Wings of Hope


There are some people who have entered into our Fire Island family, whose stories spark hope and inspiration. One such person is the pilot who flies the Beach 18, bringing our guests to Machangulo, Kruger and Pebane.

Petro Vermeulen began her piloting career in 1996, and despite a scare when she was in a small aircraft crash, she was not deterred from a life of flying planes. She started flying with South African Airlink in 2001, and progressed to the larger Boeings in 2003.

The year the world changed

In 2020, a year that was tough for many of us, Petro’s world came toppling down. She faced no work and no salary, and no hope for the future in her 20-year SAA career. With her confidence at an all-time low, Petro decided to take back control of her life.

After completing an online life coaching course, Petro realised that aviation did not define her. She had other passions that she could pursue, and other doors that she could open. Petro’s love for conservation, mentoring and public speaking was at the forefront of her new goals.

Bringing hope to many

Petro soon established new opportunities for herself, and also helped to expand her family’s business. She has a self-titled coaching and mentoring company and gives motivational talks to groups. Through it, she is uplifting school students, churchgoers and others, with her inspiring stories, and even has a regular inspirational radio talk show.

She also spearheaded a company that preserves SAA pilot legacy, by celebrating their achievements. Her family’s business broadened from just offering flying safaris, to opening an academy, and including cargo services.

Soaring into conservation

One of Petro’s life goals was to get involved in conservation. She found a way to connect aviation with the preservation of our planet and wildlife, through collaborations with projects in Southern Africa. One of the projects she is involved in is Earth Legacy Foundation. Through eco-tourism, travellers have the opportunity to fly out to our project base on Ilha de Fogo, and get hands-on with a variety of projects, including our turtle conservation campaign.

Some wish to just visit our incredible island to absorb the sights of the flora and fauna, and others appreciate scuba diving the untouched reefs, with mind-blowing biodiversity. Whatever our guests desire, Petro, and the rest of the Springbok Classic Air team, is on-hand to offer incredible flights over some of the most spectacular Mozambique scenery, to our remote island.

If you would like to book a private chartered flight to any of our Mozambican properties, please contact Jan:

Share This Post