Peter (aka Goose) & Sandra Kies
Left to right: Peter, Bridgette, Billie-Jo and Sandra Kies
Goose started his flying career in the 1970’s with his father Ken Kies owning a fixed wing aircraft (Piper Archer II) privately. During the years of the Kies Family owning Karrawirra Winery, Gooses’ love for aviation grew with swapping a few cartons of wine for a flight in the Channel 9 Helicopter with then pilot (Clive Lipscombe ) who was picking up parachutist from our private air strip.
Gooses’ love of helicopters started then and there and intensified when he went for a scenic flight with a good man called Ray Cronin near Melbourne in the early 80’s!! Goose then went on to become a commercial helicopter pilot in 1986.
Ray is the owner (along with his wife Eleanor) of Kestrel Aviation – they are well respected within the industry as one of the best! We still keep in touch today and utilise their flying school for training.
Sandra’s Bio – Coming soon!
Billie decided to become a pilot when she was 19 and at a point in her life where she needed to do something! Since birth, Billie had helicopters in her life so it came second nature and an easy move to make it a profession.
There was not a moment in her time learning to fly when she doubted what she was doing and her personal goal was to gain her license before her 21st birthday (which was achieved by 2 months).
Billie finished her licence in 2003, although she still loves flying, she also helps out with marketing, ground crew and during grape harvest – drives our grape harvester. Billie is certified to fly R22, R44, Bell47 and Bell206 series.
Bridgette started her flying career in 1999. Bridgette’s passion for flying did not come growing up around helicopters but later on in life when questioned from school teachers during year 12 about career ideas – her response to this was “I have absolutely no idea, I think I might fly helicopters” – well her teacher thought she was nuts but… January 1999 came around (3 months after finishing year 12) and she was learning to fly on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
By the end of 1999, Bridgette had a commercial helicopter pilot’s license and was certified by the CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) that she was Australia’s Youngest Female Commercial Helicopter Pilot – at 18 years of age.
Bridgette’s strong will has lead her away from the family business from time to time and she has found herself in a few different roles! Bridgette was also the first female helicopter Air Attack pilot for the Victorian DSE (being air attack to one of the Erickson Sky Cranes) as well as the first female helicopter air attack pilot for the SA CFS. She has also flown in the Northern Territory in places like Kakadu, Katherine, Borroloola and Nhulunbuy.
Bridgette is now the acting Chief Pilot, although she holds this office, she and Goose still work closely together in a joint roll within the company. Bridgette also runs the administration of the company.
Bridgette has the following endorsements and experience: the R22 and Bell 206 Series, R44 and AS350 and specialises in low level, sling operations and enjoys remote desert work.