Recommended Pathway to become an airline pilot – for overseas student


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See more on the eligibility requirements for this visa here

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

See more on the eligibility requirements for this visa here


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

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

Joining the Jetstar Cadet Pilot Program

We are really excited to hear that one of our students, Silas Zhang, has been accepted into the Jetstar Cadet Pilot Program. Silas was previously a nurse before deciding that he wanted to make the transition into an exciting career in aviation.


The Cadet Pilot Program is essentially a short cut for people who want to become an airline pilot, without having to spend time working in the General Aviation industry to gain the experience required to meet the minimum airline requirements.

It’s as close as you can get to a guaranteed job with an airline (subject of course to your performance during the training), with more than 80% of cadets usually passing and becoming airline pilots straight away.


The application process for the Cadet Pilot Program covers a number of different components, and each potential cadet will be required to undertake the following:

  1. An aptitude test covering general and technical questions
  2. Group discussion, within a group of 6-9 other potential cadets. You will be allocated a task, and will then be observed on your contribution to the task as well as how you interact with your other group members
  3. Two interviews, one with Jetstar and one with a flying school. These interviews will focus more on personality-based questions rather than technical questions

You are usually competing for acceptance into the program with hundreds of other applicants, and on average only around 15 students are accepted into the program for each class. Successful applicants are required to complete their training within 18 months.


After successful completion of the training in Melbourne, cadets will complete a Type Endorsement for either the Airbus A320 or Boeing B787 aircraft, depending on Jetstar requirements at the time. Following an initial Line Check, the cadet will then join Jetstar to commence their flying career.


The key to successful entry into the program is preparation more-so than passion (though passion is obviously still important).

Nearly every single candidate will say that they have passion to fly and to become an airline pilot – therefore, it’s not so much what you SAY, but what you DO to prove you have that passion. For example, if you haven’t done any aviation study or flight training, how do you prove you are passionate?

There are many things that can be done before the interview besides the theory knowledge and flying experience, and how you perform during your interview is also very important.

Are you able to show Jetstar that you have the mindset and personality to become one of their pilots? Are you able to work well with other pilots in the cockpit? Do you have good decision-making skills and the level-headedness to handle emergency situations?


Learn to Fly offers a comprehensive Airline Interview Coaching Session, that covers all testing and interview processes. Basically, we will teach you how to pass all of the tests, giving you the best chance of success.

We will also provide you with the opportunity to practice, by providing you with example group discussions questions and then mentoring you on what Jetstar’s expectations will likely be for each question.

Our Airline Interview Coaching Session instructor – Darren McPherson is a A330, A350 Senior Captain with a major airline, and he has already assisted more than 75 students to successfully pass their interviews and be offered pilot jobs. Successful students now fly for airlines including Qantas, Qantas Link, Jetstar, Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Singapore Airlines, Scoot, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, and Sky West.

Check out our Airline Interview Coaching Session course guide here.

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

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


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

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


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


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

Leeanne Kaplan – Her First Solo Flight

Learn to Fly RPC student Leeanne Kaplan won’t be forgetting her 15th birthday in a hurry. She started studying the theory components for her Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) at age 13, patiently waiting until she was 14 to be allowed to take the controls of an aircraft in flight under the guidance of her instructor.

And then, on the day of her 15th birthday, Leeanne successfully completed her first solo flight. Given that 15 is the minimum legal age at which you are actually allowed to fly solo, Leeanne is surely one of very few people that have actually achieved that milestone so early.

We asked Leeanne a few questions following this amazing achievement:

1. How do you feel after your first solo flight?

To be perfectly honest, after flying solo for the first time, I felt really self-accomplished and proud of myself. In the hours leading up to my flight and on my way to Tooradin, I was incredibly nervous. I wasn’t worried that I would crash, but more that I would forget something and disappoint everyone. However, I got over my nerves and just did it, and I’m glad that I did!

2. What was the most challenging thing about it?

The most challenging part about it is deciding to actually do it. By this point my nerves had calmed down but the first time Anurag (Leeanne’s instructor) asked me if I wanted to do a circuit by myself I put it off and asked to do two more with him.

I found that I just had to commit to it and to know that I would be fine, which I was.

