Get your PPL

Getting your PPL

We have experienced dedicated and friendly instructors who will share their love of flying with you. Experience an introductory flight with you at the controls, or run through a series of lessons building up skill and confidence, on your way to gaining a Private Pilot Licence.  


There are a variety of diverse training areas available from our Nelson Base and the region has some of the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand.  We have a range of aircraft to suit all requirements and budgets.  


We look forward to talking with you about your flying goals and how we can help you fulfil them.


Private Pilot Licence


Learning to fly and gaining your Private Pilot Licence (PPL) is both rewarding and challenging. Holding a PPL gives you the independence to fly with passengers around our beautiful country.






To obtain a PPL you need to be at least 17 years of age. However, you are able to start flying at any age and can go solo at 16 years of age.  We have students of all ages flying with us.




To gain a PPL or fly solo you must hold a current Class 1 or 2 Medical Certificate. This can be obtained from a number of specialist doctors in New Zealand, or around the world.  In Nelson you need to see Dr McKenzie-Pollock (Ph. 03 548 0918), or in Motueka, Dr Dave Baldwin of the Bulls Flying Doctors Service (Ph. 06 355 2879).  If you are under 40 years of age, a Class 2 Medical is valid for five years, and if over 40, it is valid for two years. 


Flight Time: 


You must complete at least 50 hours total flight time of which:

  • 15 hours must be dual instruction

  • 15 hours must be solo flight time

  • 5 hours must be instrument flight time

  • 10 hours cross-country navigation training

  • 5 hours dual instruction in terrain awareness


Once you are ready you must pass a flight test which will include all normal and emergency flight manoeuvres. 

These will be taught to you as part of your training programme. Flight examiners from Nelson Aviation College are available on request.


Theory Exams:


There are six multi-choice theory exams that you need to pass (70% or higher) in order to hold a PPL.  You can study for these either at home or in a full-time class at our Base in Motueka, starting in March and September.  See for more information. Our instructors are here to assist with any questions you may have, at any time.  The six exams include:

  • Flight Radiotelephony (Learning phrases pilots use to communicate clearly)
  • Human Factors (Safety, Health, stress, good judgement and decision-making)
  • Meteorology (New Zealand’s weather patterns, cloud types and interpreting aviation weather reports)
  • Aircraft Technical Knowledge (Aeroplane) (Aerodynamics, engines, electrical systems, flight instruments and aircraft weight & balance)
  • Air Navigation & Flight Planning (Planning a flight, using Visual Navigation Charts and calculating flight time    and fuel)
  • Air Law (NZCAA Rules and Regulations)


Aviation Language Proficiency: 


You must sit and pass an Aviation Language Proficiency test prior to being issued a PPL.  We will assist you to get ready for this test, completed over the phone. The costs vary from $99.00 - $246.00 depending on the type of test you take.


This sounds like a lot of work, and it is.  However, with an interest in aviation, some planning, and assistance from our flight instructors, you will have your PPL in no time and then you can take an aircraft away with your family or friends.


Prices and Packages


We offer a range of flight training packages to assist budding aviation enthusiasts into the air: 


Junior Aviator Rates (18 years or younger)


  • Cessna 152 rate $205/hour (usually $215/hour) plus Airways & landing fees


    Addition Aircraft Hire & Rates


  • Cessna 152 rate $215/hour plus Airways & landing fees

  • Cessna 172 rate $245/hour plus Airways & landing fees

  • Cessna 172RG rate $270/hour plus Airways & landing fees

  • Dual rate an additional $30/hour