English translation by Dario Cocco
Heyns A.S. Helicopter, with a fleet made up entirely of Soviet production helicopters, is among the rotary wing leading companies of the South African Republic. Founded in 1997 by Nicolas J. Heyns is based in Nelspruit airport, about 300km east of Johannesburg and in the immediate vicinity of the famous Kruger National Park.
The helicopters which make up the fleet are of the type MIL MI 17 converted from the previous version MI 8; currently seven machines are in operation, registered ZS-RIR/S/T/U/V/W/X; four MIL MI 8 are used exclusively as source of spare parts and lie on the base of operations in poor condition, still showing RA registration numbers and the colors and insignia of the United Nations, its previous operator in Central Africa in support of humanitarian operations in Angola and Rwanda. All helicopters are leased from Tyumenaviatrans from the Russian Federation.
The proximity to one of the most famous wildlife parks in the world is not a coincidence given that one of the main roles of the company is to conduct scenic flights over the savannah, or transfer tourists from Nelspruit airport, where regional and private flights land, to remote touristic resorts. The transport of goods or bulky loads is another important component of the role played by Heyns A.S. seen the significant performances of these heavy-duty helicopters.
Images by Giorgio Ciarini and Manuela Michelon
Published on JP4 July 2000