Pilot Theory Exam Preparation

Learning to fly is extremely exciting and rewarding, but there are theory exam checkpoints along the way that are crucial to becoming a great pilot. If exams aren’t your forte, you don’t need to worry! We have summarised everything you need to know here, and we have more helpful content coming your way.

Before we get into our pilot theory exam preparation tips, there’s one key lesson that you should remember before you attempt your pilot theory exams. If you don’t pass an exam, it is not a failure. In fact, it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to improve, to become a better pilot and to master the knowledge that will accelerate you into your recreational or commercial pilot career.

Many pilots will tell you about the errors that they’ve made along the way and the improvements that they caused.

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance it means that you genuinely care about your pilot theory exam results. That’s the first sign that you’re on the way to becoming a great pilot. Now, let’s get you ready for your pilot theory exam preparation.

Lesson 1: It can be done!

Many pilots have flown the skies before you. Do you know what this means? It means that the theory exams are passable, and you can do them too. The first step in exam preparation is knowing that the exams aren’t there to trip you up, but to make sure you know your stuff. If others can do it, so can you.

Setup Your Exam Preparation Timetable

Treat exam preparation like it’s your job. You can set up a weekly timetable, with daily tasks to check off. This helps you achieve a few things. Firstly, it creates a structure for your learning so that you’re not cramming everything into a last-minute panic. Secondly, it breaks things up into smaller tasks so that the study and preparation aren’t so overwhelming.

Finally, it also breaks up your study blocks into reasonable amounts of time. One or two hours of study per day will mean you are much more focused during your study, which helps with information retention. If you try to study too much, for too long, you’ll exhaust your mind and struggle to remember details.

Repetition Is Key

One of the best learning techniques is repetition, so use it to your advantage. A great way to do this in your pilot theory exam preparation is by using practice questions and exams to repeat the process of comprehending a question and forming the correct answer.

In addition to this, you should record your results on the questions and practice exams. Each time you attempt them, you’ll note your progress and improvement. You will also notice the areas where you might need more work. Identifying these areas means you can focus your time improve where you need a bit more practice.

Similarly, you should start to time yourself through the exams. You should be aiming to pass successfully within the allocated timeframe.

Know Your Exam Resources

Are you familiar with the tools and resources you can take for your exams? Do you know how to use them and find information quickly? Some exams have different tools and permitted materials. This can also change slightly if you’re undertaking an internal exam with your school, or if you’re undertaking a CASA exam.

Most pilots agree that you should pick your one set of study materials, and stick with them. Whatever the case, find out what you’re allowed to take into the exam and make sure you’re using those resources the entire way through your exam preparation.

When it comes to exam day, you will have mastered your resources and you’ll be well-positioned to find information and answer questions in a timely manner. When you can do this, it makes the exams much less stressful – you’ll know how to use your tools and equipment (such as a flight computer), and you’ll know where to look to answer your questions.

Know When To Ask For Help

If you’re finding some questions or topics difficult to master, don’t break your study streak with frustration! If you need help, you should always be ready to ask. Depending on what support you need, you have a number of options.

There might be classes at your local school that cover the topic you need help with (for example, meteorology). Or you can ask a fellow flight training student to help you out – and you might be able to help them! For lots of simple things, you can join social media groups and pages – there is a constant stream of students, and perhaps one of them has a way of learning or remembering a topic that will help you.

Another option is to arrange a private or joint tutorial with an instructor – they’re always happy to do so!

Know When To Ask For Help

The only thing as important as your pilot theory exam preparation is taking a break… from your pilot theory exam preparation. Even whilst you’re having a day off, your mind will still have flight training concepts and lessons lurking in the background. Switching off from them occasionally can help you switch them on when you need to. A fresh mind is a productive mind.

Similarly, you should be aiming to study in structured pieces of time. This is somewhat dependent on the topic you’re working on and your personal attention span. If you’re finding that after 45 minutes you’re struggling to focus, it’s time to make a cup of tea and walk outside for a moment, before getting back into the books.

How Much Study Is Enough?

There is passing your exams and really passing your exams. The best pilots always aim for the latter.

There is no minimum or maximum amount of study that is required, it’s simply the amount of time that it takes you to achieve the best that you can. Below are some indicative study time commitments that have been reported amongst some of our students. Again, this isn’t a requirement but it can help give you an indication as to what time commitments you should make if you want to become an exceptional pilot. Ultimately you will need to study for the amount of time that it takes you to achieve the level of preparation that you are comfortable with.

