Mountain Flying

Mountain Flying

Mountain Flying

Mountain Flying

Flight Training - PPL, CPL, Other

Mountain Flying - Training details

Mountain Flying has to be one of the most rewarding and interesting kinds of flying possible. Flying through valleys, past beautiful waterfalls, glaciers and over snowy peaks on a clear day is just spectacular. Whether just for recreation, or scenic flying commercially, mountain experience is a must for any aviation enthusiast.

When flying in this type of terrain, the forces of nature exert a greater influence, which requires a special set of skills, knowledge and flying techniques to operate in this environment safely.

Wakatipu Aero Club specialises in mountain flying training, we believe our training is the best in the country. From Queenstown, every departure and arrival made interacts with the surrounding terrain. This provides a challenging environment for our students who learn to assess, control and manage their aircraft safely and efficiently in mountainous areas.

During your training your flight instructor will place special emphasis on areas of aeroplane operation that are most critical to flight safety and comfort. Among these areas are correct aeroplane control, horizon definition and judgement, sound judgement in decision making, anxiety effect on decision making, situational awareness, threat and error management, anticipation, stall/spin awareness, spatial orientation, collision avoidance, weather appreciation especially assessment of wind and cloud and their significance, turbulence avoidance, turbulence mitigation, and emergency responses. All these areas are essential to flight safety and will receive emphasis throughout the training.

Flight planning and performance calculations remain fundamental priorities in mountainous terrain, as with any flying and aspects to consider are:- 1. Route assessment such as deviations, contours, terrain alignment, features, isolation. 2. Weather assessment such as wind direction and speed, cloud base, precipitation, stability, turbulence, visibility. 3. Performance, particularly pressure and density altitude effects on climb, flight above 5000’, and take off.

Entry Requirements

There are no minimum entry requirements to partake in mountain flying training and the length of our flying courses can be tailored to meet your individual requirements. Any amount of mountain flying training (even if it is only a few hours), will be a valuable experience.

The following courses are offered:

PPL Terrain and Weather Awareness (5 hours)

The concepts of ‘terrain awareness’ and ‘weather appreciation’ will be demonstrated and experienced to facilitate safe flying in an unfamiliar environment, where prior experience is limited or where previous training may have been inadequate.

CPL Basic Mountain Flying (5 hours)

This course is designed to develop ‘basic mountain flying’ skills and techniques necessary to carry out hire and reward operations in a safe, professional manner when operating in mountainous terrain.


  • Horizon
  • Wind awareness
  • Situational awareness
  • Contour and constant altitude flying
  • Valley turns
  • Saddle crossings
  • Route finding
  • Difficult conditions
  • Cautions and emergencies
  • Survival considerations

Flying experience:

The length of our mountain flying course can be tailored to meet your requirements. Any amount of training will be a valuable experience, even if it is only a few hours. We offer block courses of 5hrs and 10hrs, as well as training based on a per hour rate. Please contact us to discuss your individual requirements.

The practical flying will cover these specific concepts:

  • Horizon definition
  • Decision making
  • Contour Flying
  • Valley turns, positioning, escape options
  • Saddle and ridge crossing
  • White-out
  • Sun/Valley shadows
  • Disorientation/route finding
  • Weather Interaction (sun, shadow, white-out, precipitation, cloud, turbulence)

CPL Advanced Mountain Flying

This course is designed for the CPL who is looking for employment in the Fiordland/ Queenstown/Wanaka/Mt Cook/Westland mountainous areas.

The training program consists of eight modules to prepare you for role requirements in the Part 135/125 environment. These requirements are set out in AC 119 – 3 Appendix D.

The hours can be tailored to individual requirements; however most commercial operators in the Queenstown area require a 50 hour minimum experience level, of flight in mountainous terrain and local area knowledge prior to employment.

The eight modules covered in detail in the ‘Advanced Mountain Flying Training Manual’ are:-

  1. CPL Handling / Basic Mountain Flying / Advanced Mountain Flying
  2. Strip and Beach Flying
  3. Queenstown / Doubtful Sound / Milford Sound / Mt Cook Operating procedures
  4. Route checks
  5. Aircraft type ratings
  6. Passenger Handling
  7. Emergencies
  8. Operational training / Line training

Instructor Mountain Flying Training

5 hour or 10 hour programs for qualified instructors, the approach is ‘training provision’. The training is directed at maximizing the instructors experience and ability to provide a learning environment that challenges and extends the student pilot without operating outside the instructors own limitations.


Contact us for all your individual requirements:-
Phone +64 21 0265 2609