Bassair Aviation

Established in 1985, Bassair Aviation is an owner-operated specialist aviation company. Bassair also offers wildlife management and veterinary services. We operate throughout Southern Africa. Providing specialist helicopter and aviation services throughout South Africa. Helicopter, Pilot Training, Hour building safaris, aerial photography and filming, aerial surveys, wildlife helicopter services, scenic helicopter tours and private helicopter charters in South Africa.



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” Helicopter Pilot Training

Dedicated To Your Training – Because We Are Passionate About Flying!

Based at New Tempe Airport, Bloemfontein, John Bassi’s helicopter and fixed wing flight school has grown from strength to strength. Recognized as one of the country’s top training facilities for its high standards, professional outlook and excellent flying instructors, Bassair prides itself on individual student attention and a relaxed atmosphere in which to make the most of your training.

If you are looking for a combination of learning to fly, adventure-filled new experiences, blue skies, open spaces and sunshine, all combined with the highest standards of training, then join us and share our passion for helicopters and flying.

The operations centre in Bloemfontein serves as the central base for our daily activities. It is here, in friendly surroundings, that the majority of your helicopter training will take place. We are a SACAA (South African Civil Aviation Authority) approved, Part 141 training organization, providing a controlled airspace with student friendly Air Traffic Controllers. We operate in conjunction with an on site maintenance facility, ensuring that aircraft down time is kept to a minimum and presenting you with an opportunity to learn more about helicopter maintenance.

By choosing us as your training establishment, you have already taken the first step towards a future in aviation and we would like to take this opportunity to assure you that our approach to flight training will always be professional, guaranteeing you the maximum benefit from your time spent with us.

Experience an Introductory Flight

An introductory flight gives you the opportunity to experience the feel and control of a helicopter. During this flight your instructor will guide you through the pre-flight inspection and explain the basics of how the aircraft’s controls and instruments work. If you feel comfortable, you will actually do most of the flying yourself. Once you have decided that this is for you, the introductory flight will count towards your Private Pilots Licence.

Hour Building Safaris

A Fly Yourself Helicopter Safari With An Instructor Or Saftey Pilot


·         A fly yourself safari, with an instructor or safety pilot allows you to:

·         See South Africa at its best.

·         Build hours whilst gaining incredible experiences, particularly flying in remote areas, discovering new concepts.

·         Opportunity to experience flying in vast open spaces, landing in remote confined airfields, occupied by giraffe and other wildlife

·         Ability to learn about density altitude and fly like a bush helicopter pilot.

Where possible join the instructor or safety pilot out in the bush and experience the life of a game capture pilot. Not only will you see amazing flying, but also participate in the capture and darting process.

The Experience:

·         Mountain & coastal flying

·         General and advanced helicopter handling

·         Game Reserve access from the air

·         Navigation over vast empty spaces

Our suggestion:

·         Minimum of 12 hours flying over 4 days (2hours in the morning followed by 2 hours in the afternoon) – 5 day experience.

·         R44 or learn to fly the Jet Ranger – 2 seats available, so bring your friends or family along to share the experience at no extra cost.

·         Students or PPL welcome.

·         Itinerary and lodgings arranged per safari as to your preference. Benefit from our knowledge of the country’s best hidden secrets.

·         Opportunity to complete a conversion onto an R44 or Jet Ranger.

·         Centrally based in Bloemfontein, easy access from Johannesburg or Cape Town.

Why not extend your stay to include walking safaris in the Limpopo Province and experience Cape Town.

A Typical Safari
Synopsis of a typical hour building safari:

Day 1

·         Introduction to local rules/surrounding areas.

·         A briefing, orientation.

·         Radio procedures.

·         What to expect over the next few days.

·         Local airport flying practice and familiarisation.

Day 2

·         Mountain Flying – Drakensberg Mountains, climb to 9000ft amsl.

·         Coastal Flying and bush flying.

·         Confined area circuits and landings.

