Ultralight Flying in New Zealand
New Zealand is a cool place, by many labeled as one of the best places for sightseeing in the world. And is there a better way to see beautiful nature other than flying? It's hard to believe so. So, here we are exploring the opportunities for ultralight flying in New Zealand for locals and foreigners.
The climate in New Zealand is relatively mild which helps ultralight pilots as there is plenty of time to fly during the year.
Regulations and Legislation
Like in most of Europe and UK, New Zealand is not using the term "Ultralight". The recreational airplanes are called Microlights and are divided on two classes - Class 1 (single seat) and Class 2 (two seats). Besides classes, there are many types - similar to those you know from other countries - gliders, powered gliders, flex wing aircraft, fixed wing aircraft, gyrocoptes, helicopters, powered parachutes, and more.
There is no Light Sport Aircraft category in New Zealand yet but it's being worked on.
To get a Pilot's license you need to go through similar training as in other countries. Here is more information about this. Here is also a very good table (PDF) explaining the different pilot certificates available, their requirements and terms of validity.
What's Popular There
Microlight flying is popular all over New Zealand. Of course some of the spots are better known by tourists. Locals however often use microlights to visit distant locations, vacation homes etc. (Many tourists also like to hire campervans or use the backpacker buses too).
Hang gliding is very popular in New Zealand when the weather is good of course. Some well known gliding locations are around Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Nelson, Christchurch, and Queenstown. A lot of companies offer hang gliders for rent, lessons, tandem flights and more. Add to this the paragliding offers and you'll figure out kiwis are quite a flying nation.
If you are interested in hang gliding and paragliding you should probably visit the official site of the New Zealand Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association.
Ultralight Airplanes Manufactured in New Zealand
Considering how popular is flying there, you shouldn't be surprised that this relatively small country has developed quite a few interesting ultralight and experimental homebuilt aircraft models. Here are most of them:
- Andrews A1 is a scale replica of an agricultural aircraft that was never built. This is not a model airplane however - it flies :)
- Bennett Airtruck is a single-seater agriculture airplane. Surprised to see so many agricultural aircraft? Don't be. The agricultural aviation is popular in New Zealand.
- McNair Mynah is a single-seat biplane.
- Tui Sports is an old light airplane from 1930.
- UFO HeliThruster is a two-seat gyrocopter that is still in production.
- Alpha 2000 is a currently produced series of training aircraft.
- Micro Aviation B22 Bantam is a typical single-sear microlight sold as "ready to fly" aircraft.
- Martin Jetpack - this strange thing classifies as an experimental aircraft. Costs $100,000!
- Moisquito XE - this single-seat homebuilt helicopter is probably my favourite New Zealand aircraft.
- Emair MA-1 - agricultural biplane from the 60s.
Folks from New Zealand, anything we've missed?
If you liked this article subscribe to our Free Newsletter
Post Your Comment
No comments so far. Be the first to comment!