The Ultimate Aviation Internet Resource Guide

According to studies, the average person apparently spends nearly seven hours a day on the internet in some way, shape or form. When you take away social media, endless perfectly posed selfies, cute puppies, and videos of cats doing hilarious things – there is actually an incredible amount of useful information out there on basically anything you might need to know, including aviation websites for student pilots.

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The aviation world is no different. We rely on internet-based information for anything from training resources and simulation, to live flight data, navigational aids and real-time weather.

Many pilots might not know just how useful the internet can be to enhance your flight training experience, so we decided to put together a list of the best aviation websites for student pilots. Happy surfing!

INFORMATION WEBSITES:

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

Over the last few years, the CASA website has seen significant improvement in terms of functionality and training resource availability. The website includes access to:

  • Aerodrome and airspace information
  • Aircraft register and airworthiness information
  • Written and multimedia training and education resources
  • Rules, regulations and safety information
  • Licensing information
  • Medical information and links

CASA also has a YouTube channel featuring videos that target topics including human factors, safety management, fatigue, drones and flight crew licensing and training.

www.casa.gov.au

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Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus)

With nearly 10,000 pilot members, RA-Aus is the peak body in Australia responsible for administering ultralight, recreational and Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) operations. On the website you will find:

  • Membership and member event information
  • Training information
  • Accident summaries

RA-Aus offers a host of scholarships for flight instructors, maintainers and people of any age who wish to enter the aviation industry, and also publishes a print magazine called Sport Pilot.

www.raa.asn.au

Airservices Australia

Airservices Australia is a government-owned organisation providing the aviation industry with telecommunications, aeronautical data, navigation services and aviation rescue and firefighting services. They are also the provider of NAIPS – the pilot briefing service which covers flight plan filing, NOTAMs and safety information. The website has:

  • Navigation information
  • Flight briefing services
  • Career information for air traffic control, aviation rescue and firefighting
  • Charts, navigational supplements and other products available for purchase online

www.airservicesaustralia.com

Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)

Through regular forecasts, warnings, monitoring and advice covering both Australia and Antarctica, BoM provides one of the most fundamental and widely used government services.

They also offer an aviation weather service that provides pilots with meteorological information necessary for safe operations within the technical and regulatory framework of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Some of the information of the website includes:

  • Interactive Local and national weather maps and forecasts
  • Interactive weather radars
  • Synoptic charts and forecasts
  • Aviation weather warnings
  • Downloadable resources and historical data
  • Graphical Area Forecasts (GAF)

www.bom.gov.au

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AVIATION NEWS WEBSITES:

There are many aviation news websites available online that contain a range of information including industry updates and news, training-related articles, regulatory changes, reviews, features, events, galleries, videos, competitions and more. Here are some of our favourites:

Australian Flying www.australianflying.com.au
Australian Aviation www.australianaviation.com.au
Flight Safety Australia www.flightsafetyaustralia.com
Avweb www.avweb.com

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FLIGHT PLANNING:

AvPlan EFB

AvPlan is an Australian flight planning application for Apple iPad, iPhone and Android devices. AvPlan is CASA approved and therefore can be used as a legal replacement for paper maps, ERSA, DAP, AIP and AIP SUP. The website includes:

  • Tutorials, tips and webinars
  • Virtual co-pilot
  • Airfield directories

AvPlan EFB also offers flight plan transfers from Jeppesen, FliteDeck, Command Flight Planner and Champagne.

www.avplan-efb.com

OzRunways EFB

Available for Apple and Android devices, OzRunways is an Australian electronic flight bag, approved by CASA as a data provider, meaning that Australian pilots can use it to meet all requirements for document carriage in flight. It provides worldwide airport weather, NOTAMS and full area briefings in Australia. The website offers:

  • Subscriptions (free trial offer as well)
  • User manuals
  • Online support

www.ozrunways.com

FLIGHT TRACKING:

There are a few websites that provide real-time flight tracking information around the globe, with the ability to zoom into local areas for more detailed information. We recommend:

Flight Radar 24 www.flightradar24.com
Flight Aware www.flightaware.com

AVIATION CAREERS:

Aviation Australia

Aviation Australia is a registered training organisation, established to support the development and growth of the aviation and aerospace industries in both the Australian and international markets. On the website you can find:

  • Aviation courses
  • Student support
  • Aviation employment services

www.aviationaustralia.aero/

Pilot Career Centre Oceania

The PCC is comprised of a global team made up of present-day airline pilots. The site offers a wealth of relevant industry insight, recent airline interview experience, and career advice, including:

  • Pilot shortage news
  • Aviation news and updates
  • Pilot jobs
  • Training information
  • Pilot CV assistance
  • Tips for airline interview preparation

www.pilotcareercentre.com/oceania

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Road To Becoming An Airline Second Officer – Matt Waterton

Even for those young men and women who have already taken steps towards being a pilot, until very recently a career as an airline pilot has still seemed out of reach.

Many major airlines are opening up their doors, increasing numbers in their cadet and direct entry programs and offering new entry points into the industry. Whilst now is the perfect time to look at an airline career, getting there is still very competitive and challenging. To give yourself the best possible chance of success, you need an edge – and that edge is preparation, and knowledge from people experienced in how both the cadet program itself and the industry in general works.

We spoke to Matt, one of the success stories of our Airline Interview Preparation Program about his passion for flying and his experiences in applying and being accepted into a cadet program. Now flying as a Second Officer with a major airline based in Asia, Matt Waterton is well on his way to achieving his aviation dreams in the airline industry.

1. TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND WHAT MADE YOU GET INTERESTED IN FLYING

I travelled regularly as a child and found myself more interested in what type of aircraft I was flying on, rather than the trip itself. In the days when it was legal, I used to visit the flight deck where I found myself fascinated by the complexity of the dials and switches. I remained in the cockpit during landing on several flights, and it was on one of these occasions when the captain allowed me to wear headphones and listen to Air Traffic Control, that I realised flying was my passion.

2. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT FLYING?

I still find that there is still nothing quite like accelerating down the runway and taking off. However, I do enjoy looking at the night sky and observing things I wouldn’t usually be able to see; the International Space Station, shooting stars, and the ever-changing scenery down below.

3. IF YOU WERE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO FLY ANY AIRCRAFT IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Unfortunately for me, I have always had a soft spot for the Concorde. It flew higher and faster 50 years ago than any airliners in active service today. It truly made the world a much smaller place. It amazes me that Concorde was designed and engineered in a time without computers as we know them.

4. WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL IN FLYING?

I’d love to be the captain of an airliner into London or my hometown of Brisbane.

5. TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT AIRLINE ROLE

I’m currently a Second Officer at a major airline based in Asia. It’s a great job – I mainly fly sectors back to Australia, so I always get to catch up with my family. The crew are fantastic and easy to talk to, and very supportive if I’m due for any upcoming training sims.

6. DID YOU HAVE ANY FLYING EXPERIENCE BEFORE YOU DECIDED TO APPLY FOR AIRLINES?

I used to fly skydivers in a Cessna aircraft. It was a great job for getting used to manually handling an aircraft and seeing how they perform towards their limits. I then worked as a charter pilot in a twin-engine piston aircraft based in Queensland. I primarily flew passengers to remote towns in Australia, landing on some interesting landing strips.

7. WAS THE INTERVIEW PROCESS WHAT YOU EXPECTED?

Yes, it was indeed. I made sure I did everything I could to prepare for the process. I found the interview itself to be less confronting than I had expected, that was a big relief! I had to pass an initial interview, followed by two days of testing before I was accepted. The two days encompassed a group interview with other candidates (a problem-solving activity), psychometric testing, a simulator assessment in a 747 simulator, and finally a panel interview.

8. WHAT ARE THE MAIN THINGS THAT YOU FOUND CHALLENGING DURING THE INTERVIEW PROCESS, AND WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO FUTURE APPLICANTS?

… Waiting to see if I was successful or not was agonising. I’d jump every time I received an email! Make sure you receive all the help you can for your interview; interview preparation, reading through online forums to see what to expect, and running through the simulator assessment on a flight simulator.

Make sure you’re completely familiar with the airline you’re applying to. That includes where they fly to, knowing about the country in which the airline is based, which aircraft they operate, and most importantly – what is expected of you in the position you’re applying for. Knowing you’ve done everything you can makes it that much easier to stay calm and be yourself during the interview.

AIRLINE PILOT INTERVIEW PREPARATION

Learn To Fly has teamed up with Senior Captain Darren McPherson of Aviation Consulting Services (ACS) to offer 3 fantastic programs aimed at giving you the edge in preparation for airline interviews. ACS’ services have had a huge impact on airline applicants, and Matt is just one of 75 success stories in little more than 2 years.

Check out the courses below, and get in contact with us to find out more or organise a meeting.

Future Cadet Pilot Program

Cadet Pilot Interview Workshop

Airline Interview Coaching Session

Recommended Pathway to become an airline pilot – for overseas student

BEST TIME EVER TO BECOME A PILOT

When talking to student pilot hopefuls from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia etc, many still think there is a huge risk paying to study their Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), because they think that they will never get a flying job. This may have been difficult a few years ago, however the aviation industry has completely changed recently.

If you want to become an airline pilot – or a pilot in general – there has never been a better time than right now to get into the aviation industry.

WHAT DO YOU DO AFTER GETTING A CPL?

After graduating as a CPL, to get a better chance to be hired by the airline, most of the students choose to work as a Charter Pilot or a Flight Instructor to gain more flying experiences before applying with the airline.

As a overseas student, this may have been difficult a few years ago. However, looking at the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) website now, you will find that there are a lot of General Aviation (GA) pilot jobs listed, many of them would accept overseas pilot who can work legally in Australia.

Even as a fresh graduate, Junior Flight Instructors are now offered a FULL TIME job, whereas in the past they would have only been offered a no-guarantees role with an hourly rate. Flying schools in regional or remote areas are now really struggling to find Instructors to work for them because it’s so easy to get a job in major cities like Melbourne and Sydney. Pilots that would have previously needed to take whatever job they could find, regardless of location, are no longer willing to work and stay in the middle of nowhere.

AIRLINE IS HIRING

Cathay Pacific, for example, are offering Direct Entry Second Officer roles that only require a CPL and 500 flying hours. Singapore Airlines and Scoot are offering both Direct Entry Second Officer and Direct Entry Junior First Officer with no minimum flying hours requirement.

This is a strong message from the airlines to everyone who might be thinking about becoming an airline pilot, saying “go and get your licences and we will offer you a chance at a career”.

RECOMMENDED PATHWAY FOR OVERSEAS STUDENT

Followings are the recommended pathways for overseas student who want to become an airline pilot.

Planning is extremely crucial though – for example, if you are planning to get an Aviation Degree, you may want to consider the following path:

  1. Study the Diploma of Aviation (CPL) and get your Commercial Pilot Licence with a flying school in Australia
  2. Study to obtain your Flight Instructor Rating (FIR) straight away after completing the Diploma program
  3. Choose a university and enrol in the Bachelor of Aviation course with your Diploma certificate. You can most likely claim up to 12 months’ credit, meaning that you only need to study for 2 years to finish off the Bachelor program
  4. While you are studying at university, your student visa will allow you to work up to 20 hours a week, which means you can work as a part time Junior Flight Instructor and study at the same time
  5. After 2 years when you graduate with your Bachelor Degree, you will become a Grade 2 Senior Flight Instructor with roughly 800 flying hours already
  6. At this stage, you will already fulfil many of the airlines’ entry requirements and will be able to apply for an airline pilot job Or you can continue to work as a flying instructor until your visa expires

This is a much better pathway than just enrolling in a Bachelor of Aviation course at the start and gives you a much more flexible career pathway.

If you are not planning to study the university, there are still many ways to work legally in Australia, you may want to consider the following path:

  1. Study the Diploma of Aviation (CPL) and get your Commercial Pilot Licence with a flying school in Australia
  2. Study to obtain your Flight Instructor Rating (FIR) straight away after completing the Diploma program
  3. Apply for either Working Holiday Visa / Work Holiday Visa (Depending on which country you are coming from) OR Temporary Skills Shortage Visa.
  4. Work as a full time Flight Instructor
  5. After accumulating 200 instructional flying hours, you can become a Grade 2 Flight Instructor and continue to work as a flying instructor until your visa expires
  6. At this stage, you will already fulfil many of the airlines’ entry requirements and will be able to apply for an airline pilot job

Working Holiday Visa: Citizens of many countries are eligible for this visa, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia etc. Work and Holiday Visa and Working Holiday Visa holders need to change employer every 6 months, but after 6 months’ working as a Flight Instructor for one employer you will most likely become a Grade 2 Flight Instructor. This means that there will most likely be many jobs available to you at other flying schools, since Grade 2 Flight Instructors can work without supervision and are therefore in high demand.

See more on the eligibility requirements for this visa here

Temporary Skills Shortage Visa (TSS): The TSS visa is a sponsored work visa that recognises skills that are in high demand in Australia. As mentioned previously, the recent demand for Flight Instructors in major cities has left many regional and rural flying schools with a shortage and unable to recruit enough pilots. Some of these areas even include larger regional cities, and if you are willing to work there, you may well find that a flying school is able to sponsor you for full time employment on a TSS visa.

See more on the eligibility requirements for this visa here

PLAN WITH A SPECIALIST

Whichever path you choose, planning is the most important aspect – and you can only plan properly when you have accurate information. Stop listening to people who may not know about the current situation for flight training in Australia, or who may not know about the Australian Aviation industry in general.

Make sure that you consult with specialists in the industry, like Learn To Fly, as we can provide you with accurate and up-to-date information to help you choose the pathway that will work the best for you and your situation.

My Flight Story: Learning to Fly with Balendran Thavarajah

LTF student Balendran Thavarajah has just successfully completed his first solo flight. We thought it would be a great idea to share his flight story, to show you that it is possible to juggle a busy professional and family life with your dream of flying.

LTF: You’re currently completing your RPC – what’s your end goal with flying?

Balendran: In the short term, I would like to complete my RPC with passenger and cross-country endorsements. Ultimately, I want to obtain a Private Pilot Licence.

What made you want to learn how to fly?

I was fascinated by planes and the idea of an aircraft moving through the air. As a kid, I wanted to be a fighter jet pilot but, growing up in Northern Sri Lanka during a prolonged civil war provided no such opportunities. After arriving in Australia, I realised that private aviation was not for the privileged alone. Last year, I finally made the plunge. I am so close to fulfilling my dreams, and I could not be happier. Eventually, I would love to take my daughter around Australia and I feel that is not too far away. Flying with my family in our own aircraft is my next big goal. I guess, now I am a step closer to achieving that goal.

What do you love most about flying?

I love all aspects of flying. From the feeling of being high up in the air in a lightweight aircraft to the sound of propellers, and the way the plane responds to the movement of controls. Every single flight still amazes me.

It is an incredibly relaxing and crazily exciting feeling. I fly on the weekend and it makes my weekend super fun. My instructor Anurag is great and he has made the learning experience very enjoyable. I have been thoroughly enjoying the theoretical side as well as the actual flying. Early morning flights from Moorabbin to Tooradin airport and back on a winter day is unbelievably calming and the views along the shorelines are breathtaking.

If you were given the opportunity to fly any aircraft you wanted, what would be your first choice and why?

It would have to be the Piaggio P.180 Avanti. I am a big fan of anything unconventional. Can’t go past the unique and efficient design of an Avanti. Avanti uses turbine power to rotate the propellers and boasts three surfaces that produce lift. The main wing, front wing, and the tail. On a conventional aircraft, the wings are the primary lift producers.

Tell us a bit about what you do outside of flying

I am a technology executive and lead a busy life. Being the best Dad, I can be to my 9-year-old daughter and managing my work commitments keep me fully occupied. In that sense, I am not the typical learner that a school like Learn To Fly would attract. Apart from flying, I do love roller skating, movies, Stand up comedy, Rugby League, reading and long rides on my motorcycle.

How do you find juggling your busy life with learning to fly, and what advice would you give to other FT professionals and/or people with families wondering whether they will be able to do it?

Juggling family and work priorities with your hobbies can be a challenge. I knew from the beginning, being disciplined with my time management was the key. It has taken me 10 months to get my first solo flight, because I was time poor. I had to take my daughter to the flying school on some weekends. While I flew, she would stay back at the office and get through her homework. The most important thing is to establish some basic goals; in my case it was to fly a couple of times a month on the weekends. That was the goal I set for myself and I got stuck into it. Once I got going, everything fell in to place. The school was flexible and made it easier for me to complete my exams and the required hours of flying at my own pace.

My Dad told me if he waited for the right time, he would not have had me and I would not be here today. This applies to anything in life. The right time may never arrive for anything you want to do. If flying is something you want to do, the right time is right now and you will make time for it.

Balendran leads a busy professional life as Chief Technology Officer of Bluedot. Bluedot has rapidly grown from its humble beginning to being a very serious player in the global mobile location services marketplace. The product Bluedot offers is cutting edge, truly innovative and ahead of its time. Balendran has had a very exciting career so far at some of Australia’s reputable organisations. He is passionate about growing and developing people.

Prior to Bluedot, he held senior roles at Standards Australia, Centrelink, Soul and TPG. Balendran is also an Associate Lecturer at the Western Sydney University.

We wish Balendran all the best with his flying adventures, and look forward to seeing him reach his goals. If you’re looking to kickstart your flying career, check out our range of courses.

Sharing experiences: How I passed my cadet pilot interview with Singapore Airlines

Who Am I ?

My name is Shaun and I am here to tell you about how I started my journey to become a pilot.

Firstly some background about me – I got interested in aviation about 3 years ago (2015). Prior to that, I had absolutely no background on aviation at all, no flying experience, no education, nothing. What sparked my interest was a rather chance encounter while I was working full time 3 years ago. Back then, I was working full time at my family’s business where we run a car workshop.

One of our customers happened to be a pilot from Singapore Airlines, and I managed to speak to him for a bit while he was waiting for his car to be serviced. He sparked my interest in aviation, and after he told me that Singapore Airlines was actively recruiting, I immediately had the thought of trying it out.

However, one thing that did come to mind for me is that there is a rather lengthy bond, 7 years from after your graduation from training. Now I know some people might think it is a small price to pay for sponsored training, but from what I gathered, most people do not realise this before applying – are you really suited for flying, and can you meet the airlines strict standards of training?

Singapore Airlines Cadet Pilot Program

I thought about if I was the interviewer and a candidate told me he is passionate about being a pilot but has never flown a plane before, it does not really sound believable or convincing does it? So I thought it wise to see if I was suited to fly first. After all, even if I did manage to get in, what if I got chopped halfway during training? It is a very real thing and it is still happening now as I have witnessed a few cadets being chopped as they are unable to handle the flight training.

Just for your info, for Singapore Airlines cadetship, you have to complete ground school in Singapore first for 6 months, and only after passing the 14 ATPL papers will you then be sent to Jandakot in Perth to start the flight training. There is a wait period before being sent to Jandakot as well and it can range from 3 weeks to 2 months. So imagine if you are not able to handle the flight training and get chopped halfway through the course, it is not only a waste of your time, but it is also a wasted opportunity to have completed the training if you had prior experience.

Prior Flying Experience Is Important

In fact, in the first week when I reached Jandakot, the assistant Chief Flight Instructor (CFI) asked all of us who has prior flying experience, and pointed out that those with experience have a huge advantage over those who do not. Why this is so is because the school has strict limitations on the number of hours you can fly under training and will not allow for multiple repeats. One major hurdle for most people is the first solo, and a number of people who were unable to clear the first solo check within the set number of hours by the school would be terminated.

My Interview Preparation

Okay, enough about the gloomy stuff. On to the preparation on how I got in.