RPL exams – Most people pass with 26 to 50 hours of exam preparation and revision.

  1. PPL Exam – Think in terms of 50 to 75 hours for class, tuition, home study and general reading for each exam.

CPL Exams – Many students report around 75 to 100 hours of class, tuition, home study and general reading for each exam.

ATPL Exam – 50 – 75 hours per subject.

ATPL Flight Planning exam – 55 – 80 hours.

How Much Study Is Enough?

Everyone can excel or struggle with different exams, strengths and weaknesses. Having said that, the exams that take more time and preparation amongst the majority of students are:

1. CPL Performance


3. CPL Meteorology

4. PPL

5. CPL Aircraft General Knowledge

The first two exams are particularly reported as needing more preparation – but with focus and support, you can pass!

Exam Day

Once exam day arrives, there’s only so much you can do – you’ve already done the hard work. Here’s what you should focus on:

  1. 1. Get a good night’s rest.
  2. 2. Have your exam materials ready to go the night before, so that all you need to do is show up.
  3. 3. Eat well and stay hydrated before the exam.
  4. 4. Read each question twice to ensure you understand and look for common traps.
  5. 5. Mark any questions that you might stumble on. Finish everything else, then focus on the tough ones.
  6. 6. Check all of your questions and answers to watch for basic errors.
  7. 7. Don’t be tempted to leave early. Keep checking your work and attempting every question.
  8. 8. When the exam time is over, go and do something fun to get your mind off it. It’s done. Now it’s time to wait and see!

What Else Should I Know?

We’ve compiled a few useful posts that might help you out. Where ever you are on your flight training journey, the team at Learn To Fly Melbourne are here to help. We want you to pass your exams and have an excellent career, so please reach out if we can help support you through your course and studies!

Tips On How To Pass Pilot Theory Exams
Here we give you the scoop on what to expect and provide some tips on how to pass pilot theory exams.

  1. Aviation Schools in Melbourne: Why Learn to Fly is Your Best Bet
    The aviation school you choose will make a big difference in your flight training journey. Here’s why you should learn with the best!
  2. Flight Schools in Australia – How Do I Choose the Right One?
    Here is a breakdown of what kinds of schools are available, and how the different environments can affect what your learning experience will be like. 

Learn To Fly: Flight Training Courses For Every Pilot
We have every aviation course you need, including recreational or commercial. This post discusses the pathways and career options for pilots operating in Australia.

Training Beyond The Private Pilot Licence (PPL)
After completing your Private Pilot Licence you might wonder, “what’s next?” As strange as it may sound, many pilots are still keen to do more training after achieving their initial goals. Realistically, if you want to fly regularly or as a job, learning is ongoing. Let’s take a look at training beyond the Private Pilot Licence.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Pilot Licence
This post will help you get the most out of your pilot licence in easy steps.

Chat with one of our flight training specialists to get your pilot training off the ground. Email [email protected] or go to https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.


How Do I Undertake Flight Training More Efficiently?

At $6 – 8 per minute in the aircraft, aviation training can seem expensive. There are a number of ways to save on money, and here’s we’ll focus on training efficiency. Training efficiency means two things. Firstly, you save money. Secondly, it means you can sooner achieve competency and minimum course requirements – which means you save time! For your entire aviation journey, recreational or professional, it’s important to ensure you’re getting the most out of your money.

So, let’s answer a question – how do I undertake my flight training more efficiently?

Preparation Is Key

When you’re in the cockpit and paying by the minute, you can make every second count by preparing for the lesson. On YouTube alone, there are video explanations and tutorials for almost every facet of flying. If you speak with a student who completed their course 10 or 20 years ago, they’ll tell you that the volume of educational content available to you today far outweighs what was available to them. If you’re unsure about a topic, such as how lift is generated, a brief Google search will provide you with a clear explanation at your fingertips.

To help our students train more efficiently, we have created free aviation training videos in English and Cantonese on our YouTube Channel – check it out!

Lesson Video Briefings

For our Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) and Private Pilot Licence (PPL) students, Learn To Fly provides a video briefing before each lesson. The briefing gives them an understanding and expectation of what they will be doing in the lesson, prior to their arrival at Learn To Fly.

