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Flying at Night – Should You Get a Night VFR Rating?

Flying at night is a fantastic experience. Seeing a sprawling ocean of twinkling lights below is quite spectacular, especially if you live in a big city like Melbourne. To be able fly at night, you need to undergo specific training that must be done on top of your standard pilot licence, be that a Private Pilot Licence or Commercial Pilot Licence. There are 2 pathways you can take – the Night Visual Flight Rules (NVFR) pathway or the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) pathway.

As a leading Australian flight school, Learn to Fly offers a huge range of pilot training courses, including the popular Night VFR Rating, as well as Instrument Rating courses.

Night VFR vs. IFR

The VFR in Night VFR stands for Visual Flight Rules which is a category of flying where flights can occur in meteorological conditions that are clear enough to see in. As a basic guide, pilots must have visual cues available to them during VFR flight.

IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules. When weather conditions are not appropriate for flying by sight (ie thick clouds), flights may only be able to proceed under IFR. During IFR flights, a pilot relies on their instrumentation rather than visual cues.

Night VFR, therefore, refers to conditions in which a pilot can still have enough visual cues present even though it is dark. Night VFR is generally less common than Night IFR due to the combined added complexities associated with both flying at night and flying VFR. In fact, in CASA’s own words:

            “CASA strongly recommends that NVFR operations take place only in conditions that allow the pilot to discern a natural visual horizon or where the external environment has sufficient cues for the pilot to continually determine the pitch and roll attitude of the aircraft”

Which pathway should you choose?

The pathway you choose should ultimately depend on the type of flying you are intending to do in the future. However, Night VFR training is a lot more straightforward than completing an Instrument Rating, so this may be a consideration.

There are a couple of options for an Instrument Rating. A Private Instrument Flying Rating (PIFR) is a course that can be tailored to the types of instrument flying you want to do. A Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR) covers all instrument flying, and also then allows you to fly aircraft with more than one engine.

Instrument Ratings also require all pilots to successfully complete the CASA Instrument Rating Exam (more commonly known as IREX).

Whilst Night VFR training is simpler and less costly, relying solely on VFR conditions will restrict the number of night time opportunities you will be able to fly in. In addition, the Instrument Rating itself obviously adds to the amount of daytime conditions you can fly in as well!

What to expect when flying at night

Before taking your first night flight, whether you’re in charge of the cockpit or simply accompanying a more experienced pilot, it’s a good idea to read up on what to expect. Firstly, it is worth noting that your aircraft must be adequately fitted in order to fly at night (regardless of whether the flight is under Night VFR or IFR rules). CASA strictly regulates this, with a number of lights (internal and external), radio equipment, and navigational aids required.

Be aware that it can take up to 30 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to your surroundings. Before and during this time, it’s important that lighting inside the cockpit is kept at an appropriate level. Red cockpit lighting can also help in this regard.

As is the case with day flying, the types of conditions you can expect when flying at night will vary dramatically. There may be situations where you are fortunate enough to have a full, unobscured moon to guide you — from a visual perspective, flying in these conditions may not be too different from flying during the day. Cloud cover may mean that your view below is obscured completely – this would obviously be considered an IFR flight. Pilots should always be aware of the conditions they are flying in but this is even more important at night.

Whilst somewhat uncommon, pilots flying at night do sometimes experience what are known as night flying illusions. Autokinesis, the black hole effect, flicker vertigo, false horizons, and sloping terrain illusions are all common illusions that pilots, both beginner and experienced, need to watch out for.

Night flying courses

Check out the links below to find out more about our night flying courses:

Night VFR (NVFR) Rating

Private Instrument Flying Rating (PIFR)

Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR)

Flight Instructors can also complete a Night VFR Training Endorsement, that allows them to teach the Night VFR Rating course syllabus to students.

If you would like to find out more, you can email our flight training specialists at [email protected]. You can also visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

Flight Instructor Rating – The Perfect Start For New Commercial Pilot Graduates

When you finish your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) training, you can begin your pilot career. As a new professional pilot graduate though, what is the best way to get started and set yourself on the right career path for your dream pilot job? In our opinion, it all starts with a Flight Instructor Rating. Let’s find out why!

About the Grade 3 Flight Instructor Rating Training Endorsement

As we have discussed in an earlier blog, the Flight Instructor Rating (FIR) course itself just allows you to teach student pilots. You then add Training Endorsements, and they are what determine what types of things you can teach. If you haven’t read that blog, we highly recommend clicking here to check it out.

Why is the Grade 3 Flight Instructor Rating Training Endorsement the Best Way to Start Your Career?

The Grade 3 Flight Instructor Rating Training Endorsement gives you the largest initial scope of what you are able to train. This scope includes basic RPL, PPL and CPL course syllabus. It allows you to teach both theory and practical flight training under VFR conditions.

This means that you can start to build your instructing and flying hours across a broad range of curriculum straight away. While you are doing that, you can gradually add further Training Endorsements that will allow you to expand the type of instructing you can do. This can include more aircraft types, more flight activities, and being able to fly in more conditions. And, you can do this while you are earning money as a Flight Instructor!

