Kishugu Aviation takes to the skies
The summer fire season in the Cape has arrived early this year, mostly due to the extreme El Nino event, which caused periodic warming in sea surface temperatures along the African coastline. Since the fire season officially started on 01 December, our aviator firefighting-teams were ready to once again take to the skies together with our ground support.
The Working on Fire (WoF) Programme which is implemented by Kishugu on behalf of the South African Government, is an initiative which is hailed as one of South Africa’s most successful job creation programmes. Kishugu has more than 30 years’ experience in wildland firefighting and is a world leader in supplying Integrated Fire Management Services (IFMS) to forestry and other land users globally.
“Over the past couple of months, FFA Aviation (Kishugu Aviation) worked hard together with the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) to have our operational certificates reinstated after flight restrictions were placed on some of our aircraft,” CEO of Kishugu Aviation, Johan Heine states.
This included a very demanding and rigorous five-step process with the SACAA as required by the International Civil Aviation Authority (CAO) to get its certification reinstated. We are thankful to the SACAA for their help and guidance during this period as it was successfully completed. Johan says Kishugu values service delivery to our customers and during the six month evaluation period we were still able to deploy ground teams and other aerial support to assist wherever fires were detected.
Working on Fire’s fleet of spotter and bomber aircraft took to the air when the fire season started, and the UH-1H helicopters were fully operational in the middle of December. They are fully equipped to deal with the fire season, and this includes our aviation fleet which is operated in conjunction with the Western Cape Provincial Disaster Management Centre and other partners.
The nine helicopters are supported by four AT802’s and nine command and control aircraft.
Johan says going through all these required processes gives us the confidence that our aircraft safety standards, audit standards, pilot training and selection and operational standards are on par with the highest international standards. Over the past seven years, Kishugu’s fleet has flown 21,716 hours engaged in aerial firefighting with Working on Fire and other clients. With our sophisticated dispatch and coordination systems, Kishugu Aviation was able to deploy their fleet of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to wherever needed.
Kishugu Aviation has a long list of strategic partners, who have joined forces with us over the years as we jointly prevent and combat devastating wild fires.“We pay tribute to the different fire protection associations, the National and Provincial parks, the City of Cape Town, the different forestry companies and the National and Provincial Government, and finally the landowners and game farmers,” Johan says, “I want to thank each client and stakeholder for their support and understanding during this evaluation process.
I want to assure the people of our country that we are stronger and more ready than ever to protect the lives, environment and property safe from wildland fires.”Kishugu holds a bright and prosperous future with exciting new ventures. Our values include Accountability, Teamwork, Excellence, Adaptability and Making a Difference; and therefore we are positive that the steps we’ve taken over the last few months will ensure Kishugu remains the leader in IFMS – all for the greater good.We are 100% committed to adhering to these standards in every aspect of the work we do.