The first thing I did was to book a simulator session at the now defunct SG Flight Simulations (Airbus A320), and also one at Flight Experience Singapore (Boeing 737). The experience I had at both these simulators was enlightening, but it was not really as beneficial as I thought as I did not really have any idea what was going on and what I was doing. I thought about what I should do next, and by coincidence I chanced upon the Learn to Fly advertisement on Facebook. I was immediately attracted to it when I read about their Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP).

Not only did it offer flight training at a cheaper cost, but what really attracted me was the Interview Coaching Session with one of the Senior Captains from a famous Airline in Hong Kong – Darren Mcpherson. Darren has been an interviewer for cadets at his Airline before, and he provided me with the much needed feedback I required for my preparation for the interview. He was a great help to me – I had even went through a few skype interview sessions with him before my actual SIA interview.

During my time in Melbourne, I must say that I enjoyed the flight training thoroughly. The instructors are friendly and helpful, and the planes are maintained well, despite the fact that it is cheaper than other general aviation schools. I made lots of new friends with similar goals, and we all helped each other out. There were a few hiccups here and there, but no one is perfect, and if you are considering enrolling in a flight school, I must forewarn you to adjust your expectations. Even with that said, the school manager is a very hardworking person and I am thankful that he was able to make arrangements for me to complete my training in 1.5 months as I was on a tight schedule.

Areas Of Knowledge

I only applied to SIA after I came back from Melbourne. I prepared myself by reading up on the followings:

  • Air crash investigations – Ones such as Air France 447 and Air Asia 8501 which were pretty prominent cases at the time
  • Latest news regarding SIA (destinations, new products, and so on)
  • What the MPL program was all about
  • Watching the video Inside Singapore Airlines by National Geographic
  • Reading up about crew resource management
  • Reading up about incidents involving SIA planes (avherald is a good source)
  • Reading up on SIA annual reports and shareholder reports to see how the company is doing
  • Reading up about the fleet of SIA (plane models, engine name, maximum thrust, maximum endurance, max takeoff weight)
  • Revising on what I had learn at learn to fly (aerodynamics, principles of flight, landing and crosswind procedures)
  • Preparation for the HR side of questions, such as what are my strengths and weaknesses, examples of situations when I demonstrated leadership, problem solving
  • Working on a good introduction

For the last point, it is especially important as the interview process is very fluid, and they can really ask you about anything if they want to. Why a good introduction is important is because how the interview proceeds will depend on how you do your introduction. For me personally, both my initial and final interviews were very focused on my experience in Melbourne at Learn to Fly. This made it somewhat slightly less intimidating for me as it was more of a sharing session rather than a hard grilling compared to other interviewees.

Moment Of Truth

After completing the final interview, the very next day you would know if you made it through or not. Fortunately for me, I was selected. I was happy and at the same time grateful to have been given this opportunity. When I left Melbourne to return to Singapore, I remember feeling sad as I was unable to complete my navigation training. Now that I am given another chance to do so, I will cherish this opportunity.

Anyway, for those of you who require more info on the application process to Singapore Airlines, the Hardwarezone Forum is a good resource. I read all of the pages of it. Also, some other good resources are: Ace The Technical Pilot Interview by Gary V. Bristow and Flying The Big Jets by Stanley Stewart. I read both of these as well.

Thank you for reading. I wish you all the best in your application.

Disclaimer: In no way am I representing the company, I am just sharing my personal experiences which may differ from person to person.

Inspirational Pilot Feature – NZ Pilot Aimee Burn

We came across the story of 20 year old New Zealander Aimee Burn recently, and found one of her comments in particular very inspiring:

  • When people ask me why I wanted to become a pilot, I simply answer, “Why would you NOT want to become a pilot?”

With a lot of recent media coverage surrounding the current and predicted future shortage of pilots, we feel it’s important to share inspirational stories – in particular from young pilots going after their aviation dreams.

Many of the world’s biggest airlines have become very proactive in recruiting more female pilots, and this will be wonderful for the aviation industry. We hope that young people, female or male, who are thinking about becoming a pilot, find stories like Aimee’s inspirational.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BECOME A PILOT?

It was a combination of the mechanical side of aviation, and the beauty of it all. I love aircraft engines and their sounds, and I love that aircraft operate in an area where humans aren’t supposed to be, in the sky.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT?

My parents bought me my first trial flight when I was 15 and I loved it. When I was 16 I went on a two week flying camp and did my first solo after 8 hours of flight instruction. I continued flight lessons through a club for my PPL throughout high school then once I left, I joined an actual flying academy where I did a two year course and attained my Diploma in Aviation. I graduated in December 2017.

WHAT LEAD TO YOUR CURRENT JOB (FLYING TOURISTS OVER AND AROUND SOME OF NZ’S SPECTACULAR NORTH ISLAND VOLCANOES)?

I applied for probably about 15 different operators and it wasn’t going so well so I figured I would probably have to continue being a flight instructor, but overseas where the demand was higher. One day I got an email back from my current boss saying that they were in need of a pilot right away, and here I am. So it only took about 1 month after graduating for me to find my first job!

DO YOU HAVE A LONG TERM GOAL IN YOUR AVIATION CAREER?

To be honest I actually don’t. I have more of a five year plan. With aviation, the opportunities are endless and there are so many different areas of aviation to explore, so I want to try out as many things as possible. I definitely don’t just want to reach 1,000 hours then jump into the airlines. Within the next five years I hope to be flying seaplanes overseas, somewhere warm.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER YOUNG FEMALE PILOT HOPEFULS?

The only thing stopping you achieving your goals is yourself. Females have been pilots for decades now and there is nothing stopping us from becoming commercial pilots, so never let anyone try and tell you otherwise. Work hard in flight school but remember to have fun.

Do not forget to look outside the aircraft window sometimes and appreciate the beauty of flying and remind yourself that all that hard work will be worth it when you are getting paid to do that.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER PILOTS OUT THERE THAT INSPIRE YOUR CAREER DIRECTION?

Deon Mitton is an inspiration for me as I’d love to get into that kind of work, flying seaplanes etc.

Amelie Windel, who is a professional aerobatic pilot, constantly inspires me to get into aerobatics. Her videos are awesome and she’s an awesome role model for aspiring female pilots.

ASIDE FROM THE ABOVE, WHAT OTHER “INSTA-PILOTS” SHOULD WE BE FOLLOWING?

Five of my fav accounts are:

Congratulations Aimee for being such an inspiration for young pilots out there, and thank you for taking the time to share your story. You can follow Aimee’s flying adventures athttps://www.instagram.com/aimeburn/

CommutAir and Learn To Fly Australia Offer Students First Officer Pathway Program

Learn To Fly (LTF) Melbourne today announced a new partnership agreement with CommutAir from United States. The agreement involves LTF and CommutAir working together to find and select the most able aspiring pilots who will, if successful, be offered a place on the newly established Career Pilot Program (CPP), along with a conditional offer of a contract of employment as a CommutAir First Officer.

COMMUTAIR X LTF CADET PILOT PROGRAM

The CPP has 2 entry levels, “Cadet Entry” – for people who have little or no flying experience or “Advanced Entry” – for people who are currently working as a pilot in the General Aviation industry and looking for their first Airline pilot job. Once selected, cadets will commence their training at LTF’s training centre in Melbourne and transition to an Embraer ERJ145 for their type rating and First Officer training with the airline on successful completion of their Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) course in United States. The launch of the CPP is a sign of the airline’s commitment to the Australian aviation industry and its future development. The program is going to support the career establishment of next generation pilots in Australia.

“We are very proud of CommutAir’ decision to again entrust LTF with the training of the airline’s next generation of First Officers and future Commanders. We also view it as fitting recognition by the airline of the high quality training provided by LTF.” Said Kai Li, CEO of LTF. “The CPP program creates a new pathway for many Australian people who want to become an Airline pilot. We share the airline’s goal of attracting more pilots to the profession and we are therefore honoured to be associated with CommutAir.”

ABOUT COMMUTAIR

CommutAir, operating as United Express, is majority owned by Champlain Enterprises Inc., an airline holding company founded in 1989. Today, CommutAir operates a large fleet of Bombardier Q200/Q300 and Embraer ERJ145 aircraft with more than 650 weekly flights to 29 airports. CommutAir’s 600+ employees are well known in the industry for fostering a family culture and friendly work environment. For more information, visit www.flycommutair.com

ABOUT LEARN TO FLY MELBOURNE

Learn to Fly Melbourne is a global pilot training organization that offers flight training programs in Singapore, Hong Kong, Townsville and Melbourne, where their main flight training base is located. LTF is also a member of Australian Pilot Training Alliance (APTA) that can allow them to operate under Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) Part 142, which is the most professional flight training qualification in Australia. Less than 5% of flying schools in Australia have received this advanced training certification. The certification allows LTF to offer both integrated and non-integrated flight training programs. For more information, visit www.learntofly.edu.au

The Secret Weapon for 75 Successful Airline Pilot Interview Students

Learn to Fly is working with Senior Captain Darren McPherson from ACS (Aviation Consulting Services) to provide Airline Interview Training, and together we have helped numerous candidates successfully pass their airline interviews over the past 2 years.

These candidates have progressed onto various airlines such as Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, Jetstar, Singapore Airlines, Scoot, and QANTAS; plus various airlines in the United States. Furthermore, they are flying a range of aircraft types from the Dash 8 and ATR 72’s through to various Airbus and Boeing types; such as the A330, A350, B747, B777 and B787.

FUTURE CADET PILOT PROGRAM (FCPP)

Now is a great time to get into the aviation industry. If you are hoping to potentially become an airline pilot by progressing through an Airline Cadetship Program, Learn to Fly can help you. Our Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) is designed to successfully equip graduates with the skills, qualifications and experience required for any Airline Cadet Pilot Interview. The program will include the following training sessions:

  1. Flight Training – The objective of the the training is to give you a good and fair sampling of what flying feels like, plus an insight into the flight training process.
  2. Airline Interview Training – Darren McPherson from ACS (Aviation Consulting Services) will teach the interview training. As a Senior Captain at a major international airline with 30 years of experience, Captain Darren will teach you how to best present yourself for your interview. In the session he will thoroughly review your CV, as well as enhance your group discussion skills, human relations (HR) and technical knowledge to prepare for entry level airline positions
  3. Cadet Pilot Theory – The theory sessions will contain everything you need to know to have the best chance of passing the airline interview. They not only cover basic aerodynamics, but also technical knowledge related to airline operations Everything you need to know to pass the airline interview
  4. Simulation Training – The training is separated into 2 parts. The first part will be conducted by Flight Experiences Melbourne on their 737 flight simulator. You will complete the second component on Learn to Fly’s state-of-the-art VR flight simulator
  5. Aviation English – Prepare you to pass the ICAO Aviation English test which is one of the requirements requested by some airlines during the interview process

For more information, come and have a look at our Flight Training Centre, talk to our pilots and instructors, and look at the various courses that can help you progress towards these airlines and aircraft types in the future.

The Future of Flight Training in Australia Beyond September 1st 2018

It has been confirmed that after September 1st 2018, all of the flying schools in Australia will be divided into 3 main types:

  • CASA Part 141 flying schools
  • CASA Part 142 flying schools
  • RAAus flying schools

Learn to Fly is not only a RAAus (Recreational Aviation Australia) flying school, but through our membership with APTA (the Australian Pilot Training Alliance) we can also provide the GA (General Aviation) Part 142 syllabus under CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority).

GENERAL AVIATION (GA) PART 142 VS PART 141 FLYING SCHOOLS

If students want to undergo flight training under CASA syllabus, they will need to choose either a Part 141 or Part 142 flying school. At the moment, there are less than 10 fixed wing Part 142 flying schools in Australia, and we are very proud to be one of them.

WHY IS CHOOSING A PART 142 FLYING SCHOOL BETTER FOR STUDENTS?

  1. Less Training Hours: Part 142 flying schools are able to provide integrated training for CPL students within 150 hours, compared to the 200 hours of non-integrated training provided by a Part 141 flying school. This means that students learning with a Part 142 flying school could save up to 50 flying hours.
  2. Save on GST: Part 142 flying schools provide integrated training which can be GST-free, whereas Part 141 flying schools will be required to charge 10% GST on top of all of the other training fees.
  3. More Qualified Personnel: To be approved to conduct Part 142 training, flight schools are required to meet certain requirements, including personnel requirements meaning that they will always have a CASA-approved Safety Manager, Deputy Safety Manager, Quality Assurance Manager and Deputy Quality Assurance Manager.

RAAUS (RECREATIONAL AVIATION AUSTRALIA)

RAAus has announced that RAAus pilots are now able to privately hire aircraft and operate in to and out of a specific airspace through an RAAus flying school, including controlled airspaces.

Before, RAAus pilots could generally only fly solo flight at a non-controlled airport. With the introduction of the new guidelines, now, RA pilots can fly solo from the airport at which the flying school is located. This saves a huge amount of time for students that may previously have had to travel to another airport to conduct their solo flights.

RAAus pilot training is the current trending preference in training, for a number of reasons. RAAus aircraft are generally newer and cheaper compared to traditional GA aircraft. In addition, converting from a RAAus licence such as the Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) to a GA licence like the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) is so easy that students can eventually get the same licence at a far cheaper cost (and being able to fly in newer aircraft).

The Maximum Take-off Weight (MTOW) of RAAus aircraft is currently 600kg, but RAAus is in the process of having that weight limit increased to 750kg then to 1,500kg. When that happens, traditional training aircraft such as the Cessna 172 and Piper Warrior will be able to be registered under RAAus.

SUMMARY

If the MTOW is successfully increased to 1,500kg, then it is likely that more flying schools will join RAAus, and GA Part 141 flying schools will become somewhat obsolete for purposes other than license conversions.

Tips To Pass Different Pilot Theory Exams

Contributed by Learn to Fly Melbourne student Howard Lau.

Okay, so this was a hard pitch as a movie title. I know nothing grabs you like the words ‘exams’ and ‘theory.’ Well, what can I say? One thing is for certain, none of the exam questions will be about cats, so how about you close YouTube for now while I give you the inside scoop on what to expect from your theory exam. No matter what course you’re currently enrolled in, you need exam practice, so let’s get pumped for preparation!

Aviation is a complex and sophisticated profession. Airlines are not looking for cowboys and hotshots, but well-rounded, intelligent statesmen and women. Now look, the purpose of this post isn’t to change whatever ‘type’ you happen to be, but to remind you of the importance of approaching the exam runway carefully. I’m in the fortunate position of having completed all seven of my CPL subjects (woo-hoo!). In addition, I have passed my PPL theory exam and all RA-Aus theory exams (in flying colours I might add!). I’m not here to brag, but instead offer my experiences to help you.

Let’s separate the post into three sections: Recreational Pilot Certificate, Private Pilot Licence and Commercial Pilot Licence.

RECREATIONAL PILOT CERTIFICATE (RPC) EXAMS

First of all, congratulations on embarking on a dazzling journey in aviation. These days, its common to start with a Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) under Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus). The theory exams of the RA-Aus syllabus comprise of:

  • Pre-Solo Air Legislation
  • Human Factors
  • Basic Aeronautical Knowledge
  • Flight Radiotelephone Operator Licence
  • Pre-Certificate Air Legislation

Each subject has its own degree of difficulty. One advantage is that they all come in multiple choice format. (It’s always B! Just kidding). As it occurs in the early stages of training, an instructor will usually decide whether or not you are ready to sit. The exam requires self discipline, concentration and rigorous study. An instructor’s blessing is no guarantee you will pass. Before you hit the cockpit, you need to hit the books! Just when you thought you’d finished school forever, study is the best way to get your career off the ground. To tackle my RA-Aus exams I set aside two hours of homework each night after class. This allowed me to iron out weak spots and plug up any gaps in my knowledge base. If you have any questions (and you should), remember you can always contact your instructor (but not at 3am! No matter how bad your dream was).

All RA-Aus exams requires a pass mark of at least 80%. So unfortunately you can’t just bluff your way through. Rest assured that you won’t be quizzed on anything other than what has been covered in class. That said, sometimes a question can have more than one right answer – RAAus will be looking for the one that is the ‘most right.’ That might sound funny, but it’s not just a matter of recalling information from memory, but displaying your own understanding of concepts.

PRIVATE PILOT LICENCE (PPL) EXAM

The PPL comprises of one exam. The advantage is you can focus all of your attention and energy into one test. The exam will cover a wide range of topics, so your knowledge base will have to be up to speed. The PPL exam has around forty questions, with a range of multiple choice and ‘single answer.’ Some sections offer ‘double marks’ and require calculations. It’s vital to answer as many of these ‘doubles’ correctly as they will ultimately make or break your campaign. These questions relate to take-off and landing distances, weight and balance, density, height and pressure calculations.

It’s advantageous to memorise the formulas for these problems as an over-reliance on the flight computer could throw off your answer due to rounding errors. As you can imagine, flight mathematics must be precise, so slight variants will result in an incorrect answer (or worse, an accident!) There’s no room for ‘guesstimates.’ Having said that, don’t be alarmed – the questions aren’t complicated and you’re not expected to know everything at this stage.

You are allowed to take charts and materials into the examination, so you need to be organised. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the region(s) depicted in the charts as they’re based in Sydney. Most navigation questions require you to draw on the chart – here’s some advice – take it slow! You have a decent amount of time to complete the exam, so slow and steady wins the race. You don’t want your charts to look like a doctors prescription pad or a spider on drugs! There’s actually a saying in the military that applies to exams: “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”

I found taking the AIP (Aeronautical Information Publication) into the exam didn’t help me. I referenced the Visual Flight Rules Guide (VFRG) and that covered all my bases. This is the only exam which allows you to carry the VFRG – which is concise and easy to follow, so this exam was a breeze (well, less of a gust).

COMMERCIAL PILOT LICENCE (CPL) EXAMS

Since there are seven separate exams for the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), I will just give an overview advice. The last thing I want to do is overwhelm you (there’s plenty of time for that). All exams except Aerodynamics, Aircraft General Knowledge (AGK) and Human Factors, require reference materials and tools to complete the questions. For all exams, a sound knowledge of the basic concepts is paramount as you could be quizzed on anything. The difficulty for each exam can fluctuate wildly, depending on who you talk to. Personally, I found Aerodynamics and Aircraft General Knowledge easy, while others struggled with these ones in particular.

It’s worth taking other students reports on an exam with a grain of salt. Everyone will have their own strengths and weaknesses within each subject. The best bet is to be prepared for anything! You can always set yourself a practice exam (what better way to spend a Saturday night!). For my preparation, I tackled each exercise in the Bob Tait books twice, ensuring I scored above 90% before considering myself ready for the real thing.

Preparing for exams is stressful and stress tires you out! If you’re still completing your CPLs it’s worth reducing your flying time. It sounds like a drag, but this is one case where too much multi-tasking can be your downfall. Use the extra energy to find which study times and locations suit you best. Some work better at home, in the morning – while others may be able to concentrate at school during the afternoon. I don’t know many people who do their best work at three in the morning! For subjects like Navigation and Performance, there are various calculations and chart reading exercises. You will benefit from completing the practice exercises and familiarising yourself with the formulas and formations. Again, it’s important to remember that rounding errors can jeopardise your entire exam. If you don’t carry the zero you could end up with nothing! You don’t need to be a genius mathematician, CASA just prefers the most conservative rounding.

To conclude, all exam success relies on sound study. Practice, be prepared and remember to take your time. Slow is smooth. There are no shortcuts to aviation knowledge, and being ready for all weather is a good rule for life and an even better theory for flying. Good luck!

Airline Pilot Career Pathways

AIRLINE CADETSHIPS VS GENERAL AVIATION

There are two ways you can enter the aviation workforce and become an Airline pilot. These are as a cadet or a direct entry pilot. Cadets will need to pass several rounds of exams including a group interview and aptitude test. Direct entry pilots will require some prior flying experience, often accumulated through work as a flight instructor or charter pilot. Both methods of entry are common and each has its own advantages and challenges.

