Cathay Cadet Pilot Program – Questions & Answers

We received some fantastic questions during our recent webinar on applying for the Cathay Cadet Pilot Program in 2022. We weren’t able to answer them all live, but we have covered the majority of questions and answers below:

What is the rate of success for cadet pilot applications? How many people apply and how many get in?

Press releases from Cathay have them onboarding 400 cadet pilots before the end of 2023, with the projected ongoing pilot shortage likely to mean that this increased recruitment will continue beyond that. We don’t yet have data on applicant numbers, but we assume they will be very high.

Whilst many Cathay Cadet applications are culled simply due to ineligibility (failure to meet minimum requirements), it remains VERY important to present a strong initial application.

Is age a factor in selecting cadet pilot applicants? Can you be too old?

Age may be a small factor, but historically, Cathay has accepted a fairly broad scope of ages into the program. This ranges from school-leavers, to university graduates, to established adults in other professions looking for a career change.

Do I need to have maths or science studies to be considered?

Maths and science are 2 areas specifically mentioned by Cathay in the prerequisites. Applicants with no maths or science studies may be at a disadvantage. We would strongly recommend completing some flight training beforehand to be able to demonstrate your passion for aviation, and your ability to progress as a pilot regardless of no maths/science study. Our Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) is perfect for this.

How long does it take to hear back from Cathay once you have applied?

We’ve been made aware of delays at all stages of the process due to HR shortages. It is possible that you could experience lengthy delays in hearing back from Cathay. Delays counted in months are not abnormal.

Are group exercises still a part of the interview process?

We understand that group exercises are not currently a part of Cathay’s online interview mode. Even if this is the case, there will still be areas of the interview process where you will need to demonstrate strong group or team working skills. One of the best ways to prepare for this is with group exercises, like those explored in our Airline Interview Coaching Session course.

Will Cathay resume their original cadet interview process?

Taking into consideration the current HR shortages, it is likely that Cathay will opt for a more online-based interview process for some time yet.

Are Direct Entry First and Second Officer roles also difficult to get into? Would you recommend doing more than the minimum hours required?

Even though direct entry roles are more based on experience and qualifications that you either already have or don’t have, they are still competitive. You will still need to prepare in order to present a strong application, and to present well in the interview phases – which is why we recommend considering a course like the Airline Interview Coaching Session.

How long can I expect to be a Second Officer at Cathay Pacific?

The Second Officer position has previously had a time limitation of 5 years imposed by the HK Civil Aviation Department. This may have been subject to some leniency during Covid. Upskilling a pilot whilst maintaining their rank may also bypass the 5 year requirement. However, with the growth and recovery the airline is experiencing, we expect accelerated progression will be likely in order to satisfy demand.

Does Cathay accept Hong Kong Permanent Residents?

Yes – Cathay accepts HKPR for both Cadet Pilot and Direct Entry applications

If I have no flying experience, do I still have a chance of being chosen as a cadet?

The short answer is yes, but we don’t recommend leaving this to chance, and VERY strongly recommend that you have at least some flying experience prior to applying. If you have already applied, we still recommend looking at doing some flying prior to interview. And even if you have interviewed and been accepted – even then, we recommend doing some flight training as it will really help you to hit the ground running when your cadet flight training phase commences.

The current delays Cathay are experiencing in their cadet selection and training offer you a GREAT opportunity to get in some extra preparation and/or flight training regardless of where in the process you are. We recommend checking out our Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP), which includes both application/interview preparation and practical flight training. As an added bonus – the Australian Dollar is very low at the time of writing (Oct 2022) – this means that the process of coming to Australia to complete a program like the FCPP is far cheaper than it usually would be for HK pilots.

If I have already done PPL training, can I still apply?

Absolutely. We usually recommend training to RPL level, as this shows that you are able to progress through understanding the basics of flying, fly solo, and achieve a licence. To show that you have continued your training as far as PPL level will certainly not disadvantage your application, however Cathay may want to know why you didn’t progress with CPL, and clarify that you are happy to go back to the start for your cadet training.

Is the technical exam still a part of the process? What’s your advice in studying the technical interview in a short amount of time?

We believe this is part of the same testing that the CUT-E process is contained within. Whatever the current exact format, we strongly recommend that applicants should have an established basic knowledge of aerodynamics and general aviation topics. Cathay has many YouTube videos available, and a well prepared candidate should have watched all of them. In addition, the two texts from John’s bookshelf provide adequate technical knowledge for your preparation. These were “Ace The Technical Pilot Interview” by Gary Bristow and “Handling The Big Jets” by D.P. Davies

How long will Cathay be accepting Cadet Pilot applications for?

Cathay have a plan to recruit at least 400 cadets by the end of 2023. Given the longer term pilot shortage projections, we believe that there will be an ongoing need for consistent cadet pilot recruitment beyond 2024.

Do I have any aviation knowledge for the interview?

We will always recommend obtaining some technical aviation knowledge, and the best way to do this is by enrolling in some flight training.

If you wear glasses, can you still be accepted for the cadet program?