·         Operational flying with the doors off.

Day 3

·         Low level bush flying and advanced confined landings.

·         Navigation.

·         Advanced precision flying.

Day 4

·         Mountain Flying, high density altitude operations.

·         General handling.

·         Precision flying and dead reckoning navigation, emergency procedures.

Helicopter & Aerial Filming

Specialist Filming Pilot Combined With Remote Operational Experience And Extensive Wildlife Knowledge

John Bassi has worked with numerous local and overseas film companies, including film crews from National Geographic, Discovery and the BBC to mention a few. Bassair is able to provide a full service areal filming unit for film productions and documentaries.

Medium range film work is kept cost effective by using either the R44 or Bell Jet Ranger, while we have at our disposal larger machines such as the AS350 Squirrel, BH206Long Ranger and Bell 407for heavier camera equipment and crew. All Ciniflex and gyro stabilised camera equipment can be provided.

Bassair specializes in wildlife documentaries, combining a potent mix of John Bassi’s expert flying skills, years of experience, location contacts and extensive knowledge of animals in their natural habitat.

Bassair also provides a photographic platform to professional photographers commissioned to take aerial images. Our experienced pilots understand the importance of lighting, positioning and stability, and the need to be completely adaptable while maintaining a high level of safety. Bassair’s clients include both local and international photographers, shooting a diverse range of materials.

Aerial Photography

Bespoke aerial photography, capturing the best moments South Africa has to offer.

With over twenty years experience world-wide, Helicopter Services specialise in bespoke aerial photography and filming from the air. The locations we have filmed in before have been extremely varied, from mountainous regions to deserts and oceans.

Our camera operatives will select from a range of systems including Tyler, Wescam, BSS and Gyron either video or 35 mm. If none of these are suitable for your needs, we may be able to accommodate your filming rig. For aerial photography and filming, we will provide an additional harness if a door is required to be open. This will ensure your continuous safety throughout the operation.

Location dependent, we can offer a choice between single engine helicopters or twin engine helicopters. Over built up areas, the Civil Aviation Authority legislates that a twin engine helicopter must be used at specified minimum heights for aerial photography or filming. We can advise on your chosen location as to helicopter type and therefore the estimated cost.

Aerial Surveys

Even within the toughest of terrains

Contact our office for further information on mapping, Lidar, geological survey, mineral exploration and soil sampling surveys conducted throughout Africa. Bassair has more than 20 year’s practical experience in remote bush operations and logistical planning.

Helicopter Wildlife Management

The Helicopter Becomes A Tool Which Needs To Be Flown Instinctively By Feel And Sound, Everything Becomes About The Animal, Not The Flying.

Helicopter Mass Game Capture

Mass capture is a method whereby a large number of animals are captured in a short period of time by herding them into a large funnel shaped enclosure called a boma. Positioning the boma is done from the air, at a site that has suitable natural vegetation, frequently used game paths, minimal obstacles and a good road system in close proximity for transporting the captured game. A plastic “V-shaped” boma is then erected, the vegetation effectively hiding the boma from sight. Curtains hanging from an upper cable are bunched and well hidden at the mouth of the V, which are pulled closed by people on signal from the pilot at the moment the animals pass through the boma mouth. Green nylon sheeting is used for bushveld capture, while beige nylon and/or net bomas are erected in grassland areas.

The pilot selects the species and numbers required and uses the helicopter much like a sheepdog to guide the game into the boma. Each game species has its own unique behavior and the pilot must read each situation precisely in order to succeed in their capture. All flying is conducted down wind and low level, exposing the pilot and aircraft to demanding conditions. The helicopters most frequently used for mass capture are the R22, R44 and Hughes 300.

