The 2018 Winter fire season has officially commenced and Kishugu Aviation is ready to assist in the suppression of wildfires in the northern provinces of the country.
Wildfires can be an extremely powerful and destructive phenomenon which occur with significant frequency and intensity in many provinces and in many countries. Left unchecked, these wildfires can cause widespread destruction and damage, affecting economic sustainability and productivity for entire regions. The past fire seasons produced ravaging fires in Mpumalanga and the Western Cape, resulting in huge losses.
That is why Kishugu Aviation, with over 30 years’ experience in wildland firefighting, recently held its bi-annual Pilot Refresher Camp in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, to ensure its firefighting pilots are equipped and ready for the winter fire season. Kishugu Aviation is best known for providing aerial support to the South African Government’s Department of Environmental Affairs’ Expanded Public Works Programme, the Working on Fire (WOF) Programme.
“Our wildfire firefighting aircraft includes the Cessna 100 and 200 series aircraft, Air Tractor 802s and, our pride and joy, the Bell 206 and Bell 205/UH-1H series. These two-bladed semi-rigid seesaw bonded machines earned the nickname, Huey,” explains CEO for Kishugu Aviation, Johan Heine.
There is no more recognisable sound when fighting wildfires than that of the whumping rotor blades of the Huey’s. Operating between 100 – 300 ft above ground level, the Huey is the preferred machine for wildfire firefighting, capable of dropping an impressive 15,000 litres an hour.
“A Huey can carry up to 1,000 litres in its Bambi bucket and can do rapid turnarounds. On average it can manage a drop every four minutes, depending on the distance to a suitable water source,” says Heine proudly. “Doing drops every two minutes is common and equates to a difficult-to-beat 15,000 litres an hour to suppress a fire – and this is from just one helicopter with one pilot.”
Kishugu Aviation also invests back into aviation by proudly hosting the Lowveld Air Show in Mbombela each year. This award-winning Kishugu Lowveld Air Show showcases the best aerobatic pilots in the country at our home base of the Nelspruit Airfield to the Lowveld community.
Specialised Aerial Work
Kishugu Aviation not only uses its aerial fleet for firefighting, but also for more delicate aerial work, which recently included:
- Airlifting 12 White Rhinos from South Africa to the Okavango Delta as part of a cross-border initiative by conservationists.
- The delicate aerial placement of a new catwalk, straddling Disa Gorge in the Table Mountain Chain using our Huey’s.
- Supporting the refurbishment by airlifting materials for the Sea Point Cape Town-Lighthouse.
“Kishugu Aviation provides a wide range of specialist aircraft and highly skilled pilots to clients who require the services of a professional, independent aviation company,” Heine stated.
Kishugu Training trains you to become a pilot
The Kishugu Aviation Training Organisation (ATO) provides training services from PPL to CPL and frozen ATPL subjects as well as twin IF ratings, CRM,DG, ELP courses and instructors ratings. Established in 2012, the ATO has recently successfully trained nine PPL students for the South African Police Services (SAPS) who are currently finishing off their CPL subjects. Kishugu Aviation is also responsible for all aircraft fuel supplies at the Nelspruit airport.
Kishugu Aviation makes it its business to partner with its clients to professionally take care of anything and everything to do with flying.