Many airline pilots wear spectacles or contact lenses when flying. The requirement to wear spectacles is generally not disqualifying for a cadetship or a medical certificate. The candidate should contact the HK CAD Medical Department or their Doctor for case-by-case advice.

Do I need to pass the ICAO English Test before I apply for the cadet pilot program?

You don’t need to have passed the Aviation English Language Proficiency (AELP) exam prior to application, however doing so may well be an advantage, and will at the very least speed up the process. The Cathay requirement is to achieve at least ICAO Level 4 – which is a conversational standard of English and easily achievable for most HK born English speakers.

How long does it take to complete the PolyU ground school and exam?

The latest advice we have received suggests that this phase may take up to 7 months.

If you took a lot of training hours to fly solo, could this negatively affect your application?

We all progress at different rates and in different environments. Going solo in itself is a massive achievement, and so we wouldn’t be too concerned about this.

If I completed flight training but it was 5 years ago – will that still be okay?

Having flight training from 5 years ago is certainly better than having no flight training. However, we would recommend doing a refresher lesson if it is possible to do so prior to applying or to the interview.

What does the Airline Interview Coaching Session include, and how long is it?

The Airline Interview Coaching Session includes 8 hours of either face-to-face or live online training. The syllabus includes airline selection process methods, optimal CV presentation, HR interview skills, technical assessment expectations, group exercises and more. Click here to learn more.

Does every applicant get a chance to interview?

No – which is why preparing a solid application is SO important.

What is the top reason people fail the interview?

There are many reasons that can cause applicants to fail the interview process. Essentially though, they essentially all come down to lack of preparation.

I have recently failed the Cathay final cadet interview, and can not reapply for 9 months. What would you recommend learning in the meantime?

We would recommend starting your preparation now. Even more-so, we would recommend including some flight training. This would improve your knowledge and skills, AND importantly it would provide evidence of your dedication to an aviation career. A course like the Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) is perfect for this.

How would you foresee the growth of female pilots in the future?

The future for female pilots is very bright. Airlines around the world are proactively encouraging more female applicants. In addition, there are far better support networks available for female pilots at every level today than what have been available traditionally.

Are the training phases full time?

Both the ground school training at HK PolyU and the flight training phases are full time. On top of that, they involve absolute dedication. John advises that from his flight training phase time at FTA in Adelaide, Cathay Cadets devoted at least 6 days to study, school and practicum. They generally only took one day off a week for social time.

If I have done some flight training and put it on my CV, will that mean they ask me harder questions?

You should ALWAYS put as much information about the flight training you have completed on your CV. That may be the difference between being offered an interview or not. The questions you are asked in relation to the information on your CV should be relative to what your knowledge level should be.

Do you have further questions? Would you like to enrol in one of our highly successful Airline Interview Preparation courses? Please get in contact with us.

Our social media offers free flight training videos and much more – so, give us a follow at https://linktr.ee/learntoflymelbourne


Top 5 Tips for Flying Into Moorabbin Airport with LTF Instructor Summer Russell

Our very own LTF Grade 2 Instructor Summer Russell has been featured in the latest Victorian edition of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (AWPA) newsletter. In her article, she shares her top 5 tips for flying into Moorabbin Airport.

On the AWPA, Summer says:

“I first connected with the AWPA Victorian Branch in 2017 when I was looking for guidance as I begun flight training. With no connections in the industry at the time, they were a huge support for me and have continued to guide and support me to this day. It is such a great network of women – for anybody interested in connecting I could not recommend them more”

Fantastic work Summer! Original AWPA article below:

Summer Russell is a Grade 2 Instructor at Learn to Fly Melbourne. In this issue she runs through some simple, effective tips for flying into Moorabbin Airport.

Moorabbin Airport’s reputation precedes itself. With over 700 aircraft operating out of the aerodrome each day, it is one of Australia’s busiest airports. For those flying into Moorabbin for the first time it can be a daunting experience. But with the right preparation it doesn’t need to be.

Moorabbin is unique in many ways, from its parallel runways, inbound/outbound procedures and circuit operations, to its complex taxi clearances. Taking a pragmatic approach to your preparation is key. As a Flight Instructor working out of the airport, I see these operations daily. After years of experience, there are 5 top tips I have found most useful for those unfamiliar with the aerodrome.

1. Read up

As for any new aerodrome one of the most important pre flight components is to read the airports ERSA page. Due to a multitude of unique operations it is easy to miss crucial information regarding wingspan limitations, noise abatement procedures, inbound points, circuit operations and many more. Reading the ERSA carefully will give you confidence on arrival into Moorabbin.

In addition to the ERSA entry there is also a Melbourne Basin Guide published by CASA which gives a more in-depth discussion of the arrival, departure and circuit procedures.

2. Avoid arriving on the eastern side

Due to the use of parallel runways, aerodrome operations are separated to arrivals and departures east and west. While it is not stated specifically in the ERSA, VFR circuit training is done on the eastern side of the airport. This means there will often be 6 aircraft practicing circuits in addition to other inbound and outbound aircraft.

I suggest, instead of trying to navigate these busy operations, flying for an inbound point on the western side, or requesting an overfly (of which procedures are in line with overfly procedures at most Class D aerodromes) is a much easier alternative.

