The Kishugu Aviation conducted a Pilot’s Winter Training Camp at the Stellenbosch Airfield from 4 to 7 May, in preparation for the upcoming Winter Fire Season. This refresher training focused on various aspects, including cooperative resource management, dangerous goods training, and a recap of safety protocols from the previous Summer Fire Season.
The training camp, attended by Kishugu Aviation’s Chief Pilot Matthew Carter, emphasized physical training on helicopters, bombers, and sporter planes. The training also included operational proficiency checks and pilots’ proficiency checks, specifically addressing emergency situations.
The aim of the Pilots Winter Training Camp is to prepare for the fire season in the northern parts of the country. To ensure readiness, various aerial firefighting resources will be on standby and are stationed in Nelspruit (Mpumalanga), Tzaneen (Limpopo), and some areas of the Eastern Cape. Carter said that the Western Cape had a successful summer season (December to April), with increased activity in the initial months that gradually decreased as the weather became wetter. As a result, the need for aerial operations diminished, making it more advantageous to avoid flying during those conditions.
Nolo Matjila, the Flight Operations Controller, highlighted that the firefighting pilots received their category 10 rating for dangerous goods during the training. This included theoretical and practical components, assessing the pilots’ ability to apply what they learned in the classroom. The evaluation also focused on their handling of dangerous goods using reference books and overall proficiency in managing such materials.
Coinciding with the Pilot’s Winter Training camp, multiple Yellow Card Training Camps were held for the Working on Fire Programme, which is implemented by the Working on Fire – Kishugu JV. These camps assessed the ground crews’ state of readiness for the upcoming winter fire season, running from June to November. The provinces that participated in the training included Eastern Cape, Free State, North West, Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga.
The comprehensive training and assessment programmes conducted by the WOF – Kishugu JV ensure that both aerial and ground crews are well-prepared to tackle the challenges of the Winter Fire Season, promoting efficient and effective firefighting efforts across the designated regions.