THE DIRECT ENTRY / GENERAL AVIATION PATH

Firstly, students will need to graduate from a flying school to gain their Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). This is the minimum qualification to work as a pilot and is often obtained in conjunction with a degree or diploma. As a trainee pilot, the next step is to gain flying hours through instructing, scenic flights, parachute drops or single engine charter. After accumulating the required hours the pilot can then advance to multi-engine aircraft, utilising similar opportunities such as instructing. From here the next step is commercial turbine aircraft with multi-crew operations.

With commercial pilots currently in such high demand. A direct entry pilot can expect to find full employment in the commercial sector within three to five years. This is a much shorter time frame than in previous decades.

CADETSHIP

An airline cadetship usually involves an intense full-time course in which the cadet must also gain the minimum flying hours. Some Airlines offer an MPL (Multi-Pilot Crew) course. This is a relatively new training program in which most of the lessons take place in a flight simulator as opposed to an actual aircraft.

ENTRY POINTS

1. CADET PILOT PROGRAM

The cadet training program is favoured by airlines who can teach pilots according to their own protocols. This means they can iron out poor habits often formed at flying schools. (No leaving chewing gum under the desk!) Most cadet pilot programs guarantee an airline pilot position. As there is such high demand for pilots some airlines will even provide free training. This makes the cadetship path especially lucrative to students with limited finances.

The downside to this is that competition for cadetships is fierce with only a limited number of spaces available. For example, an airline may receive a thousand applications each year but only select fifty cadets. This means applicants must demonstrate a passionate attention to detail that helps them stand out from the fleet. The interview process is rigorous and requires a great deal of preparation. An airline may give hopeful pilots only two chances to apply in a lifetime, (so no pressure then!)

2. THE DIRECT ENTRY / GENERAL AVIATION PATH

This is regarded as the simpler of the two methods. For those who can afford the training, the pathway to becoming a pilot can start as young as fifteen. This expense also makes it out of reach of many families. Operating an aircraft is expensive and CPL will set you back at least AUD$60K and up to $200K for a course with a bachelor degree. It would be near impossible for a trainee pilot to also earn the money required to fund their CPL course.

JOB PROSPECTS

1. CADET PILOT PROGRAM

Between 85 – 90% of cadets go on to graduate, providing they don’t do anything to expel themselves or be terminated by the airline. According to data, there is a 95% chance of a cadet pilot flying for the airline that trained them. That said, it’s worth remembering that markets can fluctuate and there are often outside factors that can effect employment. New pilots can sometimes find themselves with an ‘attitude problem.’ (Remember Tom Cruise in Top Gun?)

Regardless of their talent, they may be let go by airlines in favour of newer ‘eager to please’ recruitments. It seems there has never been a better time to become a pilot. Some airlines will even arrange extra training so a cadet can meet the requirements. Despite this, the flight stick of success will always sit with the pilot.

2. THE DIRECT ENTRY / GENERAL AVIATION PATH

The good news is the aviation industry is currently booming, with a high demand for pilots around the world. It’s now common for pilots in Australia to be poached by airlines overseas with offers of high salaries and packages they can’t refuse. Major airlines such as CommutAir, SkyWest Airlines, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Scoot are now hiring. Some flying schools are even hiring junior instructors as full time pilots which is a sign of such boom times.

It is ultimately about skill, endeavour, performance and above all, attitude. After all, being a pilot isn’t just about flying machines, it is also about carrying people.-

Success Is A Long-haul Flight – 6 Steps To Become An Airline First Officer

1) THERE ARE EXCITING JOB PROSPECTS IN AVIATION HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!

  • Boeing estimates demand for 34,900 new aircraft by 2036: 34,170 passenger aircraft and 730 freighters, with 40% of passenger aircraft demand needed for replacement, and 60% for growth.
  • The 2017 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook, a respected industry forecast of personnel demand, projects that 637,000 new commercial airline pilots, 648,000 new maintenance technicians, and 839,000 new cabin crew will be needed to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years.
  • There is increased demand for pilots in Asian countries.
  • Key Asian airlines are expanding their fleets.

2) THEY DON’T HAND OUT PLANE LICENSES IN CEREAL BOXES! OBTAINING A CPL ISN’T EASY.

  • Time – You will need to set aside at least a year as there are multiple components. (A multi engine instrument rating and instructors rating).
  • Money – Pilot courses are generally quite expensive. Consider it an investment in your future.
  • Brain power – Planes operation is precise (for good reason!) The coursework requires a high level of concentration and attention to detail. You need to keep your mind focussed as you think outside the black box.
  • Patience – There could be delays to passing your practical exams. Flights are always subject to weather conditions and teaching depends on the availability of your instructor.

3) GETTING YOUR LICENCE DOESN’T MEAN GETTING A JOB.

  • After all that sweat, stress and sleepless nights, you’re ready to jump in the cockpit and fly away. So now what?
  • You may find yourself stuck in a (job) queue. First-year airline positions are in high demand. Be patient and prepared to keep looking. You may have to circle around your dream job a few times before you are allowed to land.

4) THE LONG-HAUL FLIGHT OF SUCCESS.

  • There are ways you can work in the aviation industry outside of commercial airlines. You could gain experience while earning a living as an instructor.
  • You could advertise your services as a charter pilot. One example is a fish spotting pilot or flying a plane that drops water on bushfires. Side jobs will always contribute to building up your flying hours.

5) ARE WE THERE YET? CIRCLING AROUND YOUR DREAM.

  • An active pilot is an alert one. Keep honing your skills by gaining experience.
  • Embark on a differing range of flights. Flying at night is a whole other world, for example.
  • It’s not necessarily the amount of time you’re in the air but the quality of those hours.

6) THE LAST LEG. ARRIVING AT YOUR DREAM DESTINATION!

  • Starting out in any new career can be daunting, but especially one with so much responsibility! Remember, all experienced pilots had to start out as beginners. A new career isn’t always about the destination, but the journey as well. Take a breath, stay in the moment and aim to find pleasure in your work. The hard work of becoming a pilot can lead to the best view on earth – and you’ll have the best seat in the house! (Better than those deadheads).

Pilot Chat – Are You Onboard The Conversation?

Have you listened to the way a pilot speaks over the intercom? Can you make out everything they say?

Sometimes all those codes and terms can sound like another language. Clear and accurate communication is a part of a pilots skill set. There’s a lot more to learning to fly than knowing which buttons to press.

CLEAR COMMUNICATION

Passing the radio communications exam is compulsory for all trainee pilots. A pilots role is to be fluent and knowledgeable in the various technical words and abbreviations. A pilot who can respond swiftly and accurately with an air traffic controller will greatly reduce the margin for error. In the air, mishearing can lead to a Big Mistake. Some of the worst plane disasters have been caused by confusion from the pronunciation of certain words. A pilot must not just break through the sound barrier, but the language barrier as well.

On a 1977 flight to Tenerife (on Spain’s Canary Islands), a Dutch captain told air traffic control: “We are at take-off”. This message was misheard and with poor weather conditions, the control tower failed to monitor two planes headed for collision. Over 500 people were killed in what is still regarded as the worst aviation disaster in history.

THE PHONETIC ALPHABET

The NATO spelling alphabet that you may already know, (where Alpha stands for A and Bravo means B) was first developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) after World War II.

Like all languages, the phonetic alphabet can differ around the globe. Certain Scandinavian countries have altered letters and added symbols. To help with the pronunciation across nations, some words in the NATO alphabet are spelt differently. For example, ‘Alfa’ is spelt without the ‘ph.’ As some European languages would not pronounce it as an ‘f’. ‘Juliett’ is spelt with an extra ‘t’ for similar reasons. In French, Juliet would be pronounced with a silent ‘t’ at the end.

HANDY PHRASES EVERY PILOT SHOULD KNOW:

  • AFFIRM – Don’t believe everything you saw on Top Gun! Pilots don’t actually say “affirmative” for ‘yes’ – the correct term is pronounced “AY-firm”.
  • APPROACH – A plane coming into land.
  • DEADHEAD – A member of the crew who is travelling in a passenger seat. (We hate to think what they call the passengers!)
  • MAYDAY – This is one you never want to use. It’s the distress call for emergencies, such as a complete engine failure. It comes from the French ‘m’aidez’, meaning ‘help me.’ A pilot will say it three times (for good luck!)
  • MEL – Minimum Equipment List – This means a part of the aircraft has malfunctioned, but is not of vital importance. Can you imagine the turning the plane around for a broken coffee maker?
  • PAN-PAN – This is next level of distress down from ‘Mayday.’ It’s used for situations which are serious but not life-threatening. Pan-pan originates from the French word ‘panne’, meaning a breakdown. Like ‘Mayday’ it is said three times at the start of a call. It’s not to be confused with the ‘can-can’ which is a dance you should only do in emergencies!
  • ROGER – Contrary to popular belief, not all men who work in aviation are called Roger. This code-word confirms the pilot has received a message but not yet complied.
  • SQUAWK – To squawk is to set your transponder (the device for receiving a radio signal) so that your location can be identified on a radar. Pilots may be asked to ‘squawk Mode – – Charlie’ or ‘squawk ident’, which are special settings to allow air traffic control to locate a plane.
  • STANDBY– Meaning “please wait”, this is said when the air traffic controller or pilot is too busy to receive a message.
  • WILCO – An abbreviation of “will comply”, meaning the message has been received and the pilot will comply.

Okay, BRAVO YANKEE ECHO! (That’s ‘over and out’ by the way). We hope the airwaves as clear for you as the skies. See you out on the runway.

The Forced Landing: Case Study and Lessons Learnt (Part 2)

Contributed by Learn to Fly student Howard Lao.

The case study of the successful forced landing has proved that other than having tremendous flying experience, pilots need to be determined and make quick decisions.

Forced landings are simulations that we do when we are down to 500 feet and when we punch the power and overshoot; however, in reality, if your engine fails, you are literally flying the final 500 feet to the ground without training. The instructor did have the fortune to go through specialised forced landing training and he shared some excellent tips to students.

HOW DO YOU SUSTAIN THE SEAT CRASH TOLERANCE?

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, aircrafts that are manufactured before 1987 only require a seat crash tolerance of 9Gs in all directions while for others all seats have to exceed that tolerance.

A Cessna 172R has a crashworthiness of 26Gs. As the impact in the incident was actually around 5–6Gs, it can be easy to exceed limitations if you botch something.

Tips:

  1. To keep the cabin intact during the impact, you do not only need to fly at the minimum controller airspeed, but also use dispensable parts of the airplane to take the impact for you, such as the wings, landing gears and even the engine.
  2. The crash energy goes up with the square of airspeed and using other parts of the airplane structure can help reduce that crash energy safely.
  3. If you were to use trees like the instructor did in this case study, you should aim to impact the trees as horizontally as possible as that will allow the trees to reduce your forward kinetic energy.

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH ENGINE FAILURES?

A crucial takeaway from this case study is that not all engine failures are the ‘propeller stops spinning’ scenario that you might see in a textbook.

Most engine failures are in fact partial power loss. Some partial power losses can sustain level flight but in the case of the pilot in the case study, he didn’t have the power to sustain level flight, so essentially he was in a slightly powered glide.

HOW DO YOU MEASURE THE BEST GLIDE SPEED?

Tips:

  1. If your flight is too high, then fly faster, which will allow you to be less efficient and fall faster. You just have to have the technique to slow it down.
  2. If you want to lose altitude and you are not on final approach on a forced landing yet, it is advisable to pitch the nose over to the white arc speed in order to lose height even quicker.
  3. In the end, you have two options, either side-slipping or S-turns or even a combination of both.
  4. Do not be timid on S-turns! The instructor in this case study flies extremely wide S-turns, which is the only way for them to be effective.

Hopefully, this entry can inspire you to get up and practice some forced landings and consider that the last 500 feet will be the real make or break moment! Have fun and fly safe!

To learn more about forced flying techniques, head to Forced Landings: An Alternative Technique. Check out our courses page to start your flight training.

A Great Flight Instructor Makes for a Successful Career in Aviation

Flight instructors are the backbone of all successful aviation careers; however, we know that quality instructors are not easy to come by.

At Learn to Fly, the finest flight instructors are training some of the brightest future pilots in Melbourne. Our students are assigned their primary and secondary flight instructors; however, that is always open to change.

A great flight instructor should always be one you’re able to build a productive and trusting work relationship with. Regardless of how far into your aviation career you are, your instructor should always be someone you look to for guidance, assurance, advice and improvement. With this in mind, here are five great qualities all aviation students can expect from the right flight instructor:

THEY HAVE THE EYE OF EXPERIENCE

Based on the current guidelines, all of LTF’s primary flight instructors are at an GA Grade 2 or RAAus senior instructor level, while their secondary instructors are at an junior level. The senior rating can only be achieved if the pilot accumulates certain flight training experiences and passes a flight test that is conducted by external GA or RAAus certified flight testing officers.

From the right control buttons to smooth landing movements, their skills and knowledge were honed by hard work and personal experiences. We know that our instructors’ shared personal experiences are full of priceless pieces of wisdom, giving rise to a kind of excitement in our students that can only be gained from receiving a pilot’s insight into the aviation industry.

YOUR SAFETY IS THEIR PRIORITY

During your aviation journey, a large portion of flight training is based on emergency procedures: stalls, wing drops, forced landings, engine failures, radio failures, and the list goes on! This is why our school standards require instructors to be well-trained. Learn to Fly will only employ instructors who are confident and can remain focused on the task at hand, alert, and ready to respond immediately to any potential situation in which the risk outweighs the learning opportunity.

Beyond our instructors’ seniority level, our chief flying instructor (CFI) actively supervises all flight training operations and consistently checks training records and documentation. This ensures that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are complied to and students can always feel safe while flying!

THEY BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOU

What kind of a learner are you? Do you learn visually or kinesthetically? Do you like to push yourself out of your comfort zone or take things step-by-step? Are you goal orientated or do you prefer to enjoy the ride? Knowing the answers to these questions is the first step to realising your potential, and a committed instructor can help you to really flourish.

Aside from the dos and don’ts in flying, a good flight instructor will teach you the right attitude towards managing risks, valuing responsibilities and trusting in your own abilities. Trust your flight instructors and allow them to help you become the efficient and reliable pilot you desire to be.

THEY BREAK THE CLAMOUR OF DOUBTS AND CONFUSION

Great flight instructors are able to light up your curious mind. They’ve all had multiple years of experience, so it is never wrong to ask questions and express that you want to know more about aviation—they are here to help you learn!

Plus, they do great as motivators who’ll help you overcome any self-doubts and boost your confidence incredibly. Their goal is to get you career ready, so the key is to always find alignment between their goals and yours.

THEY ARE AN INSPIRATION IN YOUR AVIATION CAREER

Your educators will always be a part of your journey. Whatever knowledge they’ve instilled will remain long after you leave the cockpit. From your first trial introductory flight to going solo, all the way to achieving your Commercial Pilot Licence, your instructor will have set the tone and had an influence over your entire career in the aviation industry—and that’s what makes the right one so special.

In flying, it’s essential to have a companion who’s always got your back. Choose wisely and set your sights on a successful aviation career. To start your journey with Learn to Fly, visit our website for a variety of beginner, intermediate and advance courses.

We’ll see you in the sky!

Focus on the Flying and Choose a Pathway Later with Learn to Fly

The big question: are you flying at Learn to Fly in order to pursue a professional career in general and/or commercial aviation, or here to become a recreational pilot instead?

At Learn To Fly, we believe in flexibility and diversity—in our instructors, students and courses. Regulation developments at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) put even more pressure on budding pilots to choose their pathway early, which is why we provide a seamless transition between the available options should you change your mind during the course.

Nevertheless, choosing which pathway to follow is a big decision so we’ve put together everything you need to know when planning your next steps.

GETTING YOUR RECREATIONAL PILOT CERTIFICATE

RAAus can issue Recreational Pilot Certificates (RPCs). Emerging aviators should pursue this option if they don’t require the additional benefits and privileges offered by a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) and above.

Achieving your RPC is a good starting place to help aviators gain their footing in this entirely new world. This certificate also provides students with the opportunity to pursue several additional endorsements—making this a great way to get started in aviation.

There are some restrictions with this certificate; however, with flights made by the pilot limited to 1–2 seater aircraft that can fly with a maximum total take-off weight of 600 kgs only.

On the other hand, medical requirements for this certificate are as effortless as having a driver’s licence and performing a pre-flight self assessment.

Students may decide that they wish to continue their pursuits in the aviation profession during their RPC program. Here at Learn To Fly, these students are given the opportunity to smoothly transition into one of our other training programs and effortlessly continue their aviation adventure.

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS—ATTAINING YOUR RPL!

Getting your RPL is the first major stage in pursuing a career in General Aviation. RPL holders can carry 3 passengers compared to RPC holders who can only carry one. RPL holders can also fly aircraft with a 1500 kg Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) while RPC holders can only fly 600 kg MTOW.

In order to convert the RPC to an RPL, you will need to do a 2-hour instrument flying and flight review on a GA registered aircraft.

Getting your RPL puts you on the pathway to achieving your Private Pilot Licence (PPL) and eventually your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), and with these, you can enter general and/or commercial aviation as a professional aviator.

Students may decide to continue along the professional aviation pathway after achieving their RPC and/or RPL. The team here at Learn To Fly will work tirelessly to ensure that students are aware of the process and coached appropriately.

The training and experience offered by Learn To Fly’s capable instructors means that the flight education we offer is of the highest quality. Whether you have chosen to pursue a professional aviation career or are aspiring to become a recreational pilot, your training will be equally valuable and will help you achieve your goals.

Still unsure? Contact Learn To Fly to ask any questions and start your flight training today!

Learn to Fly Have Become the First and Only Diamond School in Victoria

At Learn to Fly, we believe students should have as many options as possible when it comes to flight training. We are happy to announce that we have ordered the Diamond DA42, an elite twin engine aircraft equipped with a Garmin G1000 avionics system, from the Diamond factory in Ontario, Canada.

The DA42 will be the first new major multi-engine aircraft type introduced into LTF’s fleet since we started flying the Piper Seminole. This acquisition provides us with the ability to replace our older, less efficient aircraft and deliver better quality training to our students.

Training with the Learn to Fly Diamond aircraft has several benefits for students. Here are our top five reasons why you should give it a try!

1. AMAZING SPECS!

The DA42 truly is a next generation aircraft — it combines all the newest innovations to create a capable, robust aircraft that turns heads. To be precise, the DA42 is a carbon fiber, FADEC-controlled, jet-fuel-sipping, twin engine, glass cockpit, 1000 nm-range, not-so-furry little monster.

2. ADVANCED AVIONICS

The Garmin G1000 avionics system is complimented by several avionic options to suit almost any need, and is usually only available on much more expensive aircraft. The advanced avionics and day and night weather capability offered by the aircraft means that a full variety of flying experiences await.

For instance, there are very few planes that perform well enough to fly comfortably across the Atlantic at lower altitude as well as through varied terrain. And you will get to revel in every moment thanks to the panoramic wrap around canopy and generous rear windows.

3. SAFETY

At Learn to Fly, safety is our priority. It’s only fitting that Diamond aircraft have one of the strongest safety records of any light aircraft in the general aviation industry today. Furthermore, aspiring airline pilots and private pilots alike can enjoy the impressive cross-country performance and safety of the DA42 twin-piston without the additional costs often associated with having a second engine — fuel, maintenance, etc.

4. ENVIRONMENTAL INNOVATION

The DA42 is equipped with the eco-friendly, fuel-saving and powerful aircraft diesel engines. These engines have less than half the fuel burn (approximately 46%) of conventional gasoline engines, and so, the associated costs to the student are dramatically reduced.

5. ACHIEVE YOUR MULTI-ENGINE ENDORSEMENT RATING

Thanks to the Diamond DA42, those hoping to become airline pilots can gain considerable experience with similar flight approaches, procedures, and conditions similar to those encountered by light jets and turboprops. And so, this is one of the best aircraft options when pursuing your Multi-Engine Endorsement rating.