3. Start listening to YMMB tower prior to arrival at your inbound point

This is something I teach all my students, especially those new to Moorabbin. If you have dual comms available don’t be afraid to monitor the appropriate tower frequency a few minutes prior to your arrival. The frequencies tend to be busy, so it will allow you to gain situational awareness of other inbound and outbound aircraft. In addition, you will know what clearance to expect.

4. Say “unfamiliar” on arrival

This seems like a simple tip. However, it is rare that I hear a pilot state that they are unfamiliar when making initial contact with Moorabbin Tower. No matter how prepared you are for your arrival it is always a good idea to let the tower know that this is your first time at the aerodrome. This allows the controllers to direct you clearly throughout your approach and taxi clearances.

5. If you are unsure, ask!

Too often at Moorabbin pilots will falsely assume they have their traffic in sight, are aligned with the correct runway, or are crossing a taxiway when it is in fact another runway. These mistakes are common, and happen to even the most competent pilots, especially at complex aerodromes such as Moorabbin.

An easy fix for this is to simply ask. If you don’t understand your instructions, don’t see your traffic, or can’t find your runway communicate this to the tower as best you can and they will be there to assist. It is important to remember that Moorabbin is a training airport. Therefore, the controllers are used to pilots who aren’t 100% confident. They are more than happy to help you if you need it.

Our social media offers free flight training videos and much more – so, give us a follow at https://linktr.ee/learntoflymelbourne


Get a Feel for Flying with a Trial Introductory Flight

Have you always dreamed about flying but aren’t sure how it will feel once you’re in the air? Now is the perfect time to get behind the controls on a trial introductory flight. A Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) is an experience that has been created to give you a good idea of how it feels to fly a light aircraft, and also to give you a look at how flight training courses at Learn to Fly are run.

Lots of people will do a TIF as an amazing once-off experience. However, it does also count as part of the CASA flying syllabus. This means that if you do decide to take flight training further, you will have already taken the first step. You can then continue towards getting your Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).

What You Will Experience on a Trial Introductory Flight

The first steps of your Trial Introductory Flight do, of course, start on the ground. Your instructor will take you through an in-depth explanation on how the aeroplane you are flying functions, along with a discussion of aerodynamics and what to expect during your flight. After this, you will accompany your instructor on their pre-flight examination of the aircraft where you are encouraged to ask any questions you may have. Even if you’re not intending to begin a career as a pilot, you will gain a whole lot more from the experience if you ask questions and are ready to learn.

Once you get settled into the cockpit and are cleared for takeoff, you will take to the sky with your highly trained instructor. They will lead you through some flying methods, manoeuvres and skills. Then, you will then get the chance to take the controls and perform those same manoeuvres, under the watchful eye of your instructor. They can take the controls back at short notice at any time. It’s a great way to get in the air and see how you feel in control of the aircraft, while still knowing that you are fully safe.

Do You Need Any Experience?

Not at all! The trial flight is for beginners, so you do not need to know anything about aircraft or have any previous flight training course experience, or even any flight theory knowledge. The whole point of the TIF is for people without any flight experience to get an idea of how it feels being up in the air. This way, you can give it a go with no fears or lengthy training. There is no need to study before your TIF – your instructor will teach you everything you need to know.

What Planes Will You be Able to Fly?

Sling Aircraft Sling 2 LSA

The Sling 2 LSA is an aircraft built from aluminium, designed by Sling Aircraft Ltd. The Sling 2 LSA aircraft was initially designed to be a cross country and recreational aircraft. However, due to its amazing and tight handling, it has become a well loved training aircraft. It sports near 360-degree panoramic visibility, 7-hour fuel range and high-performance design.

Aeroprakt Foxbat A22LS

The Aeroprakt A-22 Foxbat is an ultra-light two seater aircraft with a simple to understand 3-axis control system. Transparent doors of the aircraft provide outstanding visibility. The combination of simple controls and low stall speed make the Foxbat an excellent aircraft for first flights.

Cessna Skyhawk 172

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk has four seats and is used primarily for training and/or private aviation. It’s also the most popular aircraft ever built, with over 44,000 being produced worldwide since its creation in 1955, and new models still in production today.

Diamond Aircraft DA40

Designed in Austria, the Diamond DA40 aircraft is a modern and reliable four-seater aircraft. It is constructed from lightweight material, with glass G1000 cockpit avionics. The aircraft provides a great balance between performance and durability, making it a perfect training aircraft.

So, Why Not Give it a Go?!

We are ready to give you the thrilling experience of flying a plane for the first time! We also want to make absolutely sure the experience is a memorable one. This is why we also offer some additional add-ons for your flight. These include a GoPro or 360 degree video, or a certificate to commemorate your time in the air.

If you have ever wanted to know what it feels like to fly a plane, and are looking for a way to take the controls without commitment, a Trial Introductory Flight is a great place to start. Get in contact with our friendly team today to book yourself a session!

