Our Pilots

Meet the flight team

Meet the team

We are extremely proud of our experienced helicopter pilots, only hired because of their high flying hours, and extensive knowledge of the local mountain environment surrounding Queenstown, Milford Sound and Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Parks.

All Helicopter Queenstown 2020 Ltd pilots hold a Commercial Helicopter Pilot License and are regularly subjected to stringent performance checks to meet New Zealand CAA Part 135 requirements.

Our Team


Pat West

General Manager / Pilot 

Pat West is the General Manager and co-owner at Helicopters Queenstown 2020 Ltd trading as Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters.

Prior to this Pat was stationed at Franz Josef Glacier as head of operations for the West Coast division, also known at that time as Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters. Pat is not only a pilot but a well-respected businessman who succeeds in a tough and highly competitive industry.

Pat has also worked alongside the film industry providing state-of-the-art camera equipment, expert aerial coordination and aerial flying services.

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Luke McEwan

CEO/ Pilot/Co-owner

Luke grew up on a sheep farm in Southland and started flying helicopters in 2009.  Prior to that he'd worked as a jet boat driver in the Mt Aspiring National Park.

Luke began his pilot career here in New Zealand and then spent five seasons in the Australian Outback working in areas such as mustering and survey work.

After flying in the Outback, Luke returned to New Zealand and worked as an agricultural helicopter pilot on high country farming stations (ranches) before moving to Queenstown.

Luke is very familiar with the Southern Lakes area having provided many scenic helicopter flights for visitors around Aoraki Mount Cook, Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier, Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Park.

In his spare time, Luke enjoys hunting, white-baiting, diving and generally just getting outdoors!

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Alfie Speight

Pilot / Aerial Film Extraordinaire

Another local, hailing from Te Anau, Alfie became a helicopter pilot in the mid-1980’s at the height of New Zealand’s live deer capture programme.

His diverse career has also taken him to Antarctica twice working with Italian and American scientific research teams. However, it’s aerial filming where Alfie truly excels as principal filming pilot for films such as The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings trilogies, Mission Impossible-Fallout, Vertical Limit, Peter Pan, The Chronicles of Narnia, Wolverine, King Kong, Pete’s Dragon and many more!

Clearly regarded as the best in the business for aerial filming, in between shoots you might be lucky enough to get him as your scenic helicopter flight pilot around Queenstown, Middle Earth and Milford Sound so be sure to ask him to point out a few film locations along the way!

Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke


Michael is a true Queenstowner, having grown up here. A desire to have the mountains as his office and to lead a life of adventure far off the beaten track he started flying helicopters in 2004.

Since then Michael’s career has taken him to all sorts of interesting places from the mountains of Canada to the deserts of the Middle East flying for royals. Michael has done a wide variety of flying and is rated on 14 different helicopter types!

He started flying with Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters back in 2015.

When he isn't flying, Michael enjoys kitesurfing, skiing, downhill mountain biking and long walks in the mountains.

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Will Simpson-Shaw


Will grew up in the mighty Waikato. Having grown up around aviation, it was in his blood and he knew this is exactly where he wanted to be. 

After finishing school, Will started out as an aircraft engineer. He gained his engineer licence around the same time as his commercial helicopter pilot licence back in 2013. 

All of Will's commercial flying has been in the Wanaka, West Coast and Queenstown regions after moving here in 2014. Not only is Will an incredible pilot, but he is also a B category helicopter flight instructor! 

In his spare time, Will enjoys the great outdoors and loves spending time with family and friends. 


Jeremy O'Malley


Born and bred from the Styx Valley in the remote southern corner of the Maniototo basin in Central Otago, Jeremy knew from a young age that he wanted to become a helicopter pilot. 

From life on the farm to aviation, he is now living his dream of flying. With over 20 years of experience and rated in 8 Helicopter types, Jeremy knows a thing or two when it comes to helicopters.

His career has taken him many places like, Papua New Guinea where he did five years of flying in the remote mountains working within the gas and oil industry, Fiji and also the West Coast. 

In his spare time, Jeremy enjoys his time with family and also hunting & fishing.