About Us - Why do we exist
Flying in the Wakatipu area can be dated back to the 1950s, with locals enjoying recreational flying. September of 1970 saw the formation of the Wakatipu Aero Club and the start of a very active and unique flight training provider.
The Wakatipu Aero club is run by its own members who are all very keen aviation enthusiasts.
Many of our members have been flying here for years and can provide a lot of invaluable experience and tips for any pilot.
The Wakatipu Aero Club has a small team of highly experienced Flight Instructors with many thousands of hours local experience. Our staff are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals through personalised training that is flexible to suit your needs. Our instructors come from a range of backgrounds with different flying experiences giving you more opportunities and skills to take advantage of.
Our fleet consists of a two aircraft that are used for Charter work, private hire and flight training.
ZK-FIG Cessna 172SP (180hp)
ZK-TDA Piper Pacer PA-22 Tailwheel
Daniel Whitmore, Club Captain
When Daniel Whitmore was growing up on a farm south of Auckland, he was captivated by the top-dressing aircraft operating in the area. In 2009 Daniel started training at Ardmore Flying School and wasted no time in gaining his PPL, CPL, instrument rating and instructor rating. In 2011 he came to Queenstown to add mountain flying to his logbook. Daniel had been instructing mainly European students at CTC, Hamilton for 12 months when he read that Wakatipu Aero Club was looking for instructors. He's now thrilled to be working in this spectacular environment and wants to make a longterm future in general aviation here.
Kerry Conner, Flight Instructor
Kerry's 20 year's plus experience includes participation as a competitor and judge in both the Royal New Zealand Aero Club and NZ Association of Women in Aviation - Area, National and International flying competitions; commercial scenic/charter flying, aerial photography and flight training, in New Zealand's climatic conditions diverse as the Southern Alps, Westland, Fiordland and the Wairarapa. Kerry holds type ratings in most single engined aircraft commonly in use throughout New Zealand, with experience in vintage and warbird aircraft.
Adrian Snow, President
Adrian Snow was elected president of the club at the 2011 annual general meeting, following Peter Daniell's decision to step down after several years at the helm. Adrian had served only one year as vice-president but, armed with business skills, sound judgment and practical advice, was already proving to be a valued member of the team. In accepting the top job, Adrian warned members that an organisation like ours can never be a one-man band, and he encourages everyone to play a part in making things happen.
Adrian describes himself as an aviation enthusiast: "If it gets off the ground, I want to know about it." He was introduced to aviation when a visiting medical specialist regularly flew to his district and took him for a spin. Later he grew up around the helicopter deer recovery industry which "looked an amazingly cool job."
Adrian gained his PPL in Dunedin in 1986 and flew around Auckland, New Plymouth, Canterbury and Brisbane as time and money allowed. His latest goal is to complete his Gliding PPL with Southern Soaring in Omarama. He says this form of flying now makes forced landing practice a piece of cake!
Adrian has a degree in surveying with a specialty in GPS and real-time positioning systems. He and his wife now own a real estate sales company in Queenstown, and he is the local spokesman for the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
Ian Webb, Club Secretary
Although he had childhood dreams of becoming a pilot, Ian Webb did not start flying lessons until he was in his mid-thirties and living in Canberra. However he's old enough to remember flying from Australia to Canada in the pre-jet era and the thrill, at the age of five, of climbing on board the DC-6Bs and the Super Constellation. The fact that he was almost always air sick did not really dampen his enthusiasm. After gaining his Australian PPL in 1991 he started studying again, just for something to do, and eventually gained his CPL in 1999. In 2005 he flew an Airvan commercially in northern Australia before returning to his media career in Sydney. Ian first flew with the Wakatipu Aero Club in 2002 while on holiday in Queenstown. He says he's had a number of memorable flights, for both good and bad reasons, but the one he treasures most was a 14-day expedition with two passengers around outback Australia in a Piper Saratoga. He's looking forward to doing a similar flight in the next year or two in a newly-acquired Cirrus SR22.