Becoming an Airline Pilot in Hong Kong in 2022 – Part 1 – Cathay Cadet Pilot

If you have dreamed of flying for Cathay Pacific, you now have a great opportunity to realise those dreams. Cathay have announced a huge airline pilot recruitment drive over the next few years. This includes recruiting and training hundreds of cadet pilots. But how does the Cathay Cadet Pilot Program work, and who can apply? Read on to find out!

Who Can Apply for the Cathay Cadet Pilot Program?

Cadet pilot programs in general are aimed at people who do not have, or have very little, prior flying experience. They are a fantastic opportunity for people who have a passion for aviation as well as the ambition to become an airline pilot.

If accepted, you will complete flight training, with a provisional offer of becoming an airline pilot with Cathay following successful completion.

To apply for the Cathay Cadet Pilot Program, you must:

– Be aged 18 years or older
– Be a Hong Kong Permanent Resident or Citizen
– Have graduated from secondary school with good passes in English language, Mathematics or Science; a degree in any discipline will also be considered provided you meet the secondary school criteria.
– Be physically fit, as well as qualified for a Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD) Class 1 Medical Certificate
– Be able to meet Cathay’s flight deck reach requirements
– Achieve ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) English Language Proficiency level 4 or above
– Have had at least 3 COVID vaccinations

How Do You Apply?

Initial qualification applications must be submitted via the Cathay Pacific website. If you qualify, you will then be invited to submit a formal application: https://careers.cathaypacific.com/jobs/cadet-pilot-cathay-pacific

How Does the Application Process Work?

If Cathay selects you to progress to interview, you can then expect to go through multiple stages. Here’s an overview:

1. Qualify for application
2. Application
3. Vaccination confirmation
4. ICAO confirmation
5. CUT-E aptitude test, maths and working behaviour test
6. HR interview
7. Group exercise interview and flight planning exercise
8. Final interview
9. Medical checks
10. Background check
11. Cadet training sponsorship offer

Update: Recent information suggests that the group exercises are currently not part of Cathay’s online interview mode. However, teamwork and group skills will still form an essential of Cathay’s selection criteria. We strongly recommend that they form a part of your preparation.

In addition, due to HR shortages, there are administrative delays in the application process. You can help your application by getting some of the prerequisites sorted before you apply. This includes the COVID vaccinations, and also the ICAO English test.

How Does the Training Process Work?

The training phase of the Cathay Cadet Pilot Program takes approximately 60 weeks to complete. Here’s how the progression works:

1. Induction Session
2. Ground School
3. Ground School Exam Passed
4. Flying Phase (CPL+MECIR+ATPL)
5. Flying Phase Passed
6. Contract Offered
7. Multi Crew Cooperation & Airline Transition Training
8. Type Rating (B777 / A350 / B747)
9. Line Training

Update: At the moment, the Cathay Cadet Pilot Program process is being affected by staff shortages. This is affecting timelines across the entire process – from application right through to the training phases.

Where Does the Training Happen?

Ground school takes place at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong. Following this, there are 2 providers for the flight training phase. These are:

– Flight Training Adelaide based in Adelaide, Australia; and
– AeroGuard based in Phoenix, USA

Following the flying phases, the remaining training takes place in Hong Kong.

Do You Have to Pay for the Training?

Cathay Cadet Pilot Program trainees can take out a loan from Cathay. You then pay this back over a minimum service period once you start working for them. There are living allowances provided at various stages of the training phases. For the phases that take place in Hong Kong, you will be based on campus with meals provided in addition to board.

What Preparation Should You Do Before Applying?

Because you don’t require any prior experience, applying for cadet pilot positions is extremely competitive. Therefore, this means that submitting a strong initial application is very important to get you through the interview stage. In addition, you will need to perform strongly throughout the interview stage.

Preparation is everything, and consequently, the right preparation will make an enormous difference. You don’t require any flying experience to apply – however, we strongly recommend it. This is for 3 reasons.

Firstly, flying experience on your CV shows that you are dedicated and passionate about aviation. Secondly, being able to demonstrate your flying knowledge will benefit you during the interview process. Finally, the flight training process is a fast-paced pressure environment, and if you can’t keep up then there is a chance you may fail. If you are able to go into the flight training phase having already completed some initial training, you won’t find it as stressful, and consequently you will greatly improve your chances of success.

How Can Learn To Fly Help?

Learn To Fly Melbourne’s specialised Airline Interview Preparation Programs have helped hundreds of pilots to achieve success with multiple leading airlines internationally, including the Cathay Cadet Pilot Program. We offer 2 courses:

The Airline Interview Coaching Session guides you through airline recruitment processes, in addition to the various elements and phases that make up the interview. You’ll learn how to present the best possible application, and then perfect the skills required for optimum interview performance using scenarios created from actual airline interview processes.

This session can be taken either in-person or online, and is presented by airline interview specialist John Sabato, who is a former Cathay airline pilot himself.

The Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) is a comprehensive course that combines aviation theory and practical flight training, as well as the Airline Interview Coaching Session. Firstly, it equips you with the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare and submit a high quality application. Then, it allows you to follow it up with confidence throughout the interview stages. And finally, the practical training helps you to excel in the cadet program flight training phase.

