About Us

Heli Glenorchy are family-owned and operated helicopter company providing scenic flight experiences.

Located at the Glenorchy Airstrip on the doorstep of the Southern Alps, Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, your journey will begin a 45-minute drive from Queenstown along the breathtaking shores of Lake Wakatipu - named as “one of the most beautiful drives in the New Zealand”

We are the only scenic flight operator in town, and it’s been that way for years. With a genuine connection to area, there’s nothing better than taking to the skies to see this beautiful part of the world with a trusted local pilot, guide and storyteller.

 

 

 

We will fly you from peaceful little Glenorchy, and within 15 minutes you’ll be discovering breathtaking fiords, waterfalls, glaciers, soar high above the world-famous Milford Sound or touchdown for a snow landing taking in some of New Zealand's unparalleled remote beauty.

Our specialised fleet allow us to be flexible creating personalised and enriching ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences – alpine lake paddleboard, freshly caught crayfish lunch with unparalleled views, private heliskiing on exclusive terrain or 

play like James Bond as you jet boat through Skippers Canyon before being whisked away to a mountain top location.

For a unique helicopter experience that will become the most memorable part of your New Zealand trip…come explore with Heli Glenorchy.

We cannot wait to see you here in beautiful Glenorchy.

Fly with us, Let's Explore

  • Modern fleet 
  • Priced competitively due to proximity to Milford Sound, Mt Aspiring National Park and West Coast
  • 100% safety record
  • ‘Top Things To Do in Glenorchy’ with Certificate of Excellence
  • Endorsed by Qualmark and awarded silver level certification
  • Highly experience local pilots with 30,000+ hours of flying
  • Remote locations with spectacular alpine scenery, glacier and snow landings in our backyard
  • Filming location: including the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Wolverine and Mission Impossible 6 movies

Our team

Nick Nicholson

CEO & Chief Pilot

Nick has over 20 years experience and 7200+ flying hours in helicopters. He has specialised in Heli-skiing, Search and Rescue, Aerial Fire Fighting and Commercial Precision Long-Lining.

A family man, Nick grew up in Te Anau and has spent the majority of his flying career in the mountains of Southern New Zealand and Alaska.

Nick’s love and intimate knowledge of flying in the mountains of Fiordland and the Southern Lakes region eventually led him to set up Heli Glenorchy so he could share his passion and experience with visitors to the region.

Phil Casey

QA / Pilot

Our newest addition to the Heli Glenorchy family but he has been around a while so you're in safe hands. Phil began flying commercially in this area in 2003. The first four years were in aeroplanes before he transitioned into helicopters. Once in helicopters there was no going back.

Phil has flown throughout the South Island so he knows a thing or two about where some of the most amazing places are to explore. Further afield, Phil spent two years flying in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Scenic flights aren't the only aviation skill Phil has. He has accumulated 6000+ hours doing a variety of work including Scenic flights, Transfers, Medivacs, Lifting, Heliskiing, Instructing and Night Ops. 

Whilst Phil enjoys all flying, operating amongst the Southern Alps and Fiordland would be his top pick.

Outside working life you will find Phil exploring the region diving, fishing and hunting

Eric Scott

Pilot

Eric is a true local. Born and bred in Glenorchy with his family having a long history with the area you can be sure to hear many stories. He also knows the best spots!

Eric has accumulated 2,500+ hours of flying in the New Zealand skies. He has been involved in a variety of work; mustering, wild animal recovery and culling, long-lining, charter and scenic work, sluicing, aerial photography and filming, fencing, frost fighting, general commercial work and heli-skiing.

Away from working as a helicopter pilot, Eric will be on the farm, hunting in the hills, tinkering with machinery and metal work, and seeing his partner Steph.

Philip Rive

Pilot

Philip was born and raised on Halfway Bay Station. In more recent years, Philip has been helping his wife Kate with the running of the neighbouring Cecil Peak Station. Philip is a local who knows the land well, has extensive knowledge of the area and its history. He has plenty of stories to share with visitors. Philip has accumulated 1,600+ hours in the sky.

Philip starting out flying when mustering on farms around Central Otago. During this time he found a true passion for flying helicopters. A man of multiple flying skills, which include fencing gear drop offs in remote locations, frost fighting, cherry crop drying and helisking. Scenic flights are a favourite with the reactions from visitors. Philip is one of Heli Glenorchy's casual pilots but he can always be relied on when the extra demand is there to fly. 

In Philip's spare time you'll find him reading, watching movies, spending time with his family and telling endless stories.

Chris Brough

Pilot

Chris spent his younger years shearing sheep for a living until he thought ‘there must be an easier job on the body’ so started flying helicopters.

He has 18 years (5,600 hours) of flying experience over his time in the sky. Within this time Chris has flown in the Queenstown, Milford and Mount Cook areas. During Chris's time on Mount Cook he was part of the Rescue team which included Human Long Line rescues up to 11,000 feet on Mount Tasman. Chris also had some time flying further afield in Papua New Guinea gaining experience in Seismic Operations for 100 - 200 foot lines.

Qualified as a category B & D Instructor you know you are in safe hands when flying with Chris. 

When Chris isn't flying he is listening to rock music, hunting and spending time with his family, wife Debbie, and two children Max and Lexi.

Russ Harris

Pilot

Russ has been flying helicopters for 20 years. This extensive experience has been gained here in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. He has also held the position of Base Manager in Canada. Russ boasts over 7500+ flying hours.

He has a wealth of experience in both passenger service and commercial long lining work. Russ was Heli Glenorchy’s main pilot working with the NCTIR team involved in the Coast Road rebuild following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. Much of the slips covering the road needed to be sliuced by helicopter with 100ft long-lines and fire buckets. Russ alone dropped over 15 million litres of water over his 20 months on the job as well as laying 300m long mesh with by helicopter! 

When Russ is not flying he spends time with his wife Lisa and two children in Kaikoura. He also enjoys hunting and diving.

Helicopter Fleet

EC-120B

The very elegant, stylish and ultra-quiet EC120 comfortably carries four passengers plus pilot. An extra wide unobstructed cabin ensures excellent visibility for taking in the spectacular Southern Alps.  With a Fenestron Tail Rotor system, this makes it one of the safest and quietest helicopters in its class.

AS350-B3 x 2

The Raptor is a colourful helicopter and has been designed to provide its occupants with the highest level of comfort. In addition to the low vibration level, the passengers will appreciate the feeling of spaciousness and the panoramic view offered by the large windows. 


Being a Dual-Hydraulic AS350B3+ Squirrel helicopter, this also makes it ideal for Commercial Support work, Fire Fighting, Heli Skiing and carrying larger groups.