Visiting Pilots

Haere Mai! Welcome to New Zealand!

New Zealand has fantastic flying sites and something to offer every pilot. From black sand beach soaring to flat-land thermalling to snow clad mountain XC, New Zealand has it all. Whether you are coming to fly in New Zealand as a student, free-flyer or professional pilot, you will find the local community very welcoming.
However, before you spread your wings there are certain things you need to know and conditions that must be met:
  • You must be a member of our Association. It is the law. We have a low cost membership for visiting pilots that gives full access to flying in NZ, $5 million insurance cover and support from our clubs and national association.
  • You must have a licence
    • If you have a licence from your own country read the section below for qualified pilots. 
    • If you do not have a licence and you want to learn to fly in New Zealand then read the section for visiting students.
  • 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 airspace files here NZ Airspace and buy charts here Airspace charts
Please be aware that 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.

Visiting students

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 in our Join Here  section at the bottom of this page. 

Qualified Pilots

Hang gliding and paragliding in NZ is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority. All pilots must be members of the NZHGPA and hold a valid foreign licence.  Read this section and then go to the bottom of this page and select "Visiting Pilot" membership.

You will have to scan and send us a copy of your licence. Make sure we can read it! 
Note your membership is not complete until you send us a copy of your licence and we accept it.

Here is the list of licences we normally accept.

International IPPI     Parapro or Safe Pro 3 or above, with no supervision requirements.
Australia                     PG3 or above.
USA                             H3 or P3.
Canada                     Intermediate
Great Britain             Club Pilot
Switzerland             Pilot
Germany                     A Licence
France                     Pilot
Austria                     Sonderpilotenschein or Grundberechtigung
Or an equivalent licence from the following countries: Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy,  Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine.

If your licence is not on this list please contact us before you travel to New Zealand.

Your visiting pilot membership and licence lasts 4 months. It 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. 

To complete the membership you will be asked to supply copies of your National licence (and IPPI card if you have one) and declare that you understand and will obey the visual flight rules for NZ. Read the VFR guide found here OPM & Forms.

New Zealand licences ( converting 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. PG WOF Inspectors,  HG WOF Inspectors.

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! 
Flying Sites

You must contact a local paragliding or hang gliding  school or Local Clubs to get information and rules for flying at local sites.

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. Applications should be made to the hang gliding or paragliding training manager for assessment; there is a fee for this process. Fees
  • 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.

  • 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 and 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. Contact.

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.