Most importantly, as the world recovers from the pandemic, flight training is booming. This means that there are plenty of job opportunities for Flight Instructors. So, as an initial starting point for your pilot career, this is a great move. Let’s take a look at how you can progress your career from there.

Your Career Path as a Grade 3 Flight Instructor
Start: Grade 3 Flight Instructor

Build your flying hours while earning money as a Flight Instructor. Add Training Endorsements to allow you to fly more often.

200 Hours Ab Initio Instructing: Grade 2 Flight Instructor

Once you have at least 200 hours of Ab Initio instructing, you can complete further training and a flight test to become a Grade 2 Flight Instructor. This ups your pay scale and allows further responsibilities, which means you can fly/instruct more, and therefore build hours even faster.

500 Hours Ab Initio Instructing: Grade 1 Flight Instructor

When you have accumulated at least 500 hours of Ab Initio instructing, you can complete the Grade 1 Flight Instructor course. Grade 1 Flight Instructors can supervise Grade 2 and Grade 3 Flight Instructors. Again, this ups your pay and provides more flying opportunities.

12 Months as Grade 1 Flight Instructor: Flight Examiner

When you have worked as a Grade 1 Flight Instructor for at least 12 months (plus at least 1,500 overall hours as Pilot in Command and at least 100 hours of RPL/PPL instructing in the 12 months prior, you can sit a flight test to become a Flight Examiner. Flight Examiners can command impressive fees, making this a potentially lucrative career in itself.

Charter/Private Pilot

The majority of private or charter pilot jobs will have a minimum flight hour requirement, as well as likely requiring extended flying experience (such as multi-engine, instrument flying etc). Working even just as a Grade 3 Flight Instructor will allow you to reach these minimum hours much faster. You will also have the opportunity to complete additional Ratings, Endorsements and Training Endorsements, all while you earn money.

Direct Entry Airline Pilot

If you want to apply for direct entry airline pilot jobs, you will need to meet minimum hourly requirements. Different airlines have different requirements, and as with charter/private pilot jobs they will also likely require extended flying (multi-engine and instrument at a minimum). 

On top of the benefit of being able to earn while you build your hours, airlines regard applicants that have Flight Instructor experience very highly. This is because being a Flight Instructor builds your interpersonal skills, your ability to manage, and your ability to work within a team environment. These are all qualities that airlines desire in a pilot.

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Gain valuable skills and build your flying hours working as a Grade 3 Flight Instructor.

It’s certainly possible to step into a number of professional pilot jobs immediately after completing your CPL. However, it’s important that you give yourself the best possible platform to start from. Starting off with a Grade 3 Flight Instructor Rating Training Endorsement provides you with the widest range of opportunities to grow your skills and experience and, in turn, gives you more career avenues to explore.

You can complete our Flight Instructor Rating course with a Grade 3 Training Endorsement. We also offer a wide range of further Training Endorsements. Email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Thinking of Learning to Fly? Here’s What You Need to Know!

Are you thinking of learning to fly? Regardless of your final goal, it’s important to do your research before you start. There are questions you should ask yourself before looking at flying schools. And then, when you are looking at flying schools, it’s important to know what to look for. In this blog, we’ve put together some handy information to make doing your research easier. Here’s what you need to know.

What is my reason for wanting to learn to fly?

If you are thinking of learning to fly, the first thing to consider is why you are doing it. What is your goal? Are you wanting to simply experience flying, or maybe experience solo flight? Do you want to fly for a career, or fly for fun? If you are flying for fun, how far do you want to fly?

The answer to these questions will help you choose the right course pathway. Also, it will help you choose between flying schools.

If you want to fly for fun but aren’t 100% sure if you’ll like it, you can look at a beginner course. Our beginner courses include the Learn To Fly Starter Set and Learn To Fly First Solo Flight Course. Beginner courses introduce you to flying, without the commitment of a full pilot licence course. Any training you do in a beginner course will be counted if you do decide to continue your training.

If you are ready to commit to a licence, a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) teaches you the basics and allows you to fly up to 25nm from your departure aerodrome. A Private Pilot Licence (PPL) adds navigation and allows you to fly anywhere in Australia. If you want to fly for a career, you’ll need a Commercial Pilot License / Licence (CPL).

Want to get a taste of flying first before committing to any of the courses? Start with a TIF (Trial Instructional Flight, also known as a Trial Introductory Flight).

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A TIF (Trial Instructional Flight or Trial Introductory Flight) is a great way to start learning to fly!

Should I do a TIF (Trial Instructional Flight) first?

Regardless of your ultimate goal in learning to fly, a TIF (Trial Instructional Flight) is a great first step. A TIF is a short flying experience, often 30 or 60mins in duration. It allows you to take the controls of an aircraft under the guidance of an instructor.

This is great for people wanting to know what it feels like to control an aircraft. You can then decide if you want to continue your training with a beginner or pilot licence course. It can also be handy for pilots that might have already flown, but want to see what flying a different aircraft type is like.

