Private Pilot License-Helicopter

Civil Aviation Rules require a person to hold a pilot license to fly a helicopter in New Zealand. Training towards a Private Pilot License specific to helicopters (PPL-H) is the first step to take! Once you have a PPL then you can continue for the Commercial Pilot License (CPL-H) and eventually become an Instructor!

A Private Pilot License enables you to fly a helicopter, but not for hire or reward. This means you cannot be paid for the flight. However, you may cost share flights. To cost share you must split the cost of the flight evenly amongst all passengers onboard

Below are the requirements for gaining your Private Pilot License. 

The only pre-requisites to have before starting training are;

-A Class 2 medical for PPL or a Class 1 if you intend on continuing to CPL (ensure you can obtain a class 1 before getting all the way through training)

-At least 16 years old to fly solo, 17 years old to gain PPL, 18 years old to gain CPL

-There are no pre-requisites for High school education achievements. However, we recommend taking mathematics, science (physics) and English.



Theory Exams

Part of completing your Private Pilot license (PPL) involves theory study. There are 6 exams to be completed to gain your PPL-H.

These exams are not unattainable! They are designed for those people wishing to fly privately, on the weekend etc. A bit of focus and application will get you through these exams. However, if you struggle with some concepts our instructors are available for ground theory tuition

The exams are listed in a rough order to start out easy and progress into the harder ones as you become more familiar with aviation knowledge

Text books can be purchased from waypoints. These can be purchased individually or as a PPL set or CPL set. If you intend on continuing for your Commercial Pilot License (CPL) we recommend choosing the CPL-H set.

  • Flight Radio Telephone Operator (FRTO)
  • Human Factors
  • Air Law (Private, Helicopter specific)
  • Navigation and flight planning
  • Aircraft Technical Knowledge (Helicopter specific)
  • Meteorology

-Full time study allow about 1 week per exam

-Studying around full time work allow about 1 month per exam


To gain a pilot license you must be fit to fly. Depending on the license you are aiming for there are different class medicals that must be obtained. The process begins by completing an Application for medical certificate form with the CAA and paying the application fee. Then sign up to skycert to find an aviation medical practitioner near you for an in person consultation, there will also be other medical reports required (vision, hearing and blood tests).

To gain a PPL you must be able to obtain a Class 2 aviation medical certificate

To gain a CPL you must be able to obtain a Class 1 aviation medical certificate

Flight Experience

To gain your PPL-H you must have a minimum of 50 hours flight time experience. This is broken down into different aspects as listed.

We conduct all of our flight training in the Robinson R44 helicopter. The R44 is the most popular helicopter in the world, and for good reason. We utilise the R44 for the following reasons:

Robinson R44

  • Greater power margin- allowing for sling training, advanced mountain training, and more exercises in a lesson
  • More comfort-the cabin is larger and has 4 seats meaning friends and family can come along on non-critical flight lessons
  • Faster airspeed-we waste less time getting places, and you get to fly further for the same amount of time, and have greater range.
  • Practical-you will complete your license in an aircraft that you can hire and take friends and family around. Moving onto a CPL you will finish with a lot of experience in a helicopter that will 99% chance be your first job as a professional pilot
  • These reasons all lead to greater overall safety!
  • 50 hours combined total flight time
  • 20 hours dual instruction flight time
  • 15 hours solo flight time
  • 5 hours mountain flying (Plus 5 hours ground theory)
  • 10 hours cross country
  • 5 hours advanced dual instruction
  • 5 hours sling load instruction (optional)
  • 2 hours instrument and 5 hours night flying (optional)


A large consideration to flight training is the cost, and frequently one of the first questions we get asked. Flight training costs generally don’t vary too much from school to school, but experience and value can vary greatly!

The majority of your training will be done with Shamus Howard. Shamus is an A-Cat helicopter instructor and GA Flight Examiner with over 30 years and 11,000 hours experience. It is truely rare to find someone with this much experience who can mentor you from 0 hours all the way through to becoming a helicopter instructor!

The cost of training with us includes helicopter hire and all running expenses (fuel, maintenance, insurance, all required equipment), an experienced instructor, airways & landing fees and preflight lesson briefings so there are no hidden costs.

  • R22 $700+ GST per hour
  • R44 $1100+ GST per hour

Flight training rates are cheaper and may not be reflective of the commercial charter rates for these aircraft, usually charged at a higher tariff. 

  • 51 hours flight time
  • Text books, logbook, planing tools – $628.00
  • Associated Medical costs – approx $570.00
  • 6x Exam fees ($86.90+ GST each) – $599.60
  • Aviation Language Proficiency Test $128+ GST
  • Flight test fees – approx $650.00+ GST
We do provide ground theory training for our committed students. This is delivered on a 1 on 1 basis where typically about 2 hours of private tuition combined with 10 hrs of self study is sufficient for each CAA/ASPEQ exam. We charge $120+ GST per hr for this private tuition portion. This $120/hr+ GST private fee may be split/shared between a maximum of one other student at the clients option.