THE ONLY VICTORIAN DIAMOND TRAINING SCHOOL.

The purchase represents a new chapter for LTF, with the DA42 becoming a valuable addition to our fleet. It will allow students to complete their Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)Private Pilot Licence (PPL), and Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) training on the DA40 and smoothly transition onto the DA42 for their Multi-Engine Endorsement training. We will also be ordering more Diamond D40 aircraft and another DA42 this year, and aim to expand our diamond fleet to 10 by 2019.

Our expanding fleet of Diamond aircraft will be used, alongside our other Sling aircraft, to train the next generation of commercial pilots.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact Learn to Fly today to start your flight training with the only Diamond school in Victoria!

Flying Circuits Calls for a Tip-Top Weather Brief

As an aviation student, you are constantly placed in unfamiliar situations that test your skill, airmanship and decision making. These Judgements could even determine the entire outcome of a flight. It is paramount for all pilots to attain a weather brief for all matters of flying, including flying circuits.

The 24th of September, 2017, was a definitive learning curb and monumental day for me in my aviation career. What was supposed to be a regular day of circuit flying soon turned into an unforeseen challenge.

The weather was marginal on that day, with gusts up to 20 knots and some showers, as the outer rainbands of a tropical depression were affecting us here in Hong Kong. However, it seemed safe enough to fly circuits at first glance.

FLY WITH AN INSTRUCTOR WHO IS COMFORTABLE WITH FLYING MARGINALLY—THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO SAFELY TEST YOUR LIMITATIONS.

After pre-flight, I immediately requested to not be sent out solo due to the weather. Nevertheless, my instructor and I decided that today would be a wonderful opportunity to test the limits of my ability safely under his supervision.

My instructor was comfortable with the conditions, however we were both aware of a squall line brewing to the south of Hong Kong that could potentially affect us. We calculated that we had at least 45 minutes before the line hit, and we assumed we’d be in the clear.

INTERPRETING THE WEATHER DOES NOT STOP THERE. IT’S IMPORTANT THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO VISUALISE HOW THE FORECAST IS GOING TO AFFECT YOUR FLIGHT.

Heels to the floor, full power, RPMs in range, Ts and Ps in the green and as the aircraft passed 55 knots, I gently applied back pressure for a smooth take-off.

Almost as soon as I climbed above the tree-lines, the aircraft jolted to the right and I corrected instinctively. I remembered exactly how to respond during turbulence—focus on holding the altitude of the aircraft, don’t chase the altitude and most importantly don’t bust manoeuvring speed.

As I rolled out on downwind, the aircraft was thrown around in all directions. My body, with the absence of double shoulder harnesses, was also thrown around alongside as the rain and turbulence worsened. I struggled but managed to get my pre-landing checks complete and a radio call out. Despite my headset bumping the ceiling, in such turbulence one must remember that the priority is to always fly the aircraft.

FLY THE ATTITUDES, IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE ONE DAY.

Final approach was terrible, the turbulence made me delay my full flaps selection and I felt as if the aircraft was being tossed around. It occurred to me that I was way too flat as I flared so I applied more back pressure to establish landing attitude. Even so, it turns out that I was way too fast. I hit and bounced, holding the landing attitude before touching down once again. The conditions weren’t easing, and I really began to worry.

The rain and turbulence escalated and my headset fell off. The instructor took over as I tried to collect myself. It appeared the squall line on the radar image I saw before the flight was going to hit. I voiced to my instructor and knew that this was going to be a full stop.

PLAN FOR UNFORESEEN DELAYS—ANYTHING CAN CLOSE THE RUNWAY.

Prepared and eager to land, I rolled out on downwind, least expecting flight operations to declare a runway closure for 5 minutes over the radio.

The rain became menacing as I flew at circuit height and held, pelting onto the windshield, and obscuring my visibility. My instructor, however, remained silent to test my decision-making skills.

Waiting for the all clear seemed like forever. Panic began to set in as I came too close to loss of control. “Don’t chase the instruments and hold the attitude,” I reminded myself.

A VOICE, TO MY RELIEF, ECHOED OVER THE RADIO, “THE RUNWAY IS NOW ALL CLEAR.”

My instructor sprang into action and decided to help me with radios. On base leg, I set the appropriate attitude for 75 knots and trimmed—I feel very fortunate to be taught how to fly attitudes instead of chasing airspeed, the emphasis on attitude flying by Learn to Fly helped immensely.

Just as I was about to turn final, 75 knots plummeted to only 65 and I sank like a rock. I just had a windshear of a 10-knot loss. Immediately I applied full power and performed a go-around.

On final approach, I focused on just flying by feel. The landing was hard; however, being back on the ground was all that mattered.

“A SUPERIOR PILOT USES HIS SUPERIOR JUDGEMENT TO AVOID SITUATIONS WHICH REQUIRE THE USE OF HIS SUPERIOR SKILL.” —FRANK BORMAN, NASA ASTRONAUT, COMMANDER OF APOLLO 8

15 minutes after landing, the squall line came through with heavy thunder and rain. It was at this moment I realised the outcome of today’s flight was merely a testament to my good judgement under pressure in a difficult situation. My instructor and I were both safe after I made the decision to call it off. It reiterated to me that as a student, we have the right to make a no-go decision! Because despite embracing every ounce of optimism, even for the simplest of tasks, it won’t change the weather outcome.

This experience has only strengthened my decision making skills, and confidence as a pilot. Something that will surely benefit me in the coming months as I return to Learn to Fly Melbourne in November for more advanced flight training. Keep an eye on the Learn to Fly blog for more personal posts following my return to flying in Melbourne!

The Forced Landing: Case Study and Lessons Learnt (Part 1)

Contributed by Learn to Fly student Howard Lau.

On the 26th of February, like any other Sunday, I was sitting in the flight operation office here in Hong Kong. Little did I know, out there in the Tolo Harbour, a Cessna 152 was about to be at the centre of a whirlwind adventure involving a forced landing.

The man who sent me on my first solo flight in Hong Kong is full of wisdom and has a sense of humour in the cockpit. He shared the following flying experience on Cessna 152 with me, which I wanted to share with you now as a case study full of tips that will guide you on how to execute a forced landing.

OUTSIDE IN TOLO HARBOUR, AT ABOUT 2800 FEET …

At the time, we were doing some pre-examination exercises for students and we had just turned around towards the Shek Kong Airfield. The engine suddenly ran rough so I pulled the carb heat out and went full throttle, but it did not change the situation. I was thinking, “Is this my lucky day? Or a bad day?”; but really you don’t have time to think or even pray.

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT A DECISION HAS TO BE MADE IN AROUND 10 SECONDS.

Obviously, I had three options:

  1. Go back to Shek Kong, but in that case I would fly over Tai Po and many buildings.
  2. Fly over to the dam wall (of the Plover Cove Reservoir), but it was 11.30 am on a Sunday which means many people were there.
  3. Fly towards Three Fathoms Cove.

I thought of those three options and discarded the first two options as they were populated.

REMEMBER, WHEN YOU ARE AT THAT HEIGHT YOU WILL HAVE LESS THAN TWO MINUTES BEFORE GROUND IMPACT.

I was thinking, “if I drag on too much or if I drag on too long, I wouldn’t have the altitude to execute my approach.” At this point, I still didn’t want to believe that I had to do a forced landing, and I still wanted to revive the engine and glide back into the airfield. Actually, I asked ATC for approval to climb above the vertical limit and they said, “Sure, no problem.”

IN FACT, HE GOT A DENIAL SIGNAL; THEREFORE, HE NEEDED TO EXECUTE A FORCED LANDING.

The rule of the thumb here is to get a plan and stick with it. If you keep switching and your aircraft keeps descending, you will eventually be forced to simply land ahead, which usually does not go well at all.

SO HOW DID HE MANAGE TO LAND ON THE TREES OF THE GOLF COURSE WITHOUT INJURIES? AND WHY THE TREES?

I was trained to approach a field with an escape route to overshoot and go around in case something miraculously happens to the engine. The most important thing is that you have a technique to slow down. I can do S-turns to bleed off height and shorten the landing distance, and side-slipping helps as well.

I was at 70 knots, nowhere near 60, and I was out of options at the time. If I dived the aircraft into the golf course, I would gather up speed, which may result in a tumble and getting wet. So I spotted a relatively flat spot in the trees and I went for it, and with full flaps I hit the trees at around 45 knots, close to the minimum controllable airspeed.

Intentionally, I aimed between two branches so the wings would hopefully lessen the impact and it did. The left wing was broken off but we walked away unhurt.

Head to Part 2 to see the lessons learnt from this forced landing case study.

What to Expect From Your Trial Introductory Flight With LTF

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” —Leonardo Da Vinci

For many professional pilots, recounting their first flight was always most memorable. And for them, all it took was one flight see the world differently. Who says you can’t do the same? Learn To Fly Melbourne is here to open your eyes to the world above and make your dream to fly happen, irrespective of how little experience you’ve had.

When your chance to take the controls for the first time finally comes, we know you will be both anxious and excited to get started.

So let’s take a look at what you can expect from your first Trial Introductory Flight with Learn To Fly. Strap in everyone, we’re ready to go!

YOUR PRE-FLIGHT BRIEFING

The Trial Introductory Flight starts off with a brief introductory course where you’ll build a basic understanding of aerodynamics and what you can expect during your flight. Use this time to really pay attention to your instructor, ask questions and voice any concerns you may have.

WHAT IF I’M AFRAID OF HEIGHTS?

As a matter of fact, it’s not uncommon that pilots are! However, you’ll find that once in the aircraft with the door closed, you’ll feel a sense of security. It’s a bit like being in a car; if you sat on the roof of the car whilst driving down the motorway, you’d be scared to death. But when inside the car with your seatbelt on, you feel quite safe driving at 70 mph.

If you’re not convinced, just remember that you’ll be in the safe hands of our instructors, you’ll always be learning from experienced, high-quality flyers!

PRE-FLIGHT INSPECTION

Under the pre-flight inspection you will be shown the ins and outs of the aircraft, while the instructor inspects the plane. You can participate in the pre-flight inspection if you wish—the more you are involved the better!

You will be shown how to get in, how to strap in and the equipment in the cockpit will be briefly outlined to you, as well as the actions to be taken in an in-flight emergency. But don’t fret, your safety is our priority!

TAKE TO THE SKY!

Up, up and away we go. For approximately 30–60 minutes, you’ll see the world how we see it. Peep out the aircraft windows at the horizons beyond, while our trained pilots safely guide you through flying.

The instructor will use the DEMO method, direct and supervise, to demonstrate a variety of manoeuvres and talk you through doing it yourself. This hands-on experience is an incredible feeling.

BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

After having completed your first ever flight lesson, there’s no doubt that you’ll be full of excitement. How do you think it went? Your instructor will accompany you back to the classroom for a 30-minute post-flight debrief where you’ll have been assessed on your ability to complete tasks during the flight. But where should you go from here? Are we keen to go again?

Whatever you choose to do, the team at Learn To Fly will be here to help you every step of the way. The Trial Introductory Flight is not only for thrill seekers wanting a taste of flying but combined with our theory and training flights, it can lead towards your Recreational Pilot Licence or Commercial Pilot Licence. Who knows? The opportunities are endless!

For more information about booking your Trial Introductory Flight with Learn to Fly, and beginning your aviation journey, visit the variety of beginner and recreational courses on our website.

We’ll see you in the sky, good luck!

Tips to Pass the Recreational Pilot Licence Flight Test with Flying Colours

Every professional pilot once undertook and achieved their Recreational Pilot Licence flight test, at their own pace, and with patience and confidence. In general, students take from anywhere between 33 to 44 hours of training to receive their RPL.

It’s been 6 weeks since Learn to Fly student Carlos Oliveira’s first flight. After many flights out and about in our training base in Moorabbin Airport, Carlos is finally ready to have a crack at his RPL flight test. But what should he prepare for in order to pass his test with flying colours?

If you’re a beginner student and have found yourself in the same position as Carlos, you might want to listen closely!

So you’ve had your RPL theory exam and you’re ready for your flight test to be arranged? The CASA-approved testing officer will sit you in our office and run through how he’ll grade the test. It may seem daunting, but don’t stress, going for your Recreational Pilot Licence flight test really isn’t as scary as you make it out to be.

In flight, your testing officer simply wants to see how you can demonstrate the following:

1. STEEP TURN THROUGH 360 DEGREES AND BACK ONTO THE ORIGINAL HEADING.

The best way to do this is to make sure you give a thorough lookout to ensure you are in the clear before the turn. When you’re ready, hold the required amount of back pressure on the control stick so as to stay more or less the same altitude or level out in anticipation as you come back upon your original heading.

2. STALL RECOVERY

For this part of the test, your testing officer will want you to demonstrate stall in various configurations. Make sure you remember the HASELL checks—Height, Airframe, Security, Engine, Location, Lookout—and know how to identify the symptoms before entering stall.

Your instructor may also ask you to demonstrate how to recover a stall with a wing drop. If you make sure to use rudder rather than the ailerons, in opposite direction of the dropped wing, you’ll be great!

3. FORCED LANDING

An integral part of flying—and your responsibility—is to be prepared for anything. To make a forced landing successfully, maintain control of the aircraft and select the suitable field. It is important to carry out all emergency checks. Conduct the passenger brief and mayday call, and always make sure to reassure the passengers that you are a trusted pilot and have been trained to handle emergency situations.

4. INSTRUMENT FLYING

The testing officer will want to see your demonstrated ability to fly on instruments alone under the hood. To do so, ensure you stay within the +/- 100 of the requested altitude and +/- 10 of the requested heading.

5. CIRCUITS

The final part of your Recreational Pilot Licence flight test will have you demonstrate how to fly a squared circuit pattern and control your speed and altitude when doing so. Make sure you can also land the plane with different approach configurations, and manage engine failure after take-off and in the circuit. Remember your inbound radio calls as you return to Moorabbin Airport’s control zone, and congratulations, you’ve completed the test.

After passing the flight test, each student is qualified to fly within 25 nautical miles of the departure airport and carry passengers, including their family and friends. It’s a great opportunity to closely understand the operations of an aircraft cockpit.

The following breakdown of the RPL flight test table shows some of the key criteria students will be graded on during their flight test:

Remember that every professional pilot was once a student, itching to achieve their next milestone. Bombarding their flight instructors with questions about how many flying hours it would take for them to reach their First Solo, Training Area Solo, RPLPPL and finally, CPL.

However, we know that while flying does bring us that adrenaline rush, you need not be in a rush to attain each qualification. If you mess up any part of the Recreational Pilot License flight test up, remember that it won’t be the end of the world. You will always be able to have another crack!

For more information about attaining your Recreational Pilot Licence with Learn to Fly, visit the variety of beginner and recreational flight training courses on our website.

We’ll see you in the sky. Good luck!

Top 5 Ways a Flight Instructor Rating Can Benefit Your Pilot Career

If you currently hold a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) and are wondering how to boost your employability in aviation, you can either do a Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR) or a Flight Instructor Rating (FIR).

The Flight Instructor Rating is a genuine career starter. With it, you can start with Grade 3, and work your way up to Grade 1 or even Chief Flying Instructor.

Then, as an instructor, you can build your flying hours, which will make you more attractive to the airlines. This is just the tip of the iceberg so we wanted to share our top 5 ways a Flight Instructor Rating can benefit your pilot career.

1. SECURE YOUR FIRST JOB WITH GREATER EASE

The Flight Instructor Rating is required to be held by Commercial Pilot Licence holders to be employed as a flight instructor for the purpose of delivering training to students.

If you are interested in becoming a flight instructor, then you are in luck—flight instructors are in high demand right now and are expected to remain so for many years to come. It is an easy way to land your very first flying job.

2. BUILD YOUR CAREER PATH

Pilots choose to become a flight instructor for many reasons. It’s can be a dream job and a primary source of income, and it’s the next step on the way to becoming an airline pilot.

Airlines do prefer pilots who are equipped with a Flight Instructor Rating as the concepts that the instructing environment deploys are similar to cockpit resource management. Besides, check and training positions within airlines also require an FIR.

More than 2000 flight instructors who met the airline’s requirements have been recruited by the American airlines in 2017.

3. BECOME A QUALIFIED FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR

Junior Grade 3 instructors can build flying hours by teaching the next-generation of pilots how to fly an aircraft.

To become a qualified flight instructor, you are required to take the FIR program. You can choose to do either a Recreational Aviation (RA) FIR program or a General Aviation (GA) FIR program, or both of them. RA & GA dual qualifications can maximise your opportunities of landing a job as it allows you to instruct both RA and GA registered aircrafts.

4. FIND YOUR PASSION IN INSTRUCTING AND TEACHING

An essential element to becoming a flight instructor must be your passion in instructing and teaching. Some people see the flight instructor job as a stepping stone as it can build flying hours for getting into airlines regardless of the learning experience of students.

This role is more suitable for pilots who have passion and patience in instructing and have better communication skills to teach students from different countries and backgrounds.

If you find your real passion in being a flight instructor, you can keep pursuing the higher levels of instructing, like Grade 2 or Grade 1 instructor, or a CASA approved testing officer. Some flight instructors eventually become the school’s Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) or even open their own flying schools.

5. GET YOURSELF READY FOR EVERY FUTURE FLYING POSITION

Becoming an experienced flight instructor presents an alternative entry into the industry to that of a charter pilot and one that can also enhance your chances of becoming a check and training officer in an airline environment should your career take that direction.

Every flying position has a training element to it, from introducing a pilot to a new aircraft or explaining new rules and regulations. Therefore, a Flight Instructor Rating is practically always beneficial.

For more information about getting a flight instructor job, please check out: http://www.afap.org.au/pilot-jobs and explore our courses to pursue your own Flight Instructor Rating.

Forced Landings: An Alternative Technique

Contributed by Learn to Fly student Howard Lau.

Any pilot or experienced student will tell you that one of their nightmares must be the practice forced landing, let alone a real forced landing, and to complicate things further, there are a few alternative techniques a pilot may be instructed to follow.

Even though at Learn to Fly flight instructors offer impeccable pre-flight briefings and guidance throughout the flight, the prospect of undertaking this practice run is still enough to make anyone feel at least a little bit nervous.

If you, like me, find the technique involved with forced landings to be super fascinating, then I urge you to continue reading as I unpick and discuss traditional and alternative approaches.

TRADITIONAL HIGH/LOW KEY TECHNIQUE

A fundamental flaw in the traditional High/Low Key technique has been commonly taught in most civilian flying schools across the world. This technique depends on your judgement of the trajectory of the flight in order to somehow ‘nail’ 1500 feet by your low key position, which is normally abeam your IAP (Initial Aiming Point) on a downwind.

 

 

As a matter of fact, there are too many factors to process in order to clearly judge the altitude of our aircraft in a glide at a particular arbitrary point. It also requires the pilot to be extremely knowledgeable about surrounding terrains and the elevation of the terrain he or she is flying over, which sometimes can be challenging.

CONSTANT ASPECT TECHNIQUE

The Royal Air Force has developed a new Constant Aspect technique in order to combat the issues of different aircrafts and the requirements for some undetermined judgements.

The principle of such technique is that it removes all the guessing of altitude and descent angle, and it narrows down to one thing, which is called the “Sight Line Angle” (SLA). It is the perceived angle between the IAP of your landing field and the horizon. Realistically, all you can look at during the forced landing with this technique is ONLY airspeed and the SLA.

 

 

The SLA is the “Aspect” which is part of this entire forced landing approach, and the “Constant” is basically the entire technique itself. The ultimate goal of the entire pattern is to keep your SLA constant as you approach the IAP.

HOW TO CONDUCT CONSTANT ASPECT TECHNIQUE?

The first step to fly this approach is to pick a landing field within safe gliding distance and meet the criteria set out by your instructor. Next, you can choose a sensible IAP within the first third of your landing field. This will be the “fulcrum” where your aircraft will pivot during the entire pattern which ideally is a round pattern unlike the High/Low Key method with a rectangular pattern.

