Newspaper Article 1997 – Keeping flying in the family

Keeping flying 1n the family

AT 16 he was flying solo, at 20 Hamish Macdonald is putting the finishing touches to a fixed wing commerical pilots licence, and has his commercial helicopter pilot’s licence.

Having a father who is a keen flyer has meant Hamish has been brought up with aeroplanes and flying, “lt’s in my blood.” he says.

‘Hamish is in the final stages of completing his commercial fixed wing licence, and a multi engine rating course at Napier.

He finished a helicopter rating course a couple of weeks ago.

It is now time to get serious about a fulltime job, he says.

He is is undecided whether to try his luck overseas or see what comes up in New Zealand.

In the past few years Hamish has worked for Philip Deadman as ground crew, at present he is working for Shoreline Helicopters doing frost control work in between study.

Ag work often means long working days when the weather is fine and a chance to catch up on sleep when the weather turns bad.

Hamish says “if you have a passion for the work, you are going to live off then it’s easy.”

“I love getting up early and flying, it is awesome.”

Hamish says areo agricultural work is a small industry, and jobs are scarce.

He said he could either wait around for a job to come up or take the opportunity and travel overseas and look for work.

By travelling “I get to see the world and do the work.”

Hamish began learning to fly when he was still at school, flying solo at 16 is the youngest anybody can lawfully attempt it.

This early experience and towing gliders has given him the confidence that generally comes to someone much older.

Hamish says his glider towing experience which he has done over the last few years, has helped in determining air lifts and weather patterns that are all integral to whether you are a good or bad pilot.

He never thinks about any danger in flying, if you did you wouldn’t do it he says.

“The best part of flying is bush flying in the hills and mountains. It is very demanding, with the helicopter working at optimum to cope with the high altitude.”

“The scenery is fantastic and you learn lots when flying in the hills,” he says.

Age has been Hamish’s only barrier, convincing employers that although young he is still qualified.

“Once you are qualified you have to get the hours, and that’s what all young pilots do is focus on hours.”

Photo caption – Hamish Macdonald

Original digital file


Non-commercial use

Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ).


Commercial Use

Please contact us for information about using this material commercially.

Can you help?

The Hawke's Bay Knowledge Bank relies on donations to make this material available. Please consider making a donation towards preserving our local history.

Visit our donations page for more information.

Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published



Accession number


Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.