How to Apply for Drone Pilot License New Zealand

How to Apply for a Drone Pilot License in New Zealand

Ready to take flight and become a certified drone pilot in New Zealand? Well then, this guide is your compass.

Read on as we navigate the step-by-step process to ensure you’re well-prepared and informed on the journey to obtaining your official drone pilot license.

How to apply for a drone pilot license in New Zealand

How to apply for a drone pilot license in New Zealand

Fortunately, a license is not needed if you’re flying a drone for personal use. By adhering to the standard safety guidelines, you can fly without a pilot’s license. These guidelines require you to follow the following rules, among others: 

  • Fly only during the daytime.
  • Avoid flight over people.
  • Maintain an altitude below 400 feet.
  • Refrain from flying within 4 kilometers of airdromes (including airstrips).
  • Always keep the drone within your line of sight.

In New Zealand, the law dictates that those who wish to fly a drone commercially may require a Part 102 unmanned aircraft operator certificate. To operate within the legal parameters, potential commercial drone pilots will need to obtain this certification.

For a seamless process for applying for the certificate, please follow our guide below.

DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
Number of steps
Time to perform stepsApproximately 1-2 weeks (including course completion and form filling)
Things you needAccess to a computer and internet for online research and form downloading.
Personal identification documents (e.g., driver’s license, birth certificate) for form verification
Referee contact information for confirmation of identity and address
Copies of identity and address documents
Access to email or postal services for application submission

STEP 1: Complete an approved training course.

Complete an approved training course

The very first step to obtaining your Part 102 unmanned aircraft operator certificate is to complete an approved training course with an approved training provider. 

This is important because the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of New Zealand advises getting training to fully grasp your responsibilities while operating a drone.

It’s important to note that the CAA doesn’t conduct training themselves. Instead, they have endorsed specific training providers who are authorized to teach the required material.

How to find an approved provider for drone training courses

To find an approved provider for drone training courses, follow these simple steps:

1. Visit the CAA Website: Go to the official website of the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.

2. Navigate to ‘Drones’: Look for the ‘Drones’ tab on the website and click on it. This will lead you to various topics related to drones.

3. Select License Information: Among the options, locate and click on the topic that says ‘Do I need a license to fly a drone?’ This will provide you with detailed information about drone pilot licensing.

4. Explore Training Courses: On the page about drone pilot licensing, you’ll find a section discussing the training courses that are approved by the CAA. These courses typically include Parts 101 and 102.

5. Choose Your Course: Pick the training course that you believe is necessary for your drone operations. Click on the course title to access more details.

6. Apply for Admission: Once you’ve chosen a course, you’ll be redirected to a separate webpage where you can apply for admission to the chosen training program.

What will the drone-piloting training course cover?

The training course will typically cover the following topics:

  • The legal requirements for flying drones in New Zealand
  • The technical aspects of flying drones
  • The safety considerations for flying drones
  • The specific requirements of Part 102

The course will also include a practical component where you will have the opportunity to fly a drone under the supervision of an instructor.

Once you have completed the training course, you will need to take the knowledge test. The knowledge test is a multiple-choice test that covers the topics covered in the training course. 

If you pass the knowledge test, you will be issued a certificate of course completion.

Note: Keep your course completion certificate in a safe place, as you’ll be required to submit it along with your application form. This certificate serves as evidence of your training and understanding of drone operation.

STEP 2: Fill out the “Fit and Proper Person Questionnaire”.

Fill out the “Fit and Proper Person Questionnaire”

Before proceeding to the official application form, it’s essential to complete the Fit and Proper Person (FPP) questionnaire, which plays a significant role in assessing your suitability for a drone pilot license.

Here’s a quick rundown on obtaining and completing the form:

  1. Download the Form: Click CAA24FPP [PDF 414 KB] to download the Fit and Proper Person questionnaire. You can choose to fill it out electronically or print it and complete it manually.
  1. Provide Required Information: The form will require you to provide the following details:
  • Personal Details: Your name, address for service, postal address, and the aviation document you’re applying for, which, in your case, is the Part 102 unmanned aircraft operator certificate.
  • Confirmation of Identity: Attach a copy of your identity documents (such as driver’s license, birth certificate, certificate of New Zealand citizenship, overseas passport, or firearms license) to verify your identity.
  • Confirmation of Address for Service: Include a copy of a document that confirms your address, signed by your referee. This could be a bank account statement, telephone or electricity bill, or any official identification containing your name and address.
  • Referee Information: Provide details of a referee, an individual who holds a respected position in the community and can confirm your identity.
  • Fit and Proper Person Assessment: Answer the set of questions provided in this section.
  1. Declaration and Attachments: Complete the form and attach the required confirmation documents, such as those verifying your identity and address for service.

After completing the form and attaching the necessary documents, be sure to hold onto the completed materials. You will need to submit this form alongside the official application for the Part 102 unmanned aircraft operator certificate.

STEP 3: Complete the Part 102 unmanned aircraft operator certificate application form.

