To be airworthy an aircraft needs to meet all requirements in the Civil Aviation Rules related to design, manufacture, maintenance, modification, repair and safety. This covers the aircraft, components, fuel, and other materials essential to the operation of the aircraft.

Part 21 prescribes what is needed for an aircraft, product, or part to be certificated as safe to fly, including the approval of design changes such as repairs or modifications.

Rule 91.101 prescribes the need for aircraft to have a certificate of airworthiness which attests to their conformity to a design (the Type Certificate in the case of standard or restricted category aircraft), condition for flight, and compliance with CAA rules such as Part 26, 91 etc. Microlight aircraft require a flight permit. Hang gliders and paragliders do not require an airworthiness certificate.

Aircraft types are categorised depending on their standard of design and intended operating environment: 

Aircraft operator requirements [PDF 241 KB]

Certificates of Airworthiness

To be eligible to operate in New Zealand under Part 91 an aircraft must have been issued with an airworthiness certificate. Civil Aviation Rule Part 21 Subpart H prescribes the requirements for the issue of airworthiness certificates to aircraft. Airworthiness certificates are issued in three categories; standard, restricted, and special.

Refer to the appropriate advisory circular (listed below) and CAA forms for the application requirements.

Advisory circular references:

AC21-2 Product certification - Airworthiness certificates in the standard and restricted categories

AC21-3 Product certification - Airworthiness certificates in the special category

AC21-4 - Special Category - Amateur-Built Aircraft Airworthiness Certificates

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