Busy Wanaka firm thrives on diversity

Busy Wanaka firm thrives on diversity
Aspiring Helicopters offers tourism fl ights, including shorter local trips as well as extended trips to Milford Sound and Mt Cook.

Tourist flights, heli-skiing, mustering stock, search and rescue and fire-fighting or frost fighting – its all in a day’s work for the knowledgeable and highly experienced team at Aspiring Helicopters.
The long-established family-owned and operated business operates a modern fleet of helicopters servicing tourism, adventure, conservation and farming clients in the Lake Wanaka area.
Situated at the gateway to the Mt Aspiring National Park, Aspiring Helicopters is in the perfect position to show off the beautiful scenery of this region and the pinnacle of the park, Mt Aspiring.
The mountain location also means the call-out for help to search for and/or rescue people in the back country comes often.
Aspiring Helicopters pilots train regularly with lo-cal Search and Rescue volunteers to create a highly skilled team who can respond to distress calls quickly and efficiently.
Recently the company was recognized in Parliament for its role alongside volunteer members of the Wanaka LandSAR group, Wanaka Police, Southern Lakes Helicopters and Aoraki/Mt Cook Search and Rescue in rescuing an Australian climber from Mt Aspiring in August 2018.
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.
Helicopters play a big part in back country life, in farming and conservation work for mustering, spraying, construction, fire-fighting, lifting and shifting conservation and track workers, as well as commercial location filming.
During or following inclement weather in spring and autumn, pilots may be alerted to be on stand-by for frost-fighting on orchards and vineyards around Wanaka or nearby Central Otago.
From mid-December to mid-January the company is on standby any day when there is a chance of rain – to head to the Central Otago cherry orchards to protect the valuable export cherry crops.
“If it rains overnight we have to get up very early in the morning and get flying at first light so we can dry the trees off before the sun hits the trees,” says Aspiring Helicopters owner Alex Ford.
Rain causes cracking of the fruit so must be dried immediately before it damages the fruit and jeopardises orchardists’ income for the year.
“The helicopters fl y up and down the rows of trees, shaking the branches and shedding the water off the cherries.
Sometimes this takes a couple of passes to get all of the water off, depending on how much it rains.”
Aspiring Helicopters offers tourism flights (shorter local trips as well as extended trips to Milford Sound and Mt Cook), glacier landings, heli-skiing adventures, and chartered air transport to access the wilderness for mountain climbing, hiking, biking, fishing or hunting trips.
Getting there is spectacular in itself; taking the 20-minute scenic drive from the shores of Lake Wanaka is a stunning introduction to the ancient world where the company’s base building is situated in the glacial-carved Matukituki Valley.
Aspiring Helicopters runs a modern fleet of helicopters with pilots who are all true “Kiwis” with years of experience flying in the mountains, and who relish the opportunity to give informative and entertaining commentary.
The company carries a silver Qualmark rating.
With many couples choosing mountain environments or backdrops for their wedding celebrations, Aspiring Helicopters also caters to wedding parties of all sizes.
“With countless stunning Wanaka wedding helicopter locations right on our doorstep, the team at Aspiring Helicopters is in the perfect position to suggest the ultimate backdrop for your Wanaka wedding photographic requirements; we will also ensure you get there without fuss.”
Aspiring Helicopters also takes direct bookings to stay at the exclusive Whare Kea Chalet luxury mountain cabin high in the mountains on the edge of Mt Aspiring National Park – exclusively accessible by helicopter.
If you are seeking the ultimate alpine adventure in an exclusive and spectacular location, it will set you back $1140 per person for a day trip with gourmet lunch, or $1600pp overnight with hosted gourmet dinner and breakfast included
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