Diploma in Aviation Aeroplane - Wanaka Flight Training



Wanaka Helicopters and our partner company, Learn To Fly NZ, have teamed up to provide unparalleled Southern Alps flight training in aeroplanes as well as helicopters. We want our graduates to be the most skilled general aviation candidates in the job market. Ground courses integrate rotary and fixed wing knowledge so that you can follow the career pathway that’s right for you while appreciating how we can best share the skies. 

Study core flight theory, plus essential aviation subjects for commercial operators. Acquire superior flight skills by training in a mountainous environment with our highly experienced flight instructors during the two year full time qualification. All courses are taught at Wanaka Airport where trainees actively participate as support in daily commercial operation as part of their training.

Wanaka Helicopters’ Diploma includes everything you require for a commercial licence, plus extra flight opportunities, ratings, and invaluable ground operations experience.

Wanaka Helicopters is the largest and most experienced flight training school in New Zealand. We are the only aviation training school that offer both the Diploma in Aviation Rotary and Aeroplane. We are committed to producing exceptional pilots who have the potential to be very successful in their chosen aviation career.



The New Zealand Diploma in Aviation (NZDipGA) has been developed by the New Zealand aviation industry for both fixed and rotary wing pilots. It is a nationally recognised qualification administered by NZ Government under NZQA and Ringa Hora.

Only three helicopter flight schools in NZ are approved to conduct the Diploma in Aviation (Helicopters) which allow them to offer student loans for flight training. Wanaka Helicopters is the only training school that offers both the Diploma in Aviation for Helicopters and Aeroplanes.

Wanaka Helicopters is the largest and most experienced of all those schools and we are committed to producing exceptional pilots who have the potential to be very successful in their chosen aviation careers.

The Diploma graduates gain their NZ Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane or Helicopter), their Commercial Pilot Licence, and an internationally-respected Diploma in Aviation. The Diploma is comprised of more than 25 courses covering core theory, professional aviation courses, and (of course!) in-flight training modules combined into a two-year qualification. These courses encompass topics and aspects of aviation over and above those required for a basic commercial pilot licence.

The Diploma is structured to start a professional pilot on a career path. Graduates will attain considerable extra operational and theoretical knowledge and practical skills that put them at an advantage when seeking employment as commercial pilots.


The purpose of the Diploma qualification it to provide the General Aviation sector of the New Zealand Aviation Industry with graduates who have attained above average operational and theoretical knowledge and practical skills to operate as commercial pilots and associated support staff in all aspects of aircraft operations.

After successfully completing the course, a graduate will be a fully qualified commercial helicopter pilot, with type ratings for various single engined helicopters, be able to exercise the privileges provided for by CAANZ in New Zealand including, but not limited to, commercial flying operations, ground based operations, flight planning and assisting operators with their safety management systems (SMS).

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Flight Theory
CPL Principles of Flight (includes PPL exam)
CPL Flight Navigation and Performance (includes PPL exam)
CPL Air Law (includes PPL exam)
CPL Meteorology (includes PPL exam)
CPL Human Factors (includes PPL exam)
Air Transport of Dangerous Goods
Basic Turbine Knowledge
CPL General Technical Knowledge
Air Law for IFR
Navigation for IFR
Navigational Radio Aids

Aircraft Types and Aerodrome Marks
Aeronautical Decision Making
Ground Operations
Safety Management Systems
Air Operations (Exposition)
Dangerous Goods for Road Transport
Human Factors in Aviation Organisation (CRM)
Mountain Survival First Aid

Flight Training 
First Solo
CPL Terrain Awareness (mountain & low flying)
PPL Flying Skills 
Winter Flying & Weather Awareness
PPL Cross-Country Navigation
Prime Rating
CPL Night Flying
CPL Flight Test Preparation
CPL Advanced Dual Preparation
Instrument Departure & ILS Arrivals
CPL Night Flying
Using GNSS Flight Systems Under IFR

*All additional to basic flight training


Flight training is expensive, but the government invests in Diploma trainees to become the next generation of professional pilots, aviation managers, air operators, controllers, and airline (helicopter or aeroplane). These funding options make the Diploma a very attractive option to kickstart an aviation career.

Government support includes direct subsidy, which reduces the costs compared to international trainees (also available to Australian citizens). StudyLink provides (which is available to NZ citizens and residents) student loans, typically about $70,000 toward study. Up to $12,000 of that loan will be forgiven for those candidates eligible for FeesFree funding.

A student living allowance (including accommodation supplements) and living expense loans are available (family income may be tested for those under 26 years old depending on your circumstances).

Wanaka Helicopters also provides at least one $4,000 scholarship annually for candidates of NZ Maori heritage (Aeroplane). We also support women in aviation with an annual $2,000 scholarship (Aeroplane). The Allen Victor Hogan Scholarship also provides up to $3000 of support (Aeroplane or Helicopter) plus the Pauwell Scholarship for NZ citizens; for details visit www.pauwelsflyingscholarship.co.nz.

These funding options make the Diploma in Aviation a very attractive option to kick start an aviation career

Learn To Fly Mountain Ranges Flying
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Would you like more information or discuss our training options?

Fill out our quick enquiry form and one of our team will be in touch with all of our course information and answer your questions.