Our People

Steve Benwell

Steve Benwell

The founder and owner of the High Terrain Helicopters as well as an avid pilot himself. His long term passion for the aviation and the in-depth knowledge of the industry provided the company with the successful leadership and a stable growth for over 20 years. The company grew from one single helicopter to the fleet of five machines with highly experienced pilots.
Every year, High Terrain Helicopters serves over 200 local and international, private and corporate clients. These include government agencies, exploration companies, film and television productions, emergency services and the tourism industry.
Steve is a well known and respected entrepreneur and High Terrain Helicopters supports many local charities and local businesses.


James Leoppky

A licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer since 1994, James is the Person Responsible for Maintenance for High Terrain Helicopters. James has lived in Nelson for the past 10 years and has raised his three daughters here. He appreciates living in the beautiful town of Nelson and working with the great people at High Terrain. He offers years of experience working in the Aviation industry on helicopters and a commitment to safety first.


Ken Plautz

I started my career in 1988 in Dawson Creek college with my aircraft maintenance engineering course. I had to wait to turn 20 years old before I could legally hold my AME license although I had all my credits. I was licensed as an AME at 20 and worked in high-level Alberta. I also obtained my private Fixed wing pilot license in 1988/89. I purchased and restored my own airplane in my early 20s and carried a toolbox around using my airplane to perform helicopter maintenance throughout  northern BC.  I called Prince George home at this time. I realized how much I loved to fly and got my commercial rotary wing license in 1995/96. I worked in Prince George from 1990-1997 as a pilot and engineer. I moved to Nelson in 1997 and have flown throughout the Kootenay’s beautiful mountain ranges ever since. As AME I have restored and rebuilt three personal aircraft now. As pilot in command, I have obtained over 7000 hours flying time as well as 29 years of engineering experience. Let’s go flying!


Eric Ridington

Eric’s background is in the guiding industry. He is an Association of Canadian Mountain Guides Ski Guide with over 14 years heli-ski and ski-mountaineering experience. Before that he was a Pro Ski Patrol on Whistler Mountain for 11 seasons and had a summer river guiding business. Eric always wanted to fly helicopters and heli-ski guiding fueled the dream. He is a mountain flying specialist with 3600+ hours experience in Alaska, BC, WA, and NT. He has worked as a flight instructor both glider and helicopter. He has experience fire fighting, wildlife/fish survey, aerial filming, offshore platform ops, diamond drill moves, production/precision longline, power and pipeline patrol, arctic and winter mountain flying, and of course helicopter tourism!!!