Wanaka Helicopter Staff

Our Staff

Office Team


Charlotte Spencer-Bower, Nicky Morris, Erica Gilchrist

Administration Team

Charlotte, Nicky and Erica are our friendly administrators often being the first point of contact every day for clients, students, pilots and suppliers. Working from our central hub they manage inquires in person, on the phone and online. Responsible for managing bookings, briefing clients, tracking helicopters and coordinating with pilots and staff.


Carolyn Spencer-Bower


Carolyn’s business and administration skills have laid a solid foundation for Wanaka Helicopters over the years. She is a director of the business and currently manages a range of special projects.


Nicki Scott

Marketing Manager

Nicki is our Marketing Manager responsible for marketing, branding and promotion strategies across Wanaka Helicopters, Wanaka Helicopters Flight Training, Greenstone Helicopters and The NZ Adventure Company. Aimed at positioning the brands in both domestic and international markets along with managing the customer experience.


Emma Reeve

Accounts Manager

Emma our Accounts Manager responsible of Wanaka Helicopter accounts, including the payables and receivables for flight operations. Emma works with students and their finances. Especially fee-protect Public Trust Milestone forms and flight hours records in addition to any payments, contracts, purchases, or reimbursements for staff and students.


Brian Paavo

Academic Co-ordinator

Brian is Wanaka Helicopters Academic Coordinator, looking after all of our Diploma students and maintaining most of our private trainee records. In addition to programme applications, enrolment, scheduling, and student finance assistance, Brian participates in several theory courses and leads WHL’s responsibilities as a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International (and Domestic) students.

Flying Team


Simon Spencer-Bower

Director/Chief Flying Instructor

Simon guides the Wanaka Helicopters team and provides support and advice for all students. Simon is an A category Flight Instructor, a General Aviation Flight Examiner, and having been in the aviation industry for nearly 50 years, is highly experienced in all aspects of helicopter operations and commercial work.


Nick Millar

Senior Flight Instructor/Pilot

Nick is an experienced transport and agricultural pilot having worked extensively through the Otago, Fiordland and Southland areas for over twenty years. He is also a senior B category Flight Instructor and Airline Flight Examiner.


Dean Williamson

Senior Flight Instructor/Pilot

Dean has flown in many environments and countries and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the business. Dean is a senior B category Flight Instructor and also flies scenic and commercial operations.


Will Simpson-Shaw

Flight Instructor/Pilot

In addition to being a Commercial Pilot and B category Flight Instructor, Will is also a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, learning this trade in the RNZAF. Will teaches aviation theory and is often the first contact providing support and advice for prospective students including trial flights and interviews.


Chris Spencer-Bower

Director/Flight Instructor/Pilot

Chris works between the USA and NZ where he flies commercially and instructs on several helicopter types. Chris specialises in sling training and provides guidance in all flight aspects to students, leading several theory courses. He is also a B category Flight Instructor.


Pete Spencer-Bower

Director/Flight Instructor/Pilot

Pete is an experienced commercial pilot having flown fire fighting operations in Canada and NZ. He also operates our sister company Greenstone Helicopters on the South Islands rugged West Coast. Pete is also a C category Flight Instructor.


Darryl Sherwin

Flight Instructor/Pilot

Darryl particularly enjoys mountain flying, spending several days a week flying flying in and around Mount Cook. He provides a wealth of SAR and Air Ambulance experience as a former Ambulance / Rescue Helicopter pilot.


Che Freese

Flight Instructor/Pilot

Che has recently moved to New Zealand. He currently holds a South African CPL (H) and Grade 2 Flight Instructor Rating as well as New Zealand CPL (H) and C-Cat Flight Instructor Rating. His early aviation career involved instruction, survey work, aerial photography and charters in and around Cape Town and the Cape Winelands area. The last four and a half years were spent in Port Elizabeth as an operational pilot for the South African Police Service: Airwing.


Michael Johnston

Pilot/Ground Crew

Michael joined Wanaka Helicopters in 2018 after completing his Diploma in Aviation. Michael has flown the Cabri G2, R22, and R44 and is continuing training on the AS350. Michael is responsible for hangar and ground operations and is building hours in commercial pilot operations. He also supports diploma students for operational questions.



Matt Bailey

Director of Maintenance

Matt is a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer. With 37 years experience working on aircraft from business jets to WW2 fighters. He has worked in Switzerland and was the founder of a highly successful maintenance company here in Wanaka. Joining our team he is responsible for the 100% safety and reliability of our aircraft.