Gono flies high

HARARE - Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono is taking flying lessons at the King George VI (KG6) army headquarters in Harare, fuelling speculation that he could be contemplating buying himself a private jet.
It is highly unusual for the army or the airforce to permit non-milita

ry individuals to use its equipment to learn how to fly. A number of flying clubs exist in Zimbabwe who offer lessons to private individuals.
According to sources, Gono has over the past few months been taking “cockpit tests” in a flight simulator and has already been issued with a Student Pilot’s Licence (SPL). Chief Flying Instructor Capt Muzenda was said to be taking Gono through the lessons.
The governor has been taking the lessons on Saturdays and has completed the paper work for the grant of a SPL licence as well as a Flight Radio Telephonic Operator’s Licence, sources said.
Gono has however not been cleared by his instructor for flying and is currently taking simulation flights at KG6.
Airforce spokesman Flight Lieutenant Matimgwina was unavailable for comment.
But Gono has also applied for a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL), which air force sources described as the “prime commodity in the airline world.”
The Zimbabwean heard that with a CPL, the pilot could fly “charter flights.”
Pilots possessing a CPL are usually taken as co-pilots on such flights directly after completing their course with a flying club.
Repeated efforts to obtain comment directly from the central bank chief were fruitless.
Gono is arguably one of the richest technocrats in Zimbabwe. Over the past few months he has been quietly beefing up his security and of late has been driving around in a motorcade that comprises outriders and a bullet-proof stretch black Mercedes Benz. RBZ sources said the governor had recently placed an order for two black Hummers – a fuel-guzzling, American-made civilian version of the military Humvee 4×4 vehicle, which is standard issue to American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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