Colonel Albeno Jose de Castro was born in Cape Town and spent his early years growing up in Woodstock, attending St Agnes Primary School. The family later moved to Goodwood, where he attended Goodwood Primary School. He then went on to join Oude Moulen Technical High School. His parents are from Machico in Madeira, a Portuguese Island off the coast of Portugal.
He developed a passion for aviation while in high school, and dream’t about having a career in military aviation. This led to an application & later acceptance, into the Air Force Flying Programme. ” I underwent a rigorous selection process which included psychological, physiological, aptitude & medical tests at the Institute of Aviation Medicine.”
“I qualified as a strike navigator and went on to fly fighter aircrafts, primarily the supersonic mirage 111/Cheetah D.”
Over the years Col. de Castro spent time serving at bases such as Langebaanweg, Pietersberg & Louis Trichaardt. “A highlight of mine during this time was having an opportunity to fly a Russian MIG 29”
In 1999 he transitioned into maritime patrol aircraft & completed his operational flying career at 35 Squadron, at Air Force base Ysterplaat. “A highlight of mine during this period was flying with the Royal Air Force in Kinloss, Scotland during a training exercise.”
In 2003 he was promoted out of the cockpit, “and I started flying desks”
as he transitioned into full time management.
His tertiary studies, “which was encouraged by the Air Force,” includes a Bachelor of Science(BSC) majoring in Aeronautics & Physics; Honours in Business Management; Masters in Business Administration(MBA) all from the University of Stellenbosch, as well as a full-time academic study tour in the USA-Master in Strategic Studies.
“In February 2015, i was promoted to the rank of Colonel & appointed Officer Commanding Air Force Base Ysterplaat, where i serve & lead 800 airman.”
Some of his duties consist of ensuring the operational readiness of the base, overseeing budgets, logistics & the security of all assets.
Col. de Castro is married to Charmaine & has 2 boys, Phillip (19), currently in his 1st year at UCT & Christopher (17) in Gr 11.
In his “free” time The Colonel enjoys recreational flying – “who would’ve guessed” – he says, running, motorcycling on his Harley & travelling.
In ending our interview the Colonel said, ” the Air Force has been a great experience for me. It has developed my being, identified my talents, given me endless networking opportunities across the globe & allowed me to serve my country! It is a great honour to serve in the Air Force. BUT! only enlist if you are passionate about aviation, or you will be weeded out!”