The brother of helicopter pilot Matthew Timothy Wallis missing in Lake Wanaka remains determined to bring him home to his 5-year-old son Arthur and wife Alice.
"He's a wonderful father to his son Arthur and a very good husband, if not a little challenging at times too, to his wife Alice."
Jonathan Wallis spoke to the Herald just moments before heading out for day three of the search.
"At this stage the thoughts really haven't gone to remembering him, the focus is on finding him."
He said his 39-year-old brother was one of kind who had affected a lot of lives.
"He had a very wide circle of friends and colleagues. He was a good mix of his mother and his father and is very good at what he does."
In a Facebook tribute Jonathan Wallis said: "I miss you already and will never ever forget you", and promised the family would take care of his wife and son.
The well-liked helicopter pilot was a son of Warbirds Over Wanaka founder Sir Tim Wallis.
The Wallis family owns Alpine Helicopters and Minaret Station, a remote and exclusive lodge, tourism base and working farm on the western side of Lake Wanaka.
Matthew Wallis was flying alone out of Wanaka, in a Robinson helicopter, on Saturday just before 1pm on a 15-minute supply trip to lodge in the Minaret Bay area.
After 14 minutes he couldn't be reached by radio. Eleven minutes later two other aircraft were sent to look, in the search that is ongoing.
Jonathan Wallis said initially when an aircraft is missing there's an amount of apprehension but nothing is certain.
"It's treated critical but it could be quite a simple exercise.
"But it very quickly became apparent it happened because obviously an oil slick and wreckage were found in the lake."
Police divers were in the water yesterday but did not make any significant finds.
Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw said, yesterday, the operation had entered the "recovery phase. We do not believe that the pilot is still alive".
Weather conditions looked good apart from a light southeasterly moving through.
He said the family had a wonderful support network from the community and everyone involved in the search and recovery.
"That's a special thanks to the New Zealand police the rescue co-ordination centre, the navy, the local search and rescue LandSAR and also victim support."
Jonathan Wallis said Wanaka was still a small country town to his standards.
"At the heart of that is a very strong community spirit which at times like this for any family, no matter how large or small, comes together and provides a strong support network."
Queenstown Lakes deputy mayor Calum MacLeod described the Wallis family as a big totara tree in a small forest.
"Any impact on that family impacts the community ... they are a well-respected family and he's a wonderful man. It will be a tragic loss."
One Central Otago pilot, who asked not to be named, said, "We are all feeling for the family. As an industry, it's a tragedy. It's a very close-knit industry."
The Rescue Co-ordination Centre said the wreckage on Stevensons Island was from a Robinson R44 helicopter.