WELCOME

The Southern Heli Lift story begins with one of aviation’s legendary workhorses: the Bell UH-1L – a “Huey” or Iroquois, as it’s better known.

Thumper, call sign HUE, is the South Island’s largest helicopter. The muscle the Huey brings to every job means it tackles projects other aircraft just can’t. Its sheer size and power often negate the hassle and time needed to break down what’s being hauled, and it performs many jobs, including forestry and ag work, more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

We’ve also introduced a Hughes 500 for smaller-scale agricultural and spraying work, as well as wilding pine eradication projects.

OUR SPECIALIST AVIATION SERVICES INCLUDE:

The Southern Heli Lift team is headed by Chief Pilot Darren Davison, a helicopter veteran who brings more than 8000 hours’ flying experience, and CEO Lynda Davison, whose business background traverses senior management roles, a start-up and academia.

Much of Darren’s lengthy aviation career has been spent in the technically-challenging areas of long-lining and heavy lifting, plus precision agricultural work, aerial firefighting and pest eradication.

He’s recently designed and developed, in collaboration with Greymouth’s Quality Machining, Aotearoa, New Zealand’s first heli-mulcher, which is now an integral part of our comprehensive wilding pine management arsenal.

Southern Heli Lift is a tight-knit, family owned-and-operated business, and we are passionate about making the best, and most economic, use of our aircraft on every project.

One of our niches is devising clever solutions to tricky jobs – particularly the delicate or the heavy duty, and, sometimes, the seemingly insurmountable.

Our technical and logistical expertise opens up opportunity, not just for Southern Heli Lift, but our clients and other project partners, too. To that end, our strengths include collaborating to identify and realise enterprising – and, often, ground-breaking – projects. We’re able to tailor bespoke, wrap-around solutions, support and project management, all delivered with professionalism, care and integrity.

One of our niches is
devising clever solutions
to tricky jobs.

We enjoy genuine and trusted relationships and networks with other industry specialists, both inside and outside of the aviation sector, associations that are very special to us.

Safety, together with the quality of all of our working relationships, are the bedrocks on which we’ve built our team and business.

Operating in some of the most dangerous and unpredictable work environments around, their rigorous commitment to, and investment in, safety – both in the air and on the ground – is uncompromising.

As well as making sure everyone gets home safe and sound after every workday, we’re all about outstanding communication and getting the job done, and done exceptionally.

Sectors with which we work:

– Christchurch City Council
– Environment Canterbury

– Department of Conservation
– Fire and Emergency New Zealand
– Ministry of Primary Industries
– Land Information New Zealand

Meet our team

Darren Davison

The path to Darren Davison’s career in the air began with his feet planted firmly on terra firma, amid the craggy ranges of Central Otago.

Read more …

Lynda Davison

It takes a certain type of mind and mettle to oversee a dynamic helicopter operation specialising in traditional services – let alone one that’s also pioneering progressive new initiatives.

Read more …

Ben Robinson

He watched the fixed-wing top dressers fly overhead one month, and, by the next, Ben Robinson booked his first flying lesson, and was sitting in the cockpit himself.

Read more …

Matt Kerr

Aviation runs in Matt Kerr’s blood. While his love of aircraft started with watching his Dad run a Piper Cub BPA up and down the South Island’s West Coast, fixed wings ultimately lost out to helicopters.

Read more …

Cooper-Stanley

Southern Heli Lift’s Head of Zen.

See more …

Our specialties

Our helicopters

With the might of Southern Heli Lift’s Bell UH-1L (Huey) and agility of our Hughes 500D behind us, our team has the gear, skills and experience to take care of everything from complicated heavy lifting jobs in gnarly locations to precision spot spraying. 

Bell UH-1L (Huey, Iroquois)

Nicknamed “Thumper”, call sign HUE, our Huey is the biggest helicopter in the South Island, with the ability to hoist and carry around a third more in weight or litres than the next-largest, be it heavy lifting, spraying or firefighting.

People tend to associate the Huey (also commonly known as an Iroquois) with its decades as a military aircraft – it was at the hub of the Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopter fleet, and is synonymous with the Vietnam War.

The same power, reliability and structural integrity that appealed to defence forces around the world, has also seen the Huey prove its worth in the commercial field over the decades.

Its size and grunt – coupled with its 1200L carrying and 1800kg lifting capacities – can make the seemingly impossible, possible.

What’s more, we can often get the job done in a fraction of the time, efficiently and cost-effectively.

HUEY FAST FACTS

Ideal for:

Hughes 500D

Like the Huey, the Hughes 500 was designed initially for military use, hence its particularly robust frame and overall design.

On top of our specialist heavy-duty services, our 500 enables us to also cater for more general commercial and agricultural work, including crop care and spraying.

Bell UH-1L (Huey, Iroquois)

Nicknamed “Thumper”, call sign HUE, our Huey is the biggest helicopter in the South Island, with the ability to hoist and carry around a third more in weight or litres than the next-largest, be it heavy lifting, spraying or firefighting.

People tend to associate the Huey (also commonly known as an Iroquois) with its decades as a military aircraft – it was at the hub of the Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopter fleet, and is synonymous with the Vietnam War.

The same power, reliability and structural integrity that appealed to defence forces around the world, has also seen the Huey prove its worth in the commercial field over the decades.

Its size and grunt – coupled with its 1200L carrying and 1800kg lifting capacities – can make the seemingly impossible, possible.

What’s more, we can often get the job done in a fraction of the time, efficiently and cost-effectively.

HUEY FAST FACTS

Ideal for:

Hughes 500

Like the Huey, the Hughes 500 was designed initially for military use, hence its particularly robust frame and overall design.

On top of our specialist heavy-duty services, our 500 enables us to also cater for more general commercial and agricultural work, including crop care and spraying.