Air Tractor President, Jim Hirsch and Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine representatives, Ryan Densham and Mike Lee, were on hand for the delivery of the first 502XP aircraft to be sold on the continent of Africa. The plane was sold and delivered to Castello Farming under the direction of Mr. Casper Botha.
Operating from South Africa’s North West Province, Castello Farming currently has close to 1,000 hectares under irrigation and 3,000 hectares under dry land farming. Botha produces potatoes for well-known frozen chips manufacturer McCain and sunflower seeds for Pannar Seed. He is also involved in commercial maize and wheat production, sorghum, peas, beans, and cattle rearing.
Botha started 25 years ago with one truck and a plan to revolutionize farming in South Africa. He has established himself as one of the most prominent and trusted farmers in Africa, and has grown his business with the mindset that good business needs great people. “Castello Farming is not just my project, it belongs to everyone involved in the business. Each person must take full ownership for his or her responsibility.”
Botha purchased an AT-402B from Ag Aviation Africa in 2014 and has recently sold that aircraft to purchase the new 502XP. The XP will be piloted by Hennie Viviers, longtime pilot and AgNav agent for Africa.
The 502XP was built with speed, capacity, and productivity in mind. The airplane is powered by the Pratt & Whitney PT6A-140AG turboshaft engine, with an available 867 horsepower. That’s 117 more horses than its predecessor, the 502B. The 502XP is another example of Air Tractor’s commitment to producing aircraft with industry-leading engine design, materials, and technology.
“The delivery of the 502XP to Mr. Botha and Costello Farming is a proud moment for the Air Tractor brand. Putting a quality plane in the hands of such capable hands is what our business is all about. We’re honored to be a part of the work they are doing, here in South Africa,” says Jim Hirsch, president of Air Tractor.