The college, in association with Wanaka Helicopters and LearnToFlyNZ, is pleased to offer an aviation course to senior students. Students have the opportunity to attain a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) in either fixed wing (aeroplane) or rotary wing (helicopter) at the same time as they are studying for their national academic qualifications.

The college’s timetable structure will allow students to have normal classes and self-study aviation theory during the course of the school day, then -typically one afternoon per week- students will take practical flight lessons with experienced flight instructors based at Wanaka Airport. Longer lessons, such as cross-country navigation flights, can be otherwise scheduled as required on weekends, weekdays outside of school hours, or during term breaks.

Fixed wing training

This course, offered in conjunction with Wānaka Flight Training Ltd, is aimed at Year 12 or 13 students who wish to gain their private pilot’s licence. Aviation may count as one course on the student’s timetable for the year. The pre-requisite for the course is a Merit endorsement at Level One for Year 12 students and a Merit endorsement at Level Two for Year 13 students. Entry to the course is at the discretion of Ms Heather Watt. Credits gained count towards NCEA.

There are a limited number of places on the course each year and students must apply using the Aviation Course Enrolment Form. The cost for the full course including 50 flying hours is around $17, 000 plus $200 if transport is required (however these costs are only approximate at this stage).

More information about the private pilot’s licence (fixed wing) can be found on www.learntoflynz.com.

Helicopter flight training

There are a limited number of places on the course each year and students must apply using the Aviation Course Enrolment Form, available from the school office. The cost for the full course including 50 flying hours is around $34,200.

More information about the helicopter pilot’s licence can be found on www.wanakahelicopters.co.nz.

Applying for the course

  • The course is limited to students in Years 12 or 13, however students cannot fly solo until age 16 and cannot gain the PPL until age 17.

  • A flight-specific medical examination is required before being accepted onto the course. This may be a Class 2 examination done by a CAA Medical Examine or a DL9 (with Passenger Endorsement) readily available at most clinics.

  • There are a limited number of places available in the course each year. Students must complete an application form and submit it to the college by 1 November. Please ensure that you send all the required documents as outlined on the application form.

  • You must have a place to live in Wānaka and be enrolled at Mount Aspiring College by the start of the college year before you can be accepted into the course.

Course costs

Below are indicative costs which may change from time to time by suppliers and individual student needs and choices. We use the Student Fee-Protect Public Trust system (see publictrust.co.nz) to protect student funding transparency and refunds in the event of non-completion. Providers only receive funds for flights and courses as the student completes them.

Course restrictions

  • If the flying instructor deems that a student is either unsafe or unsuitable for flying, then the student’s place in the course will be terminated.

  • Students must gain core theory examination passes to advance through all flight training stages.


LearnToFlyNZ and Wanaka Helicopters are CAA and NZQA-approved flight schools. Safety standards are continuously audited and all pilots go through 'Fit and Proper Person' checks including police and transport background checks. In signing the application form you are agreeing for your child to be released from Mount Aspiring College into the responsibility of the flight training provider for the duration of each of their flight training sessions.

More information

Please contact distance education coordinator Heather Watt via email: watth@mtaspiring.school.nz