Published date: 5 April 2021


Civil Aviation Authority advisory circulars contain guidance and information about standards, practices, and procedures that the Director has found to be an acceptable means of compliance with the associated rule.

Consideration will be given to other methods of compliance that may be presented to the Director. When new standards, practices, or procedures are found to be acceptable they will be added to the appropriate advisory circular.


This advisory circular provides guidance on solo flight requirements, to assist student pilots, to meet the requirements of Civil Aviation Rule Part 61 Pilot Licences and Ratings.

Related Rules

This advisory circular relates to Civil Aviation Rule Part 61 Pilot Licences and Ratings – specifically Subpart C.

Change Notice

Revision 8 updates information on medical requirements. 

Cancellation Notice

This advisory circular cancels AC61-2 Revision 7 dated 4 March 2019.

Version History

History Log

AC Revision No.

Effective Date

Summary of Changes


3 September 1995

This was the initial issue of this advisory circular (with a different subject title “Agricultural and Chemical Ratings)


6 October 1998

This revision changed the subject title to Pilot Licences and Ratings – Student Pilots; re-numbered this advisory circular to AC61-1.2; and replaced AC61-1, AC61-2 and AC61-1A.

AC61-1.2 Rev.1

11 May 2006

Revision 1 clarified requirements for solo flight under rule 61.105 including flight instructor responsibilities.

AC61-2 Rev.2

8 May 2007

Revision 2 re-numbered this advisory circular from AC 61-1.2 to AC 61-2 as part of a project to standardise the numbering of all ACs.

AC61-2 Rev. 3

31 March 2008

Revision 3 detailed the evidence required by a Category A or B flight instructor regarding a student pilot’s ability to communicate in the English language prior to a first solo flight.

AC61-2 Rev. 4

14 February 2012

Revision 4 updated the evidence required by a Category A or B flight instructor regarding a student pilot’s ability to communicate in the English language prior to a first solo flight.

AC61-2 Rev. 5

4 April 2018

Revision 5 clarified a requirement for a flight instructor to monitor the radio frequency in use.

AC61-2 Rev. 6

20 April 2018

Revision 6 updated this advisory circular to align with Amendment 11 to Part 61, specific to medical certificate requirements.

AC61-2 Rev. 7

1 March 2019

Revision 7 makes minor editorial changes to the ICAO English language assessment.

Changes to the advisory circular are as follows:

· Change Notice is updated

· History log is inserted

· The numbering system is revised

· Sub-heading 1.2 is amended

· Paragraph 1.2.2 is amended

· Explanatory note under Table 1 is amended

AC61-2 Rev. 8

5 April 2021

In Revision 8 medical requirements have been updated following an amendment to the corresponding rule.

1.    Rule 61.105      Solo Flight Requirements

1.1         Medical Certificate

1.1.1      A person may fly solo as a student pilot if the various requirements prescribed in rule 61.105 are met.

1.1.2      Rule 61.105(a)(2) requires a person to hold:

(a) at least a current Class 2 medical certificate issued by the Director under the Act; or

(b) a medical certificate issued in accordance with rule 44(1) of the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999, that is applicable for a Class 2, 3, 4 or 5 driver licence with passenger endorsement: a DL9 form.

1.1.3      Pilots holding a New Zealand Transport Authority DL9 form should retain the original of their current form and carry at least a copy of that document when flying. 

1.1.4      A person who intends to become a professional pilot should also be aware that if they are unable to meet the medical standards for the issue of a Class 1 medical certificate they will be unable to meet the eligibility requirement for the issue of a commercial pilot licence or an airline transport pilot licence.

1.1.5      A person who holds a lifetime pilot licence issued in accordance with Part 61 but who does not meet the currency requirements applicable to their licence may undertake dual flight instruction. If the person holds a current medical certificate, they may fly solo provided the requirements of rule 61.105 are met.

1.2         Pre Solo English Language CommunicationRequirements

1.2.1      Rule 61.105(a)(4) requires a person to have sufficient ability in reading, speaking, understanding and communicating in the English language to enable them to adequately carry out the responsibilities of a pilot-in-command of an aircraft before a flight instructor can authorise the person to fly solo as a student pilot.

1.2.2      In order to meet this English language communication requirement, the student needs to provide suitable evidence that one of the following English language assessment requirements has been met:

(a) the student has completed at least 2 years secondary education in an Australian or New Zealand educational institution, or the equivalent of a New Zealand secondary education in a country where the instructional language was English; or

(b) the student has been employed in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, or UK for at least 3 years; or

(c) the student has demonstrated proficiency to at least Level 4 (Operational) of the ICAO Language Proficiency Rating Scale (refer to advisory circular AC61-1, Appendix I); or

(d) the student has attained at least the minimum score in any of the  English language proficiency tests in accordance with the following Table of English Language Proficiency Tests:

Table 1: English Language Proficiency Tests


Minimum score

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) general training module (GTM) link)

Overall grade of 5.5 and no paper lower than 5

Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)

TOEIC Australia and New Zealand(external link)


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet based test link)


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) computer based exam


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper based


NOTE: The TOEIC Australia and New Zealand(external link) web site provides information and guidance on the TOEIC, including details on the test, public test centres and centres offering preparatory courses.

ICAO English Language Assessment requires a demonstration of the ability to communicate in an AVIATION context. Therefore, students who choose to undertake this assessment are expected to have a basic aviation awareness of the subject matter in the PPL syllabus published in AC61-3, Appendix II.

1.2.3      When the holder of a Category A or B flight instructor rating is satisfied that the student pilot has met one of the English language assessment requirements specified above, the flight instructor should endorse the student pilot’s logbook in the following format.

< Student pilot’s name> has been assessed proficient in communicating in English through:

   1.       English educated

   2.       English based employment

   3.       English language proficiency test (Detail type of test and pass mark)

   (Delete those not applicable)

<Instructor’s name>    <Category A or B>      <Client number>         <Date>

1.3         Solo Cross Country

1.3.1      Rule 61.105(a)(9)(ii) requires a student pilot to hold a valid written examination credit for a private pilot licence in accordance with rule 61.153(a)(6) before undertaking a solo cross country flight. It is recommended that a student pilot should study for their private pilot licence written examinations early in their flight training to ensure that when they are ready for their solo cross country, they have attained the required PPL written examination credit.

1.4         Monitoring of Solo Flights by Flight Instructor

1.4.1      Rule 61.105(b) requires the flight instructor who authorises the solo flight under rule 61.105(a)(5) to monitor the actions of the pilot during the flight. The general purpose of monitoring the solo flight is to ensure that the flight instructor has an adequate overview of the actions of the student pilot during that flight. Circumstances may differ depending on whether the flight is cross country or not. Therefore, the degree to which the flight instructor can practically monitor the flight may vary.

1.4.2      With this in mind, the actions that are considered acceptable include the following—

(1) the flight instructor is present at the aerodrome and conducts a pre-flight briefing

(2) the flight instructor provides guidance on the areas through which the flight is to be conducted

(3) the flight instructor is present at the time of the flight as applicable (i.e. whether on the ground or in another aircraft, and whether in the same airspace or not)

(4) a flight instructor will monitor the radio frequency in use where possible.