The FCPP has 3 package options available:

Lite: 5 flying hours, 2 LTF sim hours, as well as 1 B737-800 sim hour
Solo: 15 flying hours, 2 LTF sim hours, as well as 1 B737-800 sim hour
RPL: 25 flying hours, 2 LTF sim hours, as well as 2 B737-800 sim hours

Want to know more? Schedule a meeting with us or get in contact, and one of our flight training specialists can answer your questions. It’s a very exciting time for pilots who want to fly for Cathay, and therefore the time to start preparing is NOW!

Our next blog with dive into the process for training and applying for Direct Entry Cathay airline pilot roles.

Our social media offers free flight training videos and much more – so, give us a follow at https://linktr.ee/learntoflymelbourne


FAQs About Obtaining Your Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)

Always wanted to fly recreationally, but not sure how to take steps and make it a reality? The Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) is your first pilot licence, and where every pilot’s aviation training journey begins.

During a recreational pilot training course you will learn the fundamentals of how to taxi, take off, fly, and safely land an aircraft. The course consists of both practical and theoretical training, eventually flying solo, and finally completing the RPL flight test.

Once you have your RPL, you can continue with further training if you want. The next licence is the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) and then, if you want to fly professionally, you can continue on to Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) training.

The following frequently asked questions give you some more insight into the RPL process and requirements.

What are the general requirements for being able to obtain a Recreational Pilot Licence?

To obtain a Recreational Pilot Licence, you need to:

– Be at least 16 years old
– Have a current CASA issued medical certificate
– Build 20 hours in flight training with a flight instructor and 5 hours solo flying
– Pass an aeronautical theory exam and a flight test in a CASA approved aircraft in the presence of a CASA approved flight examiner.

Whilst you must be 16 years old to obtain the licence, you can actually start the training earlier than that. You must be at least 15 years old to fly solo (without an instructor).

How long is the training process?

The time it takes pilots to complete the RPL varies. Generally, if you decide to complete full time recreational pilot training (meaning flying and studying 4-5 days per week) you could be finished with your training within 4-6 weeks. Part time training will depend on exactly how much time you have available, but flying 1-2 days per week you will likely be finished in approximately 4-6 months.

What does a Recreational Pilot Licence allow me to do?

A Recreational Pilot Licence allows you to fly a single-engine aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 1500kgs up to 25nm from your departure aerodrome, in Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions. You can carry up to three passengers, as long as you hold at least a Class II medical certificate.

If you are looking to fly further or carry more passengers, you will need to continue on to Private Pilot Licence training.

What theoretical training do I have to do?

You will need to complete the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) Theory course, which is broken in to the following subject areas:

– Aerodynamics
– General Aircraft Knowledge
– Human Factors
– Meteorology
– Air Law
– Navigation
– Flight Planning and Performance

You don’t have to complete the theory and practical syllabus at the same time. It’s possible to complete the RPL theory as a standalone course and then organise to complete the practical RPL flight training components separately.

We offer our standalone RPL theory course in a range of delivery methods including face to face or online. Completing the theory course online often works well for overseas pilots, as they can study theory in their home country and then only have to come to Australia to complete the practical flight training.

How do I maintain my licence?

After being approved for your licence, you are required to have a flight review with an Instructor every 2 years. If you are planning on flying with a passenger, you must have completed 3 take-offs and landings in the last 90 days.

It is of course recommended that you fly regularly (at least one hour per month). This is so you can ensure your general handling skills and emergency procedures are maintained. It’s essential that you keep your flight skills fresh to make sure you are safe in the air.

Are there any medical requirements?

There are some medical requirements for recreational pilots, but less than what is required to be a professional pilot. CASA requires that you obtain a medical certificate, but there are options.

You can fly on what is known as a Basic Class 2 medical certificate. This must be issued by an appropriate medical practitioner. The standards for this are similar to those required to drive a motor vehicle commercially. A Basic Class 2 medical certificate does have some operational restrictions though. To avoid this you require a standard Class 2 medical certificate, which must be issued by a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME).

There may be further medical requirements you need to meet if you have pre-existing health conditions or are over the age of 75.

For more information on recreational pilot training, get in touch with one of our Learn to Fly Flight Training Specialists. We can help to find the best way to get your flight training journey started.

Did you know that we have free Recreational and Private Pilot Licence flying lesson videos available on our YouTube channel? Check out the video below and don’t forget to subscribe so you get notified when new videos go live! 👇

Aspiring Career Pilots – Here’s Why You Need a Diploma of Aviation

With so many different types of aviation qualifications out there, which one should you choose? And which Melbourne flight school do you approach? These can be tricky questions to answer, so let us help you out.

If you simply want to get airborne and experience the thrill of piloting your own plane, then a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) is where you start. It comes with some restrictions such as the type of plane you are qualified to fly and how many nautical miles you can travel from your departure aerodrome. Building on that is the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) which adds on navigation training, enabling you to fly anywhere in Australia.

But if you aspire to fly planes professionally, then you’ll need a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). This can also be achieved by completing a Diploma of Aviation, which is a fantastic option. But why is completing a Diploma such a good option for aspiring career pilots? Read on to learn more!