How do I choose between flying schools?

There are many flying schools out there, especially in a large city like Melbourne. Choosing the right one is very important, and could be the difference between your failure and success as a pilot. It will also impact how much you enjoy your flying lessons.

So, how do you choose? Here are some key things to look for when considering flying schools:

1. Convenient location
2. Wide range of courses
3. A range of aircraft to choose from
4. Experienced instructors, including Grade 1 instructors
5. Good facilities, including simulators
6. Flexible training options (on-site and distance/online learning)
7. A range of payment options

We tick all of these boxes above – click here to check out our blog on why you should choose to fly with us.

Our YouTube channel offers a great variety of free online training content, including RPL/PPL flying lessons!

What aircraft should I choose to fly?

There are a few things to consider when choosing which aircraft to fly. There are traditional aircraft like the Cessna 172 or more modern aircraft like the Sling 2 LSA or Diamond DA40.

Traditional aircraft are generally older and have analogue controls/avionics. Modern aircraft are usually fitted out with glass cockpit avionics, which means they include an electronic flight system like the Garmin G1000.

Aircraft availability is worth considering when learning to fly, both during your training and after your training is complete. The aircraft cost is also a factor, as the overall pilot course cost will depend on the cost of the aircraft.

Click here to check out our aircraft fleet.

How much does pilot training cost?

The answer to “how much does pilot training cost” obviously depends on the course you are doing. However, there are other factors to consider as well.

The pilot course cost is generally dictated by the length of the course and therefore how many flying lesson hours there are. Also though, different aircraft cost different amounts to fly and maintain. So, the aircraft you choose will also have an impact on the pilot course cost.

A good flight school will offer payment options. The majority of our courses offer the option to purchase a course package or “pay as you fly”. A course package covers the entire course and has most of your required expenses included. The pay as you fly option is as it sounds – you pay for each flying lesson, theory lesson or exam as you progress.

Many of our course packages can be paid for in interest free instalments via SplitIt. This allows you to split the pilot course cost over monthly payments. Click here to read more about SplitIt.

What are the pilot prerequisites for learning to fly?

Before you start learning to fly, there are pilot prerequisites that you need to meet. These depend on what course you are doing. For example, a pilot licence course will require that you get an Aviation Reference Number (ARN), complete an aviation medical check and meet English proficiency standards.

Age is another consideration. Whilst technically there is no minimum age to attend a flying lesson, you must be at least 15 to fly solo. You must be at least 15 to obtain a Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC), 16 to obtain your Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), 17 to obtain a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), and 18 to obtain a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).

There are no set pilot prerequisites for a TIF (Trial Instructional Flight or Trial Introductory Flight), but there are recommendations to consider, such as your general health.

Are there differences in pilot licences in Australia to pilot licences overseas?

The structure of pilot licences overseas compared to Australia is quite similar. You may however find some differences in the exact names or the terminology. This is something to keep an eye out for when researching about learning to fly in Australia.

The USA, for example, has both a Sport Pilot and Recreational Pilot Certificate or License, and these are comparable to Australia’s Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), but with some differences. The USA also has the Private Pilot License and Commercial Pilot License which are again very similar to their Australian PPL and CPL. You may find that overseas licences are called “Certificates” in some countries.

Another note on terminology. Pilot licences in Australia are spelt with a “c” rather than “s” like overseas. For example, Commercial Pilot License in the USA, and Commercial Pilot Licence in Australia.

Want to find out more about learning to fly? Get in touch by email to [email protected] or schedule a meeting and school tour at https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting today! Don’t forget to click the button below and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have a great range of flight training content, as well as free RPL/PPL flying lesson videos!

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Learning Aerobatics in Melbourne – Adrenaline Pumping Fun & Key Aircraft Handling Skills

Aerobatic flying is spectacular to watch, and a huge adrenaline rush if you’re actually in the cockpit! But on top of the excitement, aerobatics and spinning training teaches you some extremely important handling skills, and also builds your confidence as a pilot. If you’re looking to learn aerobatics in Melbourne, we can help!

Let’s take a look at aerobatic flying itself, and what course you need to complete in order to be able to perform aerobatics.

About Aerobatic Flying

What is aerobatic flying? As a general definition, aerobatic flying involves performing manoeuvres that involve aircraft attitudes not used in normal flight. Aerobatics require precise control of the aircraft, and in addition many manoeuvres create high G and negative G forces.

Aerobatic manoeuvres cause enhanced stresses on the aircraft’s structure, or airframe. For this reason, you require an aircraft that is rated for aerobatics, like our 8KCAB Super Decathlon. The Super Decathlon has 4-point safety harness seatbelts, as well as an airframe that is built to withstand aerobatic stresses between +6g and −5g.

To perform aerobatics, you need to know how your aircraft will handle and perform. But you also need to know how your body is going to react to forces it won’t be used to. Knowing how your body responds to different G forces and learning to cope with them when they occur is an important confidence-building tool.