For example, if they are going to undertake a Climbing and Descending lesson, they need to understand why the aircraft can climb and descend, and what they need to do in the aircraft during climbs and descents. By watching the video briefings and searching through learning content, they have more time to prepare for the lesson and absorb the information. This also means that there’s less to try to absorb and understand on the day, which means they can focus on the tasks at hand.

By focusing on the tasks at hand, they can learn and master skills more efficiently. If you think about it, anything you can learn outside of paid time (classroom or cockpit) means you save time and money during your lessons!

Video Tutorials

In addition to coursework and curriculum-based content, we also cover other video topics to help you with efficiency with your experiences in and around Learn To Fly. For example, we have videos that discuss and present the Moorabbin Airport Inbound and Outbound procedures, how to refuel the aircraft – we even have videos showing how to conduct a pre-flight check for every aircraft in our fleet!

Online Theory Courses

In addition to our video tutorials and lesson briefings, we have more in-depth course information in our Online Theory Courses. These are online aviation training courses we have tailored towards students who are completing training for their RPL, PPL, CPL and Instrument Rating.

We understand that it’s hard to make the time for theory and training each week, particularly those with commitments such as a full-time job. So, we have created the Online Theory Courses to allow students to focus on their theory lessons anytime, anywhere!

What Else Can Help Me With My Aviation Training, Managing Costs and Efficiency?

We’re glad you asked! Depending on your aviation goals, there are lots of considerations – but we have produced a number of easy-to-read tutorials to walk you through these options and considerations. Here are some other topics that are worth exploring to help you out. As always, you can reach out to us anytime at Learn To Fly – we’re here to help!

  1. The Benefits of Online Flight Training Courses
    Read about saving by completing your aviation theory online.

  2. Split Your Flight Training Costs into Interest-Free Instalments from Learn To Fly and SplitIt
    Balancing the financial aspect of studying can be a big task. Here, we’ll talk you through an interest-free option to assist with your education.

  3. Aviation Schools in Melbourne: Why Learn to Fly is Your Best Bet
    The aviation school you choose will make a big difference to your aviation journey. Here’s why you should learn with the best!
  4. Learn To Fly: Flight Training Courses For Every Pilot
    Whether you’re looking at recreational or commercial aviation, we have a course for you. Here are the pathways and career options for pilots operating in Australia.

Top Tips to Prepare You for Solo Flight Training
We cover the best advice to get you solo – read on for everything you need to know!

Chat to one of our flight training specialists to get your pilot training off the ground. Email [email protected] or go to https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.


Upcoming Learn To Fly Events

Learn To Fly enjoys being involved in the wider aviation community. Throughout the year we participate in or host a range of events.

Learn To Fly In-Person One-On-One Training Consultations HK & Singapore 2023

📆 Singapore 27th JAN – 1st FEB 2023
🕙 11am to 7pm
📍 Level 11, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1, 8 Marina Blvd, 018981, Singapore

📆 Hong Kong 3rd FEB – 8th FEB 2023
🕙 11am to 7pm
📍 Level 19, Two Chinachem Central, No. 26 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong

Come along and learn about flight training at our 2023 Learn To Fly In-Person One-On-One Training Consultations in Hong Kong & Singapore and meet one of our flight school representatives.

We have 1 hour sessions available from 11am to 7pm. Click the link below to reserve your spot:

Book Hong Kong Face-to-Face Meeting

Book Singapore Face-to-Face Meeting



Past Recent Events:

Learn To Fly Melbourne Open Day | Melbourne Australia | OCT 2022

Seminar: How To Become an Airline Pilot in Singapore in 2022 | Singapore | Oct 1st 2022

In-Person 1-on-1 Flight Training Consultations | Hong Kong | Sept 22-27th 2022

Webinar: Applying for the Cathay Cadet Pilot Program in 2022 | Sept 20th 2022

📆 Stay tuned to our social media for free flight training content, flight school life, and future event announcements at https://linktr.ee/learntoflymelbourne

If you would like to find out more about learning to fly, 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.


How Do I Pay For My CPL Flight Training?

If a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) is your aviation goal, you might be sitting there wondering ‘how do I pay for my CPL flight training?’. In the last article, we covered the flight training cost options for RPL and PPL, but here in ‘Part 2 – CPL’ we’ll answer your question with options on how to pay for your Commercial Pilot Licence. Here goes!

