"Nico was a great pilot and instructor, who was well respected by his peers and colleagues."
That is how Neil Hughes of Hughes Helicopters described Nicholaas Brink, one of two men who died in a helicopter crash near Tallong on December 2.
Mr Brink, 36, who had been employed with Hughes Helicopters, was a flight training instructor on the fateful journey which also resulted in the death of trainee pilot, 54-year-old Victorian man, Andrew Goldman.
Mr Hughes, an experienced helicopter pilot who founded his Goulburn-based company in 2017, was devastated by the loss.
He described the man he fondly knew as 'Nico' as someone with a "great sense of humour and a zest for life".
"We will miss him every day," he said.
"He was a great father and husband."
Mr Hughes added that Nico, who was originally from South Africa, but had more recently made a life for himself in Goulburn, "had a dream to fly back in South Africa".
"Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family both in Australia and South Africa," he said.
Mr Hughes also extended a special thank you to all the emergency services and support workers on behalf of his business, staff and families.
Colleague and close friend Riley Topping also sung the praises of Mr Brink a man he described as a "beautiful, genuine person."
Mr Topping said that he spent a lot of time with Nico and had enjoyed living life, laughing and appreciating the little moments that life offered with his good friend. This included helping Mr Brink secure an additional licence for flying.
"I'm a fixed wing pilot and had been helping Nico to get his jump pilot licence for parachute flights," he said.
"He was a talented pilot. Always cool, calm and collected. He was a pilot with a lot of experience."
Mr Topping was married in Gunning on Saturday (November 28) and it was Mr Brink who helped ensure the bridal party and the groom's parents arrived in style. He flew them to the wedding in his helicopter.
"Nico was energetic, always happy, encouraging and supportive of others," he said.
But most importantly Mr Topping noted "Nico's love for his family."
"He loved his wife and children so much. He was so proud of his kids," he said.
Mr Brink is survived by his wife Brooke and two young children, Ethan and Ava.
The Robinson R44 Raven model aircraft which they were flying was one of two owned by Hughes Helicopters.
The cause of the crash is unknown.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash.
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