There are other regulations that must be adhered to for aerobatic flying, such as Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC), minimum altitudes, and minimum distances from populated areas or public gatherings. If you’re looking at flying aerobatics in Melbourne, Moorabbin Airport is a great training base, with plenty of favourable weather and suitable staging areas close by.

Aerobatics Courses in Melbourne

If you are looking to learn aerobatics, then the course you will need to complete is the Aerobatics & Spinning Endorsement. As the name suggests, this course teaches you how to handle an aircraft during both aerobatic manoeuvres and spins. You’ll complete ground theory and practical aircraft training, followed by an assessment flight.

Our Learn To Fly Aerobatics & Spinning Endorsement course at a glance:

– 5 Hours Ground School
– 7.5hrs Flight Training
– 8KCAB Super Decathlon Aircraft
– Moorabbin Airport

To be eligible to commence the Aerobatics & Spinning Endorsement course, you need to hold a valid Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).

Aerobatics & Spinning Endorsement – Course Process

Ground School

Briefings on flight dynamics, spin theory, airframes, and regulations, as well as physiological considerations including G forces and spatial disorientation.

Lesson 1 – Aerobatics

Learn and perform Loop, Barrel Roll, Aileron Roll, Hammerhead (Stall Turn), and Immelmann manoeuvres.

Lesson 2 – Spinning

Learn aircraft spin behaviour, and perfect successful recovery techniques from partial and fully developed spins.

Lesson 3 – Attitude Recovery

Learn how to detect and recover from the unusual aircraft attitudes created by spinning and aerobatic manoeuvres.

Assessment Flight

The Aerobatics & Spinning Endorsement assessment flight is a supervised solo flight where you will demonstrate all manoeuvres and techniques learnt during the course syllabus

Want to find out more about learning aerobatics in Melbourne? Get in touch by email to [email protected] or schedule a meeting and school tour at https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting today! Don’t forget to click the button below and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have a great range of flight training content, as well as free RPL/PPL flying lesson videos!

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Top Tips to Prepare You for Solo Flight Training

Your first solo flight training experience is an incredibly exciting moment. It can also be quite nerve-wracking though. It’s natural that you might feel a little anxious about what’s about to happen. After all, you’ll be the one in complete control of the cockpit. If anything unexpected happens, it will be your skills and cool, calm head that needs to find a solution.

However, most people find that once they’re safely up in the air, that anxiety turns to complete exhilaration. You’ve been training for this moment for a while now. You know what you are doing, and you’ve finally achieved your dream of flying an aircraft solo!

Here at Learn to Fly, we’ve provided countless students with the skills and confidence they need to safely take to the skies in a solo capacity. In fact, we’ve built a whole course around it — our very popular Learn to Fly First Solo Flight Course. As part of your training, our experienced team will provide you with several strategies you can implement to make solo flight training as enjoyable as possible. Here are some of the top tips:

Be patient

Depending on your age, skills, background, and experience, getting to the point where you feel comfortable undertaking solo flight training may take some time. This is completely understandable; remember how strange it felt getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time without an instructor? And your feet were firmly planted on the ground!

Be patient with yourself and your instructor when preparing for your first solo flight. Flying is a difficult skill. It requires physical finesse and a certain level of theoretical knowledge. Building this skillset takes time. With patience though, along with passion, dedication, and support from the right flying school, you’ve got the best chance of getting there.

Ask questions

Learn to Fly’s First Solo Flight Course is specifically designed to develop your skills to the point where your instructor feels comfortable letting you take to the skies on your own. It involves 15 flight training hours, and these will be flown with an instructor by your side until you are ready.

You should aim to ask as many questions as possible about the plane you’re in, the role and responsibilities of a pilot, and how to handle unexpected, emergency situations. There is no such thing as a silly question. In fact, you’ll be left feeling pretty silly if you don’t ask something and are later left still wondering when you’re in control of the aircraft.

Learn to Fly’s team of experienced and dedicated instructors are as passionate about teaching as they are about flying. They’ll be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions, so ask away!

Don’t rush

Mistakes are usually made because we don’t give ourselves enough time to fully think through a situation. This is true in all contexts but is particularly important regarding solo flight training.

Your flight instructor will only okay you to fly solo if they truly believe you are ready. Once you’ve got that tick of approval, you can be confident that your skills and knowledge are up to the task of being in command of the cockpit.

The trick is to not let nerves get the better of you. Your instructor has confidence in you, so you should have confidence in yourself. Don’t allow anxiety to dictate how quickly you move through your pre-flight checklist. And don’t let nerves tell you that you’re going to have difficulty making the landing. Trust in your training and knowledge, and everything will go smoothly.

If you find yourself rushing, take a moment to look out the window, enjoy the view, and acknowledge that you’re a solo pilot. Not many people can say they’ve had that experience!

Enjoy yourself!

Finally, remember to enjoy yourself. You’ve put in a lot of time, effort, and study to get to this point. Maybe this is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream. Or perhaps it’s only the first step in going on to obtain your Recreational Pilot Licence, Private Pilot Licence, or Commercial Pilot Licence. Maybe one day you’ll be piloting a jet airliner, and you will look back and remember that very first time you took to the skies on your own!

