Thursday, August 22

Captain Dino Bisleti

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captain-dino-bisletiAirkenya General Manager, Captain Dino Bisleti, was counting cattle when he realised he wanted to fly…

What got you into flying? I started flying as a passenger with a friend of mine in a Cherokee 235 and we were counting cattle. He was flying and I was in the right seat checking the various herds of cattle that we would count, this was around Suswa, Kenya. Very often he gave me the controls so he could look out of his window as well. It was great fun and I decided aviation was what I wanted to do in life, I went to Miami, Florida where I learnt to fly.

And after learning to fly? I came back to Kenya and I started flying commercially with Boskovic Air Charters in Kenya. After flying with Bosky’s for 4 years, I went back to Florida to do my Airline Transport Licence (ATPL), and whilst I was in Florida attaining my ATPL, Alitalia called me for an interview. I flew from Florida directly to Rome. I got hired and flew a DC10-30 for a year and a half. I realised long haul flying was not for me and I came back to Kenya and returned to Bosky’s. I flew for them until 1985 when I was hired by Airkenya /Sunbird.

What was your first job at Airkenya? I joined Airkenya as Chief Pilot.

What aircraft do you fly now? Dehavilland Dash 7 and Dash 8

What is your earliest memory of Airkenya? The difficulties of merging two Airlines together, two sets of different crews, different ways of doing things, but I managed! Sunbird was the first ever scheduled operator into the Masai Mara. At that time Airkenya/Sunbird operated DC3 aircraft, I have fond memories of the DC3s: these aircraft played a major role in WWII, transporting allied troops throughout the war. So in 1985, this was still an incredible machine, operating into the Mara on scheduled passenger service. We then were the only operator with big aircraft that made us different from the other operators! We had two DC3s at the time.

dc3Any fond memory that sticks out for you? It has to be when we parked the DC3 right next to a Concord at JKIA. The passengers were on a round-the-world tour; they disembarked the Concord and boarded the DC3( pictured on the right). The old and the supersonic, such an experience!

Who had the greatest influence on you during your childhood? My Uncle, who I visited several times when I was still living in Rome, he convinced me in 1970 to settle in Kenya.

What do you enjoy reading? I love Science fiction and enjoy reading anything to do with past civilizations, particularly the Roman Empire.

What music do you enjoy listening to? Classical music. I especially love Vivaldi and Albinoni. I also enjoy Jimmy Hendricks, Santana, Pink Floyd and naturally the Beatles my favourite!

How did you meet your wife? I met her in Naivasha, across the Malewa river! We had a farm on one side of the river and her family had one on the other side.

Do you have children? Yes, one son.

If you could be or do anything else – what would it be? A medical practitioner, a surgeon.

If you could have dinner with five famous people past or current, who would they be? Queen Elizabeth, Benito Mussolini, Nelson Mandela, US President Thomas Jefferson and Mao Tsung.

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Cool….as in level headed.

One word your friends use to describe you? The guy with a good sense of Humour!

What are you most proud of? My family

One thing about you few people know? I love dark chocolate and play classical guitar.

Do you talk about religion or politics? I try to avoid both subjects!

What do you like most about your job? The challenges of being GM and the fact that I can still fly my favourite planes.

What do you like least? When we have flight delays and passenger complaints.

What has been the happiest day of your life? The day my son was born.

What would your advice be to anyone wanting to be a Pilot? To choose a good flying school and be totally dedicated to flying.

Which is your favourite Airkenya destination? The Masai Mara, every time you fly into the Masai Mara it’s a different and wonderful experience

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