Award of recognition for Search and Rescue

Monday, May 6th, 2019

SAR Award

Award recipients

NZSAR Award for rescue of climber from Mt Aspiring

Climber rescued from Mt Aspiring

Helicopters play a big part of life in New Zealand.  From mustering farm animals to lifting and shifting conservation and track workers.  From spraying agricultural crops to fighting fires – they offer a lot more than just scenic flights for visitors.

They also play an major role in rescuing people in the remote back-country.  At Aspiring Helicopters we are on the doorstep of Mt Aspiring National Park so the call for help comes often.

This month we received an award of recognition from the New Zealand Search and Rescue Council for our role in rescuing an Australian climber from Mt Aspiring.

Pilots James Ford and Tim Coldicott were involved in the four-day rescue mission which was hampered by poor weather but fortunately resulted in a ‘happy ending’ for the climber.

We were part of a team of rescuers including volunteer members of the Wanaka LandSAR group, the Wanaka Police, Southern Lakes Helicopters and Aoraki/Mt Cook SAR.

Our pilots train regularly with our local Search and Rescue volunteers to create a highly skilled team who can respond to distress calls quickly and efficiently.

It was privilege and an honour to be recognized in Parliament for our services. 


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April is a beautiful time of year in Wanaka

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Wanaka scenic flight Aspiring

Remote scenic flight landing with Mt Aspiring in the background

After a very unsettled summer here in Wanaka April is turning out to be the ‘month of the year’.  Calm clear bluebird days abound!  If you are visiting Wanaka then put a scenic flight on your list of things to do.  

This morning we took our local I-site girls on a scenic flight up to one of our favourite landing locations with stunning views of Mt Aspiring in the background.  

Sitting at 3,033mt Mt Aspiring is the highest mountain in the New Zealand outside of the Mt Cook National Park.  It’s commonly referred to as the “Matterhorn of the South”.  

To get the best view of it we recommend taking our Aspiring and Glaciers 1hr scenic flight. 

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Search and Rescue volunteers put through their paces

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

volunteers helicopter loading

Hover loading

Our small town of Wanaka is very lucky to have a large group of highly skilled volunteers who are happy to give freely of their time in the event of emergencies.

And we are lucky to be able to work together with these skilled and dedicated volunteers to come to the rescue of those in need in the back-country.  The summer months are particularly busy for volunteers when there are more ‘adventurers’ out and about.

This past couple of weeks we have been putting the Wanaka LandSAR volunteers through their paces, in particular practicing human sling and hover loading with our Pilots James, Tim and Davey.

We’re privileged to be part of a special team of police and local volunteers helping both locals and visitors alike in the back-country.

Stay safe out there this summer.


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Morning breaks after a Frost Fighting Mission

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

scenic helicopter flight

Early morning at Cattle Flat

 “Landing as morning breaks after a Frost Fighting mission”

The sun hasn’t yet peeped it’s head over the horizon but the phone is ringing. We’d been expecting the call after going on alert yesterday afternoon.

The orchard farmer from Central has been keeping an eye on the temperature and the lights have gone red – it’s freezing !

One of the less glamorous parts of being a pilot is being called in the wee hours of the morning to head to central Otago for a few hours of cruising round in circles imitating wind strong enough to ward of an imminent frost. 

There is a feel good factor though,” according to our pilot “you know that what you’re doing is going to help save a crop – and we’ll all be enjoying the ‘fruits’ of our labour come summer!”

The cost of loss due to frost damage can be excessive, so for the grower sometimes it’s more economical to bear the outlay for a helicopter to save the harvest than to loose part of a crop to the mean old fingers of Jack Frost.

Aspiring Helicopters has been helping fight frost almost since it’s inception and old Charlie has some great stories about the days when he would fly all the way to Blenheim to hover above the vineyards – all in the name of saving the yield of New Zealands’ favourite wines. 

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Roy’s Peak alternative photo opportunity

Friday, October 5th, 2018

Get that “Roy’s Peak” photo from Coromandel Peak – click here for details

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Get the Girls together for a Great weekend Getaway

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

heliskiing wanaka

Girls exclusive heli-ski package

The awesome crew at Harris Mountains Heli-ski are once again offering their great Girls Exclusive getaway snow special.  This great package deal will get you and a group of friends a nights’ accommodation at Oakridge Resort – with it’s awesome hotpools, a massage at the Sanctuary Spa and an epic 4 run heli-ski day in the stunning mountains surrounding Wanaka. 

