very narrow margin, which is fortunate because the momentum which that bird had would have created a mini disaster. Instead it dented the roof panel, killed their electronics, ripped off the HF antenna and dented the vertical stabiliser. Rumour has it that the bird did not make it.

Last I saw Amy had visited Alaska to learn how to fly float planes and as the photo suggests they forgot to tell her to stay in the cockpit. I am seriously jealous as I always wanted to go to Alaska to take photos. To make it worse she insists that it was picture perfect. Not to mention that the reason her nickname is "Pie" is because she loves pie so much and apparently there is a whole lotta pie in America. I for one hopes she gets all the pie she wants. Good luck over there, Amy, and I would have told you to enjoy it, but I suspect I would be wasting my breath.


Anonymous said...

Thats our girl!!!! Did you know that she can sing too!

Anonymous said...

My darling God Child - you never cease to amaze me - WELL DONE!! I always knew you were special.... Much love Carmen

Werner K said...

Well now, the singing thing was kept quiet from me. Wish I had known.

Karin said...

Amy has now added Russia and Spain to her Skydiving Adventures...and a few bridges and buildings in between, notably a certain soccer Stadium !!