1492983655046 - Wanaka aviation champions acknowledged by Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Wanaka aviation champions acknowledged by Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Wanaka aircraft maintenance business owner Callum Smith has been acknowledged as the best maintenance shop of the year by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

The association has also voted Wanaka recreational pilot Shaun Gilbertson as its 2017 general aviation champion.

The awards were presented to the men at Wanaka Airport last Friday by life members Murray Paterson, of Mosgiel, and Brian Hore, of Nokomai.

The association also grants awards for best aviation cafe, which this year is Mandeville’s Cocoa Cafe, and best central control tower, which has gone to Woodbourne Airport, at Blenheim.

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Paterson said all awards are nomination by the members, with the association’s eight life members then making the final decision.

The Wanaka awards were “well deserved”.

Smith looks after between 20 and 30 association aircraft at Wanaka.

“I am very excited because it is our customers and pilots and owners who have nominated us. We are very busy,” he said.

Hore said Gilbertson had worked hard with back country land owners, including the Department of Conservation, to negotiate safe access.

“It is what we are all about, being able to use these airstrips,” he said.

More than 1000 recreational pilots vote on the nominations, with about 60 members based in and around Wanaka.

The association is part of the International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and shares similar aims.

At least 160 delegates representing 60 countries are expected to attend an international IAOPA conference in Queenstown in March 2018.