Flight Training at the Tauranga Aero Club

The core activity of the Tauranga Aero Club is flight training of recreational pilots towards their Private Pilot Licence. We have been doing this for well over 60 years and are the experts! As well as this, in partnership with Sunair Aviation, we also train pilots towards their Commercial Pilots Licence, Instrument Rating, and Instructor Rating.

Specifically, we have training programs in place for the following types of training:

–  Flight instruction of pilots towards a Private Pilot Licence or Commercial Pilots Licence.

–  Flight instruction of pilots towards a C Category Instructor Rating, or B category Instructor Rating.

–  Flight instruction of pilots towards an Instrument Rating.

–  Conduct of a Biennial Flight Review for a Private Pilot Licence.or Commercial Pilot Licence.

–  Conduct of an Aircraft Type Rating.

–  Conduct of an Aerobatic Rating.

–  RNZAC flying competitions

–  Trial flights.

–  Conversion of a foreign licence to a New Zealand PPL

For information on training towards your Private Pilot Licence, see below. For information on Commercial Pilot training, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Private Pilot Licence Training

What can I do with a PPL?

With a PPL you are able to carry passengers with you when you fly, although you are not able to charge for your services. You can hire an aircraft that you are type rated on, or buy your own aircraft, and you are able to fly anywhere in New Zealand. Some continue on in their training to obtain a Commercial Pilot Licence and ultimately a career in aviation.

instructor showing preflight

How old do I have to be to start training?

To be eligible for the issue of a PPL, you must be at least 17 years old. You may start your training before this, but you will not be able to go solo until you are 16 and you will not be able to sit the PPL flight test until you are 17.

What medical requirements are there?

There are no medical requirements to start your training. However, before you can be sent solo you must obtain a Class 2 Aviation Medical Certificate. This is issued following a medical examination by a Civil Aviation Authority designated medical examiner. There are currently two designated medical examiners in the Tauranga area – Bethlehem Medical Centre and Te Puke Medical Centre. The medical requirements for a Class 2 medical are not onerous – wearing glasses or colour blindness are not show stoppers.

What Flying Hours Do I Need to get My Licence?

Before you can sit your final flight test you must have logged the following minimum flight hours:

50 hours total flight time.

15 hours total dual flight instruction.

15 hours total solo flight time.

5 hours dual instruction in instrument flying.

5 hours dual instruction in Terrain and Weather Awareness

5 hours dual cross country flying and 5 hours solo cross country flying.

If you wish to fly at night, you must also complete 5 hours of night flying which must include at least 2 hours of dual instruction and 2 hours of solo flight. Night flying is optional and not required for the issue of a NZ PPL.

aerobat over mount

What Exams Do You Have To Pass?

You must pass written examinations in the following:

– Air Law.

– Meteorology.

– Navigation and Flight Planning.

– Aircraft Technical Knowledge.

– Human Factors.

– Flight Radio Telephony.

The level of difficulty of the exams is equivalent to Year 11 or 12 of high school. Study guides are available for each subject, and the exams are taken on a regular ongoing basis in the aeroclub clubrooms. The study guides cost about $70 each and exams cost $82 per sitting. As well as the study guides, aero club instructors run night classes to coach you in each subject. Your instructor at the aero club will show you how to obtain the study guides, the required equipment for each exam, and how to apply to sit each examination.

We recommend that you begin studying for your first exam after first solo.

Are There Any Other Requirements?

You must undergo the CAA Fit and Proper Person assessment process. Under New Zealand law, all applicants for a pilot’s licence must demonstrate that they have an acceptable respect for the law. Minor criminal convictions and traffic offences are not a problem, but if you have something more serious in your past it may be a good idea to undergo this check prior to spending money on flight training. The check is carried out in complete confidence by the CAA.

Prior to licence issue you must be assessed as competent in spoken English and obtain an English Language Proficiency credit.

At the conclusion of your flight training you are required to pass a practical flight test in an aeroplane with a CAA authorised flight examiner. Similar to a drivers licence test with wings.

How Does Flight Training Here Work?

When you are ready for your first lesson, contact us and book yourself in for a lesson. A lesson consists of a 30 minute power point briefing in the briefing room, followed by a 45 minute flight, followed by a short debrief. You should allow two hours for each lesson. You can fly any day of the week, subject to weather and other students booking aircraft in ahead of you.

As you progress through the training program you will pick up training reference material to study at home. The first step is to purchase our Student Pilot Guide ($15). This is a comprehensive guide that details all of the steps involved in the training program and the requirements at each stage. You will also need to obtain a New Zealand pilot logbook and the New Zealand Flying Training Manual early on in your training, although these are not required for the first one or two lessons.

You can train as fast or as slow as you like. An optimum pace is one lesson per week. This gives you time between lessons to absorb what was taught in the previous lesson and prepare for the next one. Others have more time on their hands and train full time. A PPL can be completed in about 2-3 months if you work hard and are good at studying for and sitting exams.

How Much Does it Cost?

Flying lessons are paid according to the amount of time the aircraft engine is running. Our current rate is $210/hour if you are a non-member, and $190/hour for members. Membership costs $140/year and we welcome new members. Also, there is a $40 charge for any preflight briefings (not all flights involve a preflight briefing). The time logged in your logbook is engine start to engine stop.

As Tauranga is a controlled aerodrome, all aircraft landing here have to pay a landing fee (for the owner of the airfield – your friendly local council) and airways fee (for air traffic control). For the two seater trainer this works out to $4.60 and $8.60 respectively. So, for a 42 minute dual training flight expect to pay the following:

Ground briefing             –           $40

Engine run time            –           0.7 hours @ $190/hour = $133

Airways fee                   –           $8.60

Landing fee                   –           $4.60

Total cost                     –           $186.20

A Class 2 medical will cost approximately $450.

Theory exams cost $82 each to sit, and you should budget $200 – $300 for each subject for all of the study guides and reference material you will need.

Other miscellaneous costs are as follows:

Pilot logbook    – $40

NZ Flying Training Manual – $75

English language proficiency test – $120

PPL flight test fee – $450

Licence issue fee – $150

The total overall cost to get a PPL will vary depending on your progress through the exams and flight training program. From experience, we estimate the total cost for most people is about $15,000. Some will do it for slightly less than that figure, some will enjoy the scenery more along the way and do it for slightly more. If you budget $200 – $300 per week, then a PPL can comfortably be completed over a year.

sunair twin

Professional Pilot Licences

Training towards professional pilot licences is done in partnership with Sunair Aviation Limited. Sunair is a Tauranga based 3rd level airline that operates a fleet of twin engine aircraft across the North Island. Both the aeroclub and Sunair have an ongoing need for Instrument Rated Commercial Pilots and Instructors for their respective operations.

Training to be a commercial pilot starts at the aeroclub. Our flight training program will take you through Private Pilot Licence, Commercial Pilot Licence, Instrument Rating (single engine), and then Multi Engine Type Rating. Once you have completed these licences and ratings, you then join the Sunair operation for the issue of an Instrument Rating (multi engine), operational line check, line training (40 hours), and finally a Command Multi Engine IFR line check. The whole process is designed to produce a pilot with robust, practical skills, and experience and qualifications that are relevant to the modern air transport industry. The aeroclub also trains pilots towards C Category and B Category Instructor Ratings.

If you want to know more then contact us for a copy of our Commercial Pilot Licence Course Guide.

dave tipper shot low res