Meet the Pilots

Meet the Pilots

John French – Chief Pilot

John a.k.a. Frenchy, is very well known and respected throughout the Kimberley and Pilbara region in Western Australia. With over 9,000 hours of commercial helicopter and fixed wing experience, Frenchy started out mustering in Western Australia. Since this time, he has clocked up many hours conducting fire incendiary, sling loading, feral animal control, mining and geological surveys, and medical evacuation operations, plus countless hours of flying very happy tourists around the Kimberley.

For over 25 years, Frenchy has had an incident free flying career. This highlights his professional, proactive and safety conscious attitude. As Chief Pilot, Frenchy is also responsible for the company’s regular checks and the training of all KAS pilots. His comprehensive knowledge of the Kimberley landscape, and wide-ranging aviation experience are a key asset to KAS Helicopters’ ongoing success.

Tate Steen

Tate’s passion in aviation started from an early age, when he would sit in the back of his Dad’s 172, exploring some of the most remote parts of Western Australia. Fast forward to today, and Tate has accumulated over 2,400 hours in flying across a number of helicopters, including the AS350 Squirrel, Bell 206L and Robinson R44-R66. Tate has spent most of this flying career in the Top End of Australia, with his background being in utility flying. This includes experience in agricultural spraying, mining support and survey, precision lifting, fire abatement, burning and feral animal control. One of the greatest joys for Tate though, is simply flying people around so that they can experience some of what he’s lucky enough to see everyday. He enjoys the challenges that come with operating in remote areas, and views helicopters as a logistical solution to many remote problems. After 6 years living in the Northern Territory, Tate is happy to call Western Australia home and be part of the KAS Helicopters’ team.

Mike Thomson

Mike “Tommo” Thomson has been flying for nearly 20 years, starting out in the world of fixed wing aircraft. From flying aerobatics in Queenstown, New Zealand to flying nurses into and out of Aboriginal communities in the Australian outback. Tommo made the move to helicopters in 2010, and has based himself in the Kimberley region ever since. Tommo is the senior Broome based pilot for KAS Helicopters, and even though he enjoys the many varied aspects and challenges of flying in the Kimberley region, he never tires of the flight up and down Broome’s iconic Cable Beach at sunset. Tommo holds both commercial licenses in a variety of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, and has just over 2,200 combined flight hours.

Hamish Starr

Hamish started his flying career in New Zealand, and after flying the length and breadth of the country a few times he was in search of much bigger and better opportunities. This brought on the decision to move with his family to Australia, and settle in Perth, Western Australia.
Hamish has gained extensive aviation experience as a chief flying instructor in Perth, as well as in multi engine operations of medium helicopters in the oil and gas industry along with a stint at the industry regulator CASA as an FOI. Most recently, Hamish acted as a senior base pilot patrolling metropolitan and south west beaches for Surf Life Saving WA. Hamish holds commercial licenses in both fixed wing and helicopters and has close to 4,000 hours in a variety of light and medium helicopters alone. Hamish’s wealth of aviation knowledge is an invaluable asset to KAS Helicopters for both internal and external operations.

Roger Nowland

Roger has a career that spans just on 30 years in Helicopters, he has worked in the Snowy Mountains, Queensland as well as Melbourne as media pilot for channel 7 and most recently back in the Kimberley where he cut his teeth mustering many years ago. Roger brings a wealth of knowledge to the company with his extensive experience in multiple helicopter types along with many and varied work experiences.