 

 

Ideally, you will join what is equivalent to a crosswind; however, depending on wind direction, it may be a direct downwind or a midfielder crosswind join into the “circuit”. It is important that your bank angle does not exceed 20 degrees during the approach otherwise you may risk the SLA either increasing or losing airspeed and glide ratio due to the reduced vertical component of lift and increased drag.

If your SLA is increasing (getting too high): Deviate from best glide speed or increase spacing. If your SLA is decreasing (getting too low): decrease spacing, fly inwards.

When approaching final, you must make the turn in to directly approach your IAP. This is the time when you decide, using your knowledge of the trend of your SLA, whether you cut in short, fly a standard final or overshoot and then turn back onto final depending on your height.

If the SLA is high, you have three options to get back onto glide path. You can use flaps, do S-turns or do a steep slip, or you can combine S-turns and steep slips if it is ridiculously high.

EXPERIMENT WITH THE TECHNIQUE

This technique is not only used by RAF but also being slowly accepted by flying schools around Europe and the UK.

It is recommended that everyone should practice the entire pattern all the way down into the flare and touchdown. You will find out, if you really are ridiculously high, you can still hold the slip into the flare, centralise the rudder when the aircraft sinks, and then continue to flare.

For more information about our flight training, head to our courses page.

New Horizon for Australian Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) Holders

The global aviation market is booming, which is fantastic news for aspiring pilots and represents the best time ever to get into the industry. Hundreds of Australian Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) holders who are coming through the local training systems are ready and willing to fill the roles in commercial operations.

The future looks promising due to demand rising in emerging markets across the globe, which is expected to continue driving the world’s general aviation market. Emerging markets in Asia will dominate over the next 20 years, according to IATA.

AUSTRALIAN PILOTS: YOUR FUTURE IS JUST OVER THE HORIZON

Virgin, Air New Zealand, Qantas, QantasLink have been recruiting a high volume of pilots this year. Airlines from the United States such as SkyWest have also made significant Australian hires.

The Australian government recently allowed foreign pilots to work in Australia on working visas for 2 to 4 years, which proves that we need pilots in Australia now than ever.

While there is a general consensus that getting a position with an airline is difficult to secure, the entry requirements are pretty achievable, and many flight instructors with a certain amount of flying hours and experience are easily accepted.

THE PROMISING FUTURE OF CHINESE AIRLINES

China, as one of the biggest emerging aviation markets, is going to surpass the United States as the world’s largest air travel operator by 2020. China’s airlines have been rapidly expanding their international destinations in recent years. Over the next 20 years, they will require 5000 pilots to be recruited per year to meet skyrocketing travel demand.

Chinese airlines are offering higher than standard industry salaries and benefits to recruit airline captains and attract some of the best Australian pilots and other pilots in the world.

LEARN TO FLY CAN HELP LAUNCH YOUR CAREER

Darren, our airline interview training coach, has been helping many flight instructors get their airline jobs. Recently, 20 instructors from an Adelaide-based flying school, accounting for 30% of all of their flight instructors, successfully landed their dream airline jobs.

As many flying instructors have gone to the airlines, the flight training industry needs more and more flight instructors, especially the senior level flight instructors who can work without supervision and can do more specialised types of training.

Some flight training students who thought about getting into the aviation industry through an airline’s Cadet Pilot Program have may wish to consider to another path: student pilot > Commercial Pilot Licence > Instructor Rating > working as a flying instructor > airlines.

Learn To Fly’s Flight Instructor Rating course is an ideal way to increase your aviation knowledge and set yourself up for a career as a flight instructor. At the end of the course, students will receive dual qualifications (RA Instructor Rating and GA Instructor Rating) which can maximise their employability in airlines.

We will also hire selected students to work for us and we are happy to see our students becoming flight instructors, senior instructors and landing their airline jobs at the end.

Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) is also essential if you want to land a career in commercial operation. CPL holders have a wide range of career pathways to choose from, including joining a commercial airline, and finding a job in tourism, agriculture or passenger transport.

For more information about our courses and training, head to our courses page.

Final Flight in Hong Kong as a Recreational Pilot

Contributed by Learn to Fly student Howard Lau

It’s a little hard to believe that one year ago I was writing about just how unique and fun flying in Hong Kong is as a recreational pilot. Here I am again, one year after that, writing about my final flight in Hong Kong.

PLANNING TO NAVIGATE

I flew with my familiar instructor, Bertie, who has a reputation for being strict and fastidious. Being a former Tiger Moth owner and pilot, Bertie’s stick and rudder skills are second to none. He threw a curveball at me once again, asking me to plan a navigation exercise.

I thought, you’ve got to be kidding …

He wasn’t, and with my limited knowledge I set off with the chart, plotter and marker. I plotted and drew the route up, did the measurements to the best of my ability completed the calculations for wind correction, groundspeed and time required. I put recorded all of the essential information from the chart, including the leg information, on a paper navigation log.

Although Hong Kong navigation exercises aren’t real navigation exercises, it still took me around half an hour to plan everything out.

TAKE OFF AND IN FLIGHT

After being briefed about what the exercise would involve, we took off. As we departed the Shek Kong area though Kadoorie Gap I took out my pre-folded chart, turned overhead from my starting point and went into my first heading. I hit ‘start’ on my stopwatch, and I thought, “Here it is—the moment where I test out how accurate my planning as an absolute rookie is.”

We reached the first waypoint around a minute earlier than expected, which means we cruised at a slightly faster ground speed; however, our tracking was pretty close to perfect and I estimated I was only half a nautical mile to the right of the planned track. Within my limits and my instructor’s limits, I reset my stopwatch, turned onto the next heading and then started the same process again. Just as I was about to get confident about the accuracy of this leg flight, information came through notifying us to stay clear of an enroute visual waypoint due to a rescue helicopter doing a rescue.

UNEXPECTED SITUATIONS

As we tracked towards our original point, we encountered an unexpected issue because the original point is a small island and there are many similar islands in Hong Kong. I was, at one stage, lost. I decreased power and started flying slower than usual so I could figure this out. After a while I managed to identify the outlet of the Plover Cove and identified the island.

Returning to Shek Kong, we defended into the circuit. Despite a strong northerly breeze that tossed us around a little bit, we ended up with a satisfying landing.

WHAT HONG KONG AVIATION CLUB TAUGHT ME

Hong Kong Aviation Club is an icon, a historical remnant of the bygone days of British Colonialism. People in the club all agree on one thing: preserving and advocating for recreational aviation is highly important and is what we as pilots do. Not only do we fly aircraft, we are genuine ambassadors of the aviation family and we encourage more people to take part in such a beautiful journey.

What the club also taught me is to never take anything for granted, especially the freedom to fly and the availability of flying.

A NEW CHAPTER AT LEARN TO FLY

My aviation journey will now continue at Learn to Fly’s beautiful headquarters in Melbourne. For me, the school at Moorabbin Airport is full of the spirit and freedom of flying and it complies with the highest standards set out by aviation governing organisations, CASA and RA-Aus. Needless to say, I can’t wait to be back in Australia!

Stay tuned for further blog updates from me as I pilot the skies down under! To find out more about Learn to Fly Melbourne and the flight training on offer, please head to our courses page.

LTF To Enter The Outback Air Race 2018

Image credit: Outback Air Race

Learn to Fly Melbourne is pleased to announce that we have put together a team to enter the Outback Air Race 2018. Come August next year, Learn to Fly students Horace and Jack will take to the skies and take on their ambitions in the big race.

Outback Air Race supports the Royal Flying Doctor Service and has raised over $2.1 million to help the RFDS continue to provide 24-hour emergency medical assistance to patients throughout Australia.

The route has been drawn up and will take participating pilots over some of the most interesting parts of Australia with stops in Archerfield (YBAF), Bundaberg (YBUD), Longreach (YLRE), Mount Isa (YBMA), Adels Grove (YALG), Daly Waters (YDLW), Katherine/Tindal (YPTN) and Kununurra (YPKU) and Broome (YBRM).

In total, the pilots will fly a distance of around 3 940 km over the 12-day period in which the race will be held. Believing that the race will come to represent a significant chapter in the lives of both pilots, we wanted to share their pilot journeys with you can track their progress with a sharpened interest.

MEET HORACE

Horace is a college undergraduate from Hong Kong who is majoring in biotechnology. He started his flight training with us at Moorabbin Airport in 2016 when he was just 19.

“I fell in love with flying from the moment that I got behind the controls. Since then, I have used all of my school leaves to complete my training and become an RA-AUS flight instructor.”

After successfully completing his Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) in January, Horace went on to achieve his Cross-Country Endorsement and Passenger Endorsement in quick succession, and then had his GA flight review finalised shortly after that.

“My next big goal is to become a GA instructor. The Outback Air Race will be the first ever official aviation race I have ever taken part in and I feel honoured that it will be such a meaningful and exciting experience,” said Horace.

MEET JACK

Jack recently graduated from his studies in Hong Kong, having majored in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has his sights set on becoming an airline pilot and started training at Learn to Fly Melbourne earlier this year.

Jack fell in love with the sky from the seat of the Bristell NG5 aircraft. His target is to obtain a Private Pilot License (PPL) in early 2018 and he believes that by taking part in the Outback Air Race next year he will make swift progress towards his aviation career goals.

“It is my pleasure and honour to be able to take part in Outback Air Race 2018. It is surely the perfect kickoff of my pilot career. My excitement about such an amazing, fruitful adventure is beyond words,” said Jack.

“Horace and I have both completed all of our flight training at Learn To Fly Melbourne. The school has not only taught us all the practical and technical details of flying, but also about all of the qualities a professional pilot needs.”

In the Outback Air Race, Horace and Jack will be flying the Sling 2. The Sling 2 is light-sport aircraft (LSA), which the manufacturer, The Airplane Factory, agrees can accommodate the needs of pilots at the highest level.

“Sling 2 aircraft have been used to circumnavigate the world and are especially good for cross-country flights,” said Jack.

“While getting a job at an airline is one way to do something great in aviation, the Outback Air Race 2018 opens up a whole other realm of possibilities.”

Learn To Fly Melbourne would like to take this opportunity to share our love of flying and aviation with the general public, including our community in Hong Kong, which includes many passionate teenagers. If you’re a fan of the cause or want to show your support of Howard and Jack, please jump on our Facebook and Instagram channels and share your message. Let’s keep the doctors flying!

Pursuing the Life and Career of an Airline Pilot

Contributed by Darren McPherson, our Airline Interview & Workshop coach and senior captain at a major international airline with over 30 years’ experience.

All pilots start somewhere: looking at planes, reading and dreaming about them—then actually taking that first step towards flying lessons and getting your pilots licence.

All through this time we look to the skies and continue dreaming about flying a big, shiny jet and working for some of the world’s best airlines. This dream and passion was and still is mine, as I’m sure it has been for other pilots I have met over the years.

WHERE IT STARTED FOR ME

Prior to working for the big airlines, I had the opportunity to fly all over Australia. I started my pilot career by teaching people to fly in general aviation. I then went on to work for some large charter companies and small airlines throughout the top parts of Australia. Working for these companies allowed me to see some of the most spectacular destinations in the country.

WORKING IN ASIA, AND FLYING INTERNATIONALLY

My experience working for a major airline also gave me opportunities to travel to Asia, and not just to fly some of the world’s largest and most advanced aircraft, but to experience numerous major cities on a regular basis. From the latest statistics, Boeing indicates that the growth of demand for the next generation of pilots is expected to remain high in the Asia Pacific Region. This forecast is great news for aspiring pilots in this part of the world, who I look forward to seeing embark on a journey like mine.

AN AIRLINE PILOT – THE REAL TRAVELER

The experience that I have had from this flying has taken me from the warmth of an Australian summer to the challenges of flying around typhoons in Asia all in a single day’s work. This variety of destinations was a constant occurrence. On the next flight, travelling in a different direction to the middle of Alaska, I got to experience the extremes of a snow-filled cold winter.

This pattern or roster may appear fictional but was common within a typical month’s flying as an airline pilot. To have these experiences on a regular basis has shown that pursuing a career as an airline pilot has lived up to those imaginative, yet early stages of my flying dream.

THE ONGOING AVIATION DREAM

The journey of an airline career and that of flying can be a long and interesting one, much like life itself. Would I recommend it to any dreamer who looks up at the sky? Reflecting on the flying, career challenges, places and people I have met, I do so strongly and without question.

Learn to Fly Melbourne offers a variety of programs and courses that everyone can master, from beginners through to intermediate and advanced learners. Go through the course list, find a course that really interests you and pursue it!

5 Benefits of Training With a Part 142 Accredited Flight Training Operator

Learn to Fly Melbourne is excited to announce that we have become a Part 142 accredited flying training operator under Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) through our new partnership with Australian Pilot Training Alliance (APTA).

Over the past few years, pilot licensing regulations in Australia have been reorganised and redeveloped, and have changed from an older licensing style and criteria to reflect a more global perspective regarding pilot licensing and aviation standards.

This move may not be obvious to the customer or pilots, yet it has given rise to new terms, and extra regulations and definitions. Flight training organisations across Australia now have two main paths that they can follow when seeking to earn their air operator certificate: Part 141 and Part 142.

Less than 5% of flight schools in Australia have received the advanced Part 142 flight training qualification and it means that we can increase the range and calibre of our flight training operation to reflect the highest industry standard.

There are numerous benefits for students, pilots and instructors who fly at a school with the Part 142 qualification, and we’ve put together a list of our top 5.

1. CASA APPROVED SYLLABUS

Part 142 organisations must provide a syllabus of training that is more formalised and must be approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). This CASA approval caveat for Part 142 initiates the necessity for additional oversight of training programs within organisations.

This results in further internal development and higher levels of safety and training, which effectively improves standards not just within individual organisations but also within the wider aviation community. Part 142 flying schools benefit from a consistently higher level of governance and checks from CASA.

2. ADDITIONAL FLIGHT TRAINING

Our comprehensive CASA approved flight training syllabus includes the following new courses and types of flight training:

  • Integrated flight training for Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) courses
  • Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL), Air Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) and Flight Engineer Licence
  • Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) training
  • Contracted recurrent training and checking

Being able to offer integrated flight training is one of the major points of difference between the Part 141 and Part 142 qualification. What it means for students earning their CPL is that they can cut down their flight training hours from 200 to 150 — a 50-hour flight training discount when compared with Part 141 flying schools.

3. INCREASED COST-EFFECTIVENESS

Integrated flight training — Our 150 hours Integrated CPL syllabus which blends practical flying and theory-based training compared with the 200 hours CPL syllabus offered by other Part 141 schools — is just one of the ways that the Part 142 qualification is extending our commitment to provide students with cost-effective flight training.

On top of this, flying schools with the Part 142 are not required to add 10% GST to flight training costs, which is another saving for students.

4. INTERNAL TRAINING & CHECKING

Part 142 flight training organisations are required to have a professional development program for all personnel and flight instructors within the school. They must also have a quality assurance manager to ensure ongoing high standards.

This conditional improvement of know-how and standards applies not just to students, but trainers and instructors alike who continually develop their own skills within an organisation.

5. ENHANCED SAFETY

All Part 142 flight training organisations must have:

  • A Safety Department & Safety Management System
  • A CASA Approved Safety Manager & Deputy Safety Manager
  • A Risk Management System
  • Regular safety meetings, audits and reviews

Safety oversight globally has become one of the main areas of focus in not just maintaining high aviation standards, but improving safety as a whole. This is most visible in the incorporation of formalised procedures for Safety Management Systems.

These systems actively monitor standards and safety within training organisations by promoting an ongoing awareness, attitude and approach towards threats and risk on a daily basis. The net result for pilot candidates is that these systems set a higher standard for all who come in contact with them, making not just the individual pilots safer, but organisations and the industry as a whole.

We are exceedingly excited for students to enjoy the increased benefits of training with us now that we have the achieved the Part 142 qualification. For more information on our training, head to our Courses page.

Flying the Airbus A350

Contributed by Darren McPherson, our Airline Interview & Workshop coach and senior captain at a major international airline with over 30 years’ experience.

After flying internationally for over 20 years on a range of Airbus and Boeing aircraft types I have recently had the opportunity to train on and fly the A350—the latest and most advanced offering from the Airbus consortium.

IT’S A330’S SMARTER SIBLING

In terms of technology and advancements, the A350 appears to be steps ahead of its smaller sibling, the A330. While systems redundancy and complexity has moved forward, automation and design concepts have been notably well engineered and put together, and the inclusion of such advanced technology greatly enhances the potential to operate the aircraft efficiently.

TRANSITION TO PAPERLESS FLIGHTS

The evolution of computer technology has provided for an almost paperless flight deck with manuals and charts being produced on large iPad like displays. During a flight, the active displays update the information in the manuals, increasing their usefulness in both normal and potential emergency scenarios.

Head Up Displays (HUDs) present essential flight information in front of the pilots so more ‘heads up’ and looking out the window space is available. Importantly, this diminishes the need for pilots to do as much ‘looking in’ for information during the critical stages of flight. This makes handling the aircraft during takeoff and landing not only easier and more effective, but safer.

LIGHTER, FASTER & READY FOR THE FUTURE

Design innovation utilising a carbon fibre wing, more efficient engines and a composite carbon fibre airframe design allows the aircraft to fly higher, farther and faster than previous designs within the Airbus group. Furthermore, these improvements allow the A350 to fly higher, faster and more efficiently than many of its rivals, making the A350 a fierce competitor within the Airline industry for the foreseeable future.

CREATURE COMFORTS IN THE CABIN

It’s not just the operating crew, but the passengers who are remarking on the comfort of the A350. Lower cabin altitudes and more airflow internally allows everyone on board to enjoy a significantly more satisfactory cabin and travel experience, and feel refreshed at the end of the flight.

TAKE THE LEAP

The even larger A350-1000 is expected to enter service in the early parts of 2018 and is expected to provide services for airlines globally across all continents. Because the A350- 1000’s will be able to take even longer routes, the rivalry between competitors will continue to heat up and spur the evolution of this already amazing aircraft on.

If you have not had the opportunity to travel in an Airbus A350, I thoroughly recommend it so you can experience for yourself this leap in aircraft and passenger technology. The experience may trigger a desire to move beyond sitting in the back and look towards a career as an Airbus A350 pilot.

Airline Interview Coach Darren McPherson is Launching Pilot Careers

Senior Captain and Airline Interview & Workshop coach Darren McPherson doesn’t just conduct training sessions at Learn to Fly Melbourne, he also runs interview training through his own company, Aviation Consulting Services.

With 30 years’ experience in the industry, Darren assists learner pilots to pass their upcoming airline interviews and get the best start to achieving their desired outcomes in their aviation careers.

THE NUMBERS SAY IT ALL

In the last 18 months alone, Darren has helped many students successfully get jobs at airlines. The results, as you can see below, are quite impressive — 52 students passed their airline interviews successfully!

  • Air New Zealand 12
  • Qantas Link 12
  • Qantas Mainline 5
  • Cobhams (Special Missions Dash 8) 3
  • Cathay Pacific (AE) 11
  • Cathay Pacific (Cadet) 4
  • Singapore Airlines (Cadet) 1
  • Skywest Airlines (United States) 4
  • Total 52

After students make it through the interview process they move onto the simulator phase. Out of that 52 students, 30 finally got employed by the airlines:

  • Air New Zealand 8
  • Qantas Link 2
  • Qantas Mainline 1
  • Cobhams (Special Missions Dash 8) 3
  • Cathay Pacific (AE) 7
  • Cathay Pacific (Cadet) 4
  • Singapore Airlines (Cadet) 1
  • Skywest Airlines (United States) 4
  • Total 30

As you can see from the information above, most students who passed their interviews went on to pass the simulation phase and receive a job offer as a result.