3. When did you decide that you wanted to get a pilot licence?

In December 2016 I went to the HASSE x NASA Space School in Houston (Texas, USA) for two weeks and they were talking about the different career paths NASA can offer, one of which was a pilot. Being able to fly a plane has always interested me, and when I came back from the USA I decided to pursue it.

4. What do your friends at school think?

My friends are completely obsessed with me flying and they hardly ever shut up about it. When I told them that I flew solo I was bombarded with comments, congratulations, and videos, anything where they could get their message across. Needless to say, they are extremely supportive of me but I always get asked this one question; “When can you fly me to _____?”

5. What is your ultimate goal for your aviation career?

I don’t have an exact goal for my aviation career but I’m certain I would like to fly for a great airline like QANTAS. There are so many options and I know I have a long way to go, plus I don’t have to decide now.

The Best Time To Start Flight Training

With an enormous increase in pilot demand predicted globally in the next 20 years, there’s never been a better time to seriously consider a career in aviation. It’s fantastic to see young people like Leeanne with the passion and enthusiasm to start so early.

The aviation industry has traditionally been somewhat male-dominated, but that is changing, and there are many progressive airlines that are proactively looking to recruit more and more female pilots. It’s role models like Leeanne that will help to encourage more young females with a passion or interest in flying to have the courage and drive to pursue it.

Learn to Fly offers a range of courses to suit budding pilots of all ages and experience. For young people like Leeanne, the Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) is the best place to start. It allows you to commence learning and progress at a younger age than other courses such as the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL).

After achieving your RPC, there are many other options available to you such as the Private Pilot Licence (PPL), and then Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). Whether your aviation career goal is to be a flight instructor and teach other students, fly charters, or become a Captain with a major airline – you will find plenty of exciting opportunities within this fast growing industry.

We very much look forward to seeing where Leeanne’s flying career takes her.

2018 Outback Air Race – Our Learn To Fly Team

Late last year we posted a blog story announcing that 2 of our students were going to compete in the 2018 Outback Air Race. The annual event starts in Archerfield (near Brisbane) in QLD and finishes in Broome WA after 8 individual flying legs.

Since 1996, the Outback Air Race has helped to raise much needed funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This year will see over 100 competitors in more than 40 teams take to the sky. The race covers approximately 2,132nm (or 3,940km), with the longest leg taking pilots from Bundaberg to Longreach.

Horace, who is currently studying for his PPL with Learn to Fly, has now been joined by Eason, who is studying his Diploma of Aviation and hoping to become an airline pilot one day. At 21 and 20 years old respectively, they will be the youngest team competing in this year’s event.

The race starts on August 18th, with Horace and Eason taking off from Moorabbin Airport here in Melbourne on August 15th to make their way north in our Sling 2 VH-LHH aircraft.

We asked Horace and Eason a few questions in the lead-up to the event:


Horace: I have always dreamed of circumnavigating Australia in an aircraft, and by the time I have completed the race and returned to Melbourne, I will have almost done that (Melbourne to Brisbane, across to Broome WA via the Northern Territory for the race, and then back to Melbourne). I am also looking forward to having a lot of fun, and raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Eason: I think this will be something amazing to be able to tell my grandchildren one day, and as a student pilot, taking part in the race will really improve my flying and navigational skills. I’m also really looking forward to having fun flying with Horace.


Eason: We have been flying together as much as possible, and completing a lot of longer flight legs and navigation exercises together. It’s important that we can work as a really good team together.

Horace: We have been doing a lot of planning around how we will complete each leg of the race, and how we will split responsibilities whilst we are flying. The longest single distance I have flown in the Sling 2 is around 480nm (from Sydney to Melbourne).


Eason: The main goal is to finish the race successfully, but also we would love to actually win at least 1 leg.

Horace: We are also hoping to raise at least $2,000 each for the Royal Flying Doctor Service through our Everyday Hero fundraising page.

You can help Horace and Eason’s fundraising by donating on their Everyday Hero page here. We’ll be keeping track of their progress when the race starts on our social media, so make sure you are following our Facebook and Instagram accounts.

The Secret Weapon for 75 Successful Airline Pilot Interview Students

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

Our First Diamond DA40 Has Just Landed & a Summary of 2017!