Complete the Part 102 unmanned aircraft operator certificate application form

The next crucial step is to ensure you have access to the Part 102 unmanned aircraft certificate application form. Simply click on this link – application form [PDF 353 KB] – to initiate the download. You can then choose whether to fill it out electronically or print it for manual completion.

The primary goal of this step is to guide you through successfully filling out the application form. Here’s an overview of the form’s contents to help you prepare:

  • Organization Details: Provide the legal name of the organization and the address for service.
  • Details for the Invoice: If applicable, include the name and address for the invoice to be sent. If the invoice is for an organization, ensure you have the details and signature of the person authorizing payment.
  • Questionnaire (Yes or No): Answer questions about whether the organization has been convicted of any transport safety offense in the last five years or if it previously had an application for an aviation document rejected.
  • Types of Operation: Specify the types of drone operations your organization intends to conduct.
  • Training Courses and/or Training Assessments Applied For: This section pertains to the training courses you completed in Step 1. Be sure to attach your certification of completion to support your application.
  • Aircraft to Be Used: List the aircraft you plan to operate. Enclose relevant exposition amendments (e.g., operations and maintenance manuals) for each aircraft.
  • Maintenance: Indicate any maintenance organizations or individuals you intend to contract for aircraft maintenance.
  • Prime Person: Include the Fit and Proper Person (FPP) form. Remember, a separate FPP form must accompany this application for the person with primary responsibility.
  • Declaration by Prime Person: Here, the designated Prime Person from your organization is asked to complete a declaration confirming the accuracy of the information provided in the application. 

This declaration highlights your commitment to adhering to regulations and safety standards, ensuring the responsible operation of unmanned aircraft.

As the form details fall into place, the next step on our journey is to navigate the fee payment process. 

Note: If you’re applying for a renewal of the certificate, you only need to supply a new declaration (24FPPDec [PDF 174 KB]) and updated CV (this is as long as you’ve completed a full FPP within the previous five years).

STEP 4: Pay the fees.

Pay the fees

As a first-time applicant seeking certification like yourself, paying the fees is the next important step. Here’s a simple breakdown to help you understand:

  • Initial Issue Fee: For your first-time certification, there’s a minimum fee of two hours at the current standard hourly rate, which is currently $284.
  • Minimum Payment: This means you’ll need to pay at least $568 for your certificate. Remember, this payment is required before you submit your application.
  • Additional Time: If the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) takes more than two hours to review and process your application, you might be charged for the extra time. Your final payment will be adjusted accordingly after the certification process is complete.

To make your payment, you have two choices:

  1. Pay by Bank Transfer: 

Here are the details for making a payment by Bank Transfer:

  • Account: Civil Aviation Authority
  • Bank: Westpac, Lower Hutt
  • Account Number: 03-0531-0406878-00
  • Particulars: Invoice or receipt number (if known), or rule part number applied for (e.g., 119Cert)
  • Code: CAA Participant Number (if known)
  • Reference: Aircraft Registration Mark, Organization, or Name (as applicable)
  1. Pay by Credit Card: If you prefer to use a credit card, contact the CAA at (04) 560 9400 and ask for Finance. Please remember not to send cash, checks, or credit card details via email.

You need to obtain a copy of your payment receipt and attach it to the application form.

Note: For certificate renewals, you will be charged based on the prevailing standard hourly rate for the time required.

STEP 5: Submit your application form.

Submit your application form

With your Fit and Proper Person (FPP) questionnaire, application form, and payment completed, you’ve reached a pivotal moment – it’s time to submit your application for the Part 102 unmanned aircraft certificate.

Here’s a quick checklist to ensure everything is in place before you proceed:

  1. Completed Training: Have you successfully completed the approved training course as outlined in Step 1? Make sure you have your certificate of course completion ready to go.
  1. FPP Questionnaire: Is your Fit and Proper Person questionnaire fully filled out, with all necessary documents attached?
  1. Application Form: Have you diligently filled out the application form, addressing each section accurately?
  1. Payment: Have you taken care of the payment process, either through bank transfer or credit card?

If all the previous items on the checklist receive a ‘Yes’ from you, then congratulations – you’re all set to proceed and submit your application. Here are the two convenient options available for you to take this crucial step:

  1. Email Submission: You can send your application electronically via email. Use this email address: [email protected]. Make sure to attach all the required documents and forms to ensure a smooth and complete submission.
  1. Postal Submission: If you prefer traditional mail, you can submit your application through the postal service. Address your package to the Certification Unit at the Civil Aviation Authority. The mailing address is as follows:

Certification Unit,

Civil Aviation Authority,

PO Box 3555,

Wellington 6140.

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve got a clear roadmap for getting your Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate in New Zealand. This is your official pass to fly drones commercially. 

But remember, if it’s just for personal fun and you stick to the safety rules, you won’t need a license. 

So, whether you’re aiming for commercial flights or recreational soaring, you’re now well-equipped with the know-how to navigate the process and take to the skies responsibly.