PREPARATION IS THE DIFFERENCE

For an airline interview, preparation really is everything because the process is intense and it demands precision. It can take up to 6 months from beginning to end to secure a role at an airline and the steps along the way are rigorous—even the most confident students need to apply themselves to do well.

At Learn to Fly, we strive to do all we can to get students ready to break into the aviation industry and enhance their pilot careers. During each Airline Interview Coaching Session, Darren will give you tips and advice so you can:

  • Prepare your documents
  • Create a suitable, winning CV
  • Get your HR up to scratch
  • Enhance your technical knowledge
  • Understand all aspects of the pilot screening process

PRACTISE IN A PERFECT ENVIRONMENT

Learning in a small group with other students who are at the same level and from instructors who are supportive and happy to answer all of your queries and concerns works wonders when you need to brush up your knowledge ahead of taking your interview.

Don’t know all the methods behind IQ and psychometric testing? Not sure what will happen in the flight simulation phase? Need tips for keeping your cool? We are here to make you shine!

PILOTS WANTED

There is growing demand for pilots in the Australian and Asia Pacific region. In fact, Boeing forecasts some half a million pilots will be needed over the next 20 years. Therefore, you should make the most of it.

Best of all, when you train for your airline interview at Learn to Fly, you train with professionals who have worked across Australasia and know just what’s expected both in the interview and on the job.

If you have an airline interview coming up or are currently undertaking the Future Cadet Pilot Program, then check out the Airline Interview Coaching Session at Learn to Fly and find out for yourself why Darren is such a top-rated instructor and expert in launching careers!

6 Things You Might Not Know About Threat Error Management (TEM)

Contributed by Darren McPherson, our Airline Interview & Workshop coach and senior captain at a major international airline with over 30 years’ experience.

Threat Error Management (TEM) is a term that has commonly been associated with airline operations and it is all about being a safe and well-prepared pilot.

1. How TEM is Defined by the Aviation Industry 

Threat Error Management (TEM) has been defined from various institutions and the local authority in Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), as ‘the process of detecting and responding to threats and errors to ensure that the ensuing outcome is inconsequential, i.e. the outcome is not an error, further error or undesired state’.

2. It Wasn’t Always Called TEM

The term has evolved over time from Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) to Crew Resource Management (CRM), to its current form as TEM.

Although these big words and terms sound noteworthy, you most likely won’t come to grips with what they are really about or how much of an impact they have on a pilot during a flight without exploring them in detail through study and practice.

3. Its Impact Extends Beyond Aviation

While TEM was first adopted by the airline industry, its importance for all of us should not be underestimated. In truth, TEM has impacted of all kinds of industries in a multitude of ways.

TEM processes and practices have become the benchmark when approaching tasks and activities in a range of professions, including our flight training and other standard aviation procedures.

4. TEM Gives Us Perspective on Perception

Each of the key concepts in TEM relates to a specific aspect of a total process, and all are aimed at handling a particular threat. What is a threat? Furthermore, what is a threat to you? In many cases, this threat can be different to the one which is commonly perceived.

Threats can come in many forms, such as environmental, i.e. the weather, or other factors that may seem inconsequential such as flying in a different aircraft compared to your usual one, having a change of instructor on the day, not putting in enough preparation for your flight or even not having enough sleep the night before. All of which are considered threats as they can have an impact on the outcome of any flight.

5. Errors Become Easier to Manage

Beyond the threats is the resulting error. Some errors may result in a further error, varying in size but depending on how we handle it may or may not impact on the safety of the flight. Ultimately, this aspect relies heavily on how the management of that error is addressed.

As pilots, we are the last line of defence when considering errors and, therefore, safety, with the key responsibility to prevent this error having an outcome or impact on the flight and placing one’s aircraft in an ‘undesirable state’.

This management should not be underestimated because a significant or undesirable outcome places one in a position that none of us would like to contemplate, irrespective of the size or aircraft type that we are operating.

6. TEM Invites Closer Analysis of Safety

The question that arises is what should we do when handling threats and errors each time we go flying? The answer may vary, however, we should actively look around us and consider any factor that may be perceived as a threat.

Beyond this, consider what error could arise from this and how as an individual you would manage or handle this situation. Only then with constant attention, proactive discussion and consideration of factors around us will we improve our skills and awareness towards becoming better and potentially safer pilots of the future.

If you want to find out more about safety at Learn to Fly and how we incorporate TEM into our procedures and flight training, please get in touch!

Taking Care of Aircraft Maintenance at Learn to Fly

At Learn to Fly, aircraft maintenance and safety is our number one priority. Our chief engineer and maintenance wizard, Scott Sutcliffe, maintains of all our aeroplanes. Scott has over 20 years experience taking good care of than 20 different aircraft types.

To give you a better insight into what takes place, we thought we’d take a look at what Scott does, and in turn what Learn to Fly does, to uphold safety through maintenance each day.

The Mother of All Aircraft Maintenance

To achieve our safety goals we need to be incredibly strict about our aircraft maintenance. We use an industry standard maintenance release to monitor required work.

It’s a detailed release that Scott and our instructor pilots use to record three different types of maintenance work and communicate with each other that it’s being carried through.

Part 1: Maintenance Required

 

The first part of the release is used to make sure that regular aircraft maintenance is seen to. Each aircraft requires maintenance for every 50 and 100 hours of flying.

The 50 hourly usually takes a couple of hours. All the oil is drained from the engine and the oil filter is replaced. The engineer also has a general check of flight controls, surfaces and brakes.

The 100 hourly is more detailed and usually takes a minimum of one day to complete. The engineer will:

  • Carry out a thorough check of the aeroplane and look inside inspection panels for any damage
  • Replace parts including brake pads, tires and oil filters
  • Clean the engine and the surface of the plane
  • Test fly it
  • Put it back into maintenance if any defect is discovered during the test flight

Part 2: Endorsements

 

A pilot or engineer can put down a defect on the aeroplane in part 2 of the release. For example if the strobe light is broken this will be written down. When the next pilot flies he can see what defects the aeroplanes has. If the plane is unserviceable for the flight this information will be written here too.

When these maintenance endorsements are completed, they are cleared in the same part of the release. The engineer will look at the defect, fix it, and sign off on it. Using the strobe light example, the engineer will write, “strobe light fixed – replaced globe”.

Part 3: Daily Inspections and Aircraft Time in Service

Before the first flight of the day the maintenance release has to be signed by the pilot to approve that the aircraft has passed the daily inspection according to the Pilot Operating Manual and that it is suitable to fly.

To ensure we don’t fly our planes when they’re due for maintenance, our pilots check the air switch hours for their aircraft against the maintenance release and then determine how many hours the plane can still fly before its next service.

Keeping Everyone Safe through Aircraft Maintenance

It is very important that we don’t delay required maintenance. In addition to the records on the maintenance release, we have a maintenance board which is updated every day summarising hours for our aircrafts.

On top of that, our online system for dispatching flights won’t let us proceed unless there is enough time to complete the flight before more maintenance occurs.

Next time you see Scott at Learn to Fly, give him a high-five for upholding superb safety standards at Learn to Fly.

What to Expect from Airline Pilot Performance Checks

Throughout your career as a pilot you will be asked to do performance checks. At Cathay, pilots must complete a flight simulator test every six months and a route check once a year to make sure they’re meeting standards. Failures do occur, so pilots need to keep their skills up to scratch at all times to pass with confidence.

Flight Simulator Tests

You will be accompanied by a partner captain and a check captain when you do your flight simulator tests. It is normal to be asked to do more than one simulation so that your ability to follow different procedures can be appraised.

The checks are conducted just as if you’re flying in a real airplane. The captains will throw problems at you all the time and you’ll need to respond swiftly and accurately in order to meet the standard. The questions they ask will often be phrased like, “What would you do if x, y, or z happens?”

Checks Improve Safety

Apart from appraising performance, these checks help pilots sharpen their instincts and prepare to manage during a crisis. Take an outstanding pilot like Captain Richard de Crespigny, who safely landed Qantas flight QF32 following an explosion in one of the Airbus A380’s engines.

He had confidence in his ability to fly the plane safely and had spent plenty of time studying the aircraft prior to the flight. As the captain has highlighted previously, Qantas gets their pilots to do four simulator tests a year. Checks keep knowledge of emergency procedures fresh in your mind.

Emergency Scenarios

A pilot will be asked about three major emergencies in their checks:

  • Fire
  • Engine Failure
  • Cabin Depressurisation

As you cross the ocean, you could be asked “what would you do now if you had an engine fire?” Or “what would you do if one of the engines failed?” There are procedures to follow, which you will be expected to recall right away.

These procedures are detailed. They are not only dependent on the cause of the crisis, but on things like how much fuel is on board, how far away you are from the nearest airport and what your destination is.

Preparing for the Unexpected

The answer always needs to be in the back of the pilot’s mind, because emergencies don’t occur when people expect them to. In fact they can often happen at the worst possible time and for that reason simulator tests are conducted regularly so you can practise and see for yourself how you are affected on different occasions depending on how well you’ve prepared and other performance variables.

Self Assessments

One of the best ways to prepare for the checks conducted by the airlines is to self-assess. Testing your knowledge of what to do in an emergency is a good place to start, because it’s not something that you get to develop in your normal flying routine –– thankfully!

A big part of being able to self-assess is putting lots of reading hours in, so that when you test your knowledge (of an aircraft for example) you’re simply confirming that the information has sunk in.

Investing your time in these small extra steps when you’re a student can set you up to have a much more rewarding career and an easier time upholding high performance standards.

Stay tuned for more blogs and of course help and advice for future pilots! If you’re interested in flight simulation you can learn all about how it works at Learn to Fly here.

6 Ways for Pilots to Maintain Proficiency & Safety

Once you achieve the Recreational Pilot License (RPL) or Private Pilot License (PPL), as well as any endorsement or rating on top of that, you must apply yourself to the task of maintaining proficiency & safety.

Commercial pilots do this by flying a lot of hours, but unfortunately a lot of RPL & PPL pilots don’t have this luxury, which means their skills decay over time. Here are 6 ways to make sure this doesn’t happen to you!

1. Know Thyself

For the sake of common sense and for safety, a pilot should keep analysing their performances and keep practising. More than anything, they should be aware of their limitations. It’s your responsibility to assess where you’re at at all times and compare it with where you aim to be. If you ever find there’s room for improvement, take the time before your next flight to prepare for it.

2. Show Safety in Your Attitude

Flying is an attitude and a way of thinking. It’s about one thing above all else, and that is a concern for safety. Turning up focused for the flight with an overriding emphasis on safety is a pilot’s job. It’s what will keep you on track to maintain your relevants skills and qualifications down the line. Even better is if you can start putting this attitude into effect while you’re still on the ground.

3. Watch the Weather

You can download the relevant weather from bom.gov.au or NAIPS on a regular basis to see how it is expected to develop in the course of the flight. When you know what to expect from the weather you will automatically start solving related problems prior to the flight. It will set up your in-flight decision making for success and quicken your response time when adjustments are called for.

4. Refresh Your Knowledge

Proficiency and maintaining a high level of skill is all about doing what you can when you’re not physically in the cockpit, so you can prepare yourself for the next flight. For example, when a pilot doesn’t fly a particular aircraft for some time, particularly if it is a complex aircraft, they should study critical aspects such as speed, RPM settings & emergency procedures before flying again.

5. Seek Out Other Pilots

Refreshing your accumulated knowledge in aviation should always be self-directed, but this doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to other pilots to get support and advice. If you’re in doubt, ask an instructor at your flying school to test you on the spot or give you ideas about who to contact.

Although things like a check flight will normally be conducted by the flight school automatically, you must be disciplined throughout your training, so that you can later recognise when this is necessary and follow through.

6. Build up Your Ratings and Endorsements

Another way to maintain your proficiency is to go and get a new endorsement or rating, it can take your flying to a whole new level and benefit all areas of your competency to fly. While this training will add to your existing skills, it will also force you to go over what you have learnt already.

Enjoy the Ride

Pilots have no shortage of things to learn and all of this needs to be maintained in the long term. Hopefully your competency rewards you with better, easier flying experiences over time. Many pilots come to love the many small details in their regular procedures that allow them to exert an amount of control over a flight, which changes the technical success of every journey.

If it’s time for you to refresh your knowledge to train for a new rating or endorsement, the best place to start is with a look at our courses.

5 Ways to Make Flight Training More Efficient

As a flying school, we’re always thinking about ways to help our students get the most out of their flight training course. We believe it’s so important for students to be able to motivate themselves as they work through their training hours, and part of this is applying efficient learning tactics that keep everything progressing at a healthy rate.

Efficient flight training results in less money and time spent, as well as an overall boost in learning gains over a period. So from every angle there’s a benefit to the student who finds ways to learn more efficiently. Here are five to get the ball rolling!

1. Preparation

Make it a goal to come prepared. Student pilots who do preparation before their training get more out of their lessons. It makes sense that you have tried to improve your theoretical understanding of flying in between training sessions, you can more or less just work that into practice when you arrive on your training days.

Preparation can mean:

  • Doing practice radio calls
  • Studying theory
  • Knowing the flying pattern
  • Learning procedures at the training airport

Ask your instructor for details about your next lessons, and for ideas on any extra study that could help you get the most out of it. They will be happy to help!

2. Flight Simulation

Technology has a lot to do with efficiency. If your flying school has a Flight Simulator, you should be making use of it. For the first few lessons of flight training in particular, a Flight Simulator can help you get used to flying procedures. Learning these procedures in the simulated environment first means that time spent in the real cockpit can be used to test this knowledge rather than build its foundation, and it gives you more of an opportunity to hone other aspects of flying.

3. Teamwork

Find a peer to connect with over the course of your flight training. The enthusiasm generated between fellow enthusiasts becomes self-perpetuating and the interaction, both in the air and on the ground, can be highly motivating. If you’re generally quite hard on yourself, this is a great way to get another perspective on the training process, and greater boost from each of your achievements along the way.

4. Reflection

As a student, you should be thinking about the process of flying while on ground. This will help you to focus your mind during flight, and get used what to expect and how the flight should progress. It will also help you to get ahead of the aircraft when transitioning to different stages of the flight, such as from take-off to the climb and then cruise.

5. Look for Schools Offering Value

Look for a good flying school with high standards, and when comparing different schools think about them based on the value they offer you. Value doesn’t just mean finding the cheapest course. It combines quality of instruction, aircraft, facilities and of course, pricing. Find out if the school you’re looking at has instructors with a passion for mentoring others, and are not only accruing their teaching hours in order to get into other jobs. High standard flying schools all have one thing in common: they’re there for you, the student!

Are you thinking about the Flight Simulator we mentioned earlier? We’ve got one! You can read all about how it works here.

The Growing Demand for Pilots in the Asia Pacific

Contributed by Darren McPherson, our Airline Interview & Workshop coach and Senior Captain at a major international airline with over 30 years’ experience.

Many aspiring and new pilots wonder when they’ll receive their first flying or airline job and which region has the highest demand for pilots. These are good questions, which can be a little tricky to answer at times. The reason being there are a lot of factors that are outside the control of the pilot and the demand for pilots varies greatly from country to country and region to region, not just in the Asia Pacific but around the world.

Industries Ebb and Flow

The airline industry has historically gone from highs to lows and vice versa, so if your local area isn’t experiencing growth, then is it worth waiting for an industry boom to come along before training as a pilot?

Only individuals can answer this, but as with any longer-term goal, you must decide if you want to commit to preparation, training, and other expected obstacles that stagger the time spent on achieving your goal.

Depending on the individual it can definitely be worth broadening the boundaries of your job search to explore opportunities in other parts of the globe or in countries neighbouring you that are doing well.

Where are Pilots Needed Most?

Within Asia, closing statistics from the end of 2017 and analysis from major training providers at both Boeing and Airbus have indicated that Asia will continue to lead globally in its demand for the next generation of airline pilots.

Boeing forecasts that more than 500,000 new pilots will be needed within the Asia-Pacific region over the next 20 years. This demand is driven by orders within Asia for both narrow and wide body airliners over the coming years.

Initial predictions within Asia-Pacific were calculated at 226,000 new pilots. After additional growth and revision of these predictions the numbers have been revised to 248,000; almost 10% greater than originally anticipated.

China Tops the Ladder

When considering the region in more detail, the number one country for pilot demand is China at over 110,000 new pilots. This figure almost doubles those from the rest of the region that have an average need for 62,000 new pilots.

Even with this difference from one part of the region to another, the long-term demand in Asia remains considerably higher than other parts of the world. Global predictions from Boeing indicate that 40% of pilot demand will be from within the Asia Pacific region, which is greater than the combined estimates from United States and Europe.

Demand will Stay High

The underlying message is that growth of demand for the next generation of pilots is expected to remain high in the Asia Pacific region, and exceeds other parts of the globe. Although the market fluctuates and continues to do so in a repetitive cycle, the long-term forecast makes for good news for aspiring pilots in this part of the world.

Today could start your journey to learn how to fly. Why not view our courses?

Behind the Scenes at LTF #2 | Getting Ready for First Solos

A first solo is an exciting milestone for every student pilot. It’s when you truly put your skills and knowledge to the test by sitting in the cockpit, taking-off, doing a circuit and landing the plane all by yourself. If you can pull all this off in a cool, calm and collected way, you’ve truly earned the right to call yourself a pilot.

The moment will be memorable no matter what, but factors such as student expectations, financial constraints, traffic and instructors’ experience all play a part in creating an enjoyable journey. At Learn to Fly we have a few strategies up our sleeves to ensure the day is as special as possible.

Prime Conditions

The first solo is arguably the safest flight a pilot will take as conditions need to be perfect so there aren’t any unexpected complications. To achieve this, we make sure:

  • Traffic is minimal
  • Sun glare won’t be distracting
  • Weather is calm without any wind, bumps or crosswind
  • Aircraft is in good condition, fuelled up and ready to go

Ensuring you have the safest, most secure flight possible means you’ll be able to focus on executing techniques with perfection, admiring the views and soaking up the moment.

Top Grade Instructors

Only Senior and Grade 2 instructors are permitted to send you on your first solo flight. With experienced eyes deciding whether you’re ready and watching over you when the time comes, you’ll be guided towards a very safe and successful journey.

Masterful Skills

Instructors have an eye for knowing which students are ready to go solo and a little insight into what they’re looking for can be helpful when working towards this major goal. At LTF, we need to see you:

  • Fly and land the plane safely, not necessarily smoothly, every time
  • Recognise trouble and react appropriately
  • Make quick, accurate landing decisions under pressure
  • Keep the excitement at bay — heads need to be clear and focussed to make good decisions
  • Navigate the air with great situational awareness — know where other traffic is, how to separate away and follow the sequence
  • Complete the solo check efficiently — sometimes nervous students can take over an hour and by this time your concentration curve is on a downward slope

Happy Snaps

They say a picture tells a thousand words, which is why each student pilot gets their photo taken when they go solo. For years to come you’ll be able to look back fondly on the nervous excitement you felt and see how far you’ve come.

There’s no rush!

Everyone loves a bit of healthy competition and some students enjoy challenging each other to see who can go solo with the least amount of flying hours. But if you’re anxious about your performance, it’s best to take the slow and steady approach so you can be sure you’ll be fully prepared when the moment comes.

For more information about our flight training approach, check out our Courses or get in touch!

Behind the Scenes at LTF #1 | How We Prepare for Trial Introductory Flights

Taking a plane for a spin in a trial introductory flight is one of the most important moments in a pilot’s life, the experience often influences your impression of aviation for many years to come. As a flying school, we have a duty to help you create a fond memory that brings forth a burst of enthusiasm whenever you think about it from then on.

To ensure you have a thrilling time and end up sharing our love of flight, we put in plenty of preparation so everything goes off without a hitch. There are five key boxes we make sure we tick before you jump in the plane to reach this ambitious goal.

