Dr Christopher Holden
I started flying as a teenager. Gliders and then fixed wing through an RAF flying scholarship. After a twenty year break I started microlight flexwing flying. What a passion. The joy of flying around the UK often alone and visiting friends gave a sense of freedom I found no where else. That developed into boys flying groups and trips to Europe where adventures were daily. But I wanted more….to fly inside a cockpit but with all the freedom of flexwing and to be able to land in my friends’ gardens. A chance encounter with the polar explorers Colin Bodill and Jennifer Murray immediately hooked me on helicopters.
In 1999 I met Simon at KUKI. My training started in the winter in less than ideal conditions and I’m glad of that now. What impressed me then and still does now is that KUKI training is based on safety first. Nothing outside the envelope. Nothing beyond your scope of experience and capability. But encouragement to do your best and constantly improve flying skills. There was non of the snobbery or elitism of some flying schools I have attended but just an encouragement to have fun and learn.
So I bought a Robinson 22. G-HUGS was a smooth and carefully looked after machine taking me to Concorde memorabilia auctions, friends houses anywhere, the Welsh Mountains, the Lake District, Anglesey, North Yorkshire Moors, Scotland and the South Coast. Simon helped me maintain G-HUGS to a high standard and mentoring was always there. I moved on to R44’s and occasional flying in a Gazelle.
KUKI has helped me develop my flying wishes with friendly instruction and social occasions too. The school helped me budget within my means at every stage. That’s all why I’m still here.
Capt. Frederic Wallerstein – Air Medevac, Stockholm, Sweden
I started with my PPL in May 2010. I always wanted to learn how to fly since a long way back. Through work I got to know the owner of HeliAir Sweden and he offered me a job if I decided to take my CPL, so I jumped on it right away.
My interest in flying started when I was young reading flying magazines. And in the beginning it was only fixed wing. Then I started work for the Swedish Armed Forces as a firelighter at a helicopter squadron, and there I got my interest grow for rotor wing.
I did my PPL on the Robinson R22, and I can tell you that the first 15 hours I thought it was impossible to master the skill of controlling a helicopter. But I was determined to succeed.
I have learned through my career that when you take your drivers license you feel pretty good at driving after you passed the tests. But with helicopter you never get fully learned. And that is what I like the most about it! You can advance as much as you like
Through the years I’ve been flying plenty of different helicopter types but the one I will always have in my heart is the MD500. I took my rating on the MD500 at Kuki and it was a huge step coming from a piston world. From flying an umbrella to control a bullet was amazing. The MD500 is a true workhorse; it’s like putting on a backpack when you get to know the machine. Simon has helped me a lot and thought me the beauty of flying MD500.
Today I work for a Finnish company called SHTAB. At this company I am flying the EMS helicopter EC135 in the archipelago of Åland.
Ogilvie Fleet Ltd
We wanted to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you for your past corporate experience days that we have taken for colleagues, friends and clients of Ogilvie Fleet.
As with all of the corporate events that we host each year, safety is the paramount concern for Ogilvie and, of course, an event including helicopters was one that we needed to be sure was safer than most that we are involved with. The approach from Kuki has always been exceptional in this regard and from the moment that our guests arrive, they feel relaxed, secure, excited and, above all, are briefed extensively in all aspects of safety on the day, both on the ground and in the air.
Of course, once we are sure that safety is covered, having an exciting and rewarding day is important. Kuki have never failed to deliver an experience like no other. It is fair to say that no other corporate experience has had the positive feedback that we have had from those we have with Kuki.
Of course, I must also thank you for the work you have done for the safe, reliable and enjoyable experiences for our Chief Executive.
We look forward to many more great days with you and the Kuki team and I hope you will pass on my ongoing thanks to your team from everyone at Ogilvie.
Helen Mower – Head of Fundraising, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice
It is almost 9 years since, Simon first offered his support to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. The hospice supports children with life shortening conditions through respite and end of life stays, creating magical moments, and memories to be treasured.
Simon has helped to make wishes come true for some of our children through landing his helicopter at the hospice and taking some of our children and families on short flights out.
This incredible experience has had a huge impact on families, leaving them with some special memories; especially for families with children close to the end of their lives.
In addition to his support of our children and families, Simon has also donated several flights lessons and experiences for Bluebell Wood to use as prizes and raise money. As the charity only receives 10% of its funding from the government, support such as this ensures we can make a real difference to children and families in the most difficult of circumstances.
Nick Hardy – Director, Ogilvie Group Ltd
Literally, from the moment I very first arrived at Kuki HQ I knew that PPL(h) training was for me….and there could be no other place to learn but Kuki.
I had been to other flying schools to see how they operated before I went to Kuki. The whole Kuki experience is on another level entirely to the other schools I visited and their friendly approach, relaxed nature and open, honest approach was dramatically different to the others I had experienced. You would have to walk in to Kuki to understand that, and I highly recommend that if you do if you are considering becoming a helicopter pilot.
The approach from the Kuki team has always been safety first, which I think for any prospective new pilot is probably the thing most of the forefront of their minds. Knowing that the Kuki safety record was exemplary for 20 years or more was so very important. It took all of about 3 minutes up in an R22 with Simon for me to become completely hooked and know that the investment in the training would provide a skill, thrill and life experience like no other.
Critically, as with most people I expect, the possible challenges with the whole learning process and going “back to the classroom” was a concern for me. However, the classroom based pre-flight explanations of training exercises and the relaxed learning style to both flying and ground school took away those concerns. Learning to fly a helicopter isn’t easy but the unique Kuki approach to learning and complete focus on safety have made even the tough learning days enjoyable.
Kuki are going to make me a pilot. A confident, safe and happy pilot. No question about that and I cannot recommend their training plan and method of learning highly enough.
Capt. John Roe
My family has history in flying. My father was a navigator in Lancaster’s, flew 35 missions in 101 squadron. Desperate to fly after the war though a large consumption of red wine gave him blood pressure and he couldn’t pass his medical. He loved flying. Never fully understanding why the blades were above him but loved it all the same. Once he made me fly over his old airfield to find the pub.
My uncle was Gerald Stapleton a famous fighter pilot; also I had other an uncle who navigated in Vulcans and was later in charge of Gibraltar airport.
I was lucky; many years ago to fly to Silverstone by helicopter and was from that moment onwards fascinated by helicopters. I qualified at Cranfield with then Patriot Aviation. My examination was at Gamston airport with Kuki helicopters. Simon taught me a lot about handling a helicopter and was a great instructor. He handled my upgrade from a R22 to R44 and then to a Jetranger. I learnt a lot doing some 3500 hours mainly in Jetrangers. I knew I was never in Simon’s league as a pilot though became reasonably competent though never took the flying for granted. I flew all over the United Kingdom and Europe several times. I met some great characters and learnt that helicopter pilots have a mutual respect for each other.