Charity pair buzz Auckland

16:00, Feb 03 2014
Sam Allan, with Aaron Conder-O’Brien
FLIGHT FATIGUE: ‘‘My face is hurting from smiling so much,’’ says Sam Allan, with Aaron Conder-O’Brien.

A spin around the harbour aboard a Navy Sea Sprite helicopter was well worth the money say two Birkenhead workmates.

Sam Allan and Aaron Conder-O'Brien forked-out $3000 for the privilege, having won a charity auction on Trade Me organised by a television show.

Mr Allan, owner of a branding company, says he was shocked when he won the auction, but managed to rope Mr Conder-O'Brien into sharing the experience.

"‘I told Aaron he'd won a helicopter flight. It's such a big deal. You never get the opportunity to fly in a navy chopper," he says.

"My face is hurting from smiling so much."

The one hour jaunt was extra-special for Mr Conder-O'Brien, as he is halfway through qualifying as a helicopter pilot.


The sturdy, twin-engined Sea Spite, designed for rough ship landings is much larger than the helicopters he's previously flown-in, Mr Conder-O'Brien says.

Midway through the trip he got to sit in the front seat and get flying tips from veteran pilot, Lieutenant Commander John Barker.

The money raised from the flight went straight to Oxfam to help with cyclone-relief in the Philippines.

Commander Brendon Clark, Number Six Squadron's commander, says it was a great opportunity for the navy.

"We were able to turn a training flight into something special for these gentleman and come to the party and help Oxfam out," he says.

Lucy Oakshot, a spokeswoman for Oxfam, says the money is "hugely appreciated", helping fund water and sanitation kits.

North Shore Times