Get a crew together and get into it!

Find out more here

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Wanaka Heliski Season Open

Monday, June 25th, 2018

Very exciting news, we have taken our first clients out heli-skiing this week which marks the opening of the season.  

Two groups headed into some of our favourite terrain (Triple Peak and A-Trails) for a day of ‘freshies’.  

A great start to the season with plenty of snow on the mountains and a good selection of terrain available.  If you are thinking about heli-skiing this year then book your day with Harris Mountains

Please note we are still operating our Aspiring scenic flights and our Glacier landing flights and our Milford trips throughout the winter.

Heliski Heliskiing scenic flights

Heli Skiing with Harris Mountains Heliski on opening day

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The mark of quality

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Qualmark Logo

When visiting a foreign country with an abundance of places to visit and activities to choose from it can be difficult to decide where you’ll jetboat, skydive, raft, sleep, taste wine, dine or take a scenic flight.

Tourism New Zealand’s independent agency Qualmark is helping tourists make informed choices by assessing and rating New Zealand businesses so when visitors see the Qualmark logo they can book with peace of mind.

Businesses that deliver a quality sustainable experience have safe principles and practices and showcase the true New Zealand hospitality are recognized through Qualmark.

We are pleased to be part of this program and are proud to hold a silver Qualmark rating.

Our aim is to continue to provide clients with the unique and truly “Kiwi” experience they are looking for when visiting our beautiful country.


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A great travel tip for your New Zealand Glacier experience

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Glacier Landing

Bonar Glacier, Mt Aspiring National Park

Our local glaciers might not be as well known as Fox and Franz Josef but they still put a smile on visitors faces and we regularly receive great feedback on our “Glacier Experience” scenic flight.  

We’d like to share with you this particular clients’ recent TripAdvisor comments – she certainly picked up on the positive after missing out on the West Coast:

“Astoundingly beautiful, Highlight of my 3-week trip! Wonderful service”

Our tour guide contacted Aspiring Helicopters at the last minute, after Cyclone Fehi blocked our route to Franz Josef Glacier. I was heartbroken at traveling halfway around the world and not getting to the famous glacier. But now, I’m GLAD that happened, because my flight, glacier viewing and snow landing with Aspiring Helicopters was an unparalleled experience.

I’ve traveled worldwide and done scenic helicopter rides in several gorgeous places, including Hawaii & South Africa. Most were at very busy helicopter companies that provided safe, scenic flights but were more interested in rushing you along so they could get the next large group underway. Aspiring Helicopters was also very safe and scenic, but they weren’t trying to cram in as many people or flights as possible. The flight was spectacular with great commentary by our pilot. The Isobel Glacier area is not crowded or full of other helicopters crammed with tourists. Best of all, we landed in a truly isolated area, where I saw NO other landing tracks. We were able to experience the beauty and the natural silence of the area without listening to the roar of chopper blades or the chatter of other visitors. The pilots were very professional and made sure we were safe, both in the air and by checking the snowy area where we landed before letting us walk around. We had plenty of time to walk (and play a little) in the snow and enjoy all the beautiful surroundings.

The Franz Josef glacier is probably bigger, possibly more blue, and maybe even more beautiful. But there I would have been one of hundreds of people landing in the same area on the same day, staying for just a couple of minutes, surrounded by other tourists and the sounds of choppers coming and going. Instead, I had a much more intense, personal experience at Isobel glacier with Aspiring Helicopters … and I couldn’t be happier!”

So if you find yourself in the same boat don’t let missing out at Fox or Franz be a downer – “there are plenty more glaciers in these here mountains!”

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Tick off two top five NZ Must Do’s with us

Sunday, February 4th, 2018

Milford Sound Scenic Flight

Milford Sound Scenic Flight

With so many must-see and must-do experiences on offer in New Zealand it can be difficult to fit everything in, especially if you are on a limited time frame.

We have the perfect solution to help you achieve some of those top-of-the-list experiences i.e.

  1. Milford Sound
  2. Glacier Experience

Spend a night or two in the picturesque lakeside town of Wanaka, visit #thatwanakatree, walk #MtRoy if you’re so inclined and then take a 2hr scenic flight that will have you in Milford Sound in half an hour with a chance to walk along the shore and take photos with Mitre Peak.

On the way back you’ll fly above the stunning Southern Alps and stop off on a Glacier overlooking Mt Aspiring.

All round a pretty good result for a one-night stay!

Click here to make a booking.

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