Here at Learn to Fly, we are passionate about helping our students fulfil their dreams. We know that flying can be both exciting and overwhelming, which is why we recommend our First Solo Flight Course for those looking to commence solo flight training. The course is designed to provide you with all the practical and theoretical skills required to safely take-off, handle the aircraft in the air, and then safely touch down again. Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are equally as passionate as you about achieving their aviation goals.

Solo Flight Training Student Pilot

Contact our friendly team today to find out more about our course options and programs.

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US Airline Jobs for Australian Pilots – What Are the Pilot Prerequisites?

Becoming an airline pilot is the ultimate dream for many people thinking about a career in aviation. Being a pilot in Australia, many have found that the Australian airline market is competitive. But what about airline jobs overseas? And what are the pilot prerequisites?

It’s no secret that Australia is seen by the rest of the world as a fantastic place for pilot training. This means that commercial pilots that have trained and qualified here in Australia already have an advantage when looking at roles in other countries. So, what makes US airline pilot jobs such a great opportunity?

The US airline pilot shortage

As the world starts to reopen post-Covid, US airline pilot jobs provide a very real and achievable career opportunity for Australian pilots. Recently we have seen articles from major US carriers like United and American Airlines talking about having to cancel services and routes simply because they don’t have enough available pilots to fly them.

As air travel was so severely disrupted during the pandemic, many airline pilots were stood down, while other more senior pilots opted to accept packages and retire. Consequently, many of these pilots are not returning to the industry. This, coupled with the speed at which air travel has bounced back, has quickly created a significant shortage of pilots.

US airlines have always been quite proactive in looking at Australian pilots. Now especially though, being a pilot in Australia means that you may well be in demand as a pilot in the USA! For Australian Citizens, getting an E-3 visa to work in the USA is also quite a straightforward process.

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As a result of the US airline pilot shortage, many planes have been left grounded.

What are the pilot prerequisites for US airline pilot jobs?

Different airlines in the USA have different pilot prerequisites depending on the role. As an example, Commutair are currently actively recruiting Australian pilots for direct entry First Officer roles with the following requirements:

1. Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate or Commercial Multi-Engine Land Pilot’s License with current Instrument Rating

2. Current First Class Medical

3. FCC Radio Operator’s Permit

4. Valid Australian Passport

5. Meet FAA ATP minimums (1,500 total flying hours),and at least:
– 100 hours night flying
– 75 hours instrument flying
– 200 hours cross country flying
– 50 hours multi-engine flying

There are other requirements you will need to meet such as the ATP theory exam, which is typically done before line check. There is also aircraft type training for successful applicants. But these things are usually organised by the airline.

With those additional requirements aside, you could potentially meet the pilot prerequisites with as little as 1,500 flying hours.

What is the E-3 visa process?

The E-3 Specialty Occupation visa allows Australian Citizens to work in “specialty occupations” in the USA. To be eligible for an E-3 visa you must demonstrate that you:

– Are a national of Australia
– Have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States
– Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials
– Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation

An aviation Bachelor or Diploma would likely automatically qualify you for meeting the necessary academic qualifications. However, “qualifying credentials” can also include relevant work experience. So, if you meet the pilot prerequisites required for acceptance into the US airline job itself while being a pilot in Australia, you will likely meet this criteria based on “equivalent experience”.

The visa application process will be initiated by the employer once you have accepted their job offer.

What is the best way to meet USA airline job pilot prerequisites?

If you think that flying for an airline in the USA sounds like a good career move, we can help you to get there. Here’s how:

1. Complete a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) or AVI50219 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) course. Approx 12 months

2. Complete a Multi Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR) or AVI50519 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating) course. Approx 6 months

3. Complete a Flight Instructor Rating (FIR) course. Approx 4 months

4. Build your flying hours while working as a Flight Instructor (this way you can get paid while you build hours, and instructing experience is always viewed in high regard by airline employers)

5. Complete an Airline Interview program like the Airline Interview Coaching Session. This highly successful course will help you to prepare your application and also to prepare for the interview itself

We also have a wide range of Ratings and Endorsement courses available. Adding Ratings and Endorsements to your licences can greatly increase the number of hours during which you can fly. For Flight Instructors, you can add Training Endorsements that allow you to instruct in a wider range of flight scenarios.

Want to learn more? Get in touch by email to [email protected] or schedule a meeting and school tour at https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting today!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Flight Training

If you’ve never flown a plane before, the idea of being the person in control of the cockpit might seem like a far off dream. Pilots are cool, calm, and collected — it can seem like they were born to take to the skies. In reality, they’ve just spent a lot of time training and have the confidence, skills, and knowledge to take on any and all situations. Anybody new to flying will have a lot questions about flight training.

Before even signing up to flight training in Australia, it pays to do your research. The pathway to achieving your goal can be quite different depending on what that goal is. Here at Learn to Fly, we’ve helped countless people with a range of different goals fulfil their dream of taking to the skies.

