Meet our team ... soaring the AMS skies for 16 years

  • Dave Solomon

Our staff member who is featured today is from the second largest city and capital of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. Dave Solomon, Fixed Wing Pilot at the AMS King Shaka base has been soaring the skies with AMS for 16 years.  A man of many talents which includes motor-racing and a professional cook now flies to the far flung areas of KwaZulu-Natal to bring specialists to rural hospitals to provide appropriate and effective healthcare to the community. Here’s a look into Dave’s world …

Tell us about yourself: “I was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg which was a unique and an exceptional place to grow up. I attended Merchiston and Alexandra High School which was followed by a brief stint at Varsity (which was not for me). This lead to working for Honda as a junior mechanic before I enrolled as an apprentice tool and die maker at the Railways. These were good days as I was also very involved in motor cross racing, a smashed up knee stopped that and lead to me commencing flying lessons. This started as a hobby and kind of took over”.

Did you always wanted to be a pilot? “Not really. My original intention was to become a mechanical engineer, but I guess the love of flying soon changed that.”

Were you in any other trade other than aviation before?  “Yes, I was a motorcycle mechanic, a toolmaker in the last days of steam locos and ended up making stove switches at Oak Industries.  This definitely had an influence on my decision to become a pilot.”

How did your career start in the aero-medical field? “I was impressed by seeing the AMS aircraft operation in and out of Pietermaritzburg and when a position became available I applied.”

What do you enjoy most about your job? “Flying a PC12 and the warm fuzzy feeling of doing something good.”

What's the best/worst thing to happen since you started for AMS? “The best was the skulduggery by Kogie and Yolanda which lead to my marriage to Rene. The worst was the uncertainty surrounding our contractual situation in KZN.”

What do you do in your spare time? “At present we love camping and exploring our country.  We look for beaches, wild animals, historic motor races and museums and collections of old stuff.”

What is the one thing about you few people know? “I am qualified as a chef.”

What is on your bedside table? “A picture of my wife, a magnifying lamp and a bowl of odds and ends. And hopefully coffee as I wake up.”

If you could have dinner with five famous people from history, who would they be? “Very interesting.  No politicians, no vegetarians. Since it would be a dinner party it would have to be entertaining so I would choose Barry Sheen, James Hunt, Prof Syd Watkins, Valentino Rossi and Murry Walker - all from the motor racing world.”

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be? “Supreme dictator.”

What would you want if you were stranded on a deserted island? “My wife and a jet ski with petrol.”

What is your greatest indulgence? “Coke”

What is the one thing, you can’t live without? “Coke”

If money was no object, what would you do all day? “Build and race historic sports cars.”

What is the habit you are proudest of breaking or want to break? “Sleeping until all danger of frost is passed.”

Best piece of advice anyone ever gave you? “If you ever have an opportunity to meet your idol….. don’t, you will be disappointed” (Jeremy Clarkson).