Understanding your Options

At Learn To Fly’s Melbourne flight school we pride ourselves on not simply training pilots, but producing future captains. We offer two Diploma of Aviation courses – the AVI50222 The Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) and the AVI50519 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating) course. Please note that the course code for the Commercial Pilot Licence Diploma has changed recently from AVI50219 to AVI50222.

The Diploma of Aviation courses commence at several intakes throughout the year – January, April, July and October. Applications for the October 2022 cohort have just closed, with enrolments now open for the January 2023 intake.

As approved courses on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS), both the AVI50222 and AVI50519 courses allow overseas students to apply for a student visa. Completing the required training to obtain a CPL in Australia is very difficult to achieve for overseas students without this visa.

Both of our Diploma courses have Vet Student Loans (VSL) available to support eligible students. This is a Commonwealth program that assists suitable candidates with a loan to cover tuition fees and the ability to repay the funds gradually once employed. You can find out more on our VSL page here: https://learntofly.edu.au/vet-student-loans/

AVI50222 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane)

If you wish to make flying your career, then the AVI50222 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) is the course for you. The training requires little to no experience prior to course commencement, and follows CASA Part 142 syllabus. In addition to the standard CASA training syllabus, the course features extra modules designed to better prepare students for entering and working in the aviation industry.

Throughout the course you will achieve a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), Private Pilot Licence (PPL) and finally the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) and Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane).

AVI50519 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating) course

The AVI50519 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating) course combines multi-engine and instrument training, which is a compulsory requirement for many aviation careers, including that of airline pilot.

The syllabus offers CASA Part 142 Multi-Engine Class Rating and Multi-Engine Instrument Command Rating (MECIR) training, which is completed in both simulators and real aircraft. Receive instruction in our world class ALSIM AL42 simulator, which is a full cockpit synthetic trainer replicating the Diamond DA42 aircraft.

As with the AVI50222 course, there is additional learning included that specifically helps students to better transition from training to actually working as a professional pilot. Holding a Commercial Pilot Licence is a prerequisite for commencing this Diploma.

Further Training – Griffith University Bachelor of Aviation

Students that have completed both the AVI50222 and AVI50519 Diploma of Aviation have the opportunity to join the renowned Griffith University Bachelor of Aviation program with advanced standing via an articulation pathway.

Our 2 Diploma courses allow you to obtain 80 credit points, meaning that you only need a further 160 to obtain the Bachelor of Aviation. Essentially, this pathway gives you the opportunity to complete 5 highly-regarded aviation qualifications (Commercial Pilot Licence, MECIR, 2 x Diploma of Aviation and Bachelor of Aviation certificates) in just 3 years.

A World of Piloting Possibilities

For local students, the option to apply for VSL makes an aviation career more accessible. For overseas students, the ability to apply for a student visa allows them to study more easily in Australia. Regardless of your background, a Diploma of Aviation will open up a world of piloting possibilities to you.

The qualifications themselves are well highly regarded within the industry, and the additional training provided on top of the standard pilot licence syllabus to better prepare you for your career is a great advantage to have. If you have a dream of a career in the skies flying as a professional pilot, then make it a reality and visit our Melbourne flight school to learn more about enrolling in a Diploma of Aviation.

How to Become an Airline Pilot in Australia

When we ask our students what their goals are, most of them tell us that their ultimate flying goal is to become an airline pilot. Maybe this is because so many aspiring pilots gained their fascination of aeroplanes and flying when they were young. And for a lot of youngsters, their first experience of flight came from flying in an airliner. Understanding the pathway towards achieving your goals is so important when learning to fly. So – how do you become an airline pilot in Australia?

There are 2 main pathways towards becoming an airline pilot in Australia. The first involves taking a traditional training pathway and building your flying hours gradually, then applying for “Direct Entry” airline jobs. The second pathway is to be accepted into a cadet pilot program. Read on to find out more about how each pathway works.

Pathway 1 – Commercial Pilot Licence & Airline Direct Entry

The pathway that most people take to become an airline pilot in Australia involves first completing the CASA training to achieve a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). This can be achieved by completing each of the 3 CASA licences sequentially. Alternatively, you can complete the AVI50222 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) course which covers all 3.

Once qualified, pilots add ratings and endorsements (and an Air Transport Pilot Licence), and build their flying hours until they meet the direct entry airline entry requirements.

Here’s an overview:

1. Complete Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)
2. Complete Private Pilot Licence (PPL)
3. Complete Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)
OR Complete a Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence)
4. Build Flying Hours and add Ratings & Endorsements
6. Apply for Direct Entry Airline Jobs

What is the Next Step After the Commercial Pilot Licence?

Once you are qualified as a commercial pilot, your next step to become an airline pilot in Australia is to build your flying hours. Airlines in Australia will have minimum flying hour requirements for their Direct Entry opportunities.

In addition, you’ll need to add some Ratings and Endorsements to your CV – most notably multi-engine and instrument flying. You can complete a Multi-Engine Class Rating and Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR) as separate courses. Alternatively, you could complete the AVI50519 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating) course, which covers off both things.

