Fiji Time: 12:50 AM on Saturday 24 March

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Archives » Article Index

Flight instructor recounts flying stints with trainee

Repeka Nasiko
Friday, March 02, 2018

FORMER Pacific Flying School instructor and Air Vanuatu pilot David Dakuitoga remembers the day 21-year-old Merelesita Lutu completed her first solo flight like it was yesterday.

He said the girl from Nagigi, Savusavu, was eager to attempt her first solo flight, which he had overseen as a flight instructor for the pilot trainee.

"I remember I had failed her on her first attempt and I saw the sadness in her eyes, but I knew I made the right decision because I wanted her to be perfect," he said.

"On her second attempt, we took the same route, we did the 300 nautical mile north check which was the same route she took with Iliesa.

"What hurts even more is that we used the same aircraft for her solo flight check on that day.

"I remember when we came back, she was so happy that she jumped up and made a call straight to her family telling them that she did it.

"For every aviator, completing your first solo flight is something that you will always remember. For her, I knew it was a very special day."

He said the trainee pilot was a relative of his wife, which made their bond even more special.

"I knew that she was coming to PFS even before she started her classes.

"But when we finally met, I made sure to tell her that our family link would not get in the way of my role as the instructor.

"If I knew she was lagging behind, I would push her and make sure that she improved. I knew she had the potential to be a great aviator."

Mr Dakuitoga said he could not believe that Mere and his former colleague Iliesa Tawalo were gone.

"I was really hurt when I heard the news because I knew them both. I kept telling the guys at work that I would not be able to fly any time soon. This tragedy has really affected me personally."

He said all PFS students and instructors would be feeling the loss.

"I think now more than ever we are feeling the pain. It's hard to describe just how this loss has affected us.

"Every student, every instructor, every pilot and everyone in the aviation industry is in mourning."

Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.64290.6239
JPY 52.917249.9172
GBP 0.35110.3431
EUR 0.40370.3917
NZD 0.69480.6618
AUD 0.64820.6232
USD 0.49830.4813



Exchange Rate updated on 23th, March, 2018

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Set academic goals achieved
  2. Teacher 'abused'
  3. Student queries A-G on expats
  4. PM: Take warnings seriously
  5. 7s return
  6. Marist 7s: Tuvalu recruits Fijians
  7. Suspects arrested for robbery caught on video
  8. Tabadamu chases fourth Marist title
  9. No universal vaccine
  10. Good news for fishers

Top Stories this Week

  1. Meningococcal disease outbreak Tuesday (20 Mar)
  2. 'Forced to go' Saturday (17 Mar)
  3. Doctors speak out Sunday (18 Mar)
  4. No desk for this girl Monday (19 Mar)
  5. Where are our horses Sunday (18 Mar)
  6. 12 dead by disease Tuesday (20 Mar)
  7. Police appeal to livestock owners Monday (19 Mar)
  8. Teacher reports male student in washroom for girls Tuesday (20 Mar)
  9. Speaker orders Nawaikula to withdraw accusation Saturday (17 Mar)
  10. SGS junior has fastest 100m time Wednesday (21 Mar)