For some, a Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) is all they need to tick an item off their bucket list. For others, their goal of flying for fun might see them looking towards a Private Pilot Licence. If you want to fly professionally one day, a Commercial Pilot Licence or Diploma of Aviation is your pathway to success.

Whatever your aviation aspirations are, Learn to Fly is here to help. Here, we answer some of the most common questions about flight training. If, after reading this article, you still have any questions, you can always get in touch with one of our flight training specialists.

How old do I have to be to fly?

This is by far one of the most common questions that people ask. Here at Learn to Fly, we’re proud to offer a full range of flight packages and experiences designed to help people of all ages achieve their dreams.

As per regulations set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), you must be at least 15 to fly an aircraft solo. You can commence flight training prior to this, but until you are 15 you will always need to fly with an instructor. You need to be 16 to obtain a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), 17 to obtain a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), and 18 to obtain a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).

If you are younger than 15, our Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) is the perfect opportunity to experience what it is like to fly a plane before deciding on whether you want to commit to further training. We also offer a range of simulation packages, which provide an enjoyable, realistic experience for all ages.

What are the steps to becoming a professional pilot?

This is one of the most common questions about flight training. To fly professionally, you will need to obtain your CPL. To start on CPL training you must first have completed and obtained your RPL and PPL.

For pilots who are yet to start any training, a great option is the AVI50219 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) course. This course includes RPL, PPL and CPL training as well as additional learning aimed at better preparing pilots for entering the industry once they graduate. This course is also approved for VET Student Loans (VSL) for eligible students. This means that you can train now, and only need to start paying back your course fees once you are earning money.

Once you have obtained your CPL, you are able to work professionally as a pilot. Depending on what kind of pilot role you want to work in, it may be of benefit to complete further training, like an Instrument Rating for example.

Learn To Fly has a range of additional Rating and Endorsement courses that allow you to upskill and give yourself the best chance at landing your dream pilot job.

Are there any prerequisites I must meet to fly?

As mentioned, CASA has a minimum age limit on who can undertake solo flights. There are a number of other prerequisites that must be met before completing flight training in Australia. These include a medical check, security clearance, Aviation English Language Proficiency (AELP) test, and registering for an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) with CASA.

You can contact Learn to Fly if you have any questions about how to meet the requirements to fly.

What aviation careers are available to me?

Many people become pilots with the dream of flying for an international airline, but that is not the only option. In reality, there are actually a wide range of career paths that pilots can choose from. You might choose to ferry cargo from one airport to another. Perhaps you’re interested in pursuing a career in the medical aviation industry, which is a very worthy endeavour. There are also always openings for agricultural pilots.

One of the best pilot career options is to become a Flight Instructor. Becoming a Flight Instructor is a rewarding career path on its own. In addition, it can be a fantastic stepping stone to another role, as it allows you to build flying hours and experience while you earn money.

Learn to Fly is passionate about helping all our students achieve their dreams, while also opening up doors that you may not have previously considered.

How much does flight training cost?

The answer to this question depends on a number of different factors. The cost of a course will depend largely on the number of flying hours it requires. Aircraft choice is another factor in determining how much training will cost.

If you are an international student, you will need to factor in the cost of your student visa plus living in Australia on top of your course fees.

Learn To Fly offers a range of payment options on our courses. We offer inclusive flight packages to give you a better indication of the overall cost upfront, and many of these can be split into interest-free monthly instalments. There is also the option to “pay as you fly”. Our Diploma courses have been approved for VET Student Loans (VSL) for eligible students.

We are dedicated to making flight training in Australia accessible to as many people as possible. We strive to make flight training more affordable, making it easier to achieve your dreams. Flying is a wonderful experience, and regardless of what your flying goals are, we look forward to welcoming you to our school. If you have any questions about flight training, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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Soar into the New Year with a Trial Introductory Flight

Oftentimes, the dreams on our bucket list never quite make it to reality. Maybe they require you to quit your job and move to a country on the other side of the world. Perhaps fulfilling a lifelong ambition requires too much time, money, or simply seems completely unrealistic. Well, as another new year approaches, one dream that CAN be fulfilled is taking the controls of an aircraft! Learn to Fly’s Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) gives you a first-hand experience of what it’s like to pilot a light aircraft.

This awesome experience can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. By choosing Learn to Fly, you can also complement the experience with a range of additional features and add-ons.

What to expect

Here at Learn to Fly, we know that some people undertake a trial flight as a one-off experience, perhaps to tick another item off their bucket list. Others may be considering a career as a professional pilot but first want to really make sure that this is a calling they feel passionate about and can see themselves succeeding in.

As such, our trial introductory flights are designed to suit a wide range of audiences. The flight will start with your instructor giving an introduction to the type of plane you will be flying in. At Learn to Fly, we have the resources at our disposal to provide you with a choice of what aircraft you want to go up in — the Foxbat OR Sling, or the Diamond DA40.

