Diploma in Aviation - Wanaka Flight Training at Wanaka Helicopters


Train for your aviation future at New Zealand's most experienced helicopter flight training school.

Train for your aviation future amongst Wanaka’s stunning mountain landscape. 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.

For more information you can download our Training Prospectus or our Diploma in Aviation Course Information

As the largest and most experienced rotary flight training school in New Zealand, we are committed to producing exceptional pilots who have the potential to be very successful in their chosen aviation career.

Our New Zealand Diploma in Aviation programme is designed to equip students with the skills required to set them above most CPL licence holders for early employment with a commercial operator. It lays the groundwork for a future path toward flight instruction, ATPL, Air Traffic Control or becoming an Air Operator themselves.



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 which allow them to offer student loans for flight training. Wanaka Helicopters is the only training school offering both the Diploma in Aviation Rotary & Aeroplane. 

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 results in candidates graduating with a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Commercial Pilot Licence, Helicopter (CPLH) and a Diploma in Aviation. The Diploma comprises of more than 25 unit standard courses and 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.

"What I was taught was beyond the standard level of instruction, and I really benefited from the practical approach our instructors took in lessons".
Remy Lewis (Diploma in Aviation)
"It is the best decision I have ever made. The people are incredible, the places you will see are amazing and they truly want to see you succeed and will do everything they can to set you up for a successful career".
Max Roy (Diploma in Aviation 2021)
"The Diploma in Aviation is an amazing experience and the really the best way to do your license. All of the instructors are super knowledgeable and keen to share the knowledge with students. The best part about being a full time student is the opportunity to get involved in the commercial work. Gaining this experience in the industry is really beneficial for applying for any roles once you graduate”.
Cameron Heald (Diploma in Aviation 2023)
“My time at Wanaka Helicopters were some of the best years of my life. The location is amazing and the staff are even better. The training and knowledge in which I received is world class and has correlated well into the real world of aviation.”
Manvir Singh (Diploma in Aviation 2023)
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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).

Cabri wanaka helicopters training



Principles of Flight
Flight Navigation
Air Law
Human Factors
Dangerous Goods
Basic Gas Turbine
General Aircraft Technology


Quality Management
Decision Making
Regulatory and Aviation Safety
GPS for VFR Flight
Human Factors and Safety Culture
Risk Management
Operation Requirements / Robinson Safety Awareness Training


Mountain Flying
Winter Flying
Cross-Country Navigation
Single-engine Type Rating
Night Flying
CPL Preparation
CPL Flying Skills
External Load Operations
Frost Protection Operations
Advanced Long-line Sling Loads
Trolley/Platform Take-offs and Landings

*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. If you are a first-time tertiary learner, you may be able to get up to $12,000 of your fees covered. Check if you are eligible by visiting FeesFree.govt.nz.

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 $10,000 scholarship annually for candidates of NZ Maori heritage (Helicopter). We also support women in aviation with an annual $5,000 scholarship (Helicopter). The Allen Victor Hogan Scholarship also provides up to $3000 of support (Aeroplane or Helicopter) as well as 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. 

See our Self-review here.

Wanaka Helicopters Training Alpine Mountain Lake
Wanaka Heli Cabri Alpine Lake


We work hard to provide superior flight instruction and mentorship to produce pilots who are skilled, mature and well equipped to start their aviation career dreams. You can view and read some of our graduate profiles on the links below.

Do you want more information or want to discuss our training options with one of our instructor team?

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.