Helitractor was started by Eugene Kalafatis in 2000. After getting his commercial helicopter licence in 1997, Eugene flew for a few companies on an ad hoc basis. Eugene grew up on a farm, so his roots were also in farming. In 1993 Eugene purchased a farm and started planting sugar cane. This in turn needed to be sprayed aerially, and this is where the concept of “helicopter ag flying” was born!
Heli-Tractor is situated in the heart of the sugar area of Kwazulu Natal ,south Africa and his sugar farm doubles up as his operation base for the helis. Not only is Eugene a pilot but a farmer too and understands what the needs from the farmers are and what they expect .
His first heli was a Enstrom F28C which was fitted with a old ag rig . This was the beginning of the first commercial heli ag operation of its kind in south Africa and from then on the business has grown from year to year.
We next moved onto the robinson R22 and had many thousand of hours of good spraying with this machine, but it was time to expand and in 2007 we went to the R 44 instead of a Bell 47 or Hiller 12 .
I made contact with a manufacture who had a standard design for the R44 but wanted to change several items on it as the experience in the field needed these items and modifications.
After a few months of drawings & emails, the first of its kind the “HELI-TRACTOR” spray system was delivered and fitted to the R44. This system we still use to this day, and many have since tried to copy it and claim it for their own but its “HELI-TRACTOR”.the original.
We now have the first in the world of its kind..a Bell Huey UH-1H spray system, that is a spray system and a fire attack system all in one…..the first one in the world and again….”HELI-TRACTOR.”
Eugene has been to many parts of South America, Russia to instruct, install and train operators and pilots to start their ag businesses, and how to properly use spray systems, GPS guidance systems, and ownership and management of a heli ag business.
In 2010 Heli-Tractor contracted IMS of NEW ZEALAND to supply a heli fertilizer bucket that could lift 1350kg beneath the huge Huey helicopter. This was done and 2010 saw Heli-Tractor being the first operator on the continent of Africa operating a aerial fertilizing heli bucket for topdressing of sugar cane, maize, forestry etc .
With this purchase, Heli-Tractor installed the FIRST OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD, FITTED TO A HELICOPTER, a laser guided ag system for accuracy to within 1 cm for the fert bucket to operate in the strictest window of accuracy…….AGAIN HELI-TRACTOR THE FIRST IN THE WORLD!
We now offer spray ,fertilizer, top dressing, aerial lifting ,fire fighting, slinging work ,long line banner towing and training.
Heli tractor is also the Africa agent for aerial buckets/hoppers for lime, fertilizer or fire fighting.
We have the most advanced, light weight, robust fire fighting buckets to fit any size helicopter out there too.