Sounds Aero Maintenance

Bush Flying Training

+64 3 5781899 |
Bush Pilot Training

AvSkills (Craig Anderson and Willie Sage) have been carrying out bush flying and airstrip courses for many years now, both in the Pacer, and also various other aircraft types.

The concept of AvSkills was conceived by Craig Anderson and Willie Sage over several years, and for a number of reasons, some of which are detailed below.

  • It is all too obvious that a large number of aviation related incidents and accidents occur due to poor piloting skills, and/or decision making.
  • We have seen a number of recreational pilots give up flying due to a lack of confidence in their own flying abilities.
  • In training new airline pilots, we have observed that the low industry experience of many new instructors is having an effect in the training standards of many pilots.

We felt there was a real need in the industry for more "advanced" flight training, over and above what is currently available.

We both work full time in the aviation industry, however our passion is getting out into the outdoors via some aviating method - either the Pacer, or helicopter, or sometimes both! Flying safely in this environment requires a high degree of accuracy, and a constant mind for safety. We believe we can offer a valuable service, and pass on some of our knowledge, skill and experience to others.

Most of our courses are now carried out in the Pacer by Craig, and are often done as part of an initial tail dragger rating - where the student wants something completely different, and to experience some real bush flying taught by someone who is actually out there doing it all the time.

The Prime Objective

The prime objective of our training courses is to make aviation safer, and to give you more confidence in the air, because an "unconfident" pilot is an unsafe pilot. We can teach what you need to know to be a safer, more confident pilot. Often this is simply a case of knowing your personal limitations, however many pilots have a false idea of their own limitations. For many, their limits are too conservative. That may mean not venturing far from the local airfield, or even getting out of the circuit. A little dedicated "real world" training will teach you how to get out there, and do it safely. For others, their limits are too wide, and not aligned with their own personal skill level.

While a lot of our flying is into different and challenging places, we are actually big chickens when it comes to pushing our limits. Often this means staying on the ground when the conditions aren't suitable, and at other times it means staying in the air (and not landing) when we are not comfortable with a landing site, or the conditions. The trick is knowing your limits, and sticking to them.

We believe that the best way to offer maximum benefit from our courses is by providing dedicated one on one training. We also believe that you can't achieve much in an hour or two, but an extended period of training, including both ground work, and actual flying is needed. For these reasons, we only accept one student at a time, and the minimum course length is normally several hours in the aircraft. Most of our courses are actually tailored around two days, with one or two overnights built in to enhance the experience.


All of our courses include detailed and quality ground instruction time, and we are able to "mix and match" any subjects to offer a tailored package to suit your specific requirements and needs.

Normally each student will have a particular area they are interested in, or want to work on (eg general handling techniques, strip flying, or mountain flying etc - or a mixture of the lot). We will then add a variety of extra exercises that work you into it slowly, and complement what you want to do. Essentially, each course is custom developed for each student.

99% of the course is done off airport i.e. on farm/ag strips. All have a variety of different challenges eg curved, one way, sloping, confined space etc. All are a lot of fun!

Everyone who has done a course to date has raved about what they have learned by the end of it, and generally we get lots of comments like "Why was I never taught all this in my PPL or CPL??"

Other topics that are indirectly covered during most training courses include the following:

  • Mountain flying techniques including operations in confined spaces, saddle crossing and reversal turns.
  • Airstrip operations including risk management, low level circuits and dumb bell turns, correct approach profiles, correct takeoff techniques, operation on rough surfaces including river and beach operations, correct use of flap in varying situations, tailwind takeoffs & landings, sloping strips, one way strip operations including correct decision making points, knowledge of effect of wind/slope/elevation/temperature/weight on takeoff and landing, dealing with livestock including associated hazards and correct clearing technique.
  • Bad weather flying - reduced visibility/avoiding turbulence. Stall awareness.
  • Dangers and hazards when operating low level including wires and associated checks required.
  • Knowing the aircraft's limitations, and feeling confident operating at correct airspeed and attitude.
  • Risk management in various situation, including weather/mechanical/operational/mechanical failures, and dealing with aircraft defects.
  • Practical briefings before and during flight and importance of knowledge of emergency procedures for each aircraft and situation.
  • General airmanship techniques. Practical knowledge of aircraft checks, systems, speeds, lookout, over controlling, ground handling, flying in trim, knowing what is actually important and what is not.

More Information

If you are interested or want more information, please email Craig at or call direct on 029-8904910.