The Aviation Adventures Team includes
some of the most skilled pilots in the business.
We are dedicated
to giving you an enjoyable experience and providing quality
service. We like meeting people as much as we like flying.
Sharing the joys of a biplane flight is what we do best!
Chief Pilot and Director
Chris has been
flying gliders and powered aircraft since 1984. As a tow pilot
flying "tail dragger" aircraft, he completed over 5000 glider launches.
His total time in aircraft exceeds 4800 hours. He also holds New
Zealand and Canadian commercial licences for aeroplanes and balloons,
and has flown helicopters. He was the first New Zealander (and
one of only a few people in the world) to log 1000 hours each on aeroplanes,
gliders and balloons. In addition to holding four New Zealand national
aviation records, he has been flying in the area around Aoraki Mt Cook
for 28 years and was the Chief Flying Instructor for the Southern Soaring
gliding company from February 2006 until April 2010. Other achievements
include being the author of two non-fiction aviation books, one novel and visiting Antarctica eight times.
Tarn has had an interest in aviation, Mount Cook and the outdoors
for much of her life. She has worked as cabin crew for Mount Cook Airlines
for over 27 years. Prior to that she worked for a season in Antarctica
at McMurdo Station on Ross Island, where she met Chris. She has travelled
extensively in North America, explored the Pacific countries of Vanuatu,
Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and the Solomon Islands, and hiked in the Nepalese Himalaya.
Other interests include kayaking, mountain biking, whale watching and helping
run a community garden in Lyttelton.
Quality Assurance Manager
Darren Smith is an experienced pilot
with over 6200 hours fixed-wing time (2500 of this being in tail-dragger
aircraft) and over 1400 hours as a glider pilot. He use to fly the off-seasons
in Canada fire-patrolling and currently works in New Zealand flying a PAC750
on skydive operations in Wanaka, and the Pilatus Porter aircraft in Franz
Josef. Darren also spent time in the Mt Cook region flying the "Porter" on
skis landing on the Tasman Glacier.