Welcome the first-of-its-kind Diamond DA40 to our flying school headquarters at Moorabbin Airport. This new aircraft fits into Learn To Fly Melbourne’s successful expansion over the past year, during which we committed to building the Learn To Fly Flight Training Centre (LTFFTC) and were proud to receive our Part 142 qualification.


DA40 is a reliable and durable four-seater aircraft, made out of lightweight and robust composite material. Powered with a CD-135 jet fuel engine, DA40 boasts a spectacular balance between performance and durability, making it a perfect training aircraft.

Our DA40 has a Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system, helping LTF students secure a seamless transition from RPL to CPL training, and making the aircraft both efficient and economical. It is great for exploring the barren Australian terrain on cross-country flights, while still providing all of the benefits you would expect from a modern aircraft.

This state-of-the-art aircraft is decked out with both round instrument panels and a Garmin G500. Students have the added opportunity to learn the Garmin G500 and the Garmin GNW430 avionics system used prominently in all aspects of modern aviation, opening them up to a greater range of employment opportunities.


Learn to Fly Melbourne has made an agreement with Moorabbin Airport Corporation (MAC) to build a fight training centre at Moorabbin Airport. Upon completion, the LTFFTC will be the largest facility of its kind in the state of Victoria.

Designed by Prestigious Millennium Design (PMD), the new multi-functional building is facilitated within an aircraft hangar, 4 leacher rooms, 2 flight-simulator rooms, 15 briefing rooms, a library, a specialty pilot shop, 2 cafés, a restaurant, a sky view balcony, lounge and bathroom facilities, and an operations room to support aircraft movements and flight scheduling. This double-storey building will accommodate 60-80 students to attend both RA & GA aviation courses at the same time. Students will be able to complete all of their study and theoretical training requirements in this facility.


Learn To Fly Melbourne recently became a Part 142 accredited flying training operator under Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) through our new partnership with Australian Pilot Training Alliance (APTA).

Achieving this advanced certification brings numerous benefits to students, pilots and instructors. We’ve put together a list of our top 5:

  • A syllabus of training provided by Part 142 organisations must be approved by CASR, which results in further internal development and higher levels of safety and training.
  • New courses and types of flight training are included in our comprehensive CASA approved flight training syllabus.
  • Students can enjoy 10% off because of the GST exemption available to Part 142 integrated training programs.
  • A Part 142 flight training organisation must have a professional development program for all students, trainers and flight instructors, which can improve all personnel’s know-how and ensure ongoing high standards.
  • A Part 142 flight training organisation must have Safety Management Systems to maintain high aviation standards.

For more information on our new courses and flight training, head to our Courses page.

LTF To Enter The Outback Air Race 2018

Image credit: Outback Air Race

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Announcing the Learn To Fly Flight Training Centre (LTFFTC)


Learn To Fly Melbourne has made an agreement with Moorabbin Airport Corporation (MAC) to sublease and build a flight training centre at Moorabbin Airport. Upon completion, the Learn To Fly Flight Training Centre will be the largest facility of its kind in the state of Victoria.

CEO of Learn To Fly International Kai Li believes that the facility marks a significant milestone for Learn To Fly Australia.

“Learn To Fly actively supports the development and growth of the local aviation industry. We believe the new facility will help us to motivate and inspire young people to develop their careers in aviation. Nurturing the careers of future pilots and fostering a great flying culture is among our chief ambitions as a flight school,” says Kai Li.

The Learn To Fly Flight Training Centre (LTFFTC) will be located in a double-storey building on the northern side of the airport and will have a total floor space of nearly 2,400 sqm.

The new state-of-the-art training facility, designed by Prestigious Millennium Design (PMD), will accommodate flight instructors, students, an aircraft hangar, 4 lecture rooms, 2 flight-simulator rooms, 15 briefing rooms, a library, a specialty pilot shop, 2 cafés, a restaurant, a sky view balcony, lounge and bathroom facilities, and an operations room to support aircraft movements and flight scheduling.

In the multi-functional building, students will be able to complete all of their study and theoretical training requirements without having to go to different places. The facility is expected to cultivate a genuine enthusiasm for aviation because it allows people to come to have and a coffee while enjoying excellent views over all of the action at the airport, take photos of the planes and go to the pilot shop to buy a A350 aircraft model.