What is the Best Way to Build Flying Hours?

There are a number of ways to build your hours. The BEST way is to of course find work as a commercial pilot. However, like airline roles, many other commercial pilot roles will themselves have minimum hourly requirements.

Becoming a Flight Instructor is an excellent solution. You can complete a Flight Instructor Rating straight after obtaining your CPL, and start earning money as a pilot AND building your hours immediately. Flight instructing is actually a great career pathway in itself, and an excellent additional skillset to have regardless of your longer-term goals.

How Many Hours Do I Need to be an Airline Pilot in Australia?

The number of flying hours required for Direct Entry roles varies between airlines, and also changes over time. Therefore, if you are aiming for this pathway then you’ll need to stay informed on the current requirements for your target airline.

An example of the Jetstar Direct Entry A320 First Officer / B787 Second Officer requirements (current as at August 22, 2022) are listed below:

– 1500 hours total aeronautical experience
– 500 hours PIC or FO on multi-engine
– 250 hours PIC (may include 150 hours PICUS)
– Hold an Australian ATPL (Part 61) or CPL with passes in all Australian ATPL subjects
– Hold an Australian Multi-Engine Aeroplane Instrument Rating with a 2D and 3D endorsement
– ICAO English Language Proficiency Level 6 on your Licence
– Current Class 1 medical certificate issued by CASA

You could also look at the requirements of airlines overseas. We’ve recently seen airlines in the USA specifically target Australian-trained pilots, with very achievable minimum hours and some attractive sign-on benefits.

Pathway 2 – Cadet Pilot Program

Most airlines have their own cadet pilot programs, which can be a great way to become an airline pilot in Australia. Essentially, cadet pilot programs offer the opportunity to complete commercial pilot training under an initiative overseen by the airline itself. The aim is for pilots who successfully complete the program to then be offered a job by the airline.

You generally don’t require any flying experience to apply (although having some basic experience may help your application). For this reason, the application process for cadet pilot programs is usually VERY competitive. We offer the Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) course that has been developed specifically to help strengthen your cadet pilot application.

Whilst cadet programs have their obvious benefits, there are some drawbacks. Training is still completed at the cadet’s own cost, and whilst the program is conducted in conjunction with the airline, it doesn’t actually guarantee you a job at the end.

Cadet programs can also require the cadet to make a longer-term commitment to the airline – sometimes for many years.

Other Aviation Careers

There is no doubt that becoming an airline pilot in Australia can offer a very rewarding professional pilot career. Whilst becoming an airline pilot is a popular goal for pilots to aim for, it’s important to note that there are many other fantastic pilot career options available. These include:

– Flight Instructor
– Cargo Pilot
– Charter Pilot
– Agriculture Pilot

Chat to one of our flight training specialists today about your flight training goals, and how we can help you to reach them! Contact us or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and a tour of our Moorabbin Airport training base.

Follow us on social media for free flight training videos and much more at https://linktr.ee/learntoflymelbourne


What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Pilot?

There are many pathways to becoming a fully qualified pilot. There are also plenty of different types of pilots. Therefore, the qualification you choose to pursue — be it a Recreational Pilot Licence or a Diploma of Aviation — really comes down to what your long-term aviation goals are and the amount of time you have to dedicate to your dreams.

Here at Learn to Fly, we think there’s no better job than that of a pilot. Imagine getting paid to explore the skies. Your office is the clouds, your desk chair is the cockpit, not to mention your office view! Now, let’s find out about what qualifications different pilot types need.

Types of pilots

Not all pilots are qualified to control all types of aircraft. Several classifications dictate the type of plane you can fly, how far you can venture from your departure point, and the conditions you are able to fly in.

Firstly, let’s look at the simplest pathway to earning the title of ‘pilot.’

A Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) is the first step in the journey for any pilot. If your main goal is to just get up into the air and experience the sensation of being in control of a small light plane, the Recreational Pilot Licence is for you. This licence is the most basic licence, and RPL holders must stay within 25 nautical miles of their departure aerodrome.

Next in the progression of pilot classifications, we have the Private Pilot Licence (PPL). The PPL builds on skills learned during RPL training, and then adds navigation. The PPL qualification enables you to both plan and conduct flights anywhere in Australia.

Finally, there is the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), ideal for those who dream of becoming a professional pilot. Having obtained your CPL, you will be able to pursue a number of different pilot career paths. These include airline pilot, cargo pilot, agricultural pilot, flight instructor, as well as many others.

I want to become a full-time pilot: what do I need to do?

To fly professionally you will need a CPL. One of the best ways to get your CPL and fulfil your dream of becoming a full-time pilot is with a Diploma of Aviation course.

The AVI50219 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) course follows CASA’s Commercial Pilot Licence syllabus, with the added bonus of additional subjects to help best prepare you for the competitive aviation industry. Upon completion of the course, students will receive both a Commercial Pilot Licence and a Diploma certification.

The course is run at Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne and takes approximately 60 weeks of full-time study. This includes flight training hours, hours in our state-of-the-art full cockpit flight simulators, and onsite theory classes. Students must be at least 18 years old, meet English language standards, and have passed an aviation medical exam.

