View Full Version : Wakatipu Aero Club (Queenstown NZ) - PPL
14th May 2012, 14:50
I am writing to inquire about the Wakatipu Aero Club based in Queenstown, New Zealand.
In a few weeks, I will head to New Zealand (as an international student) to obtain a PPL on a full time basis. Having researched various different flight schools, I found that WAC captivated my interests the most as one key advantage they hold over other schools is the introduction to mountain flying. Having contacted the WAC, they say the introduction is for the 'Terrain and Weather Awareness' section of the PPL syllabus. They also said that after 5 minutes flight, you're already in close vicinity of the mountainous terrain so I can imagine they incorporate a fair amount of hazardous flying into their training.
However, having searched online for reviews of the club, I encountered posts that date back a few years or so - past students had made remarks to bad experiences with WAC, mostly correlating towards the club having poor management, and poor commitment towards their students. I hear that the club has undergone a recent management shift, so I hope that these problems are of the past.
The WAC also state that ground theory would have to be completed on self-study basis. The club kindly noted that the instructors can be hired on an hourly basis to help, but that incurs an additional charge to an already expensive total cost (WAC does charge a substantial amount in juxtaposition to other flight schools). I'm not sure how difficult the PPL exams are, but the CAA PPL syllabus does look a bit intimidating.
I would truly appreciate any feedback, whether it's regards to training or simply flying with them. I'd love to hear your experiences, good or bad!
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
14th May 2012, 21:20
I think you will find the PPL exams the same no matter where you go to do your PPL but I would not stress about them they are fairly easy just read the book. Can't say about the training but they have a good reputation and situated in one of the most beautiful locations you would find anywhere in the world. If I had my time over I would be heading there to do my training.
14th May 2012, 21:57
Can't speak for their management but the location and flight instructors experience in that field means that out of necessity, their Mountain Flying training is second to none in this country.
Ski on your days off, party into the night 7days a week if you so choose. Life could be worse.
I say go for it.
14th May 2012, 22:24
Unless you get some seriously negative feedback from some recent students, I say go for it too. I imagine it will have it's fair share of non-flyable days with weather, but thats probably true of most places around NZ this time of year.
The NZ CAA exams can be self studied for PPL, CPL, and ATPL. I was an average student at school and I didn't have any trouble.
15th May 2012, 01:54
Even if you end up studying elsewhere in NZ, the Mountain Flying course Wakatipu runs is worth spending the extra money just to do.
15th May 2012, 12:08
I don't think you'll regret your decision; magnificent country with plenty of interesting places to fly to. I'm sure you won't have any trouble learning from the books, it's very straight forward.
15th May 2012, 23:21
All that advantages of flying in and around the mountains, but it would save you a lot of money on airways and airports charges that flying in Queenstown would cost you.
Learn To Fly New Zealand (http://www.learntoflynz.com/)
And NZQN is just over the hill when it comes to doing some controlled airspace work.
17th May 2012, 09:59
Try mainland air in Dunedin
they have mountains terrian with in 3 minutes of take of
Instructors are highly experienced in Fiordland , and all mountain ops
senior instructors have 40000 hrs between the two of them them, they have 2 tail wheel aircraft as well
Mainland Air New Zealand | Scenic Flights, Charter Flights, Flight Training, Dunedin International Aiport, New Zealand (http://www.mainlandair.com)
17th May 2012, 15:29
Three Blader - Cheers for the response! I've checked out the website you kindly provided but the problem is they've only got a full time course (PPL) available from July onwards as I missed the previous entry - I wouldn't be able to complete the training at Mainland Air in time as I've got to head back to the motherland half-way through! It's unfortunate as they seem to have a relatively good reputation! A huge thanks for providing the website anyways!
CougarNZ - Thanks for the update for the Wanaka Airport based school, I've managed to organise a Skype-conversation with them in the next day so hopefully they can provide me with a few more details! now that you've mentioned it the landing costs at WAC seem somewhat inflated! Cheers for the heads up!
Ornis - I honestly don't think I'll regret my decision, at least I hope I wont! I've heard that Queenstown is simply stunning all year round! I guess the first glance at the PPL syllabus can be somewhat intimidating but you all say it's a complete breeze! Cheers for the response!
Flyinkiwi - Mountain flying in Queenstown! Believe me I know I can't waste an opportunity like that but if I don't go to WAC for PPL training then I'll definitely head there afterwards! I probably will end up going to WAC but I guess its always an advantage to weigh the options! Thanks for the reply!
Waren9 - Cheers for the reply, I'm not sure if this is true but I've heard the saying for NZ: 'If it's raining, you don't fly... If it's windy, you don't fly... and if it's sunny, it will get windy and it's going to rain soon so don't fly!'. I know for a fact this applies to the UK all year round but hopefully I'll have the opportunity to fly in fantastic weather down in Queenstown even if it's going to be blistering cold!
BurntheBlue - I guess it can't be that bad down at WAC! I heard the skiing is ridiculous at Queenstown, at least I'd have something to focus on if shit hits the fan! Cheers for the response!
Solowflyer - I'll take your word knowing that the PPL is ideally the same everywhere, I guess the exams can't be too hard or even worth stressing about! Cheers for the response!
18th May 2012, 09:32
Go for it!
It's one of the most beautiful spots in the world!
You can self study the ppl subjects with out too much stress so don't worry about that.
I spent a few years flying commercially out of there and I now many years later fly a jet in & out of there, as much as its stressful I love every minute of it!
Do your ppl there and you can decide later to go to a big school for all the multi IFR stuff.
Enjoy your PPL it's way more important.
18th May 2012, 16:25
I know that WAC has had a revamp over the last wee while.
I have not flown out of there myself but I have done a bit of flying with their CFI at another club.
He's a top bloke and a great instructor. Going by that I'd say go for it.
PPL subjects are not difficult. I reckon four weeks of self study is plenty to get through them with a bit of commitment.
19th May 2012, 00:58
I have done some flying with WAC and I can say their training is second to none
While the landing fee's seem higher than Wanaka, the advantage of WAC is you only pay from the first radio call, meaning most of your taxi time and all of your runups/pre-take off checks are not charged for, which can save you a lot of money compared to places that operate on "Hobbs" time (ie. the entire time the master switch is on). This can save you upwards of 0.2 every flight (~$60)
If you do decide to go with WAC I am sure you will have no issues at all. It is a very well run aeroclub from what I have experienced in the past
19th May 2012, 12:15
Otago-Pilot - Cheers for the enlightenment towards Queenstown's landing charges and telling me your past experience with them. By the sound of it, they seem reputable! Thank you very much for your response!
Sugarbowl9 - Everyone mentions their CFI's are second to none! Cheers for the input and I'm sure they're a lovely bunch!
Big Buddah - I think I most certainly will! and I know that I'm going to enjoy every second of it! You're right in saying that it's the most important component of all, just enjoy the damn thing! Cheers for the response!
Also, does anyone know what the weather situation can be like in the winter season? I know that it can snow on the odd occasion but would it be enough to prevent flying for days on end? (Not that I'd be disappointed with the large amount of snowfall!)
Once again, thanks to all for your messages!