Introduction to Ultralight Airplanes

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.

Ross' launch

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

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:

Folks from New Zealand, anything we've missed?

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