Learn To Fly Australia is proud to be a VET Student Loans approved course provider (RTO 45684) for the AVI50219 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) course.

Wherever you’re from and whatever your background, the Diploma of Aviation is an excellent option to consider. It provides a fantastic pathway to those looking to pursue their passion and enjoy a full-time aviation career. We also offer the AVI50519 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating) course, which is highly recommended as an additional step before starting your career – as well as an articulation pathway towards achieving the Bachelor of Aviation with Griffith University.

Why Learn to Fly?

Learn to Fly is one of Australia’s leading flight schools. We offer a broad range of courses to meet the needs of every type of aviation student. We are passionate about making flight training affordable and accessible with modern aircraft, state-of-the-art facilities, and highly experienced flight instructors.

Our instructors train everyone from hobbyists to professional pilots:

– Flexible course options to ensure everyone can achieve their aviation aspirations
– Realistic pathways allowing students to achieve their flying goals.
– Diverse international student base
– Student accommodation facilities located just 15 minutes from our Moorabbin Airport training base

For more information about our Diploma of Aviation courses as well as information on how to enrol, contact our Learn to Fly flight training specialists today.

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) versus Visual Flight Rules (VFR) – What is the Difference?

If you have researched flying, you have likely heard the terms Instrument Flight Rules and Visual Flight Rules before. Or possibly their abbreviations – IFR and VFR. Essentially, these are 2 different sets of “rules” that determine when you can fly. But what do they mean, and what are the differences?

What Are Visual Flight Rules (VFR)?

Visual Flight Rules (VFR) refers to flights that can occur in conditions that allow the pilot to fly using visual cues outside of the aircraft. The pilot must be able to maintain visual reference to the ground and be able to visually see and avoid obstructions, and other aircraft.

Such conditions are referred to as Visual Meteorological Conditions, or VMC. The required VMC are slightly different in different airspace classes. See the graphic below for more information, taken from CASA’s Visual Flight Rules Guide (VFRG). This is a great online resource that any pilot can download.

Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) – Source: CASA Visual Flight Rules Guide

What Are Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)?

When VMC are not present and flights cannot be conducted under VFR, then they must be conducted under IFR. Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) are rules which allow properly equipped aircraft to be flown in non VFR-conditions, under what are known as Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC).

IMC are conditions where pilots cannot rely on visual cues, so they need to be able to fly using the aircraft’s instruments. This includes flying after dark, as well adverse weather conditions like heavy cloud and/or heavy rain. As a very broad and general rule, if it’s not VFR, it’s IFR.

Some exceptions can apply, such as Night VFR and Special VFR. Night VFR allows you to fly at night as long as other VMC are present. Special VFR can be requested when some but not all VMC exist for the proposed flight – this is usually used for training flights around an aerodrome and must be approved by ATC.

Flight Planning for VFR and IFR Conditions

As you might expect, flight planning is greatly affected by whether the flight will be conducted under VMC or IMC. Flying VFR affords the pilot far more freedom in planning. The pilot can choose the route and altitude of their flight – of course taking into account other airspace restrictions.

All IFR flights must be planned, with a pre-determined route that has been cleared by ATC. IFR flying involves set procedures for en-route, departure and approach. You will also obviously need an aircraft that meets IFR requirements.

When choosing whether to fly IFR or VFR, pilots generally consider the goals of the flight as well as the conditions. For a training flight that requires flexibility, VFR makes more sense. For longer or more direct flights, pilots may plan for an IFR flight even though conditions are potentially appropriate for VFR. This is due to the efficiency and added safety that IFR flight planning provides.

DA42 Instrument Flying Clouds
A Diamond DA42 above the clouds, during an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) training flight

Flight Training for Instrument Flight Rules

As mentioned above, most training flights require a level of flexibility. That means that the majority of flight training needs to occur under VFR conditions. Whilst basic instrument flying forms part of initial flight training, it does not allow you to fly under IFR.

To be able to fly under Instrument Flight Rules, you need to obtain an Instrument Rating. Instrument Rating training teaches you how to fly using your instruments, without relying on visual cues outside the aircraft. To start instrument training, you must hold at least a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).

Instrument Rating training includes en-route, departure and approach endorsements – which is what you will need to have when planning IFR flights. A lot of instrument training can be done in flight simulators, like our Alsim AL42 full cockpit synthetic trainer. This allows you to fine tune your procedures on the ground.

Our Private Instrument Flying Rating (PIFR) course is great for private pilots requiring IFR. It allows you to choose just the specific endorsements you require. For pilots who want to fly professionally, the Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR) is an essential choice as it includes both instrument and multi-engine training.

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 a tour of our Moorabbin Airport training base.

Follow us on social media at https://linktr.ee/learntoflymelbourne


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 you can tailor 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).

Night VFR training is simpler and less costly. However, relying solely on VFR conditions will restrict the number of night time flying opportunities. 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. This is the case 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 remains at an appropriate level. Red cockpit lighting can also help in this regard.

Similar to day flying 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.