How Much Will My CPL Cost?

You should be thinking in terms of around AUD$80,000 for your Commercial Pilot Licence.

Is ‘There A Buy Now, Pay Later; option?

In Part 1 where we looked at RPL and PPL payment options, we explored the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ model where Learn To Fly has partnered with Splitit to provide financial flexibility. This means students can spread payments over multiple months, without incurring interest. The limit on the Splitit option is AUD$20,000, so it won’t cover the full cost of your CPL training. That being said, there is another way of paying for your CPL flight training through the VET Student Loans program.

Paying with a VET Student Loan

Vet Student Loans (VSL) is an Australian Commonwealth Government loan program that provides eligible full fee paying students with assistance in paying their tuition fees for approved courses of study. This allows students to obtain qualifications, and then gradually repay the loan over time whilst working in their chosen career. Read more about it, here.

As Learn To Fly Melbourne is an approved VET Student Loans provider, we offer VET Student loans for all our Diploma programs. We do this with the goal of enabling financial assistance to prospective pilots – like you! Our Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) covers all of the training that you need to complete your CPL.

What Other Training Can I Do Under VSL?

The limit of a VET Student Loan is $83,949 (2023) for one approved course, or $162,336 (2023) in total if you are completing more than one eligible AVI course. For example, you could complete your Commercial Pilot Licence (AVI50222 Diploma Of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane)) and you could also complete your Instrument Rating (AVI50519 Diploma Of Aviation (Instrument Rating)).

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 an airline pilot. The syllabus offers Multi-Engine Class Rating and Multi-Engine Instrument Command Rating (MECIR) training, which is completed in both simulators and real aircraft.

How Do I Check My Eligibility For a VET Student Loan?

To be eligible for a VET Student Loan, you must:

  • – Be an Australian Citizen or
  • – A New Zealand Citizen with a Special Category Visa (SCV) or
  • – A Permanent Humanitarian Visa holder who will be residing in Australia for the duration of the – course
  • – Be studying a VET Student Loans eligible course
  • – Meet student entry procedure requirements
  • – Meet Tax File Number requirements
  • – Present Unique Student Identifier (USI) number
  • – Have not exceeded your HELP loan limit
  • – Have not exceeded the VET Student Loans course cap
  • – Submit a request for a VET Student Loan via the Government’s eCAF System (including all required information) on or before the first census date and no less than two (2) business days after enrolling
  • – Confirm engagement and progression to continue to access the loan throughout the course

You can assess your eligibility using the eligibility tool, here.

What Else Is Worth Consideration?

As well as the financial implications, it’s important to make sure you’re well-informed before you undertake your CPL flight training. Here are some other topics that are worth exploring to help you achieve your aviation goals:

  1. FAQs About Obtaining Your Commercial Pilot Licence
    Find answers to the most commonly asked questions from former CPL students.

  2. The Benefits of Online Flight Training Courses
    Read about saving by completing your aviation theory online.

  3. Flight Schools in Australia – How Do I Choose the Right One?
    Make sure you’re choosing the best flight school to achieve your aviation dreams.

  4. Aspiring Career Pilots – Here’s Why You need a Diploma of Aviation
    If you’re looking to fly commercially, this is a great place to learn about course options.
  5. How to Become an Airline Pilot in Australia
    Understand the pathways and career options for commercial pilots operating in Australia.

Chat to one of our flight training specialists to get your pilot training off the ground. Email [email protected] or go to https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.


How Do I Pay For My RPL and PPL Flight Training?

It’s always the big question for future pilots – how do I pay for my flight training? In this article, we’ll cover RPL (Recreational Pilot Licence) and PPL (Private Pilot Licence). If you’d like to know about CPL (Commercial Pilot Licence), then stay tuned for Part 2!

Flight Training Costs and Factors

If you’re in the planning phases for your flight training, it’s really important to know and understand the costs and affordability of flight training and pilot licences. First and foremost, your type of pilot licence is the first factor in the cost. This means it’s important to know what pilot licence you are aiming to achieve and what your goal is. Your goal options are RPL, PPL or CPL. Let’s take a look at some costs:

  1. Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) will cost around AUD$13,000 – $15,000.
  2. Private Pilot Licence (PPL) will cost AUD$30,000 – $33,000.
  3. Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) will cost around AUD$80,000. We’ll cover this one in our next article.

