Flying in New Zealand
Haere Mai! Welcome to New Zealand
New Zealand welcomes visitors, we have fantastic flying sites and something to offer every pilot.
Our laws may be different to what you are used to so please read this to find out about flying legally and safely.
You must be a member of our Association
- It is New Zealand law. Flying without membership and a licence can lead to prosecution and substantial fines by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
- Membership includes a compulsory insurance policy that is required to access our flying sites. Even if you have your own insurance you must also be included in our member’s only insurance policy.
- Our access agreements with landowners require all pilots to be members and have a valid pilot licence. Please don’t put our sites at risk by flying without membership.
- Our low cost membership for qualified visiting pilots gives full access to flying in NZ for 4 months. This membership takes up to 5 days to process so do it early, preferably before you come to New Zealand.
You must check airspace and flying site rules.
- ANY SITE in New Zealand can have airspace or other rules that restrict flying in that area. Even in remote areas there are tourist operations and many environmentally sensitive areas that may not be obvious to you but must be respected. Please don’t risk our safety, our sites, or a prosecution and fine by flying illegally.
- CHECK FIRST with the local pilots by contacting local clubs , or a paragliding or hang gliding school.
- Read the VFR guide and VFR test to get familiar with our airspace rules.
- Download the NZ Airspace files and buy the Airspace charts
Guide to NZ Flying
Many pilots visit flying sites outside their own region. To ensure that you don’t jeopardise arrangements between land owners and local flyers you must ALWAYS CHECK WITH LOCAL PILOTS BEFORE FLYING. That way you won’t upset land owners or pilots, you will be shown all the best sites and will be welcome back. We don’t publish site names and locations because flying sites have been lost by visiting flyers who have upset land owners. Visit our Local Clubs page for who to contact.
For Qualified Pilots
If you have a current pilot licence listed below or an IPPI card level 3 and a current national licence from the country that issued the IPPI card press ‘join us’ below. You will have to scan and send us a copy of your licence and IPPI card. Have them ready before you start the application and make sure we can read them!
Note: your membership is not complete until we have checked the licence and approved your membership. This can take up to 5 days but may be faster if you supply everything we need. Please check your emails for confirmation of membership and your Pilot ID Number (PIN) before you do any flying.
Here is the list of national licences we normally accept. Others may be accepted after checking the standards of the country that issued it. The easiest option if your country is not on the list is to get an IPPI card from your home country before you come to New Zealand. Don’t leave it to the last minute!
- International IPPI – Parapro or Safe Pro 3 or above, with no supervision requirements. IPPI cards must be with a current national licence.
- Recognised National Licences: (IPPI not required but helpful)
- Australia – PG3 or above.
- USA – H3 or P3.
- Canada – Intermediate
- Great Britain– Club Pilot
- South Africa – PG Sport licence or HG A licence with hill launch endorsement.
- Switzerland – Pilot
- Germany – A Licence
- France – Pilot
- Austria – Sonderpilotenschein or Grundberechtigung
- Or an equivalent licence
Your visiting pilot membership allows you to fly in NZ with the same restrictions as you have in your own country. If your licence is expired in your own country then it is expired in New Zealand too. If your licence includes any level of supervision you must contact an instructor in New Zealand and fly under their supervision.
New Zealand Licences (converting to New Zealand from a foreign licence).
If your foreign licence is expired or if you want to fly in New Zealand for more than 4 months then you will need a full membership for 12 months and conversion to a New Zealand pilot licence. You will need to pass the VFR test with a NZ instructor and your glider will also need a New Zealand issued warrant of fitness.
If your licence is not one that we recognise in New Zealand you will need to pass an assessment for a New Zealand licence with an instructor. Please check with us if you have a licence that is not on the list above and we will advise you.
Please visit one of the Paragliding Schools or Hang Gliding Schools to ask about foreign licence conversion and the WOF inspectors. You can expect to get charged a fee by the instructor for doing tests and assessments.
All overseas license equivalency applicants must pass the NZHGPA Visual Flight Rules (VFR) exam (password: vfr2020) and present the certificate with their application. Please read the study guide below before completing the exam.
The use of VHF radios common in Europe is not permitted in New Zealand without a special licence. Most of our pilots communicate with each other using UHF radios which operate in the 476-477 MHz range. Max power 5 W. Check you radio covers the right channels!
Learning to Fly
New Zealand is a great place to learn and we have many schools that provide pilot training for visitors. Please contact a paragliding or hang gliding instructor in the area you wish to learn to fly. You will need a student membership available on our membership page
Working in New Zealand as an instructor
- Instructors certificates will only be issued to full members of the NZHGPA, with a current First Aid certificate, and passing an assessment by an NZHGPA appointed assessor.
- Instructors may apply to convert their home country rating to a NZHGPA rating. Contact our administrator for information [email protected]. There is a fee for this process.
- Instructors must be able to demonstrate a good command of the English language.
- Be prepared to present proof of your foreign rating, a log book and current membership.
- You will have to complete VFR exam. The vfr study guide and exam are available on-line OPM & Forms .
- All gliders must have a current warrant of fitness issued by an authorised person. HG WOF Inspectors and PG WOF Inspectors
Working in New Zealand as a tandem pilot
- Commercial tandem flights are operated under separate rules for adventure aviation organisations.
- Pilots who wish to work for commercial tandem organisations must have a commercial tandem pilot certificate issued by the NZHGPA.
- You can only fly commercial tandem flights under the control of a licenced tandem operator. Contact an operator listed in Tandem Flights before you apply to the NZHGPA.
- Foreign pilots with recognised licences may get their tandem rating recognised in New Zealand by applying to the hang gliding or paragliding training manager for an assessment by an NZHGPA appointed flight examiner.
Code of Conduct
We are all dependent on good relations with the farmers and public bodies who own the land where we fly.
Here are some guidelines to help ensure that you and other pilots will be able to continue to fly:
- ALWAYS CHECK with local pilots before flying at new sites.
- ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION to fly unless you are absolutely certain that the owner allows use of the site without asking.
- CHECK AGAIN at springtime as most farms have pregnant and newborn stock that can easily be frightened and injured.
- DO NOT show displeasure or abuse an owner if permission is refused. This could hamper getting permission in the future.
- ALWAYS GET PERMISSION to take a vehicle onto a property. Ensure that vehicles without gliders are not taken onto the property. Put all gliders on one car rather than have a convoy crossing the property. If stock is nearby, drive slowly.
- LEAVE GATES as you find them. Gates may be closed to keep stock in or open to allow stock to feed. Ensure that all pilots and drivers understand.
- USE STILES and gates where ever possible. If you need to cross a fence, cross at a post or strainer post.
- AVOID hay, standing or cut, unless permission has been given to cross it.
- AVOID landing in paddocks containing crops or stock. Carefully move off crops to avoid damage.
- DO NOT LIGHT FIRES at any time.
- DO NOT TAKE DOGS on to farms or property.
- DO NOT SMOKE during fire risk times.
- DO NOT disturb plants or machinery; move around it.
- LEAVE NO RUBBISH.
NZ has strict biosecurity requirements to prevent exotic pests and diseases from establishing here. This means that you should ensure that your glider and harness are free of seeds and insects before you leave home, and they may be subject to inspection at the airport when you arrive in NZ. This shouldn’t be anything more than a minor inconvenience if it’s all been cleaned beforehand, but just be aware that it may take a little while to clear border security when you arrive.
New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places in the world to fly. With crystal clear skies, spectacular scenery and endlessly varying terrain New Zealand offers something for every pilot from beginner to champion. There are literally hundreds of flying sites established in some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand. Members can view all flying sites and access the forms from here.