Please note the simulator will be out of action until end of May 2019 due to an upgrade of the software and avionics.

You can still purchase vouchers but will need to redeem them from end of May 2019 onwards.


Now you can in our flight simulator. It’s a virtual replica of the Sikorsky S–76 helicopters our pilots fly in real life rescue situations.

Built using the wreck of a Japanese Coastguard aircraft that was damaged during Japan’s 2011 tsunami, it is Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) certified and even if you’ve flown before, our team is ready to teach you how to fly this state of the art machine.

For pilots we also have our flight simulator available for certified training sessions. 

While we want everyone to have an amazing experience, this is a real machine, and we have to limit handing the controls to people aged 12 or older. The minimum age to fly the simulator is 12, however children are allowed to sit in the back of the simulator while being taken for a flight. Those under 18 can take the controls, but must be accompanied by a responsible adult.


$200 per hour

Learn how to fly a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter on your own, or share your simulator experience with family and friends. When booking your session, for an optimal experience we recommend a maximum of four people per hour, especially if everyone would like a turn at flying. Ten hour concession cards are also available. The minimum age to fly the simulator is 12, however children are allowed to sit in the back of the simulator while being taken for a flight. Those under 18 can take the controls, but must be accompanied by a responsible adult.


$500 per hour

Simulator training is significantly cheaper than pilot training in an actual helicopter and enables all-weather flight training. We can create scenarios that incorporate environmental or mechanical challenges that may carry significant risk, or more extreme scenarios that cannot be simulated in the actual helicopter.


From $450

Is your office ready for the ultimate challenge? Could you take off and land on an oil rig or frigate with one of your colleagues sitting next to you and the instructor in the back seat? Or can you navigate your way around Queenstown during a blizzard? A great team building event for businesses with capacity for up to 15 people.


$200 per voucher

The perfect gift for family, friends or work colleagues. Vouchers give the recipient the flexibility to choose their preferred date. Vouchers are valid for 12 months and can be redeemed by phone or email.
The recipient must present their voucher on the day to the pilot. The minimum age to fly the simulator is 12, however children are allowed to sit in the back of the simulator while being taken for a flight. Those under 18 can take the controls, but must be accompanied by a responsible adult.


Located at Whangarei Airport the simulator, or Flight Training Device (FTD), is surrounded by a curved 270-degree screen which produces high-grade city and landscape visuals for the ultimate authentic flying experience. While the helicopter remains static, it’s feels as if you are flying, accelerating and hovering in the air – but without leaving the ground.

Make sure you’ve booked your session first before popping down to the hangar!


The simulator, or Flight Training Device (FTD) was designed and built by our pilot John Keller and engineer Grant Robinson in 2013 and it received its New Zealand Civil Aviation Certification in 2014. The certification allows pilots, under the authority and supervision of one of our qualified instructors, to carry out various components of “instrument flying” whereby the helicopter is controlled solely by using the aircraft’s on-board instruments rather than any outside reference points.

This heightened capability, combined with a comprehensive framework of Civil Aviation approved “pathways” or routes, means we are able to offer a more advanced, “all weather” pilot training service than any other rescue helicopter operation in New Zealand. The FTD also allows new pilots to learn skills necessary to fly on instruments, pilots to maintain their skills by flying a set number of hours per month and pilots to demonstrate their competency to a CAA flight examiner twice a year. It’s meant considerable savings by not having to use its helicopters for many of these services. The FTD is available to all pilots wanting to achieve any Instrument Flying qualifications, and we are happy to design and oversee a course to cater for pilots at any level.


And it’s no easy ride, with pilots and passengers potentially suffering air sickness, and crashing a real possibility.

The surprise bonus of the FTD has been the realism of the visual effects which brings almost any location around the world to life – from Auckland and the Bay of Islands through to New York and London.

A favourite flight path for many pilots has been to fly under the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and happily not one has hit either the water or the bridge.

Linda & Trevor Johnston

We can’t speak highly enough of the simulator experience – including the entire process.The contact and booking process was easy and well explained.  Your prompt reply to our emails was much appreciated. Our 4 grandchildren were enthralled and just loved the simulator experience and all want to return some time for another flight. My husband and I also thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Our pilot, Don, was just wonderful and really made each of the children feel this was a very special experience. He took the time to explain how the simulator is used for training purposes and how the helicopter service helps to save lives. Don involved the children for the entire time and they will be talking about this for a very long time. Thank you to an amazing team.

Dr Edna Tait

I write with very sincere thanks for the opportunity for my brother and sister-in-law to spend time on Boxing Day in the NEST helicopter simulator.  I bought them this ‘trip’ as a Christmas present and I am now very popular as a result.   They chose to fly over Paris and New York, they landed in both cities, flew under the Eiffel Tower and more.  My brother also had some practice flying blind in clouds.  They returned from the experience elated and talked of it for a long time afterwards.

I  thank Vanessa Furze most warmly for all her assistance with the arrangements and I praise pilot Don Barker for his excellent tutoring and support during the flights.  NEST is fortunate to have such special people to provide an experience few have but all would enjoy.  I am now a voice of support for NEST and for the simulator experience.  I shall add it to the adventures I offer my NZ and overseas visitors.  Thank you.