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Glenorchy Air chief pilot and co-owner Robert Rutherford (71) was undertaking property maintenance at his Frankton home yesterday when he fell and died.
Police say its appears Mr Rutherford fell from a ladder, and have referred his death to the coroner.
He and wife Janet, who have four children, founded Glenorchy Air in 1992.
The company, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last November, is one of Queenstown's aviation success stories.
Now operating five aircraft and employing 10 staff, the company provides scenic flights from Queenstown and Glenorchy throughout the lower half of the South Island.
As well as flying the popular Milford Sound route, the company was the first to offer 'The Lord of the Rings' scenic flights.
A statement from Glenorchy Air said it had temporarily suspended operations as a mark of respect for staff, family and friends.