Utility Helicopters is committed to supplying the most highly trained professional pilots to the Australian domestic, Pacific Rim and international industry.

We specifically offer a full range of training services such as recreational, private and commercial licenses, theory courses, PPL(H) theory exams, gas turbine courses, aeronautical radio operators certificates, flight testing RPL(H) PPL(H) & CPL(H), helicopter class/type ratings, civilian and overseas conversion licenses as well as up skill lessons i.e. lifting/sling lessons, night VFR, low level, fire fighting and english language proficiency testing, mustering ratings and mustering flight testing.

Utility Helicopters is a privately owned company specialising in precision vertical airwork and helicopter flight training,  Its 2 owner/operator and directors have combined, over 50+ years experience throughout Australia and New Zealand in the aviation industry both Peter and Nik also hold the key roles of Chief Pilot and Chief Flight Instructor and HAAMC.

Peter Bonniface is our Chief Pilot with vast experience in fire fighting and agricultural/forestry work as well as military pilot training as he is also a flight instructor, who specializes in Bell 204/205 endorsements and fire fighting endorsements.  In New Zealand he holds an E category agricultural rating which authorises him to conduct agricultural flight testing, he has also worked in PNG acting as a CEO for a large company as well as running his own successful helicopter company in New Zealand specialising in agricultural spraying using the iconic UH1H Iroquois and a Hughes 500E.

Nik McManus operates as Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) as well as being a recognised testing officer as a representative for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

Nik is an experienced instructor with over 24+ years in the aviation industry and over 10000 hours instructing time, he has trained many pilots throughout Australia including overseas conversions and military conversions. This experience as an instructor allows Nik to quickly develop a training style needed for each individual that will suit the individual.

‘Black Betty’ with Rob Jansen NAPCo 2022


With a modern and varied fleet, Utility Helicopters is the only establishment in Queensland offering the R22 and R44s as basic trainers.  With access to other single and twin engine aircraft Utility Helicopters is Brisbane’s Premier Helicopter training establishment. With Partner Fixed Wing Schools – Utility Helicopters is the first and last stop you require for your career or hobby in aviation.

Students come from all over the world to attend our specialised aviation training in Brisbane.  We only cater for a certain number of students at any one time to provide you, our customer with the very best of training.  At Utility Helicopters, students experience first-hand, a proactive and vibrant helicopter pilot training environment and culture.  Our hand picked instructors with their expertise, patience and enthusiasm are highly valued and sought after.

Utility Helicopters operates in accordance with and along side the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.  The Chief Flying Instructor and Authorised Testing Officer, Nik McManus and his team, have over 20,000 flying hours experience from a wide range of backgrounds. This coupled with standardised training encourages our students whether private or career commercial pilots to become well rounded, safe and efficient pilots.

With remote bases and partner training schools, located throughout Australia including Tasmania and New Zealand students have the opportunity to train in a variety of different locations offering varying environments.

Our facilities are always open and our team are always happy to show you around, so come in for a coffee and lets see where the adventure takes you!  If you are looking for a safe and professional training company, that has the time for you then you have come to the right place!

Trial Introductory Flight

Utility Helicopters offer Trial introduction flight packages, this is for people who want to fly a real helicopter for joy or as an introduction to a professional career path.

Option 1 – 1.5 hour experience (30 min flight time)

  • R22 Helicopter – $345.00
  • R44 Helicopter – $550.00
  • Bell 206 Jetranger – $800.00

Option 2 – 2 hour experience (60 min flight time)

  • R22 Helicopter – $675.00
  • R44 Helicopter – $1050.00
  • Bell 206 Jetranger- $1450.00


  • Looking for a career change?
  • Ever wondered what it takes?
  • Want to tick the box on your bucket list?
  • Thinking of buying a helicopter?
  • Have already made up your mind and looking for the first step?

An experience you will not forget, for all ages no experience required.

Contact us via email or call our office to book yours in.

Private Licence

The first step in taking up flying, as a career or just for pleasure, is to undertake a Trial Instructional Flight, or TIF, Please see out Trial Flight Page for details.

During the initial stages of flight instruction you will always be with a flight instructor. You will be taught the basics of flight in preparation for your first solo flight in the circuit area (rectangular pattern flown around an aerodrome), but will be familiarised with the local training area, usually a ten mile area around the airport. During this time you consolidate your training and build flying experience. Most likely, you will be ready to fly solo after approximately 15-20 hours of instruction. However each subsequent solo flight must be authorised by your instructor.

Before you can fly solo –

  • you will need to pass the required medical checks Class 2 minimum
  •  you must be at least 16 years of age
  • and be capable of reading, writing, speaking and understanding the English language. GELP (General English Language Proficiency) test carried out
  • You will also need to obtain an ARN (Aviation Reference Number) from CASA, supply photographs and identification documentation, and complete a security check. We will guide you through these steps.

Your first solo flight will involve practising take-offs and landings, and general flying within the airport circuit. This is basically a consolidation of everything that you have learned to date, such as operation and effect of controls, straight and level flying, climbing and descending, turning, take off and landings for which your instructor found you competent to do on your own. You will also have practised engine failures and have been found competent in the unlikely event of an emergency.
From this point on, you will focus on preparing for your first area solo where you will demonstrate your ability to fly solo outside the airport circuit but still within the training area.

Your first solo in the training area will involve practising simulated engine failure during which you will exercise your own judgement, simulate radio calls and trouble checks as well as passenger briefs. It will also include a short navigation exercise to and from the local training area to enable you to demonstrate some chart reading skills.

As you progress, you will learn to fly the aircraft in all situations in preparation for your Recreational Pilots Licence(RPL). Before you can undertake this test you first need to pass the RPL(H) theory examination (conducted on site). You will also need at least 25 hours flight time which includes 5 hours as pilot in command.

Enquire Now!


Utility Helicopters Pty Ltd

Hangar 211 Qantas Avenue, Archerfield Airport QLD 4108


07 3875 2973