null

Peter (aka Goose) & Sandra Kies

Chief Pilot and & Chief of “Everything else”

Left to right: Peter, Bridgette, Billie-Jo and Sandra Kies

Goose started his flying career in the 1970’s with his father Ken Kies owning a fixed wing aircraft (Piper Archer II) privately. During the years of the Kies Family owning Karrawirra Winery, Gooses’ love for aviation grew with swapping a few cartons of wine for a flight in the Channel 9 Helicopter with then pilot (Clive Lipscombe ) who was picking up parachutist from our private air strip.

Gooses’ love of helicopters started then and there and intensified when he went for a scenic flight with a guy called Ray Cronin near Melbourne in the early 80’s!!  Goose then went on to become a commercial helicopter pilot in 1986.

Ray is the owner (along with his wife Eleanor) of Kestrel Aviation  – they are well respected within the industry as one of the best! We still keep in touch today and utilise their flying school for training.

 

Sandra’s Bio – Coming soon!

null

Billie-Jo Kies-McInenery

When did you become a commercial Helicopter Pilot? 2005 (Aged 20)

How did you get into flying Helicopters? Well for me I have never known life without helicopters, we have always had one or more in the backyard, it took a long time for me to realise that it wasn’t ‘the norm’ to have a chopper parked in the backyard.  I am third generation pilot as my grandfather flew aeroplanes and my dad flies’ helicopters (but started in Planes).

What was training like? Training was intense to say the least.  But they break everything down, so you are only learning one thing at a time then gradually bring in new things as you progress.  The first time I flew solo was pretty scary but absolutely exhilarating as I was fully in control of this flying machine!

Did you always want to become a pilot? Umm no, I had no idea what I wanted to do.  When I left school, I worked on our family farm in the vineyard for a few years.  Then one day I was looking out at the helicopter sitting on the helipad and thought….’I want to fly that’ and that was that.  I started my journey a few months later and gained my licence just before my 21st birthday.

Most memorable flight to date? I’ve been lucky enough to have had many but most involve either sunrise or sunset flights…..that time of the day is just magical and I feel so blessed to have been able to see and do what I have.  Most jobs I have done were a once in a lifetime experience for my clients but an everyday experience for me, which I am so grateful to have had.

Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years? Not really sure exactly, probably doing the same thing as I’m doing today, which I am totally fine with as every day is different and I love what I do.

What aircraft can you fly?  Robinson R44, R22, Bell47, and the Bell206 series.

What other things do you do?  Work in the office sometimes (don’t really like that though),  look after our cattle, out in the tractor (doing whatever is required), I’ve been operating our grape harvester for the last 15 years, I do whatever job is needed to be done really.  I ground crew and “front of house”  most of the time. But most importantly I am the mother to 2 beautiful little people.

null

Matthew Lincoln

When did you become a commercial Helicopter Pilot? January 2019

How did you get into flying Helicopters? My Dad and I took a scenic flight in NZ in 2008, I was hooked ever since and just knew I’d have to get my license one day.

What was training like? I did my Helicopter training at a small school on the sunshine coast QLD, operating out of a class D aerodrome. I learnt more than I could have ever imagined and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.

Did you always want to become a pilot?

Ever since that flight in 2008 I knew that’s what I wanted to do. It only took me 8 more years to save up the funds to make It happen haha

Most memorable flight to date? One of my first solo flights where I flew over Frazer Island.

Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years? I would love to become a skilled utility pilot that helps the community in some way, fighting fires would be very fulfilling.

What aircraft can you fly? Paraglider, R22, R44

What other things do you do? When I have time off, I like to get out for a hike or head to the coast to surf and spearfish.

null

BRIDGETTE HASTING

Bridgette started her flying career in 1999. Bridgette’s passion for flying did not come growing up around helicopters but later on in life when questioned from school teachers during year 12 about career ideas – her response to this was “I have absolutely no idea, I think I might fly helicopters” – well her teacher thought she was nuts but… January 1999 came around (3 months after finishing year 12) and she was learning to fly on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

By the end of 1999, Bridgette had a commercial helicopter pilot’s license and was certified by the CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) that she was Australia’s Youngest Female Commercial Helicopter Pilot – at 18 years of age.

Bridgette’s strong will has lead her away from the family business from time to time and she has found herself in a few different roles! Bridgette was also the first female helicopter Air Attack pilot for the Victorian DSE (being air attack to one of the Erickson Sky Cranes) as well as the first female helicopter air attack pilot for the SA CFS. She has also flown in the Northern Territory in places like Kakadu, Katherine, Borroloola and Nhulunbuy.

Bridgette is now the acting Chief Pilot, although she holds this office, she and Goose still work closely together in a joint roll within the company. Bridgette also runs the administration of the company.

Bridgette has the following endorsements and experience: the R22 and Bell 206 Series, R44 and AS350, is rated in low level and sling operations but enjoys remote desert work.


null

JAMES TRATAS

GROUND CREW


When did you become a commercial helicopter pilot? 
Well, I knew at about the age of 8 that I wanted to be a commercial pilot, however of the fixed wing variety not rotor but due to being colour blind I’m unable to achieve that, however I am currently in my final year of finishing a degree in aviation management to get into the industry that I love.

How did you get into flying helicopters? To be honest I was never interested in helicopters until I landed a job at Barossa helicopters, and they gave me a chance to enjoy a flight on BHV and I’ve been hooked. Would love to actually one day test my skills out behind one!

What was training like? From what I’ve heard it can be intense! You either have it or you don’t!

Did you always want to become a pilot? From the age of about 8 when I joined the Australian Air League and learnt about the industry, I was hooked and there is nothing more I would love! Even if it’s only as a hobby!

Most memorable flight to date? Would be when I was around 11 years old I won a joy flight with Chris Sperou down at Murray bridge and he let my “fly” the aircraft, I will always hold onto that flight as my most memorable one!

Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years? Once my degrees complete I would love to get into air traffic control, love high stress environments!

What aircraft can you fly? Still pending my solo but a jabiru j-170 would be my best bet to walk away from the landing!

What other things do you do? Bit of a gym junkie, footy and getting out and about!

null

WEST LENKEITH

When did you become a commercial helicopter pilot? I became a commercial helicopter pilot in 2022. 

How did you get into flying helicopters? My dad actually suggested the idea. We were commuting down to Brisbane from the Sunshine Coast and had to drive past Caboolture airfield daily. Dad saw a helicopter fly over us and said, “Why don’t you fly helicopters, that job would be unreal!” Two weeks later I was sitting in the theory classroom.  

What was training like? Training was harder than I thought it was going to be. Really fast paced as you have three months to pass seven tests which all range in difficulty.  

Did you always want to become a pilot? No I didn’t, I was always into computers and design so I thought after completing my university degree that was the pathway I was going to take. It was only after me finishing university that I realised I didn’t want to spend my life sitting behind a desk.  

Most memorable flight to date? I had my Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) at Blue Tongue Helicopters. I remember when the pilot told me to take the doors off the Robinson 22 and my heart dropped. I was thinking to myself “is this guy crazy?” It was the best feeling taking off out of Sunshine Coast airport with the wind rushing past my face, I looked out of the door and at the ground and realised we were actually flying. That’s when I knew I was going to be a pilot.   

Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years? What a tough question, hopefully I would have a few thousand hours by then and been able to fly more variety of helicopters. I would love to work in search and rescue but that’s a while down the track. 

What aircraft can you fly? I can fly a Robinson 22 and Robinson 44. 

What other things do you do? Since moving out of home I’ve been busy learning how to ‘adult’. When I do have spare time, I love watching movies going to the gym and a good beer.