With his superb sense of humour and great smile, Steve Brown will brighten your day. Working as a HeliSpirit pilot Steve explores the area near Katherine, Northern Territory by helicopter showing spectacular hidden places to visitors.
Steve was an electrician before he changed occupations, becoming a commercial helicopter pilot.We asked Steve about his work as a pilot in the outback and how he enjoys living in Katherine, Northern Territory.
WHERE DO YOU WORK?
I am currently based at Maud Creek airstrip, about 10 minutes drive east of Katherine on the edge of Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National park. The majority of the Dry season we operate here with 2 pilots, however later in the year we transition to a single pilot base. There are fewer visitors as we get into the build up season, as the temperature rises.
With the winter (Dry season) weather being without fail 30 degrees, blue sky and wind from the east, the weather is definitely a perk of the job! I live and work at the strip so when I get some time it’s nice to get away and spend some time in town or out in the national park. I’ll usually make for one of the many waterfalls or waterholes; this part of the country is full of awesome places to spend a day or an afternoon.
IS IT CHALLENGING LIVING IN A REMOTE PLACE?
Having Katherine only 10 minutes away I wouldn’t really class it as remote. Not like the crews at the Mitchell Falls or the Bungle Bungles. I come from Gunnedah, NSW so I’m not a city person.
DO YOU HAVE A FUNNY INCIDENT TO RECOUNT?
I had a passenger spend the entire flight taking photos on their Iphone with the wrong camera selected… they got back from the trip with nearly 70 photos of their own head. Would have made a good Specsavers ad but probably not as funny for him, luckily his wife got a few good shots.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Any job that involves getting up every day to do the things most people only do once or twice in their lives while on holidays is pretty cool.
DESCRIBE YOUR FAVOURITE LOCATION
Here in Katherine the big permanent waterfalls up around 17mile valley would be my favorite, hands down, especially as the only other way to see them is a 60km hike! The (Nitmiluk) park isn’t as well-known as Litchfield or Kakadu for its waterfalls, ours are just as good, just not as easy to access… unless you have a helicopter.
My trip with Steve at Helispirit was absolutely amazing! With a boatcruise or canoeing you can see how big the cliffs are, but with the helicopter you can actually see how far Katherine Gorge stretches and how the complete area lookes like. And.. You do this while you’re flying in a helicopter; how cool is that! An absolute must!! Loved it! Tripadvisor