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Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth,

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

John Gillespie Magee, Jr – Spitfire pilot - 18th August 1941.


Why Gain a Private Pilot Licence (PPL)?

Flying an aeroplane and really ‘slipping the surly bonds of Earth’ all starts with an Introductory Flight with us.

Come with us and we’ll assist you to complete your journey and gain your Private Pilot Licence (PPL) to become an aviator in your own right.

The New Zealand PPL is an internationally recognised Licence that will enable you to fly as Pilot in Command of an aeroplane. You will be able to fly yourself, and your family & friends, anywhere in New Zealand enjoying the freedom you once only dreamt of – the sky will no longer be the limit.

Your journey doesn’t need to end here either! As a Private Pilot you can gain a myriad of ‘Ratings’ in other areas of aviation, these include (but are not limited to):

  • Type Ratings – allows you to fly other types of aircraft.
  • Night Rating – enabling you to fly after sunset.
  • Glass Cockpit Training – learn to use and understand LCD displayed electronic aircraft instruments and gauges.
  • Aerobatic Rating – have even more fun, if you think this is even possible!

RidgeAir BASE FLIGHT TRAINING is able to conduct, or arrange through our partners, training in all these areas. 

Where to Begin – An Introductory Flight

Get started with a hassle-free 2 hour Introductory Flight Experience with one of our experienced Flight Instructors. Your experience will commence with a pre-flight briefing, covering details of the flight, before you head out to the aircraft.  At the aircraft, you will carry out a supervised pre-flight check, prior to departing from our base at Woodbourne Airport. You will then fly around the stunning Marlborough countryside.  Upon completion, we will return and land, and complete a post-flight debrief where we can discuss the next step toward you gaining your Private Pilot Licence and answer any questions you have.

First Solo

The first major milestone in your journey to becoming an aviator, and possibly one of the greatest achievements of your life so far, is to ‘go first solo’.  This is an achievement to be rightly proud of, but not something that should be daunting. Our instructors will mentor and support you in every way, and when you’re ready will stand back and watch you spread your wings with pride.

In order to achieve first solo, as well as meet certain training criteria, you must also hold a CAA NZ Class 2 Aviation Medical and have your ability in reading, speaking, understanding and communicating in the English language assessed by a Flight Instructor.

The Private Pilot Licence

Once you have achieved first solo, and the smile has finally worn off (this will take some time!), it is time to progress with the rest of the syllabus and complete your PPL.

Many people comment that this is the best part of their training as it incorporates a number of solo hours practicing in the training area, as well as the Cross Country phase, where you will leave the local area and travel to other parts of the country, both with your instructor and on your own.


Licence Requirements

So what’s actually required to gain your New Zealand Private Pilot Licence?


You can be any age to start learning to fly, as long as you can reach the rudder pedals and see over the instrument panel (NB. You need to be able to do both of these things at the same time! ;) ).  You must also be 16 years old to go solo, and 17 years old to hold a Private Pilot Licence.


Be able to attain and hold an NZ CAA Class 2 Medical Certificate.  To get one of these, you must undergo a medical examination conducted by a CAA approved Aviation Medical Examiner, details of whom can be found here.

The medical is straight forward and provided you maintain a relatively good standard of health should present no issue.  To avoid potential disappointment however, it is always our advice to complete the medical before you commit to too much flight training. 


Achieve passes in all six, fun filled and exciting, PPL Theory Exams. Subjects cover:

  • Human Factors
  • Air Law
  • Meteorology
  • Flight Radio Telephony
  • Navigation
  • General Aircraft Technical Knowledge
  • You must also complete the ICAO English Proficiency Assessment
We can assist you with study options and texts books, and will be happy to discuss your options as we progress with your training.


Finally, in order to gain your Private Pilot Licence, you must complete the PPL syllabus, meet the following experience requirements and pass the PPL Flight Test:

  • 50 hours in aeroplanes, comprising:
    • 15 hours Dual Training
    • 15 hours Solo Practice
    • 5 hours Dual Instrument Training
    • 5 hours Terrain & Weather Awareness Training
    • 5 hours Dual Cross Country Instruction
    • 5 hours Solo Cross Country Instruction


Flying is a skills based activity which comes easier to some than to others, please bear in mind therefore that the 50 hours flight time required to gain your PPL in the minimum only, and that the vast majority of pilots take at least a few hours more than this to achieve it.

So What Now?

If you’d like to fulfil your dream to become a pilot, then call or email:
t: 0800 743 432 or
We’re here to make dreams come true!  
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Cessna 152 Training Aircraft

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Aerial View of Woodbourne Airport

  • freephone. +0800 743 432
    tel. +64 3 578 3724
  • Office Address:
    120 Rapaura Road,
    Renwick, Blenheim,