Thanks so much for the very kind words from so many people:
@Bearcat: I remember the flight with you very well. Schalk flew into Tintswalo and I flew out. I still have the picture you took from the centre seat at the back as we took off over the polo field. Would love to hear the 'side story' when you're ready.
@Fransw: I didn't even know there was something called a 'moderator's choice', but thanks for the nomination.
@Burner: Good to hear your recollection of RZZ and yes, she's sleek and beautiful. She worked all over the place before we gave her a good home in 2009: in the Cape, Vic Falls, KZN on surf rescue, and she even flew over the channel to Madagascar from Mozambique for use during the elections.
@Ugly Duckling: Very sorry about your Dad but what a career and clearly the passion lives on through you. I was asked by a couple of friends if my decision was AME initiated but I think I'm in better health than when I started flying helicopters.
@ Jean Crous: And I hope you fly for another 30 years. If we're the same age (and in the same shape) then you're young and healthy.
@Stephen Robertson: Thank you my boy for your words. In your 21st birthday video I inserted your little voice saying as a helicopter flew over our house, "Daddy, will you take me in one of those one day." You were about 2 years old and boy did you not have the love of flying. With 7 kids in total thank goodness you were the only one.
@cage: Thanks for the words and friendship.
@V5-LEO: Wow indeed. What wonderful words from someone whose posts I have enjoyed (and will continue to) so much over the years.
@Jim Davis: Next project is relocating our large family to New Zealand at the end of the year. We have 7 kids in total (eldest 25, youngest 5 - so yes, flying hasn't been my only passion
), and 4 of them are right at or just reached university age and we have decided to put them through university in NZ. The eldest two will stay here for now. Having a 'laat-lammetjie' who will be Class of 2035 does give you a different long term perspective. We are 70% through completion of a home that we are building just north of Auckland and I see the relocation as an exciting adventure to the Land of The Long White Cloud.
@ Spoke Eagle: Thanks so much and I'm not sure how to reply. But if you think I am then I guess I am.
@Whirly: I already miss flying but I also miss other things in life too - just not enough. I hope that when your day comes, Whirly, it is on your terms - in many, many years and after more amazing memories.
@csparksfly: Very kind, Craig (with the coolest name on Avcom), and I loved flying and hanging with you. That was a great afternoon.
@apollo11: I remember how well you flew the first time you went 'hands on' and I have always enjoyed the friendship albeit from afar. Like you, I've thought about getting a kickass simulator and have already acquired a brilliantly handmade cyclic - collective combination from Charl Hartman (083 292 2857) who manufactures these to order. I'd love one of those pro helicopter simulators like the ones I've flown at Hover Dynamics and the old Alpine Aviation but sheez, they're pretty expensive things. I recall you thinking about hanging it up a few years, Perry, and glad to see you've kept it going. With your incredible experience and deep interest in aviation (Tiger Moth trips, seaplanes in Canada, etc.), intellect, and writing ability, I've often thought you should write a book, startup a 'Pilot Yellow' type You Tube channel, or become an aviation columnist.
@Golf Tango: I am just not sure how to respond. You are a consummate gentleman, an inspired aviator, and as someone that know what drives you (which I am honoured to know), I am privileged to call you a friend. I'll be waiting for you to come visit in New Zealand. You have an address there.
Everyone: thanks for your kind comments and wishes. It felt good to share my little story and hopefully it resonates with many of you for obvious reasons. If there's anything I wish for everyone that flies is that they get to create the memories I did and are able to end it on their terms.
Many, many safe years of safe, exciting, and wonderful aviation to you all.