Bruce is the managing director and pilot for his family owned business, Aerospread. He kicked off his working life as high country musterer in central Otago before following the warmer climate North. Moving firstly through Malborough, then Gisborne before finally settling in Napier.
He swapped his dog whistle for a top dressing aircraft about 20 years ago. Over that time he has flown about 25,000 hours making him one of New Zealand's most experienced agricultural pilots.
He is driven by providing his clients with high quality work and a relentless push to make to the top dressing industry safe and professional. These days Bruce is spending less time in his Cresco and more time shuffling paper working on topdressing innovation projects and enhancing all aspects of Aerospread.
His free time is consumed at the local pony club helping his daughter improve her riding and with his son either at rugby or getting fit for rugby.
Pilot - Napier based
James is back in Napier after a sojourn in rural Nigeria where he worked as an agricultural pilot on a large scale rice farm. If the rumours are to be believed he fought off an attack from Boko Haram armed only with blue language, a technique he claimed to master while working in Australia.
James has been involved in agricultural aviation since the day he was able to talk. Starting by manning the phone then graduating to loader driving for his father's top dressing business. Since then James recently celebrated 10,000 flying hours achieved in a combination of fixed wing and helicopters.
Pilot - Manawatu based
Peter is the latest pilot edition to the Aerospread crew becoming offical in February 2018. Peter has been flying for as long as he cares to remember and has forged a career in the Manawatu. He is passionate about top dressing and is excited about the new challenge of joining Aerospread. Peter is looking forward to continuing his work with existing clients and well as meeting new clients in all parts of the lower North Island.
Matawatu base manager and loader driver
Warren joins Aerospread in February 2018 alongside Pilot Peter Harding. He has been working as Peter's right hand man as a loader driver and Manawatu base manager. Warren is looking forward to his new life at Aerospread and meeting the other members of the Aerospread crew. Warren, like Peter will continue to work with existing clients in the Manawatu as well as new clients in all corners of the lower North Island.
Billy was one part of the original two man team when Aerospread first started. Unfortunately Billy got pretty banged up a few years ago in a serious accident. At times his outlook was not positive but through the marvels of modern medicine and his strength of character he managed to pull through and late in 2016 returned to work at Aerospread much to everyone's delight.
Along with his family he immigrated from Scotland about 12 years ago. Initially communicating in English was challenging. Thanks to Google's brilliant translation tool we can now understand some of what he's saying.
Living in Scotland he was a farmer and a heavy vehicle trainer. He has been able to apply his training skills and high standards to the Aerospread loader drivers, ensuring the vehicles are driven safely and without causing them damage.
He is a huge fan of Formula One and follows an unpronounceable Scottish football team.
Marcus splits his role between loader driving and engineering. Currently he's spending much of his time building a new Cresco 750. He's joined Aerospread in 2013 but has been in and out of aviation for much of his life. He completed a commercial pilots licence some years ago as well as working on large warbird restoration projects.
As a keen surfer and spends his free time travelling up and down Hawke's Bay's coastline visiting his super secret and cherished spot (40°01'21.9"S 176°53'27.7"E). He's recently built a surfing camper-van so he can go on weekend surf trips with his son Max. He's a perfectionist to the core. The camper is beautiful and would look more at home in a gallery and not on the back of his Hilux.
As another side project Marcus and his father have purchased at great expense, a series of aluminium strips and assorted scrap steel that he claims is a kit aircraft that they both plan to build.
Loader driver - Waipukurau
Based in Waipukurau Joel teamed up with pilot Steve Johnson as his loader driver in October 2017. Joel has a fearsome reputation as a hard worker which is just as well considering he is the only loader driver in Waipukurau. According pilot Steve, "Joel is dynamite on a loader and handles shovel like an escaping convict."
Kent joined Aerospread in early 2016 in the new role of operations manager. If you are after fertiliser application or cartage he's the man to speak to. Kent has spent much of his adult life working as an operations manager for a Hawke's Bay based livestock transport company. He has a strong knowledge of Hawke's Bay farms and knows how to run a smooth and efficient ship.
Away from work, Kent likes to spend long summer holiday's in Mahia attempting to single handedly deplete the local fish and crayfish stocks. According to himself he's a "one-man driftnet" rivaled only by large-scale factory vessels. His wife Kirsty, also enjoys the long summer holiday in Mahia and claims it's perfect for a crash diet due to the absence of food. She often complains about eating endless cans of tuna but appreciates when concerned neighbours bring over surplus fresh fish.
Pilot - Waipukurau based
Steve returned to Hawke's Bay in May 2014 with his family after living in Northland and Taranaki. He is running Aerospread's Waipukurau base, which is full circle for Steve, as he was born just down the road at the Waipukarau hospital
A second generation pilot, not only with aviation in his veins if the rumours are to be believed he had Av gas in his baby bottle. He spent almost all of his youth and the following years driving loaders for his father's two Fletcher aircraft before he qualified to start flying. During his time doing this Steve developed solid mechanical skills and is well versed in how to keep an ailing loader operating.
He's married to Joyce (who is much younger and very pretty. Go Steve!) and has four children. He's a serious home handy man and is largely despised by his colleagues who by comparison makes them look completely inept.
Murray splits his time between Aerospread and Helicopters Hawke's Bay visiting customers and expanding Aerospread's client base.
Murray's family has a long association with the Central Hawke's Bay area since establishing themselves there over 130 years ago. Murray and his wife Raewyn have recently moved back to Waipawa from Hastings and are thrilled to be back in Central Hawke's Bay.
Often Murrary embarks on volunteer projects in developing countries and regions who are experiencing great difficulty. Lately Murrary spent time in remote highland regions of Thailand, building basic water and sanitation facilities.
Kathleen moved to Hawke's Bay from Johannesburg with her family and husband, Thomas, 11 years ago. She has a perpetual and unwaveringly upbeat mood, constantly smiling and jovial despite dealing with the testing Aerospread lads. She is responsible for keeping Aerospread up and running and ensuring the administration is completed and the bills are paid (including staff wages.) We love you Kathleen!
Away from work Kathleen spends time with her family and following her daughter to horse events.
Felix Ellis Jones
Felix joined Aerospread in September 2017 shortly after obtaining his commercial pilot's licence and is passionate about all things that fly. He's enjoying the challenge of learning to drive a loader and as well as the other tasks that "loadies" are required to do. Despite looking very young he assures everyone at Aerospread that he is not a child and is of legal working age.
Trainee pilot and loader driver
Scott moved to Aerospread from the Manawatu in November 2017 along with his young family. Now based in Napier his role is split between loader driving and when time allows training alongside Bruce. The aim is to become New Zealand's newest Agricultural rated pilot. When asked about the training he answered in his characteristically understated manor, "yes....the training is....not the easiest thing I've ever done."