If there’s one thing that the Peace Parks Foundation team understands, it’s the unpredictability of working in nature. A simple landing, for example, becomes significantly more complicated when an elephant is taking a leisurely stroll across the runway. For Peace Parks’ Aviation Manager and Chief Pilot Hannes van Wyk, his many years of being a bush pilot gives him the experience to know just how to get the gentle giant moving along.

Working In Nature

Working in nature comes with a lot of perks and challenges. Waking up every morning and not knowing what exciting wildlife you might come across when out in the field, being surrounded by nature in every direction and having a job that leaves one with the satisfaction of being fully immersed in caring for and enjoying the natural world. These are just a few of the upsides.

On the other side, working in nature comes with its unique set of challenges. As amazing as it is to bump into wildlife while working in the bush, it can also significantly slow down important day-to-day tasks such as driving from A to B and, believe it or not, even landing a plane.

Many national parks and reserves have runways deep in the heart of the bush, and the luxury of having large fences to keep unwanted visitors out of these areas rarely exists. It is, therefore, up to the pilot to sometimes usher inquisitive four-legged visitors to safety to safely land the plane.

Keeping Skills Sharp

When operating aircraft in remote areas in the bush, a pilot’s flying skills must be as sharp as possible to navigate unforeseen circumstances. Case in point when looking at how cleverly Hannes navigates in this video. Peace Parks Foundation’s pilots take proficiency tests every six months to ensure maximum safety in the skies.