Flying competitions are organised by clubs on a local basis and by Flying NZ on a Regional, National and International basis. Flying NZ run a large number of competitions, from spot landing, forced landing, precision circuits, bombing, and life raft dropping as well as navigation, aerobatics, instrument, and formation flying. Flying in competitions hones the pilot's skills and allows a pilot to remain current on type at a relatively low cost.
A feature of flying New Zealand competitions is that there are competitions for all levels of skill. Several of the competitions are reserved only for pilots who have not yet attained their PPL. Most competitions have an air judge who is an instructor so pilots who cannot obtain a medical or who have lost their medical for any reason can still compete.
To be eligible for most of the National competitions you have to be the Regional winner for your competition at your Regional area rally. Some competitions have a wildcard entry and you can qualify to fly in the National Championship by winning the associated wildcard competition at the National Championships, usually held the day before the Nationals.
Each year we select a team to fly against the best Australian pilots in the international Wings Trophy competition.
WILL I BE GOOD ENOUGH?
If you have learned enough to go solo, there is a competition for you. Flying NZ has competitions where low hour pilots compete with other low hour pilots. Air judges are normally instructors, so you will have an instructor with you. There are also competitions aimed at the very experienced but the bulk of the competitions are open and available to all qualifying pilots.
It is not necessarily experience that wins. Flying accurately with a good disciplined approach to your piloting wins out every time.
WHERE DO I START?
Clubs usually have a Club Captain who is responsible for organising competitions, fly-aways and other club flying activities. Talk to your club captain and join in the club's next competition day. It's fun, friendly and social and a great way of polishing your skills at a reasonable cost.
You may find that you particularly like certain competitions, become good at them and be selected for your club's Regional Rally team. Win at the Rally and you are on your way to competing Nationally or even Internationally.
The Flying NZ Rallies and National Championships are great sporting and social events and often the highlight of a pilot's year. Supporters are also welcome to attend.