NZ Diploma in Aviation

NZ Diploma in Aviation Diploma Level 5

Christchurch Helicopters is your first choice to gain a Diploma in Aviation. We’ve been training pilots since 2001, and our philosophy has always been to provide excellent flight training to the highest level, in a safe and welcoming environment.

At Christchurch Helicopters, we go the extra mile to produce graduates who go on to achieve great things. Whether your end goal is to find work as a tourism operator, firefighter, coast guard, police helicopter, agricultural worker, film crew, or private tours, our training programme is unapologetically career focused. We work with you on a Career Pathway Plan, arming you with the skills to make you employable anywhere in the world.

Our helicopter course is a Level 5 qualification and is 68 weeks (plus holidays) in duration. The diploma includes obtaining your PPL & CPL licences and a range of additional training modules that build skills and career pathway options.

Christchurch Helicopters is an accredited New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) Private Training Establishment (PTE) approved to deliver the NZ Diploma in Aviation. We are also approved by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), which allows a limited number of students to access student loan funding and allowances for the Diploma programme.

Christchurch Helicopters is NZ Civil Aviation Authority (NZCAA) certified under Part 135 (Commercial Air Transport Operations), Part 137 (Agricultural Operations) and Part 141 (Check & Training).

  • Private Pilot Licence and Type Rating
  • Knowledge of Basic Gas Turbine Engines
  • Dangerous Goods – aviation safe handling
  • Knowledge & Skills for duties as Ground Crewman
  • Maintenance Control – CAA approved programme
  • Frost Protection procedures – safety awareness
  • External Load Long-Line – advanced training
  • Helideck/Trolley Operations
  • Use of GPS for VFR Operation
  • Helicopter servicing & maintenance skills
  • Knowledge of survival skills for a pilot
  • Knowledge of protection & personal safety at vegetation fires
  • Comprehensive First Aid Certificate
  • Commercial Pilots Licence including Night Rating 

These courses are General Aviation focused developing the skills, knowledge and abilities to enable a student to be ‘Employment Ready’ to meet industry expectations as an entry level commercial helicopter pilot. 

Christchurch Helicopters is proud to be one of only a select few training organisations within New Zealand to be able to offer government student loans for those who wish to obtain NZ Diploma in Aviation.

Our full time course is made up of both ground school theory and flight training. Our instructors are all experienced commercial pilots who call on their prior experiences to ensure you get the best training possible.

Throughout the course you will be training within a fully functioning commercial helicopter operation.

Christchurch Helicopters has taken the initiative to work closely with other industry leaders from different aviation organisations  to form an advisory group that have set standards and ideals of what skills, knowledge and qualifications a new commercial helicopter pilot should come out of their training with.

This is a New Zealand first and is widely regarded.

Minimum Age:

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to be considered for enrolment on this course.

Medical Examination:

All pilots must meet strict medical examination requirements. The NZCAA has authorised certain doctors in New Zealand to carry out the Class 1 Pilot Medical Examination required for a commercial licence. Students must have a CAA Class 1 medical certificate issued prior to commencing their training.

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Educational requirements:

  • Applicants must have achieved a min of 12 credits or better at NCEA Level 2 in an English rich and Maths rich subject. Physics is also preferable. An equivalent qualification will be considered e.g. Level 4 Trade Certificate.
  • Applicants who do not hold the required NCEA credits will be required to pass any 3 PPL theory exams to be considered.
  • A good standard of English is required to meet the CAA requirements and ensure safety in the air. You must be able to speak, read & write in English. Where English is a second language a minimum level of IELTS 5.5 or equivalent is required. 

ADAPT Assessment:

All applicants will be required to undertake the online ADAPT pilot pre-screening test and pass with an “average” or above.

Fit and Proper Person Checks:

NZCAA require pilots to meet certain ‘Fit and Proper’ standards to enable a pilots licence to be issued. This refers to the person’s background as a good citizen. Applicants will be interviewed and must provide the following documents:

  • A written character reference & two referees
  • Provide a Criminal Record History from the Ministry of Justice
  • Provide a Traffic Offence History Report from the Land Transport Agency

Student Care


At Christchurch Helicopters our philosophy has always been to provide quality flight training to the highest level, in a safe and welcoming environment.

We will go the extra mile to expand your knowledge, experience and skills and prepare you for a career in aviation. You will not only obtain a licence, but on leaving, you will have experienced much more and expanded your knowledge beyond just meeting the minimum standards. We will arm you with the necessary skills to enjoy a lifelong career in the aviation industry.


Student Support and Wellbeing

Christchurch Helicopters pride ourselves in providing world class training in a supportive environment. Small course sizes mean students build strong relationships with staff throughout the organisation during their time with us.

The Flight Training team can help with a range of student issues, including:

Getting started at Christchurch Helicopters:

  • Whether you’re a school leaver or returning to studies we can help with getting you started and prepared for success.
  • Although we don’t provide student accommodation we can provide information on options around the city.

Financial Planning:

  • As well as support dealing with Studylink, our staff can provide details on expected cost of living and optional extras during course to help you with your budgeting prior to, and during your studies.

Aviation Medical:

  • As a professional pilot, you are required to maintain a Class 1 pilots’ medical throughout your career. We can help with initially gaining this medical certificate and assist you if any issues arise with medical status during your time with us.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle:

  • Training to be a professional pilot is a busy and at times stressful course of study. Our staff can recommend opportunities around Christchurch to maintain balance including gym memberships and community groups.
  • As a student at Christchurch Helicopters you are eligible for a StudentCard Student ID which comes with a range of benefits to students around the city.

Study support:

  • Along with purpose-built student facilities at the Christchurch Helicopters Helicentre staff can provide information on public libraries to ensure you have easy access to quiet spaces to study where you are living in the city.

Where the situation requires expertise outside of Christchurch Helicopters, the company has access to professional support such as medical professionals, counselling and financial advice services and specific learning difficulties support.

Helpful resources during your study

School Leavers Toolkit – This online toolkit provides support for young people leaving home for the first time, taking care of yourself and understanding tertiary education.


StudentCard – Student ID– provides details on the benefits available to students which range from transport, to gym memberships and restaurant discounts.


Ministry of Education – provide various resources for students beginning tertiary education and the support available.


Ministry of Health – provides information on mental health services available

Pastoral Care

Christchurch Helicopters are bound by the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice.

This Code of Practice outline core objectives that need to be met by all tertiary education providers to ensure the safety and wellbeing of learners during studies.

You can read more about our latest review of student pastoral care here

Courses with us

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To get started and for more information – call us on 0800 Fly Heli