With the addition of new centre, 60–80 students will be able to attend training at the same time. Students can undertake both RA & GA aviation courses, ranging from the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) to the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). Learn To Fly will also offer two diploma programs, which will be the Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence) and Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating). Course outlines for the diploma programs will be available to download from the Learn To Fly website soon.

Recently, Learn To Fly became a Part 142 accredited flight training operator through the new partnership with Australian Pilot Training Alliance (APTA). Achieving this advanced certification means that we will be able to provide Integrated flight training and Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) training for flying multi-crew operations aircraft. Plus, students can enjoy 10% off because of the GST exemption available to Part 142 Integrated training programs.

Learn To Fly strives to provide the most professional flight training programs in the best learning environment at an affordable price. With the new facility and Part 142 qualification, our school’s commitment to this aim is further evidenced.

Construction on the Learn To Fly Flight Training Centre is expected to begin at the end of this year, with a target completion date of the end of 2018.

Airline Interview Coach Darren McPherson is Launching Pilot Careers

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Safety at Learn To Fly

At Learn to Fly, safety is and always will be our number one priority. It is a cornerstone of our operation to ensure we maintain a positive and transparent safety culture. As is conveyed on the Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) Accident and Defect Summaries web page, we continue to uphold an impeccable safety record.

Part of the safety culture at Learn to Fly is the acknowledgment that flight training does involve risk. It is therefore vital that students and instructors alike are educated about these risks and the processes involved in risk minimisation. This culture has been present since the school’s founding and will continue into the future.

Please continue reading to find out more about specific items that are high on our safety priority list at Learn to Fly.


  • Each aircraft requires maintenance checks for every 50 and 100 hours of flying. Normally at Learn to Fly, all scheduled maintenance is planned in advance. We will never undertake any flying on planes that require maintenance.
  • In addition to regular maintenance, a pilot or engineer can write up a defect on the aircraft’s Maintenance Release (MR) at any time. For serious defects, the aircraft will immediately become unserviceable and simply will not go flying until maintenance is completed.
  • The Maintenance Release is required to be signed by a pilot (instructor or pilot certificate holder) before the first flight of the each day to ensure that the aircraft has passed the daily inspection requirements and is suitable to fly.


  • Company standards require that instructors at Learn to Fly be well-trained. We will only employ instructors who we are confident can remain focused on the task at hand, alert and ready to respond immediately to any potential situation in which the risk outweighs the learning opportunity.
  • Based on the current guidelines, all of our flight instructors are at an RAAus senior instructor level. This rating can only be achieved if the pilot accumulates certain flight training experiences and passes a flight test that is conducted by external RAAus certified flight testing officers.
  • Some our students may become junior instructors when they graduate; however, it is a compulsory requirement that they are supervised by senior instructors when they work at the school.
  • In addition to this, our chief flying instructor (CFI) actively supervises all flight training operations and consistently checks training records and documentation. This ensures that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are complied with for both instructors and students alike. Compliance with these SOPs is checked at various times, usually by attending flights with students to confirm SOPs are maintained and also by ensuring all instructors’ qualifications are current and meet the high standards that we require.


  • First and foremost, a student will not go flying if the weather is not suitable for that particular lesson. When students go solo, these standards will be even stricter and reflect a variety of considerations such as turbulence, wind speed, daylight, student’s abilities etc so that we can provide a safe learning environment every time.
  • Before all flights, the aircraft will be thoroughly inspected. This is to make sure all the controls are functional, no damage is apparent on the engine, airframe or structure before any flight is to take place. After engine start and prior to takeoff further checks are carried out as per the SOPs. This is recommended by both the aircraft manufacturer and in the aircraft’s Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) to further assure a safe and efficient flight takes place.
  • Each student’s flights are recorded in detail. Instructors will rate their performance to make sure students reach the standard or competency of that particular lesson. Students who do not meet these standards or competencies will have to redo the lesson sequence until this standard is met. Within the school, we have systems in place to cross-check and ensure that all training records are completed and updated in a timely manner.
  • Briefings are always done properly and consistently before and after each flight. This ensures that students are both aware of what they are going to do, and of the specific standard that is required for that particular lesson;
  • Prior to sending students solo, instructors will double check to make sure the students have all the required documents such as a medical certificate, student pilot licence etc. and their training records show that they have achieved all the necessary competencies prior to undertaking any solo operations.


