History of Ardmore Flying School and Airport


Ardmore Airport was established in 1943 at the request of the US Airforce as an operational base during WWII. Although construction was not completed until 1945, the Airport served as an important base for training New Zealand pilots for action in the Pacific, and as a training centre for returning servicemen, as part of the demobilisation effort after the war.

Following the Royal New Zealand Air Force departure from Ardmore, the country’s 5th Teachers’ Training Unit was established on the old base in 1947. The Auckland University School of Engineering also set up on the base in the same year, using hangers and buildings on what is now known as the South East apron. Although originally planned as a short term measure, both facilities remained until around 1974.

A brief but special time of glory came in 1950 when the facilities at Ardmore were used to accommodate competitors in the Empire Games, a multi-sport event now known as the Commonwealth Games. The swimming pool and running track were constructed to provide practice facilities for the competitors, and they remained in use for the benefit of the local community.

In 1952 the Ministry of Transport took control of the operational parts of Ardmore for general aviation purposes, though these activities were minor in comparison to the predominant use of the site by the Ministry of Education. Between 1954 and 1962, Ardmore hosted, on an annual basis the NZ International
Grand Prix. This event was moved to the purpose built raceway at Pukekohe in 1963.

Up until 1961, Mangere Aerodrome was the home for general aviation in the Auckland area and scheduled passenger flights were based at Whenuapai. In December 1960 to January 1961, with


preliminary construction underway, the Auckland Aero Club was forced to move from Mangere to Ardmore to make way for the development of Auckland International Airport, which opened for operations in 1965. It was during this period that the use of Ardmore Airport as a general aviation facility blossomed.

As a training centre for the aviation industry, Ardmore Flying School is second to none. More than 130 students from New Zealand and around the world undergo their training at Ardmore Flying School each year, most spending 18 months living in and around the local districts. This benefits both the local community and economy.

Ardmore Flying School has been training pilots since 1961. We currently have 16 aircraft (172, 152, DA42) and three simulators (A320, 172 and DA42). We are in the process of expanding with plans for a new simulator building and classrooms underway, followed by a new accommodation block. Since commencing, Ardmore Flying School has become recognised worldwide as delivering consistently high standards in all aspects of flight training. We are NZQA approved and hold the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (NZ CAA) Part 141 approval for flight training. This allows the school to deliver the New Zealand Diploma in Aviation (DipAv) and licencing at all levels.

Post COVID lockdowns in 2020/2021, Ardmore Flying School recommenced operations in late 2021 with a full suite of aircraft/simulators, fully qualified instructors, and students eager to conclude their training after a two-year period of disruptions. In late March 2022 the School had an injection of extra capital with the addition of several new shareholders who have a long and deep association with aviation. This set a new and solid platform for the future of the school focused on enhancing our leading-edge training facilities and centralising these at the school.

At Ardmore Flying School, we don't just teach you how to fly; we prepare you for a rewarding career in the aviation industry. Whether your goal is to become a commercial airline pilot or pursue other exciting opportunities in aviation, our comprehensive training programs are designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in your chosen career path.

With decades of experience in flight training, our team of certified instructors is dedicated to providing the highest quality education. We prioritise safety, skill-building, and instilling the confidence you need to become a skilled and responsible licenced pilot.

Begin your journey towards becoming a pilot today! Call us at 09 298 5055 or visit us at 2 Harvard Lane, Ardmore Airport to learn more about our exciting flight training programs.

Our Mission

Training SAFE, COMPETENT, SOUGHT AFTER pilots that realise their professional POTENTIAL.

Our accomplishments are measured by the QUALITY of our successful learners and the delivery of EXCELLENCE in aviation training.

Our Values

Strength through cultural diversity and inclusion

Respect for each other


Doing the right thing and keeping each other safe

"We are a family of many cultures and peoples"

Delivering Excellence

Ardmore Flying School is committed to delivering excellence in aviation training. We are ranked Confident on NZQA EER rating.

Click here to read the full report.

Ardmore Flying School has been training pilots since 1961 and is recognised internationally as a quality facility, providing consistently high standards in all aspects of flight training.

Ardmore Flying School provides international and domestic students with a solid foundation in all the critical areas of aviation theory and pilot training skills, and also teaches you how to work effectively in the constantly changing environment of the skies. Our fully integrated pilot training programmes transform students into strong, decisive, skilled pilots capable of operating in the commercial environment.


Our Pilot School

Supportive mentoring

An experienced instructor and an assistant teach every theory subject in modern and air-conditioned classrooms. Your Primary Instructor will be available to mentor you through any difficult patch and is your ‘go-to’ person to solve any issue you may have.

Computer based interactive pilot training allows students to revisit core concepts.

Our Pilot Training Facilities

Many of our airline pilot training graduates are flying for airlines all over the world. Facilities that contribute to the quality of our pilot training include:

Operating for over 50 years Ardmore Flying School has a proven history in delivering high quality pilot training.

Our instructors bring a wealth of experience, including an ‘A’ Category instructor with over 40 years of experience in fixed wing instruction.

Our large, modern fleet of fixed wing aircraft includes:
  • Cessna 152 aircraft
  • R/S model Cessna 172 aircraft
  • DA42 Twin Star aircraft
Our simulators for advanced pilot training include:
  • Garmin G1000 single engine simulator
  • Garmin G1000 DA 42 Multi-Engine simulator
  • Pacific A320 Fixed-based simulator