Taariq Hendricks, 18, created a livery design that was chosen by FlySafair to adorn the plane, and was on display throughout the victory parade.
The young aviation enthusiast says he never expected to see his design take off but, thanks to social media, he is now on cloud nine.
It all started in 2021 when Taariq was scrolling through YouTube and he stumbled across a FlySafair video that was produced in 2019 during the Rugby World Cup.
Intrigued by the challenge, the then 16-year-old began playing around with the traditional FlySafair design while using an online aircraft template and photo-editing app to create his design.
Taariq said: “Rewatching the video, the question made me wonder what would happen if the traditional FlySafair pink and blue was replaced with green and gold.
Having completed his design, he then forgot all about the project until April 2022 when he uploaded his design to social media, which reached the screen of FlySafair CEO Elmar Conradie.
Taariq added: “I was so excited when the team contacted me a few days later and told me that the CEO had seen my design and wanted to know if they could use it for a new Springbok livery. Of course, I said yes.”
His cool concept was revealed in the build-up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. When the Bokke returned home victorious, Taariq’s design was part of FlySafair’s Rugby World Cup Support plan.
The teen said: “I was thrilled and so proud to see something I had envisioned on an actual aircraft. But, without a doubt, the cherry on top was seeing the aircraft actually taking flight for the first time.”
Kirby Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer at FlySafair, said they were proud to be able to support the dreams of a fellow aviation enthusiast.
He says: “Being able to collaborate with someone like Taariq made creating this livery all the more worthwhile, sharing not only our love of flying but also our national pride with the future of our industry.
Taariq is currently completing his Private Pilot’s Licence and hopes to become a commercial pilot.
The high-flying teen concluded: “Once I finish high school at the end of this year, I hope to take my training further, complete my commercial pilot licence, and travel the world doing what I love.”