Flights in a small sport airplane appeared to be incomparable as to its feelings to flights in huge airliners. And so, Erzhan made a simple decision: to buy a plane and to learn how to fly by himself.
Erzhan Ospanov: Well, I had to find substantial grounds to persuade Euro Star manufacturers to complete my order as fast as possible: they were able to sell a plane to me within a year only, when they were through with the major order for USA. My final point was that in the big Kazakhstan this kind of plane would be the pioneer, which would become the supreme advertising trick for the GPA (general purpose aviation) amateurs in our country. And very soon I did have my own airplane.
Interviewer: Did your family and friends encourage you in this extreme interest of yours?
E.O.: Many of them, including my brother and our “flying” friends were trying to talk me out of it calling it an extremely dangerous hobby. But you know, since my childhood I have always calculated my time and my steps concerning school, household chores or sports – this is in my character. And later on I was structuring my business the same way. And in aviation, to be strictly disciplined in every point is the most important aspect of flight. I did manage to convince my family, and so, I’ve been sitting behind the wheel of the airplane for five years already.
I: Is it really so simple: I want, I buy, I fly?
E.O.: Your strong desire is very important. But you have to take into consideration the fact that some five years ago in our country both airports with the maintenance operation and legislation were not ready for the development of the GPA. So few of us, amateurs, had to open the ball, and now we have the most advanced in Kazakhstan – if compared to other CIS countries – maintenance regulatory. Here, in the airport of Burunday, where there is my hangar and hangars of other small airline companies, we also had to do many things on our own.
I: But, in all appearances, there is more than just one plane?
E.O.: A bit later I acquired a helicopter – Eurоcopter EC 130 В4. It’s an up-to-date, reliable, and very agile machine. It is a great pleasure to fly in it over mountains, all the more so the design and soundproofing of the capsule make the flight very comfortable.
I: With all the pressure of business, how often do you find time for your flights?
E.O.: I just can’t do without flying. I try to fly as often as possible. If you take interest in something that you need for your life’s completeness, then you won’t have any problems with finding opportunities. As for me, I find time for very many things. I manage to do everything. And it’s mainly owing to my doing sports seriously since my childhood, e.g. boxing. Combat kinds of sports doubtlessly help to build man’s character.
I: But don’t you keep on doing it? And not only this one?
E.O.: You know, sports and proper rest, when you enjoy them, are the good investment into business. I love activities that require heavy duty and commitment. These are, for instance, such kinds of sports as jogging in rocks, alpine skiing, extreme vehicle races: with cars, quad bikes, scooters, snowmobiles. This is hunting and shooting, where the key element for me is the informal socializing with people and being close to nature. You will ask: what business investments have to do with all this? During such active weekends we have enough time to miss our jobs and we come back to them with the refreshed energy. While entertaining, one may find solutions for the most seemingly deadlock matters. That happened many times: we came back to work and made the best decision in one minute.
Sports teach us understanding that you can’t always win. That you should also know how to lose beautifully. Just analyze your mistakes, pull yourself up and move it again.
I: Erzhan, where do you have such love for speed from? You grew up in the village, where life is so unhurried and there is no rush there.
E.O.: It’s not really like that, because rural people have so much to do that it’s incredibly hard to do all things in one day, even if you wake up at dawn. Besides, I’ve always loved horses. And I’d like to emphasize that even now, when I can afford to buy the best specimen, I prefer horses of Kazakh species. For their inborn strength, clean habits, and loyalty. My horse will allow to approach him nobody but me. He has so much of unbridled energy that he hardly can stand still. I only manage to put my feet into one stirrup and nestle against his back, and he is already speeding up like wind! I can tell you endless stories about my horse and about Kazakh species in general. All the more so I am seriously engaged in their breeding.
I: You’ve achieved much for today. Do you have any feeling of satisfaction?
E.O.: I am satisfied. We managed to do much. But I am very self-deprecating and demanding, to myself in the first place. I want every result to be perfect, as good as possible. We’ve never supposed that we would come back to our native place in other roles, that we’d have our own horse herds, that we’d help our region. When you take too much care of something, you start appreciate it even more. Today I seem to love horses more, and everything related to a village, too.
I: Is there anything you’ve had no time yet to accomplish?
E.O.: There surely is. But the more progress you make, the richer you feel, and now I don’t speak about material values. For example, recently I’ve learnt to play guitar and sing, though I’d thought before that it was absolutely beyond my grasp. When I made up my mind to start learning, I invited experts on music, and after the first lesson they left my office at eleven p.m. more dead than alive, and in the following three days I rubbed my fingertips sore. But now I can sing bard songs and accompany myself confidently. And I often sing while flying.
If we are not talking shop, I would like to master aerobatics, and that means that I should have yet another plane and proficiency training. All this and much more I have further down the road.