Private Pilots Licence (PPL)

Flying is fun, challenging and rewarding. It is a fast, safe and cost-effective way to travel. With a Private Pilots Licence (PPL) you are taking charge on an aircraft and flying yourself.

In New Zealand there are no minimum educational requirements to start Aviation Training. An understanding of mathematics and physics is helpful. Training with Wanaka Flight Training is done in a Cessna 172, Piper PA28, or a 1941 DA82a Tiger Moth.

Wanaka is an idylllic location to enjoy any kind of flying. From here you can gain practical experience in mountainous terrain with spectacular scenery. The Queenstown control zone is only 20 minutes away and provides additional practice in radio work, at a busy International Airport.


PPL requires a Class 2 medical examination. As long as you have a good overall standard of health you’ll have no problems with this. The examination can be done in Wanaka or Queenstown. To avoid possible disappointment later on, make sure you pass the medical before doing too many flights/lessons.


Early lessons cover the basics like straight and level flight, climbing and descending. Most students will take their first solo flight after 10-15 hours of flight training. There is a 50 hour minimum to a gain a PPL.

Your Instructor will normally go through a briefing before and/or after each lesson, going through the logistics of your flight. You can take your lessons as often as you like with most flights being around 30 minutes to begin with, although adding in the time for briefings and pre-flight inspections, initial lessons will take 1.5 to 2 hours.

Your training can be split up into 3 sections:

  1. Dual – Flying with an Instructor
  2. Solo – Flying by yourself, practicing what you have learnt in your dual flights
  3. Advanced Dual – Advanced flying with your Instructor

For your PPL you need a minimum of 50 hours total flight time which is divided as follows:

  • 15 hours Dual Flight Time – Flight with your Instructor
  • 15 hours Solo Flight Time – once you’ve been solo you will build your solo hours which includes cross-country time
  • 5 hours Instrument Flight Time – by using a hood we simulate flying the aircraft using instruments with your Instructor guiding you through it.
  • 10 hours Cross-Country Flight Time – you’ll be shown how to calculate heading, time to destination, ground speed, fueld used etc, on flights to destinations such as Dunedin, Milford Sound, Te Anau, Queenstown, and Stewart Island both dual and solo.
  • 5 hours Terrain Awareness (Mountain Flying)

Once you’ve achieved your PPL you can go on to other aspects of flying. For example:

  • Ratings in your choice of aircraft (learning to fly new aircraft types)
  • Flights to main airports throughout New Zealand
  • Ability to take passengers on flights
  • Commerical Pilot Training – which can also be done with Wanaka Flight Training as a continuation of your training.


There are 6 subjects with exams you need to pass for your PPL and include:

  • Radio – learning phrases Pilots use to make clear communication calls
  • Human Factors – health, stress, judgement and decision-making
  • Meteorology – cloud formations, NZ’s weather patterns, different weather conditions affecting aircraft performance, interpreting aviation weather reports
  • Air Technical Knowledge – aerodynamics, engines, electrical systems, your flight instruments and weight & balance
  • Navigation – using aeronautical maps, compass and calculating flight time and fuel
  • Law – learning to interpret the Civil Aviation Rules

These exams are mainly multi-choice and require a 70% pass rate. Exams can be sat here in Wanaka.

For more information and costings please contact us.