Following the introduction, where the pilot will outline how the controls work, you will be taken through a pre-flight checklist. This is the standard procedure that all pilots follow every time they fly, the trial introductory flight being designed to capture as closely as possible the real thing.

Now, it’s time to take to the skies. The pilot will, of course, be the one to control take-off, but having shown you a few basic manoeuvres, they may even let you have a go at putting your hands on the controls.  

At Learn to Fly, we offer trial introductory flights of either 30 or 60 minutes — it’s completely up to you how long you want to spend exploring the clouds.

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Take the controls and fly the aircraft yourself in our Trial Introductory Flight

Eligibility

Unlike some other types of flight training, there is no age limit on a trial introductory flight. This experience is designed for everyone!

However, you may be asked if you have any pre-existing health conditions that could interfere with your ability to safely control a plane or put other flight occupants at risk.

If you really enjoy your trial introductory flight experience, ask your Learn To Fly flight instructor about further training. The flight incorporates actual flying lesson content, meaning your time in the air will count towards additional training.

How to Book

Booking your trial flight couldn’t be easier. Simply visit the Learn to Fly website and select your plane, flight length, and preferred date. If you want to give a friend or loved one the ultimate present, we also offer a gift certificate option.

Add-ons

We know many of our trial flight participants have dreamed about this moment their whole life. With that in mind, we’ve put together a range of add-ons designed to make the day even more memorable.

While your time spent soaring amongst the clouds will no doubt remain firmly implanted in your memory, our video packages provide you with the perfect opportunity to relive your trial flight. All our aircraft are fitted with GoPro mounts, which allows your friends and family to join you in the skies.

For those wanting to go a step further, we even offer a 360 degree video option. This gives you a fully interactive recap of your flight from all angles!

For a small fee, we can also provide you with a laminated certificate, commemorating your very first flight! All the important details are featured, including your name and the flight details. Imagine how special this piece of paper will become once you’re fulfilling your life’s dream of piloting commercial airliners!

Finally, if the trial flight experience leaves you hungry for more, why not try our 737 Simulation? The simulator uses real instruments and systems to accurately capture what it’s like to be an international airline captain. What an experience!

The best way to start the new year is seeing what life is really like amongst the clouds. Contact Learn to Fly today to learn more about our trial introductory flight options and book yourself in for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity today.

Fulfill Your Dream of Flying with a Diploma of Aviation

Many of us wonder what it might be like to be in the cockpit of a plane. Well, dream no more. Studying for a Diploma of Aviation with Learn To Fly will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and qualifications to become a certified pilot. Next time you’re jetsetting from Melbourne to New York, you could be the one in control of the plane!

Of course, obtaining a Diploma of Aviation takes considerable time and effort, as does going on to become an airline pilot. However, all who have studied with Learn to Fly would agree that it’s certainly worth the many hours you put in. After all, most of these hours will see you soaring through big blue skies or among the clouds. What more could you ask for?

Continue reading to learn a little more about what to expect from the Diploma, who is eligible, and how to apply.

AVI50219 Diploma of Aviation program summary

There are quite a few courses out there that offer pilots the opportunity to obtain their Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), which is what you need to earn a living from flying. So what makes the AVI50219 Diploma of Aviation different?

Don’t let your beginner status get in the way of your dream to fly for a career. The 150 flying hour training syllabus will teach you everything you need to know to go from complete beginner to experienced pilot.

Upon successfully completing the course, you will receive both a Commercial Pilot Licence and a Diploma certification. However, the program is not just about you having the right pieces of paper. It not only teaches you all the practical skills you need to know to take to the skies with confidence. This includes flight planning, safe and accurate aircraft operation, operational decision making, navigation techniques, and how to safely operate in a busy and congested flight space.

The Diploma of Aviation flight training program follows the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s Commercial Pilot Licence syllabus, and then the extended syllabus prepares you for actually working in the aviation industry. This means that the Diploma requires the participant to undertake theory classes and exams across a broad range of subjects, from aerodynamics to meteorology. Upon successful completion, you will be fully qualified and present as a highly competitive candidate to obtain your dream pilot job.

As a professional pilot, you may be responsible for the safety of a number of crew and passengers. Having finished the Diploma, you will have confidence in your skills and ability to make informed decisions to ensure the safety and security of all.

Eligibility

The Diploma is aimed at people with little to no flight experience. However, that doesn’t mean that just anyone can apply. There are prerequisites to ensure your safety and the safety of others around you.

You must be at least 18 years old to commence the program. Whilst Learn to Fly welcomes international students from all over the world, there is still an English language requirement. You must also organise an Aviation Reference Number.

How to apply

The application process for the AVI50219 Diploma of Aviation is relatively simple. It is also designed to make sure you are aware of the course demands. To start with, you must first check that you meet all eligibility requirements, as outlined above. You can then complete an Expression of Interest form. This will request some basic information about your aviation experience, career aspirations, and understanding of the obligations of a pilot.

Once this EOI is approved (more information may be requested by the selection committee), you can then complete the enrolment form. Your journey to becoming a qualified pilot will commence with a student orientation and induction session.