  • Further to the priorities and procedures outlined by, we have created and run our operation in accordance with our own Risk Management Plan and Safety Management System, which enables us to further minimise the potential risks associated with flight training. – Despite this comprehensive system, we must not think that we are infallible; therefore, we encourage all of our staff and students to form a habit of looking, learning, and discussing potential risks we see as part of our normal day to day operation. This attitude allows us to evolve and update our systems regularly to ensure a safe operating culture persists within the Learn To Fly organisation and group.
  • We aim to further develop active channels of communication and encourage instructors and students to speak to us if they have any safety concerns both within or outside of our operation.
  • We believe that technology as a communication tool has great potential to assist safety operations. Significantly, flight training software can give us updates on aircraft unserviceability or if an aircraft may need to be grounded; through to communicating safety concerns or topics that instructors or students raise within the organisation.


  • We aim to have higher safety standards than other flight schools in Australia.
  • On top of the Public Liability Insurance and the RAAus Member Liability Insurance, we cover an additional A$5 million in Liability Insurance for all of our students.
  • We only buy brand new Recreational Aviation (RA) aircraft so we can be certain of the maintenance history for every plane.
  • All RA aircraft in our fleet are equipped with Rotax engines which have an outstanding reputation and operational safety history.

At Learn to Fly, we believe all these extra steps—combined with the safety culture exhibited by our individual pilots, instructors, and the student group—will allow us to go a long way in providing an extra margin of safety.

If you would like any further details or information about safety at Learn to Fly, please get in touch!

The Growing Demand for Pilots in the Asia Pacific

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

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

Industries Ebb and Flow

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

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

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

Where are Pilots Needed Most?

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

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

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

China Tops the Ladder

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

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

Demand will Stay High

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

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

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

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

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

Prime Conditions

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

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

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

Top Grade Instructors

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

Masterful Skills

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

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

Happy Snaps

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

There’s no rush!

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

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

Flight Instructors Wanted!

  • Positions based at Moorabbin Airport, Victoria
  • Causal, Part Time Full time employment available to right candidate with remuneration paid above award

With increase in demand of students, instructors can expect 75 hours flying per month

We are seeking for Flight Instructors who as minimum hold:

  • FIR A Grade 3 Training Endorsement
  • Current Australian Commercial Pilots Licence.
  • Current ASIC
  • Current Class 1 CASA Medical Certificate

The following qualifications are also highly desirable:

  • FIR A Grade 1 or 2 Training Endorsement
  • RA AUS FIR current
  • FIR CLR MEA (Class Rating Training Multi engine Aeroplane)
  • FIR DF (Design Feature Training)
  • Command Instrument Rating (current) (IR)
  • Night Training Endorsement (current) (FIR NVFR)
  • Cert IV in Training and Assessment

Applicant may be invited to interview during February or March 2017.

Interviews will comprises of the following elements:

  • Delivery of 1 Short Brief
  • Discussion around General Aviation knowledge and appropriate rights and privileges for your current FIR as listed in Part 61, RA AUS Operations Manual
  • A Flight involving teaching of an ab initio sequence
  • Candidates must have the right to work in this country.

Applications – please send via e-mail –

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

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

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

1. Temperature

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

2. Weather

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

3. Aircraft

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

4. Briefing

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

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

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

5. Attitude

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

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

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

Life as a Learn to Fly Student #8 | How I Started My Journey

I knew from an early age that the pilot life was for me, but when it came time to pursue my childhood dream I still had to put a lot of thought into how to turn the dream into reality.

Being extremely interested, inspired and impressed by the role of an airline pilot, I started to do massive research into all kinds of information and details related to aviation over the past few years.

Starting with Simulation

Soon after starting my research, I became aware that in Singapore, they actually have a flight simulation centre for the public located at Singapore Flyer called “Flight Experience”. It operates the Boeing 737-777. Therefore, I went down to give it a try and spent $175 for 30mins.

After the first attempt, I had an interest in going down once every two weeks or more and had a couple of flying sessions with them spending just over $500 on this Boeing simulation. I was also aware of the SG Flight Simulator in Orchard Central and also in Changi which they operate for a different kind of aircraft, the Airbus 320.

