Pilot follows his passion and lives to tell the tale

CHOPPER CHATTER
The adventures and misadventures of a New Zealand helicopter pilot.
Ken Tustin

Tighten up both your belt and your sphincter - the pilot already has.

Ken Tustin, New Zealand's most dedicated moose hunter, unsuccessful to date, has penned a book about another passion in his life, flying helicopters.

Tustin is a terrific storyteller. His book is crafted like a TV series full of drama, danger and suspense, and it's hard to put down as the pilot describes his near-misses as well as accidents.

Based at Wanaka, when the deer capture days dried up, Tustin flew heliskiers, filmed movies, caught goats and even threw lollies to kids while dressed as Santa Claus before the fun-killers put a stop to that type of activity. He writes about events Otago people will remember.

He also flew five seasons in the Antarctic for the Italian Antarctic Research programme, where he lived the dream, and then from the freezer to the fire - he flew in the steaming jungles of Burma and Laos, followed by a stint in Oman where the high chance of politics going sour was infinitely more dangerous than the flying.

It will not help the author make his fortune, but my copy has already done the rounds of three mates.

- Stephen Jaquiery