Chopper Chatter View larger

Chopper Chatter



Available: Now!
Ken Tustin
Size 240 x 170 mm 216pp,
Colour & B/w photographs

July 2012

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Perhaps best known for his relentless pursuit of the elusive Fiordland Moose, and his work on Tahr in New Zealand as shown in his previous books, A Wild Moose Chase, A (Nearly) Complete History of the Moose in New Zealand and New Zealand’s Mountain Monarchs. Ken Tustin also spent 20 years as a highly respected helicopter pilot.


A helicopter pilot’s life is full of ups and downs, as Ken discovered. Starting in the cavalier days of live deer capture, he worked for Tim Wallis around South Westland until the end of the venison boom, eventually taking on more general aviation, most of it based from Wanaka.


Heliski, catching wild goats, making movies, Search-and-Rescue around the Mount Aspiring area, and fighting wild fires with monsoon buckets were just some roles. Five seasons in Antarctica flying for the Italian Antarctic Research programme fuelled a lifelong passion for the icy continent and a lifetime aversion to pasta. Seeking warmer places he worked for a time in the jungles of Burma, then lived for over two years in Lao PDR where much of the flying was over the old battlefields of the Vietnam War then a stint in Oman. All were places difficult or impossible to access at those times, and each place brought its own challenges, both living there, and piloting a helicopter.


This book is Ken’s candid, personal story of those days, and those places, including the bumps, scrapes, the frights and those times when everything went wrong.


There are few books written by pilots themselves about their own experiences. In this one, Ken shares his journey in some of New Zealand’s, and the worlds, most interesting places.

Welcome aboard for the ride….