1. Temperature

The sun might be shining brightly but if the temperature is likely to reach above 33 degrees then the sky isn’t where you want to be. Hot days can lead to very bumpy rides and as a new student there’s a high chance you could get air sick. If this is the case then we may call off the flight and hold it on a day when there’s a better chance you’ll get to enjoy the scenery and not worry about being ill.

2. Weather

The view from the cockpit window is one of the most spectacular aspects of your very first flight, so we don’t want this to be hindered by poor weather conditions. To ensure you learn as much as possible, avoid unnecessary stress and get to enjoy the views, we’ll hold the flight on a day when you won’t feel as though you may get blown or rained out of the sky.

3. Aircraft

A plane might be perfectly safe to fly but if it’s 40 years old, got torn upholstery and a broken interior then this can put a real dampener on your experience. We keep our aircraft in great condition to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible. Something as simple as a cushion for those who are height challenged can make a big difference to your enjoyment levels.

4. Briefing

Knowing how much information to give in a pre-flight briefing can be tricky — not enough can lead to confusion and too much information can overwhelm new students. The most important details we focus on in a trial flight are:

  • Understanding how to control the plane
  • Effects of primary and auxiliary controls

Of course, if you’re super keen to learn more then our instructors will be more than happy to share their knowledge with you!

5. Attitude

We know that going up in a smaller plane can be a nerve-wracking for first timers, so our job is to reassure you that everything is safe and secure. The last thing you want to hear about is last night’s episode of Air Crash Investigation! The reality is that safety should be the number one priority for any flying school, so we don’t want you to mislead you into thinking otherwise.

There’s so much more to trial flights than jumping in a plane and taking off. Planning and preparation beforehand ensures it’s the best possible experience and sparks a lifelong love of flying.

If you’d like more information about our approach, head to our Trial Introductory Flight course page or get in touch.

Travel the World in a Sling

You don’t need a big jumbo jet to see the world, you just need a Sling! Both the Sling 2 and Sling 4 have proven they’ve got the stamina to last the distance and with room for only a couple of passengers, those who’ve gone before have enjoyed a wonderfully peaceful flying experience.

At the Australian International Airshow, held recently at Avalon Airport just outside Melbourne, we met Mike Blyth who is co-owner of The Airplane Factory (TAF) which designs and produces the Sling. Using the Sling for flight training at LTF has shown us just what a well-designed aircraft it is, but it was incredible to learn that it had flown Mike around the world — twice!

Taking the Sling for a Spin

Mike’s first expedition took place in 2009 when he journeyed with his business partner at The Airplane Factory, James Pitman, in the Sling 2. A couple of modifications were made to the prepare the plane for the feat, they were:

    -  Two sections of each wing were sealed off to create additional fuel tanks 
    -  Fifteen extra layers of glass fibre were added to the main undercarriage 
    -  Seating was adjusted so they could lie flat 
    -  Joysticks were modified so they could be removed during the flight 

Starting in Johannesburg they covered 45,150km hopping their way across the globe through iconic locations including Florida, Kuala Lumpur and Colombo.

Expedition number two took place in 2015 and this time Mike shared the Sling 2 with Jean D’Assonville, from TAF USA, and Patrick Huang, from TAF Asia. The trio worked their way west from Johannesburg to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, before continuing onto the second half of the journey and finishing in Taiwan.

The Longest Stint

Each journey was studded with stints of 10 to 20 hours, but the longest stint the pilots flew was from Brazil to South Africa. Flying over the water for 27hrs and covering 6,222km, this is when the true capabilities of the Sling really came to light.

Making the Most of Flying Time

From end to end, the first journey took Mike and James just over a month to complete, leaving Johannesburg on 18th July 2009 and returning on the 27th of August.

The second trip took just over two months, as the team left on 9th July 2015 and returned late September. The team would have fit some incredible sightseeing into that time. It also goes to show that when you’ve got the determination and a great aircraft, you can achieve great things in a relatively short amount of time.

How Did the Sling Hold Up?

According to Mike the Sling was absolutely flawless. He even thought the auto-pilot flew better than the pilots at times!

During the second journey when the team was travelling from Johannesburg to Oshkosh, they hit a bit of bad weather but never doubted the aircraft for a second. They faced storms, clouds and rain but they accepted that this is all part of the fun of flying and made them appreciate the smoother conditions in the USA when they arrived.

World is Your Oyster

Following the path towards an aviation career really will open up opportunities you never thought possible. Becoming an airline pilot is not the only way to explore the world, as Mike Blyth proved by flying the humble Sling 2 all the way around the globe.

If you’d like to try out the Sling 2 and get a taste of what it would be like to take off on this international adventure, check out our Trial Introductory Flights.

6 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Flying School

So you’ve decided to follow your dreams and become a pilot? Congratulations! Now the fun can begin.

If you’ve got your sights set on becoming an aviator of the highest quality, then some thought must go into where you complete your flight training. Here are a few things to consider before deciding where to enrol to ensure your learning experience is first class.

1. What type of aircraft does the school use?

Learning to fly in the right kind of aircraft can have a huge influence on your confidence and development. Safety should always be on top of your list of priorities and if you’re an experienced pilot, choosing a school with aircraft that you’re already familiar with can help make your progression seamless. Lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft can also reduce the cost of training while access to the latest technology will ensure you’re up to speed with modern flying techniques.

2. Will you be taught by high quality instructors?

Flight training is vastly different from learning in a traditional school, so there are a number of special skills instructors must hold in order to carry out this responsibility properly. This includes:

  • Providing proper briefings and de-briefings — understanding exactly what is required of you and the areas you need to improve is essential to developing good skills.
  • Completing appropriate paperwork — training records, exam records, medical records and other documents must be kept safely in a file. Completing the necessary paperwork immediately after training flights is vital to ensuring training progresses smoothly.

Having access to senior instructors is also important. Only senior instructors are able to carry out solo checks, so a lack of experienced personnel can delay your progress.

Some schools have an over-supply of junior instructors or give instructors monthly flying hour targets which can lead to students flying in poor flying conditions and wasting time in the air. Ensuring your chosen school offers a healthy balance of junior and senior staff will greatly reduce this risk.

3. What facilities are offered?

A comfortable learning environment will ensure your attention is not diverted away from your training by frustration. This goes beyond just basic resources such as classrooms and internet, it should encompass extra facilities such as simulation which can improve the diversity of your training and further develop your skills.

It’s also a good idea to assess the services offered to make it easier to attend the school. Being able to reach the school via public transport, or having access to a pick-up service, will ensure you don’t need to worry about how to get there and can instead focus on the techniques you need to demonstrate when you arrive.

4. How is flight training managed?

There is nothing more annoying than unreliability. If a school constantly cancels or reschedules lessons, regularly changes your instructor or provides inconsistent training this can severely interrupt your progress.

Safety is another major element to consider, as appropriate Safety Management Systems need to be in place to ensure issues can be addressed promptly and appropriately if they arise. A school that is managed efficiently will provide all the appropriate administration and documentation to give you peace of mind, ensuring that you have all the support you need to thrive.

5. Where is the school located?

Location not only relates to the overall positioning of the school, such as at the airport, but also where the school resides in relation to the runway. If the school is positioned too far away from the runway you will need a lot of taxi time, which can cost up to $70 each time you flying.

Choosing a school in the city you currently reside in isn’t always essential, as you can study aviation pretty much anywhere in the world. Studying in a new city can give you a global perspective and expand your network of connections which will come in handy when you’re a qualified pilot.

6. Will you be made a priority?

It’s important to know that your school will be fully committed to your training and will not cancel lessons at short notice. Some flying schools give preference to charter operations or FEE HELP students over other casual flight training students, so it’s worth checking whether your flights may be cancelled under these circumstances. The last thing you want is your training being delayed because of a situation that is out of your control.

Deciding which flying school to attend needn’t be a daunting task, just take your time and consider every angle to ensure you find the spot that’s right for you. If you’d like more information about the training offered at Learn to Fly, check out our About page or get in touch.

A Step-By-Step Guide For Your Airline Interview

Australia is now in the grips of one of its biggest booms in pilot recruitment. With this, comes the opportunity for many to progress their career onto bigger and better things or, for others, to get their foot into the aviation sphere.

PREPARATION IS KEY

While this is the case, one shouldn’t underestimate the competitive climate surrounding pilot jobs within the aviation industry. Competition is fierce and airlines will only select the best candidates for the job. That’s why adequate preparation and realistic goal setting should be undertaken before applying for these jobs.

Fortunately, the recruitment process for most airlines and General Aviation (GA) companies follow a similar format. This means most of the preparation can be made even before an invitation is received. The recruitment process can broken down into the following stages:

  • Online Application
  • Online Video Interview
  • Online Aptitude Tests
  • Assessment Centre
  • Simulator Assessment

This might seem like a long and arduous process, but the good news is that preparation for each of these stages can be done in one way or another.

1. ONLINE APPLICATION

It goes without saying that writing a relevant CV and cover letter is critical. The best way to do this is to look at some of the CVs of peers and seek professional help from university. The conventional format for a pilot’s resume differs from many other professions, so it is vital to examine these differences.

2. ONLINE VIDEO INTERVIEW

Job interviews generally follow a similar format, so it is highly recommended that you seek the professional advice of industry professionals and set aside time to reflect on your motivation and experiences. When you prepare for expected questions and learn how to structure your responses, you are setting yourself up for success.

3. ONLINE APTITUDE TESTS

This stage involves four separate tests – verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, logical reasoning and a psychometric test.

Based on your previous responses, reasoning tests are designed to gradually increase in difficulty. Don’t worry if you find these tests hard – you are not alone since everyone else feels the same way! Airline recruiters compare your score against others and select accordingly. Candidates can use sample online aptitude tests to assess areas of improvement. Try SkyTest to gain a better insight into the type of assessments you may sit.

The psychometric test assesses whether your personality type is suitable for the company you are applying for. It’s generally advised that you answer them as honestly as you can. Some of these tests are designed to catch any inconsistencies in your answers, so try to answer as honestly as you can. For preparation, you may find the Myers-Briggs test useful.

4. ASSESSMENT CENTRE

This day may involve a full day of testing and you could expect some interstate travelling. Most recruiters don’t jump straight into the assessments, so you may have an opportunity to meet and greet with candidates from a range of different pilot backgrounds.

During this phase, you may encounter small group exercises. You may be given a scenario and asked to come up with a solution as a team. In this scenario, the assessors are assessing your personality and specifically how you work in a group. Depending on the airline, this may be followed by a one-on-one interview with the Human Resources department, as well as a scenario-based interview.

The one-on-one HR interview can be quite nerve racking. Preparation for this type of interview is important, since any gaps or inconsistencies in your answers can be the difference between progressing and not. Whilst it is impossible to anticipate the exact answers the interviewers are looking for, consistency in the structure of your answers is something you can prepare for.

The scenario-based interview may involve a role play in which you adopt a certain role and outline possible actions. Use this situation to your advantage, as they will be assessing your communication skills and ability to prioritise.

5. AIRLINE SIMULATOR ASSESSMENT

Once you have reached this stage, you should give yourself a pat on the back! Simulators are commonly the final stage of the pilot recruitment process, and are usually assessed by a Synthetic Flight Instructor or Training Captain. Your assessor will be evaluating a variety of skills including handling, your technique for instrument scan and your ability to perform crew resource management (CRM). Additionally, they will be making an assessment as to how easily you handle instructions and the training risk you pose for a type rating. To get more practice with simulators or gain extra flight-training experience prior to your big day, check out Learn To Fly’s Simulators.

A GREAT LEARNING CURVE

Focusing your preparation on the right activities is critical. These assessments also help you pinpoint your strengths and skills, and enable you to gain a better insight into yourself.

If you would like more advice and help with various components of the recruitment process, you can book an Airline Interview Coaching Session with current Senior Airline Captain, Darren McPherson of ACS, to help guide you in the right direction.

Which Path Should I Take? | The Difference Between RA & GA Flight Training Paths

Although many people focus on comparing the differences between Recreational Aviation (RA) and General Aviation (GA) schools, in reality there is not much of a difference at all. Let me explain what I mean, as I fly through common misconceptions about both flight schools.

SUPERIOR AIRCRAFT

As a current flying instructor, I completed my Recreational Pilot Licence through a local RA flight school. I found that whilst GA schools claim they are professional, based on the aircraft they use, this is becoming increasingly less and less relevant.

Over the past 10 years, RA schools and their aircraft have come a long way. You will find that most RA schools have:

  • New aircraft with advanced technology
  • Glass cockpits
  • Faster cruising speeds, which are greater than GA aircrafts
  • Reliable engines
  • A better fuel consumption rate, which I dare say would outcompete traditional GA aircrafts

With so many advances, flying RA aircraft can be equally as rewarding and adventurous as GA aircraft.

EVALUATING COSTS & OUTCOMES

One thing is for sure, GA courses will burn a hole in your wallet faster than RA courses. As a general rule of thumb, GA aircraft can be around $100 more expensive per hour than RA aircraft. If you’re aiming to achieve all the required hours for your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) through GA aircraft, this price difference could end up costing $15,000 more.

As another example, the diagram below demonstrates the price differences between a GA and RA course at Learn to Fly Melbourne. This particular infographic also illustrates multiple pathways to attaining a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), the step before CPL.

QUALITY INSTRUCTORS & EDUCATION

Personally, I’m unconvinced that the course content and quality of instructing is drastically different between the two types of schools. Instructors at RA schools may hold both GA and RA qualifications. At the end of the day, pilot candidates study from the same textbook to undertake the same CASA written tests and CASA check rides. And of course, everybody gets the same CASA licence.

MY TWO CENTS

I know many successful pilots who have taken the RA path. As an example, the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) of a well-known GA school in the Melbourne regional area initially trained under an RA school before continuing his training path under GA.

Whether you choose to fly with GA or RA aircraft, you will still be able to obtain your CASA licence following either paths. It is up to you to decide what is budgeted for flight school and the type of aircraft you want to fly.

To read about more aviation misconceptions, check out our blog on the difference between the Recreational Pilot Licence and Private Pilot Licence.

Airplane Talk | ICAO Aviation English

One of the first barriers to getting your pilot licence is passing the language test. Whether you wish to apply as a cadet entry pilot to Dragonair or Cathay Pacific, attain a Private Pilot Licence or even a Drone Pilot Licence, you will need to first pass the language test set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). This test is known as the ICAO Aviation English proficiency test.

Why is ICAO Aviation English important?

Communication between air traffic controllers and pilots is critical to maintaining the safety of passengers and others around you, above and below. Aircrew operating on international routes communicate using both English and ICAO standardised phraseology.

ICAO introduced a standard for the English language that has emphasised proficiency in plain communication. Since March 2011, all civil international pilots have been required to obtain a Level 4 or above to retain or gain a professional licence.

There are six levels established in their Language Proficiency Rating Scale:

  • ICAO Level 1—Pre Elementary
  • ICAO Level 2—Elementary
  • ICAO Level 3—Pre Operational
  • ICAO Level 4—Operational
  • ICAO Level 5—Extended
  • ICAO Level 6—Expert

4 is the Magic Number

Achieving an ICAO Level 4 or above is one of the requirements when gaining a pilot licence. Unfortunately, this means that you cannot be considered by major airlines, such as Cathay Pacific or Dragonair, if this standard is not met.

At ICAO Level 4, six core language skill areas are assessed by ICAO:

  • Pronunciation
  • Structure
  • Vocabulary
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
  • Interactions

Your test results will be valid for a different amount of time depending on the level you reach. ICAO recommends that:

  • Level 4 is valid for license endorsement for 3 years from the test date
  • Level 5 is valid for license endorsement for 6 years from the test date Level 6 is valid for license endorsement for an indefinite period from the test date

Putting Your Skills to the Test

The ICAO Aviation English test can be conducted at our Learn To Fly Melbourne office. The test consists of the following components:

  • Personal questions – E.g. previous flight training experience
  • Listening comprehension – E.g. aviation phraseology in an emergency situation
  • Describing an image of conditions – E.g. runway incursion
  • Listening to a conversation and responding – E.g. conversation between pilot and air traffic control (ATC)
  • Watching a video and responding – E.g. engine failure
  • Conversing in English about topics related to aviation – E.g. your opinion about a current event or development in the aviation industry

Learn Aviation English with Learn to Fly

Learn to Fly offers an Aviation English Program to help you improve your Aviation English skills. This program is catered to students who do not speak English as a first language. It is also recommended for those who want to improve their Aviation English language skills in order to pass the test. It will help you to develop high-level listening and speaking skills in plain English for use in aviation-related contexts.

The program will include radiotelephony communication contexts in line with the ICAO Aviation English Language Proficiency Requirements and it will help students maintain their English language proficiency between tests.

For more information about our Aviation English Program or to book a test with us today, contact us at hello@learntofly.edu.au or 1300 LearnToFly.

University or Flight Training? | Pros & Cons of Aviation Pathways

Are you interested in flight training, but not sure whether you should attend university instead?

The good news is that the aviation industry is offering more flexible and viable options. You can choose different pathways to find that happy medium where you can focus on aviation to a degree that suits you. Let’s examine the options and a few pros and cons of each.

1. Aviation at University

If you are a current university student, you might feel unable to fully commit to flight training at the same time. There are, however, aviation universities and colleges with aviation programs – UNSW, RMIT, Swinburne are just a few examples. These institutions integrate flight training with your regular studies.

Pro: You’ll be able to immerse yourself in aviation, experience university life and exit with a reputable tertiary degree.

Con: Putting all your eggs in the same basket.

2. Uni One Day, Flight Training the Next

If you’re not 100% sure that a career in aviation is for you, why not split your study time between flight training and something else?

You can train for your Private Pilot Licence in your spare time. After obtaining your licence, you can decide whether you want to continue to be a pilot or pursue other professions. This enables you to have more options – to become a pilot, continue your university studies or even become a part-time instructor. Instructing others will solidify your understanding and help you build flight hours.

Pro: Diversity in education is a good thing. If, for some reason, you decide flying really isn’t for you or the industry takes an ugly turn, you’ve got a Plan B.

Con: You could be stretching yourself across too many activities.

3. Flight Training Full Time

You’ve had your sights set on becoming a pilot for as long as you can remember, so a specialty flight training school could be the way to go for you.

With specialised courses and experienced pilots working as instructors, you’ll gain the practical skills and connections you need to succeed in the aviation industry. There’s also the option of adding extra endorsements to your qualification as you go, as every course you need will be accessible in one place.

Pro: Dedicate all your time to developing flight training skills in an airport environment and learn from experienced professionals in the field.

Con: Narrower focus on aviation career pathways.

4. Try Before You Decide

If you’re interested in flying and getting a licence, but haven’t had any experience in the air, Learn to Fly also offers Trial Introductory Flights to help you make up your mind. Many people think flying is cool, but if you’ve never been up in a small plane, you really don’t know whether you will enjoy the experience or have the aptitude for it. Flying isn’t rocket science, but it does require a certain level of skill and knowledge.

Pro: This helps you decide whether you enjoy flying.

Con: Little to none – it’s a small investment to give you a taste of what flying is like!

At Learn to Fly, we would love to guide you on the way to your journey to the skies. Whether you want to learn as a beginner or aspire to become a pilot, we want to be there every step of the way.

To find out more information about our Trial Introductory Flights or how we can help you with your obtaining your pilot licence, check out our Courses.

4 Tips for Preparing For Your Airline Interview

By Darren McPherson, Aviation Consulting Services (ACS)

Having flown for a major airline for 20 years, I repeatedly get asked one routine question: “How do you become an airline pilot?” The common view is that you qualify for a pilot licence, obtain some flying hours, go for an interview and then the job is yours.

Chasing that dream job is a long and complicated process, posing a lot of challenges along the way. Once you gain your qualifications, the next step is to seek employment, which is going to be the hardest part of your career. I was once in that position and experienced a number of rejections or setbacks along the way. This has showed me one thing – preparation for the airline interview is of the utmost importance.

