Our Staff

Behind any operation there are always the unsung heroes that keep business affairs in order and assist in the overall smooth running and day to day operations.

Our hard working, indispensable staff:

Simon Spencer-Bower, QSM

Owner/CEO, Chief Flying Instructor (the Boss)

Simon was raised as a sheep farmer and learnt to fly aeroplanes soon after leaving school in 1967. In 1980 he gained his helicopter license after which he gave up his farming interests and pursued an aviation career.

Simon’s early aviation passion was aerobatics which led to him flying various types of desirable warbird aircraft. Helicopter flight training however has been the main focus of his helicopter career. He is an A-category Instructor and General Aviation Flight Examiner

Simon has won a number of awards throughout his career, mainly relating to aviation safety. In 2010 he was awarded the Queens Service Medal (QSM) for services to aviation. In 2015 he was awarded the W.A. “DUB” BLESSING AWARD for CFI (Flight Instructor) OF THE YEAR at the Helicopter Association International (HAI) ‘Salute to Excellence’ awards dinner at Heli-Expo in Orlando, Florida.

Outside of aviation Simon’s interests include motor sport, photography, family and travel.

Nick Millar

Senior Pilot and Flight Instructor

Nick started his flying career with Wanaka Helicopters in 1998, and after achieving a Commercial license, went on to gain a Grade 2 Agricultural Rating.

Nick then flew as an agricultural pilot for many years in addition to working on many varied commercial operations including charter, heli-skiing, sling, pest and wild animal recovery, film and photography in Southland, Otago and Fiordland.

As a senior B-category Instructor with over 5000 hours flight time, Nick has trained many pilots who have benefitted from his broad experience and practical, efficient manner.

Dean Williamson

Senior Pilot and Flight Instructor

Nelson born and Rotorua raised, Dean started flying with the Rotorua Aero Club in 1979 and converted to helicopters in 2003.

Dean spent many years travelling the world and has been heavily involved in the Aviation, Travel & Tourism industries, working in the UK, Europe, India, Australia and North America.

His flying has spanned the length and breadth of NZ from the North Cape to Bluff and the past few years have seen him flying around the Fiordland, Southland and Otago regions. Dean is a senior B-category Instructor with over 4000 hours helicopter flight time. Dean’s interests include windsurfing, skiing, motor sport, piano and guitar.

Carolyn Spencer-Bower

Office Administrator and Business Manager

Carolyn has worked with Simon in the helicopter business for more than 30 years. Carolyn started her working life in Real Estate, and has the distinction of being NZ’s first female, licensed Real Estate agent.

Carolyn has been instrumental in Wanaka Helicopters gaining the Qualmark, Enviro Bronze, Sustainable Tourism and NZ Qualifications Authority accreditations. Carolyn’s business and administration skills are invaluable and if you really want to know whats going on, talk to Carolyn!!

In her limited spare time, Carolyn enjoys pursuing folk art, home crafts and family activities.

Nicky O'Malley

Reception & Administration

As front desk receptionist, Nicky will be the first cheerful face or voice you will encounter on visiting or contacting Wanaka Helicopters. Nicky will be happy to assist you with all your enquiries and booking needs including weddings, scenic flights, tour groups, charters and flight training.

Chris Spencer-Bower

Director, Senior Pilot & Flight Instructor

Peter Spencer-Bower

Director, Senior Pilot & Flight Instructor

Will Simpson-Shaw

Pilot & Flight Instructor

Lee Armstrong

Pilot & Flight Instructor

Dazza Sherwin

Pilot & Flight Instructor

Brian Paavo

Academic Coordinator

Emma Seward

Accounts Administration

Charlotte Spencer-Bower

Administration & Marketing


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