Posted from https://www.timesaerospace.aero/ original article by Guy Leitch
Note: The conference was held in 2021.
Capital investment in the latest agricultural aircraft has received a welcome boost in South Africa thanks to the agricultural sector enjoying boom years on the back of strong market prices, good rainfall, and strong product demand.
A key beneficiary of the wave of investment in new top-of-the range agricultural aircraft has been AG Aviation Africa, the agents for Air Tractor.
To further build its position in this specialised market, AG Aviation and Pratt & Whitney Canada organised a conference of Air Tractor operators.
AG Aviation Africa managing director, Matt Kritzinger, and Graham Wells, chief operating officer, welcomed delegates, who were treated to a sunset water bombing and spraying display by two newly delivered Air Tractor 502XPs.
Underlining the need for investment in agricultural aircraft as aerial applicators, Omri van Zyl, the CEO of Agri Enterprises, pointed out that Africa possesses roughly 67% of all the arable land in the world, yet contributes just 1% of global agricultural production. “Africa has great potential – but no one can eat potential,” he said.
Thanks to new capital investment and skills development, South Africa is fulfilling much of its potential and has become the largest citrus supplier in the world. Van Zyl said that this proves that agriculture, with the right investment, is able to produce excellent returns.
Day 2 featured a very well attended workshop, hosted by Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC), the makers of the ubiquitous PT-6A engines that power modern crop-sprayer aircraft. All Air Tractors are powered by the PT-6, ranging from the AT-402B, delivering 680shp to the AT-802A’s 1295shp.