The Changi Simulator is so special because it was a full-motion type, where it really feels like a realistic experience. Once again, I had a couple of flying hours and spent a large sum of money on them.

The reason behind this is simple, it was so I could know and learn more about the difference between an Airbus and Boeing.

After trying both, people would ask me: What’s the difference? Honestly, there is a hell of a lot of difference between them I would say. They both work and operate systems differently. But if you asked which one I prefer, it would be…..


But well, honestly I am fine with either.

Building Basic Skills

Apart from flying the simulator, I actually learnt a couple of things during my sessions with them. They oriented me around the cockpit, taught me the basic handling of a huge aircraft and the fundamentals of flying as well as some extra flying knowledge to use along the way if needed.

How Far Have I Come?

Right now, after training here in Melbourne in Learn to Fly’s Bristell for 2 weeks, I will be going back again to complete an additional 5 hours for my pre-solo exam which is part of my achievement.

But also the takeaway from this is for me to master every single thing I have learnt about basic aviation knowledge and the fundamentals of flying. I need to be ready for the most important career milestone for my future which I will face next, the interview with Singapore Airlines and Scoot Air.

I have to say it’s going to be a challenge and big priority for me to take on the Singapore & Scoot Airline Interview process in 2018. To be able to pass and get through their interview process and be accepted by either one of them would be the biggest goal in my life.

Lastly, my story would end with “Every pilot or even cadet pilot have different stories to tell”.

Stay tuned for more personal stories from Charles and other LTF students! If you’re interested in following in their footsteps, check out our Courses to find out how.

Life as a Learn to Fly Student #7 | Why Do I Want to Fly?

Many people ask me, why do I choose to be a pilot or what makes me want to become a pilot? This is my reply to them.

Ever since I was young, I have been passionate about becoming an airline pilot. I was fascinated by the huge massive aeroplanes that were able to stay up in the air and fly around, the first thing that came into my mind the moment I saw them was: Wow, how amazing is that?!

Love at First Flight

Initially, at the age of 16, I was going on a holiday with my family to China and we boarded a plane with Singapore Airlines. Technically that was the very first time I experienced riding in an aeroplane. So before my actual check in, my parents and I went to the plane view gallery where you can have a clear view of the aircraft and watch them takeoff and land.

At that point in time, looking with my own eyes, watching those aircraft lift off the ground and fly up towards the sky, it was beautiful and amazing! Furthermore, hearing the massive sounds coming out from the engine, especially during the takeoff, I really enjoyed listening. Does it sound crazy to you? Oh well, that’s how I feel!

Besides that, I guess what I felt was, in the role of an airline pilot you see different passengers onboard everyday. You meet different kinds of people around, hold a large number of lives in your hands and ensure a safe and pleasant flight every single time without fail. You must meet their expectations and bring them safely to the ground.

Overall, I really love doing this, I would say I am happy about what I’m doing and I can’t wait to step into that position soon.

After all, this is the reason that inspired me a lot to be an airline pilot. And right here, right now, that’s what I am doing.

A Modern Day Miracle

Flying is just like escaping from the world, leaving together with other souls up in the sky. That is the only time I can really stand back, relax my mind and have my own little freedom up in the sky.

Looking out from my seat through the cockpit window, coursing at the altitude of 4000ft above ground level, you realise how beautiful Mother Earth really is.

Especially during the raining season. On one occasion, the rain wasn’t that bad or heavy, just a little drizzle and it rained for just a while. I was coursing on top and right after the rain stopped I was instantly captured by the gorges and beautiful double rainbow that were right in front of me. My face was literally like glue and stuck to the window.

Passing through and flying around the rainbow, it was breathtaking. I was speechless at that moment and I told myself that was this was God’s gift for me and it’s a miracle.

Charles will be sharing more insights about his flight training soon. Keep an eye out on our blog so you don’t miss a thing!

Life As a Learn to Fly Student #6 | Meet Charles

Good day to everyone out there!

Let me introduce myself, I’m Charles Lau Jun Wei, 23 this year, Learn To Fly student from Singapore. Basically, I love flying and I’ve been very passionate about becoming an airline pilot ever since I was young when I had my first amazing flying experience on a trip to China with my family.

