Crop spraying is a demanding sort of helicopter flying.

We have committed our 36 year old helicopter to it for 2014.  The reason is that the likely disaster for the region is a famine.  We want crop spraying to help produce more food.  That will lower the prices. In turn that helps people who cannot produce enough for themselves.

So we have signed a year long contract with Heli-tractor.  Their pilot and founder – Eugene Kalafatis – is one of the more experienced crop spraying pilots in South Africa.

Our crop spraying in 2014

Crop spraying

Our helicopter ZS-HPU

Our aim is to provide him with a great service.  Our helicopter is good for this role.  It exceeds the rated power of a Bell Jet Ranger by about 113%.  This makes the helicopter safer for crop spraying than many other machines of its type.

Helitractor operates near Durban. So in December 2013, we deployed the helicopter to Victoria Airfield, for conversion and test flying.

The skills needed for crop spraying are many.  Helitractor provides most of these.  However, we have asked the high reputation Greystones to do our maintenance.  Greystones Aviation Components is one of the oldest and largest helicopter maintenance organizations in South Africa.  Our normal maintenance organization, Nicholson Helicopters oversees the continuing airworthiness of the helicopter.

We also used our experienced aviation insurance brokers, the Aircraft Risk Company.  They gave us a highly competitive offer.  We covered all the mandatory risks.  Then we added some extra.  So we have covered all the things we can reasonably foresee.

So what – crop spraying operations?

HPU crop spraying - January 2014

HPU crop spraying – January 2014

We we have made a start.  The helicopter is now crop spraying.  Helitractor is using it for its clients.   We are delighted.  Helicopters should fly.  For us, we should be using it for disaster avoidance.

It has not been all easy going.  Crop spraying operations are asking difficult questions of the helicopter.  We have had higher levels of unscheduled maintenance than we wished.  But we continue, with great support from Nicholsons and Greystones.

As you can see we are very happy to put your logo on our helicopter.  If you want to talk to us about this sort of work – why not contact us?