Why Learn to Fly?

With so many flight schools out there, why sign up with Learn to Fly?

Well, as a highly established and experienced flight school in Melbourne, we believe our passion for providing affordable and accessible flight training truly sets us apart. We understand that the cost of flight training can often be a prohibitive factor in people achieving their dreams. As such, we strive to provide high-quality, accessible training that enables you to reach your goals in an efficient manner.

Our fleet includes an array of different planes, including the single-engine Diamond DA40 and the twin-engine Diamond DA42. Our state of the art training facilities in Moorabbin are unparalleled and large enough to accommodate a significant number of students at one time. We have provided training to people from all types of backgrounds. Our graduates have gone on to achieve great things in the aviation industry. Our wide range of additional courses also allows you to expand your skillset and abilities.

The Diploma of Aviation is one of the best pathways to achieving your flying dreams. So, contact us today to take the first step towards your dreams of becoming a commercial pilot!

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Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) Training – What to Expect

To be able to fly a plane for a career, you first need to progress through Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) training. In this blog we outline what to expect from the course.

Is this the right time to start training?

With a roadmap out of lockdown finally in place and borders likely to open in the upcoming months, most of us have started dreaming about taking to the skies again. Whether it’s to spend the sunny Christmas and New Year holidays on the stunning beaches of Cairns or on the gorgeous Phillip Island, we all have big plans for the summer break!

But with Australia getting ready to travel in large numbers again, the prospect of a pilot shortage again looms. Many pilots have retired or been stood down during the pandemic, and it’s predicted that a lot of them may not return to flying. If you’ve been thinking about a career as a pilot, this is good news, and now is the time to start training towards your dreams!

Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) training prerequisites

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has strict rules and regulations for future pilots looking to gain a Commercial Pilot Licence. This is to ensure the safety of the pilot, the passengers flying with them, as well as those on the ground. Before you can successfully get your licence, you must meet the following criteria:

– Be at least 18 years of age at the time of CPL issue (you can start training at any age but must be at least 15 to fly solo).
– Complete in-flight training. For a CPL, this equates to at least 150 command hours, with 70 flown solo.
– Complete Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) and Private Pilot Licence (PPL) training (you will progress through this syllabus as part of the CPL course).
– Pass the CPL theory exams
– Pass the CPL flight test with a CASA accredited testing officer.

Medical requirements

A healthy pilot is a safe pilot. When flying commercially, it is not just your wellbeing you are responsible for. You’re also responsible for every other passenger and crew member in your plane. As such, it is important for you to meet certain CASA mandated medical requirements before you can get your CPL.

Before you commence your Commercial Pilot Licence flight training, it is essential for you to get a Class 1 medical certificate. This test typically tests your vision, hearing and heart health, as well as any family history for heart problems. You will need to answer questions about your general health and any medication you may be taking. You may also need to provide urine and blood samples. The purpose of this test is to ensure you are physically and mentally capable of piloting an aircraft.

Once you successfully attain the Class 1 medical certificate, this certificate will be valid for one year. The certificate requires regular renewal, for which you will have to provide updated medical results. Testing frequency is based on your age. For example, an ECG test will be first required at the age of 25, then at 30, then every two years until you turn 40, after which you will need to get tested annually.

Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) training process

Even if you have never previously piloted a plane or stepped inside the cockpit of a plane, you may still excel at becoming a commercial pilot. Learn to Fly’s CPL training program takes you through the basics of flying a plane, from learning about aerodynamics and the characteristics of the plane you are going to fly, through to learning new languages like radio speak and textual weather and learning new advanced maneuvering techniques.

Our Commercial Pilot Licence course will set you up for your career as a professional pilot. You will progress through the following training process:

Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL):

The first step to getting started on your commercial pilot career is successfully getting your Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL). This course will take you through the fundamentals of aerodynamics, basic manoeuvering, how to manage stalling and what to do in emergency situations. Once you have an RPL, you will be able to fly with up to 3 passengers within 25 nautical miles from your departure point.

Private Pilot Licence (PPL):

Second, you will progress through the requirements of getting a Private Pilot Licence (PPL). This course builds upon the skills you learnt in the previous course. It then takes them a few steps further by teaching you more navigation skills. You will also develop an understanding of Class C and Class E airspace procedures. This will enable you to fly further than 25 nautical miles. With a PPL, you can fly anywhere within Australia carrying up to 5 passengers.

Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL):

Finally, you will move on to your Commercial Pilot Licence training. In this course, you will learn more advanced aviation theory, conduct more navigation exercises and work on building your command hours. Getting a CPL means you are now a fully qualified commercial pilot and can use your skills to build a career.

With a Commercial Pilot Licence, you can choose out of several career options. From being a charter pilot, commercial airline pilot, flight instructor to an agricultural flying operator, the sky’s the limit for you!

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Commercial Pilot Licence training prepares you for a career as a professional pilot

Not sure if a career in aviation is for you? Try our Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) to get a taste of flying. See the world as a pilot sees it!

Want to find out more about Commercial Pilot Licence training? Email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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