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Frontier Helicopters, New Zealand

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I thank Mark Law for his commitment and level of service that have facilitated me in flying from nothing, to an employed, commercial pilot. From me first stepping off the plane in Whakatane Mark has been there to help with all aspects of my training and logistics as well as the administration nightmare of CAA licence paperwork and medicals. On arrival Mark sorted me out with both a place to live and a car to drive at no cost to myself, something he says he does for all full time students.


Both in the air and on the ground I cannot think of anyone better to have learned to fly with. Marks experience as a longstanding owner, pilot, and operator put him in an ideal position to introduce students to every aspect of commercial helicopter operations. From his early days flying venison recovery in New Zealand’s North Island bush, through longline and live capture operations in many parts of the world; To his current Frontier Helicopter operation and his recent take over and revamp of Vulcan Helicopters, White Island scenic flight operation, his experience is industry wide. Marks down to earth, easy to get along with personality made spending many long hours in an aircraft a pleasure.


One of the major attractions to learning from Mark is his total mentorship and the ability to watch and work the ground on many of his regular commercial operations. This has defiantly given me a much wider understanding of the whole set up of a job site and the aircrafts part in it. Watching and being involved in the day to day running of the company has opened my eyes to what it take to run a successful business and all the tasks behind the scenes need to keep the rotors turning.


I am sure everyone who thinks about learning to fly also worries about where it will end and how they will make the transition from student, to employed, paid pilot. Mark has made that easy too. I leave here with a year’s contract flying, turbine PIC, a great stepping stone into the industry that will open many future doors. Marks good standing and reputation, as well as his many industry contacts meant that I was not just another low time pilot, cold sending my CV to potential employers.


It is so nice when every experienced pilot I talk to says I trained with the right person.


My flying with Mark has been massively varied and has stepped a long way beyond the standard Private and Commercial syllabus. Whakatane airport is an ideal location to learn to fly helicopters. It is quiet enough to do repeat autorotations onto the runway, but is situated in a Mandatory Broadcast Zone and gets enough traffic to keep you busy on the radio.


Bordering the airfield is an extensive low flying area with countless scope, ideal for introducing many of the basic and advanced techniques. Only six minutes flight time away is a second larger low flying area and currently active logging area, with its many valleys, ridges, clearings, tracks and river beds it makes an endless helicopter play ground. The areas eight hundred foot, steep sided valleys make a very realistic setting for operational flying and longlining training. I have spent fifty of my total of seventy five hours longline time lifting loads around those hills. If all that was not enough fly South East another fifteen minutes and follow the Whakatane River into the heart of the Urewera National Park and you are in full native New Zealand bush, designated mountain terrain and Marks back yard.


Ralph Greenaway





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