Game Darting

Agile and manoeuvrable, helicopters play an indispensable role as a platform from which animals are selectively darted. An experienced game pilot will have gained an extensive understanding of the behavioural traits of each species, knowledge that is essential to darting success. He will have to seamlessly weave together a supernatural aptitude for situational awareness and the associated safety aspects of fast paced flying with a myriad of finer details that are critical to a successful operation. Short of selecting the animal, deciding on the dose and darting the animal, the pilot is responsible for every aspect of the darting process up until the ground team moves in. Darting is not merely the vet administering the immobilizing drug with a dart gun…….a typical darting operation goes something like this:

“The helicopter has to be flown instinctively by feel and sound, and this can only happen when the pilot gets to the point where he straps the helicopter to his back and the machine responds to his thought and sight. There can be no more flying with most of your attention on the manifold pressure, you have to instinctively know that you are on 22 inches and already be making a contingency plan to get out of trouble as you feel your way over 21 inches. This must happen without thought because your thought process is too busy taking in the line of flight of the weaving, galloping Sable bull that is doing an awesome job of throwing you off….and you have to get a dart into him before he runs too much and dies of capture myopathy. This can only happen if you anticipate his next move at 65 mph while you dive between the branches of the passing tree, holding the aircraft steady so the vet can aim, and a split second later pull up to avoid colliding with the next tree while not losing visual contact with the darted animal since he turned 180 degrees on a dime and escaped away in the opposite direction for cover. Obviously all this happened while you were flying down wind and the Sable was galloping at speed toward the boundary fence where there were power lines right across your path.

During this madness you are coordinating the ground crew vehicle to not get in your way but to be as close as possible to save time in recovering the animal and you dare not take your eyes off him as you are noting a female Sable’s position as she flushes out of a clump of bushes to the left. The owner of the farm is there and he is known to be a difficult person. He is watching the flying time and if you lose an animal you can bet he will sue you for the R190 000,00 value of the animal. More than that though, this Sable bull happens to be one of only a few of its kind left, he is a trophy and his genes are vital for a crucial breeding project.

There are huge rock outcrops on the farm and it’s the pilots job to make sure the darted animal does not end up high in the rocks, or he will not be recoverable to load onto the vehicle and will have to be woken up. Also there are not enough people in the ground crew to carry such an animal, so when the Sable goes down you have to land right next to him to help hold and load him. All of this needs to be done without denting the helicopter or the people inside it. The whole affair becomes less about being a helicopter pilot and more about being a focused person with the right attitude. The focus is on the animal’s well being first, and then your interaction with the client, ground team, vet and your ability to pull the entire operation off effortlessly.

Scenic Helicopter Tours
From A One Day Up To a Two Week Exclusive Flying Adventure Safaris

Helicopter safaris and tours provide the finest way of seeing the dramatic countryside of Southern Africa. From pre-arranged package tours, custom designed air safaris or casual sightseeing flights, Bassair is committed to imbuing our clients with the spirit of adventure while they are with us.

Bassair has a unique blend of significant skills and, with careful and meticulous planning, safe and reliable flying, bush craft and wildlife expertise; we show total dedication to meeting your expectations.

Join us on a wildlife capture operation, management project or veterinary procedure on one of South Africa’s many game reserves.

Fly with us on a cultural experience incorporating the origins of mankind.

Game viewing by Helicopter – with a visit to some of South Africa’s most scenic regions.

Private & Exclusive Helicopter Charters
Select From a Range Of Helicopters, Budget and Executive

Bassair offers luxurious charter flights with flexible scheduling to meet your needs. We have at our disposal a fleet of larger, executive helicopters including the EC 120, AS350 and Bell 407 for the more discerning executive client, Bell 222 and Augusta 109 helicopters. Regular helicopter charters are conducted in our Bell Jet Ranger or Robinson 44.

Scenic Flights

Experience exceptional visual enjoyment and breathtaking panoramas. Our scenic flights are extremely popular as a fun flight for any occasion and can be tailored to each individual customer for that personal touch.

Special Event Charter

Other charter services include tourist transfers, event promotions, and special event charters such as wedding charters, birthday flips and scenic picnic flights.”

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