Start Preparing ASAP

With a limited time frame, having the correct preparation will be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful interview.

But you might be wondering, should you prepare now or wait until the invitation to the interview to start down that preparation road? Most candidates, either successful or otherwise, will also tell you: NOW is the time to start those studies.

Just like planning for a lesson, or solo flight the airline interview demands thorough preparation. The more time you spend preparing, the more confident you’ll feel when it comes time for the interviews. The various airlines I applied to in the early stages of my career followed a similar process, so your preparation will be valuable even if you are interviewing at a number of different airlines.

Expect the Unexpected

The lead times for some airline interviews can vary between a few weeks or months. In more recent cases this figure can be as little as a week, or in some rare situations the initial elements of the selection processes were completed in only a few days.

These varied and short notice time frames mean that prior preparation is undoubtedly vital. Upon receiving the phone call or email to come in for an interview the real race for research begins and the importance of your preparation takes over.

From my own experience with my current airline, the lead-in time before the initial interview was just over two weeks. This resulted in some long hours reviewing all the usual topics that a pilot will cover before any interview. But I found that the time I spent before being informed of the interview was invaluable, as I had a already had a firm grasp of the practice interview techniques and comparable questions when I got my invitation.

By taking this approach, and considering the interview earlier, I was able to eliminate that time pressure. This resulted in a more relaxed interview as I was more prepared, which resulted in a successful outcome for my dream job as an airline pilot.

Showcase Your Motivation & Determination

You can approach the interview questions and techniques in a number of different ways to lift your presentation as a potential pilot recruit.

Beyond your technical and experience base, a key factor is motivation and determination. These behavioural qualities drive us to self-improvement, with a desire to achieve not just the minimum standard, but develop further as time progresses. This key element will make you stand out from the crowd during the actual interview itself.

Last Words of Advice

When considering the factors behind interview styles, question trends and even individual techniques utilised by the various major airlines, the importance of interview preparation techniques and methods cannot be underestimated. For potential candidates, a lack of adequate time management has been a detriment to the outcome on a number of occasions.

This ultimately results in two well-defined types of candidates. The first are those who have arrived at the airline interview on interview day with little or no preparation. The second are those who have considered the vital skills required to successfully navigate the Airline Pilot Interview. This second group are most often the ones who leave the greatest impression and have the best chance of success not only in the interview, but in their future careers as airline pilots.

For more information on how we can help you prepare for your airline interview, check out our Future Cadet Pilot Program and Interview Workshop.

Jump Aboard the Low Cost Flight Training Revolution

If you think flight training is too expensive for you, think again. We’re in the midst of a flight training revolution where you can slash the cost of flight training simply by taking advantage of the modern aircraft and new technology that are at our fingertips.

Turning Away From GA

In the past decade, we’ve seen the cost of flight training in traditional general aviation (GA) aircraft rise. These aircraft are usually older and equipped with fuel-hungry, high-maintenance engines that have a high running cost for the flight schools that maintain them.

Fewer students could afford flight training on these expensive aircraft, but where else can they go?

Luckily, something else has happened over this decade. Smaller, lighter aircraft with newer engines and technology have allowed us to do something that all challengers are meant to do — DISRUPT.

RA Saves the Day

The smaller, newer aircraft that we’re now seeing are usually registered under RAAus with call sign “numbers” on the aircraft. Most of these aircraft have a MTOW of 600kg and only carry 2 people.

With this option now available, you can choose to undertake flight training on a brand new, 2-seater RA aircraft and pay $100 less per hour compared to the older generation 4-seater GA aircraft.

Crunch the Numbers

Flying the RA plane costs around $4.5 per minute, whereas flying the GA plane costs around $6 per minute. This is a 25% saving if you choose the RA plane.

If you’re doing a PPL, this means you could easily save $6,000 throughout the course of your training. This money could then be spent on additional training such as a Multi-Engine Endorsement or Night VFR.

At these cheaper flying rates, it’s much more accessible for students learn the basics of flying.

Experience the Latest Technology

RA aircrafts like the Sling 2 or Bristell offer you the latest technology, such as:

    -  Touch screen glass cockpit
    -  Autopilot system 
    -  Low fuel consumption rate  

They may have 2 seats instead of 4, but if you are doing flight training and most of the time you are flying with your instructor only — who cares?

Especially if you are conscious about budget and will get the same pilot licence no matter which aircraft you use for flight training.

Many successful aviators over the last decade started off as RA pilots. The RA aircraft are getting better and better, we believe the new golden age of flight training will be even more exciting.

RPL vs. PPL | What’s the Difference?

It’s a common misconception that you must choose to between completing a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) or a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) when you start flight training. But they’re actually two milestones on the same flight training journey!

So it’s less about which licence you choose, but rather how far you want to take your flight training. Each licence and endorsement you earn along the journey will give you different skills and expand your freedom when you’re up in the air.

It can be helpful to know what each licence entails so you can start planning your own flight training journey.

First Stop: Recreational Pilot Licence

A Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) is the starting point for your pilot training. Whether you are training for fun or for a career in aviation, the Recreational Pilot Licence will be your first major milestone. After that, you can go on to get your Private Pilot Licence (PPL) and Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).

The RPL program will teach you basic flying techniques including climbing and descending, take-off and landing, dealing with emergencies etc. Every flight lesson will start with a classroom briefing on the techniques before they’re put into practice. You’ll need to pass several theory exams as well as complete practical flight training.

With a Recreational Pilot Licence, you’ll be able to fly as a Pilot in Command of a single engine aircraft under the maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 1500kgs, within a boundary of 25 nautical miles from the departed airport.

Next Stop: Private Pilot Licence

After completing your RPL, you can continue on to get your Private Pilot Licence (PPL). The PPL training focuses mainly on navigation and will enable you to fly all over Australia.

During the PPL training, you will learn how to navigate to and from different airports. You will go through the following steps:

        1.   Take-off, navigate around the ranges and control steps 
        2.   Fly to a different airport and land 
        3.   Take-off and navigate back to the original airport 

Similar to the RPL program, you will need to pass several theory exams as well as complete practical flight training.

Once you have received your Private Pilot Licence, you will be allowed to act as a Pilot in Command and be endorsed. You will also be able to carry up to five passengers and fly all over Australia.

It’s up to you how far you take your flight training and you don’t need to have your journey planned when you first start out. But be warned, once you’ve gotten a taste for flying through the RPL it’s hard not to catch the bug and want to keep going!

For more information about flight training, check out our Recreational Pilot Licence and Private Pilot Licence courses.

How to Become an Airline Cadet Pilot

It’s that time of year when selected applicants are being offered placements in Cadet Pilot Programmes at airlines in Hong Kong and Singapore. The competition is fierce as every year the airlines receive thousands applications and of these, only 50 to 80 will become cadet pilots.

The applicants who are suitable undergo a special selection process to make sure they are qualified to become a cadet pilot at Dragonair, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Scoot or Tiger Airways.

Preparation is key if you want to give yourself the best chance of success throughout this process. So here are a few things you should know if you’ve got your sights set on becoming an airline cadet pilot.

Six Month Process

The process of selecting a cadet pilot is a comprehensive one that spans over six months from the beginning to the final stage. It ensures the high standards and professionalism of few select graduates as a qualified cadet pilots.

The applicants have to pass through several stages in the selection process that are designed to make sure only the best of the best progress to the training procedure. The selection process consists of a HR interview, technical interview, computer aptitude tests, medical examinations, psychological tests and spoken English tests.

Grades Aren’t Everything

Airlines aren’t only looking for someone who ranks at the top of their class academically. They are looking for a person who:

    -  Is well-rounded 
    -  Adapts easily to varying situations 
    -  Thinks quickly and logically 
    -  Has a wide range of abilities and interests 

Cadet pilots who are successful will be able to demonstrate their analytical skills, problem solving abilities and attention to detail. They are driven to achieve great results which makes them so effective in this field.

Practice Makes Perfect

Even if you lack the technical experience or flying expertise, you can learn everything you need to know at Learn to Fly Melbourne. Leave that to us and just bring your competitiveness, confidence and commitment. You will experience the most rewarding journey of your life and confidently make your way through the intense interviewing process.

The airlines are looking for future captains and not just cadets. One of our programs — Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) — will teach you the objectives, goals, strategies, measures or OGSM and threat & error management straight from the first day of the training program.

Different to the other flight training programs we have, the FCPP offers a broad awareness of the entire aviation industry and a wide range of analytical skills. It will give a comprehensive appreciation of an aviation environment. Through this program, you’ll develop your:

    -  Flying skills
    -  Aviation English skills
    -  Breadth and depth of thinking
    -  Aviation problem solving
    -  HR and Technical Interview skills

But the most important thing is that you will start to understand all of the knowledge and aspects that regards the cadet pilot interview process. All aspects of the course are designed on details so you will not have any nasty surprises when it comes to the interviewing process.

Get Started

For more information about how we can help you realise your dream of becoming an airline pilot, head to the Future Cadet Pilot Program or Cadet Pilot Interview Workshop course pages. Or why not get in touch so you can chat to us directly about your next steps.

3 Things To Do Before You Start Flight Training

Deciding to become a pilot is a thrilling time in your life and a goal that virtually anyone can achieve when you set your mind to it. But knowing where to start with flight training can be tricky, especially if you don’t have any prior aviation or flying experience.

If you’re a flying novice and are wondering how to get started with fight training, there are a few things you can do before enrolling in a full aviation course to get the most out of each lesson and ensure the pilot’s life is right for you.

1. Get Some Experience

Flying in a small plane is vastly different from flying as a passenger in a huge airline jet. If you haven’t had any experience with aircraft or aviation, it’s a good idea to enrol in a Trial Introductory Flight to get a sense of what being a pilot in a small plane is really like.

This will help you determine whether you have an aptitude for flying and gauge the level of skill and knowledge that will be required of you when you’re sitting in the pilot’s seat. With a more thorough understanding of what it takes to pilot an aircraft, you’ll be in a much better position to know whether flying is the right path for you. It’ll also ensure there are no unexpected surprises on day one of your course.

2. Do Your Homework

We’re lucky to be living in a time when there is a vast amount of information available at our fingertips through the internet, so don’t be afraid to use it! A simple Google search can help you better understand the fundamentals of flying such as aerodynamics, weather and the basic physics that make flying an aircraft possible. This will give you a good introduction to the complexity and range of aviation concepts you will need to master to succeed as a pilot.

It can also be a good idea to read up on the journey to becoming a pilot including the types of licences available. You can start by researching the Recreational Pilot LicencePrivate Pilot Licenceand Commercial Pilot Licence. This will show you the range of training options available so you can decide whether you’d like to pursue a pilot licence as a career or hobby.

3. Plan Your Training Path

Once you’ve made the decision to enrol in a flight training course, the next step is to decide whether you’d like to pursue an aviation career or just fly for fun. If it’s an aviation career you’re after, it’s a good idea to research the cadet pilot programs at different airlines and assess:

-  Is the program available to you? 
-  What kind of applicants do they accept? 
-  Do you meet their criteria? 
-  What other options do you have if you're not accepted? 

You might also consider completing a Future Cadet Pilot Program or Interview Workshop to give yourself the best chance of acceptance into an airline cadet pilot program.

If you plan to fly for fun, do some research into the aviation schools in your local area and look into their Recreational Pilot Licence program. Designed for people with little to no flying experience, this is a great starting point for anyone wanting to fly for leisure. Check out what is included in the course, such as theory, simulation, hands-on training and types of aircraft, to ensure you choose the best option for your needs and budget.

Flying is an extremely exciting career and doing a bit of groundwork before you begin your course will ensure you get the most out of every single day!

For more information about flight training options, head to our Courses page or get in touch.

Life as a Learn to Fly Student #1 | Meet Howard

Oh goodness! I need to write a blog kind of thing for Learn To Fly Melbourne! So where shall I start?

Oh right you don’t even know who in the world I am!

Who am I?

G’day everyone! My name is Howard Lau and I am 16, turning 17 next month, I study the Recreational Pilot Licence at Learn To Fly Melbourne. I have just completed my first week and a bit of training on the Sling 2 and have logged 9.4 hours. To say I am earning my pilot licence before I can legally drink, drive and vote is not only something thrilling to be thinking about, but the process of learning to fly is immense.

Why do I fly?

Well I always ponder upon this seemingly simple, black and white question; however any aviator will spend hours explaining the nuances of their own reasons as to why they fly. Why do I fly? Well flying is like an escape of the petty things that occur back on the ground, it’s really the only time I get to slow down and look at the world that we live in. Flying is encapsulating and fascinating.

How did I start?

I started in a now defunct flight simulator centre in MegaBox called Flight Experience, they operate a Boeing 737-800 fixed base simulator and I was a student of their youth cadet program. The program taught me the fundamentals of flying; however a simulator is a simulator, not the real deal obviously!

Investing in a simple home simulator setup is a good way to learn some basic fundamentals of flying, like what I do! I use a Logitech joystick and a laptop to run Microsoft Flight Simulator X with the well-known, and proven to be realistic add-on A2A Simulations Cessna 172R. Such hard and software combination is recommended to any aspiring aviator, and it has definitely sped up my training here at Learn To Fly Melbourne.

Obviously, I am training in Melbourne right now on the Sling 2 aircraft, hopefully to earn my Recreational Pilot Licence in a month and a bit more.

How can I learn more about aviation in general in Hong Kong?

Now as a Hong Kong resident, it’s evident that Hong Kong isn’t the most aviation-friendly city per se; however several communities and organisations can be worth a look at for the keen aspiring aviator.

HKADB (Hong Kong Aviation Discussion Board) is a Facebook page for all aviation enthusiasts who live in Hong Kong and the page is a good way to know more people working in the aviation industry.

HKYAA (Hong Kong Youth Aviation Academy) is a youth organisation that aims to provide people with assistance and guidance on professions in aviation and the participants of HKYAA will be introduced to various facets of aviation and working in the aviation industry. This program does not offer real flying experience however aims to gear the individual with the proper skills and characteristics towards working in the aviation industry.

The most useful thing these days is the internet! Make good use of the internet and aviation relies on the relationships and ties you have with the people in it, so reach out and ask more questions!

In conclusion, aviation is not only a hobby or career, it is a lifelong commitment. Learning to fly is a process that never ends; after all we are all student pilots regardless of experience and qualifications.

Stay tuned for future blogs about my training and experience here with Learn To Fly Melbourne!

Until next time… Have fun and fly safe!

How Flight Training is Changing for the Better

Aviation technology and demands on pilots are constantly evolving, so flight training also needs to change in order to stay relevant. As a young aviation school, we keep our finger on the pulse of the aviation industry to provide the most up to date training possible. Here are the some of the tactics we’re using to help better prepare you for a career in the modern aviation industry.

Simulation is Taken Seriously

We’re moving into a new era of flight training and simulation technology is set to play a big role in the flight training of the future. Flight simulators are now set up as exact replicas of real aircraft, which enables you to develop a phenomenal degree of skill before even stepping into a plane. There are a number of advantages to adopting a more simulation-focussed approach to flight training, including:

    -  Reducing costs 
    -  Improving range of experiences 
    -  Helping the environment

Of course flying time in a real aircraft will remain a vital element of obtaining pilot licences, but utilising the available technology to develop skills in a cost effective way is an exciting step forward for the industry.

Exploring Partnerships

There are many different licences, endorsements and ratings to strive for in the aviation industry, each with its own components and requirements. Rather than viewing another aviation schools as purely competition, we see a great deal of positives in striking up partnerships with schools that can help you achieve these different training milestones.

As we’ve found by partnering up with Melbourne Flight Training, a partner can fill the gaps in resources and capabilities to offer a more holistic flight training program. Melbourne Flight Training are a Recreational Aviation school, whilst we are a General Aviation school, together we are able to help more students and accommodate your needs throughout your entire flight training journey.

Cost Effectiveness is Key

Flight training has become a much more affordable and there are two key ways this was made possible. Firstly, the modern aircraft that are now available are cheaper to purchase and use less fuel, which can save you a couple of thousand dollars on your training.

Secondly, there are now more training options available to help you gain the maximum amount of value. For example, our Recreational Pilot Licence program will enable you to obtain both an RA Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) and GA Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) at the end of the course. Without paying extra, you’ll be able to fly aircraft registered under both RAAus and CASA.

Students Come First

In days gone by, flight training has been delivered using a largely top-down approach whereby students needed to adapt to the strict structures imposed by the instructor and program. Nowadays things are changing and there is a lot more flexibility in terms of course duration, structure and components.

Depending on your individual goals and budget, you can choose to take on a full time or part time course and even decide which aircraft you would prefer to train in. With the opportunity to tailor flight training courses to your individual needs, more people will discover that flight training is within their reach.

Positive Learning Environment

To transform from a flying novice into a confident and competent pilot, you need to learn in a supportive and empowering environment. The quality of teaching plays a large role in creating this kind of environment, which is why we encourage a culture of companionship and mentorship amongst our instructors. Instructors that support you every step of the way and continuously push you to improve are the ones who will turn you into a fantastic pilot.

At Learn to Fly, many of our instructors completed training with us or our partner Melbourne Flight Training. The fact that they came back to help teach the next generation of pilots tells us that we must be doing something right!

The aviation industry has undergone some exciting developments in the last few years alone and we take pride in preparing our students to be the best possible pilots in this evolving landscape. To stay informed about industry news and developments, as well as updates from Learn to Fly, connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

5 Benefits of Adding Simulation to Your Flight Training

Simulation and virtual reality technology is developing at lightning speed, with the military, entertainment industry and everyday people getting in on the action. The aviation industry has been a keen adopter of simulation and VR since the 1920s, but the quality of devices and accuracy of their replications are better now than they ever have been before.

There are countless advantages to incorporating simulation into your flight training program, which is why we have made simulation a core element of our programs here at Learn to Fly. We’ve put together a list of the top reasons you should get excited about simulation, so you can see just how much you can gain by embracing this new era of flight training.

1. Cut Training Costs

Aeroplanes require copious amounts of fuel and maintenance to keep them running in good condition, not to mention the insurance that is required to protect you in case of an emergency. By jumping into a flight simulator, you get rid of all of these costs and overheads. You can also reduce the number of airborne lessons you need because you can master your moves on the ground first. This all adds up to some pretty handsome savings to make flight training much more affordable and accessible than it may otherwise have been.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

When you start flight training, you need to learn a wide range of procedures such as climbing, descending, flying straight, turning and stalling. As the size, position and functionality of the instruments in flight simulators are exact replicas of those you would find in the real aircraft, you can learn these procedures before jumping into the real plane. You can also practice on the simulator between lessons to hone your skills. This speeds up your training process significantly as you just need to apply what you’ve learnt when you jump into the real aircraft and can move onto more advanced techniques much faster.

3. Travel the World

Flight simulators can display visuals of a range of real locations and airports from around the world. It would be impossible to practice flying over the Himalayas when you’re based in Moorabbin, but the flight simulator makes this possible. This will keep your training fresh and exciting, whilst also showing you how many amazing experiences are put within your reach when you achieve your pilot licence.

4. Experience Risky Situations

Practicing emergency situations is a vital part of your training, but it’s hard to do this in an authentic way when you’re in the air and your well-being could be at risk. Simulation allows you to practice your responses to challenging weather conditions and system failures whilst keeping both you and your instructor safe. This allows you to develop the range of complex risk assessment and management skills you need to be a great pilot.

5. Help the Environment

Our premium aircraft are very fuel efficient, but they still emit fumes and gases into the atmosphere like other forms of transport. The flight simulator will allow you to reduce your carbon footprint as you can practice for hours on end without emitting any air or noise pollution into the atmosphere. In the era of climate change that we live in, this is a small change that we can all feel good about.

Simulation is the future of flight training but there are so many advantages you can gain from utilising the technology right now. Head to our Simulation page for more information about how we can help you make the most of simulation flight training at Learn to Fly.

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