Currently I’m still serving with the military back in Singapore. I’ve been in the military for seven years in total and technically, I’ve still got two more years of service left as I’m working as regular personnel.

Apart from my military service, concurrently I’m doing self-study as well as training and learning aviation at Learn To Fly Melbourne. As for my pilot training progress, I’m attending classes as part of the Future Cadet Pilot Program.

Following My Dream to Fly

Before my actual starting date, I could say I was extremely excited. I requested a break from my military work and luckily the officers understood my situation, that flying was my passion and of course training is important for my future career. So I went over to Melbourne for two weeks to complete my training.

As a junior cadet pilot there, a brand new student, honestly, I can’t explain how I felt. It’s a good feeling, not a bad one, so don’t be alarmed! But to cut it short, I was really looking forward to my training!! I completed one week of my training and was happy and satisfied overall.

Unexpected Challenges

One thing that came into my mind, and I honestly I didn’t expect this to happen, but at first I thought that the technical process of training as a cadet pilot was going to be easy. But eventually I learnt it wasn’t going to be easy at all!

I’d heard rumours from certain people saying, “There’s an autopilot in an aircraft so don’t be worried!!” But, after a massive amount of research and learning more about being an airline pilot I learnt that this is not true!!

Even before getting to the stage of using an autopilot, you have to start training at the bottom and work your way up to the top — when you understand everything about being an aviation pilot and also everything in the aircraft system! Therefore, I would say, it’s not easy, but it can be done, there’s just lots of things you need to know and learn!

Getting Started with Flight Training

Firstly, I was provided with a student starter kit which covered the basic knowledge and flight training rules, with that comes teaching on basic aerodynamics, primary and secondary flight controls, and also the pilot skills set.

Furthermore, a ground training manual book was issued, which included lots of information about air law, air navigation, radio communication, human factors and more.

Flying the Bristell

The Bristell was the aircraft I was using for training, to master the basic handling of the aircraft and also the fundamentals of flying. Two words to describe the experience? Awesome and fun!!

The moment when you enter the cockpit and you’re the one who is actually flying and controlling the aircraft after a session with the instructors, how great is it? That feeling was really so good that it literally took my breath away. I had lot of fun flying that small aircraft. Eventually I completed 10 hours on my flying record, hopefully I’m able to gain more flying hours towards my future.

First Impressions of Flight Training

I would say the process of training and learning is challenging and critical. Apart from the flying itself, you have to really put in your 100% heart and soul into it, in order to build successful processes and work towards your future goals like any pilot in aviation history.

Overall, I really enjoyed my training and studying at the flight school. Besides that, the instructors and students from other countries were friendly! I managed to hang out with them throughout my two weeks there!

And most importantly, we were able to share our knowledge and skill sets within one another, which I guess is part of the take away from the flight school.

Stay tuned for more updates from Charles as he shares his experiences of flight training with Learn to Fly Melbourne.

Life As A Learn To Fly Student #5 | Phase 2 – Flight Training In Hong Kong

Some of our fans have been asking about updates from one of our star students, Howard Lau. Since he’s been back in Hong Kong, he has started his flight training with the Hong Kong Aviation Club. Now he’s ready to share his thoughts on what flight training is like in Hong Kong.

Hi readers and fans, it’s Howard! I’ve successfully completed the Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) and now I am back in Hong Kong with the Hong Kong Aviation Club. I have just completed my Cessna 172S familiarisation flight and will be working towards my HKCAD PPL over here!


The Hong Kong Aviation Club is the only organisation in the Far East that provides flight training and leisure flying. We pride ourselves as being an aviation organisation run entirely by members and volunteers. Most of the instructors and staff are volunteers. They perform their duties out of passion, since they do not receive any monetary compensation.

Now you may ask, “If it’s non-profit, why do you charge so much?”.

I have been asked this question many times before. This is due to the taxation that the Hong Kong Government places on leisure flyers, as we take up airspace and resources. As 100LL Avgas is very expensive and rare in Hong Kong, we are fortunate to have companies supplying us with a steady flow of 100LL Avgas.


