Commercial Pilot Licence

Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)

This is a brief guide to getting your helicopter Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) in New Zealand.  


It is recommended that you undertake a Class 1 medical with a Designated Medical Examiner prior to commencing training for a CPL.  You can find a list of DME's on the CAA website.

Flying lessons

 It is a requirement to get your PPL(H) first, before continuing on to CPL training. The hours required for a CPL(H) in New Zealand are:
  • 150 hours total helicopter flight time, including:
  • 35 hours dual instruction;
  • 35 hours pilot in command (solo);
  • 20 hours of cross-country navigation;
  • 10 hours of mountain flying training;
  • 10 hours of under-slung load training
It is also possible that night flying training and instrument flying training be incorporated into your CPL(H) training, depending on student progress.

It is important to note that not all pilots progress at the same rate, and some pilots may need more (or less) flight hours to achieve the required standards.  The hours above are the minimum required for the issue of a licence.

Theory and examinations

Civil aviation rules require you to pass 6 commercial licence exams:
  • Air law;
  • Flight Navigation;
  • Meteorology;
  • Principles of Flight;
  • General Aircraft Technical Knowledge;
  • Human Factors
We are happy to offer advice as to whether you should self-study for your exams, undertake a full-time theory course, use a private tutor, or any other method.

Publications and Navigation tools

Most of the publications and the navigation equipment listed in the PPL section are applicable to the CPL training as well, but if you start with nothing you will need, as a minimum:
  • CAA Pilot Logbook;
  • Aeronautical Information Publication Volumes 1 & 4;
  • CPL Study Guides 2,5,6,8 (Pilot Books - Aviation Theory Centre);
  • Aviation Medicine and other Human Factors (Ross Ewing);
  • Principles of Helicopter Flight (W. Wagtendonk)
  • Visual Navigation Charts;
  • Navigation computer;
  • Navigation ruler;
  • Navigation protractor.


Our recommendation, as a minimum budget, is to plan on spending about $83,700 plus GST.  It is important to note that the actual costs will depend on student progress and actual hours taken to achieve the required standards. This is not a formal quote but is an estimate only.
Helicopter training by ice aviation

Feel free to call us to discuss any of this in more detail.

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