“Being a command and control pilot is my passion,” says Erick Nel, Command and Control pilot for Working on Fire (WOF) Aviation,which offers an aerial firefighting component to the South African Government’s WOF Programme. “It is a very challenging job though and you need to multitask well. The cockpit can get very busy with all the observing and radio work – and then you still have to keep the plane in the air. But, I have been in aerial firefighting for 12 years and I think it is one of the most rewarding aviation jobs you can find. It is an honour to be part of a team who fights to save lives and livelihoods.”The importance of the spotter during aerial firefighting is often overlooked, but its function is essential for the safety and efficiency of wildland firefighting operational.
Ntshuxeko Masangu, a Social Development Practitioner, has been part of the WOF family for just over a year. She is a wife, mother and entrepreneur with a successful business in events co-ordination.