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100 year story: Former SAA pilot still flying high

Howett appeared in the newspaper after she was accepted as the first woman pilot at SAA.

Former Benonian Brenda Howett appeared in the City Times in May 1988, and in celebration of the City Times centenary, she shared what her life has been like since her article was published.

Howett appeared in the newspaper after she was accepted as the first woman pilot at SAA.

In her initial article, the City Times depicts Howett as someone who attended school and spent a few years working behind a desk – that is until she met her husband, Dev, who loves flying as a hobby.

Dev introduced her to her newfound love of flying and Howett said in a recent interview that since the article was published, she spent an incredibly fulfilling career as an SAA pilot.

“Since then, many more women joined the pilot ranks,” the 70-year-old said.

Article of Brenda Howett that was published in 1988.

“I retired as a senior and as an instructor captain.”

The couple moved from Benoni to Johannesburg eight years ago to be closer to their daughters are Kerry Briggs and Tracy Haiml, and their grandchildren.

“My grandson, Ryan Briggs is following in my footsteps and is studying to be a pilot,” the proud grandmother said.

Despite moving from Benoni, Howett said her ties to the community remains strong.

“I went to Rynfield Primary and Benoni High schools. I still have many lifelong friends there, and we still have family in Benoni,” she explained.

Howett said she studied to become a teacher but after she learnt how to fly as a hobby, her passion turned the hobby into a career.

“I am currently retired, but very busy between our game farm in the Waterberg and involvement in my family in Johannesburg,” she concluded.


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