We currently operate 4 Cessna 172 aircrafts and 2, or soon-to-be 3, Cessna 152 aircrafts. All of the planes are impeccably maintained despite their age. For example, our oldest Cessna 152 (B-HPA) is 30 years old this year!

At the end of October, I completed my Cessna 172 (B-LUW) and Hong Kong procedures familiarisation flight – it was the first time I had flown in three months. It felt great, the aircraft responded just as I had expected and the experience can be described with just one word – docile!

The 172 is heavier than the Sling that I used to train in at Learn to Fly Melbourne. It burns much more fuel and is a typical training aircraft. As the old saying goes, “You can never go wrong with a Cessna!”.


I had an amazingly passionate and fun instructor. His name is Adam and he was also a PPL flying member of the Hong Kong Aviation Club until he earned his AFI rating. AFI stands for “Assistant Flying Instructor” and is the first instructor rating you can achieve in Hong Kong. It does not require a CPL, just like the RA-AUS flight instructor rating! I found him quite accommodating, encouraging and very humorous when we flew over Tolo Harbor, which is our main training area with a vertical limit of 3000 feet AMSL.

We also managed to squeeze in 4 circuits in Shek Kong Airfield, an airfield with one single runway (11/29) and a CTAF frequency (123.60). We had to go around twice, since I travelled high and fast in the first attempt and during my second attempt another Cessna 152 (B-HHN) began to backtrack into the airfield’s apron. We flew a very tight circuit at just 800 feet AMSL and a very steep approach – this differed from what I did in Melbourne! Full flaps for every landing!

I am so happy to be writing about flying again, so stay tuned for more blogs about my flying adventures in Hong Kong!

Jump Aboard the Low Cost Flight Training Revolution

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

Turning Away From GA

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

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

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

RA Saves the Day

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

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

Crunch the Numbers

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

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

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

Experience the Latest Technology

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

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

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

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

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

How to Become an Airline Cadet Pilot

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

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

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

Six Month Process

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

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

Grades Aren’t Everything

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

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

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

Practice Makes Perfect

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

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

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

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

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

Get Started

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

The Future of Flight Training is Already on the Runway

Our brand new Sling 2 is arriving next month! Check out the following five features of the Sling 2 that will make your student experience even better.

1. Room Room Room

The aircraft was designed with ample space. The unique cockpit design and sliding chair maximises space for student pilots. It brings new levels of comfort, with space-maximising leather seats and an extra-wide cockpit, it’s just “plane” groovy.

2. Excellent Handling

The Sling 2 is made from Computer Numeric Control (CNC) precision cut and drilled 6061 aluminium with high quality components. The aircraft has the solid feel of a much larger aircraft. It has proven to be an excellent trainer for pilots due to its amazing handling, near 360-degree panoramic visibility, solid feel and great design.

3. Efficiency

The new Sling 2 may not look revolutionary, but the ROTAX engine burns 60% less fuel than its old fashioned traditional competitors and it still has cruise speed of 120 knots. This means it can fly for 10 hours without needing refuelling which hugely increases its efficiency.

4. Latest In-flight Equipment

Equipped with the Garmin Touch Screen Glass Cockpit Avionics and the Garmin Transponder, it’s the most modern and efficient training aircraft at Moorabbin Airport in its price range. The instrument panel also sits in front of the student so you can easily access all the information you need.

5. No Hidden Costs

The aircraft is brand new and we’re only charging $268 dual per hour to give it a spin. It’s also parked next to the runway, so you won’t waste any time taxiing on the ground, which will save you money and help you get the most out of every lesson.

Add to these benefits to Learn To Fly Melbourne’s top level flight training service and we’re sure that students can look forward to a truly exceptional flying experience, every time. We believe if we provide better flight training services, your flight training journey can become even more meaningful and rewarding.

But don’t just take our word for it, come and fly it for yourself!

How Flight Training is Changing for the Better

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

Simulation is Taken Seriously

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

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

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

Exploring Partnerships

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

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

Cost Effectiveness is Key

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

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

Students Come First

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

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

Positive Learning Environment

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

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

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

5 Benefits of Adding Simulation to Your Flight Training

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

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

1. Cut Training Costs

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

2. Practice Makes Perfect

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

3. Travel the World

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

4. Experience Risky Situations

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

5. Help the Environment

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

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

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