Keep in mind that this pricing is a simple reference guide. Considerations that can influence the price include the aircraft you choose to train in, the school you fly with and also your own training performance. You might check off training elements within the minimum hours required, but sometimes you might require additional hours to master a certain aspect of aviation – it is all competency-based.  

If your goal is to fly for fun, then an RPL or a PPL are great options. But what if you don’t have $15,000 for RPL or $30,000 for PPL – what do you do? The good news is there are a few options to provide you with flexibility so that you have answers to ‘how do I pay for my flight training’?

Option 1:  Pay As You Go

This is a common option because it’s very convenient. If you have a full-time job and other commitments, it might mean you can train once every week or fortnight. This means your training gets spread out a bit, which can help your cash flow. Rather than paying for your RPL or PPL up-front, you can pay for lessons and training as you complete them. This means you might be paying less than AUD$1,000 per month, which makes the cost much more affordable.

Option 2: Fly Now, Pay Later

Perhaps you have the time to train more frequently, but you don’t have AUD$15,000 or $30,000 available to pay up-front. We have a ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) option that means you can pay for your training in bite-sized instalments. To offer this option, we have partnered with Splitit. Splitit will cover up to AUD$20,000 of your flight training.

What is Splitit?

You can choose SplitIt as the payment method, and split the total cost into 2- 6 equal instalments.

You will need to have enough credit available on your credit card (or have that total available on multiple cards). Splitit is our partnered ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) solution provider. They let customers split payments into manageable portions using VISA or Mastercard – without paying interest.

SplitIt is a bit different to other BNPL providers in that they use your existing VISA or Mastercard credit card levels to cover payments. This means that you don’t need to be pre-approved for a line of credit in order to split your flight training into smaller portions.

For example, you can arrange a ‘buy now, pay later’ option for an RPL Sling Aircraft Training Package, which totals $12,395. This would be portioned into 4 x monthly instalments of $3,099. If you have one month’s holiday and want to complete more training during that month, you can pay for your training via Splitit, train as much as you want, and then pay them later.

It’s a great option for spreading out the cost, without incurring interest. Read more about this option here.

What Else Is Worth Consideration?

We’ve produced a number of blogs to help make flight training understandable and accessible. Here are some other topics that are worth exploring to help you achieve your aviation goals:

  1. The Benefits of Online Flight Training Courses
    Read about saving on training costs by completing your aviation theory online.

    Flight Schools in Australia – How Do I Choose the Right One?
    Make sure you’re choosing the best flight school to achieve your aviation dreams.
  2. Get a Feel for Flying with a Trial Introductory Flight
    A trial flight is the best place to start if you’re unsure. This means you can jump into an aircraft with an instructor and make an informed decision about your options. It’s a great option before you commit to ongoing training!

    FAQs About Obtaining Your Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)
    If your goal is to gain your RPL, then this is a great article to answer the most common questions asked by former RPL students.
  3. What is the Difference Between RPL and PPL?
    Understand the difference between a Recreational Pilot Licence and a Private Pilot Licence, to help make a decision about what is best for you.

To find out more about how to pay for your flight training, or to find out about our flight training courses, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

You can get more pilot flying tips by subscribing to our YouTube channel. We have RPL/PPL flying lessons, aircraft pre-flight check videos, and more. Click the button below to subscribe!


Split Your Flight Training Costs into Interest-Free Instalments from Learn To Fly and SplitIt

Want to make learning to fly more affordable? Split your flight training costs with interest-free instalment payments at Learn To Fly!

Flight training can be an expensive process, especially if you are looking to obtain a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) and make flying your career. At Learn To Fly, we are committed to making flight training more affordable and accessible to more people. This is why we have introduced SplitIt, which allows you to split your flight training costs over multiple interest-free payments.

What Is Splitit?

SplitIt is a buy now, pay later solution that lets customers split their payments into manageable parts using a Visa or Mastercard, without paying interest.

Unlike another buy now pay later providers, SplitIt uses your existing Visa or Mastercard credit card levels to cover payments. This means you don’t need to be pre-approved for a line of credit in order to split your flight training costs.

How Do I Use SplitIt?

SplitIt allows you to split your flight training costs for courses that cost between $3,000AUD and $20,000AUD. The following instalment options are available based on the cost of the course:

Course PriceNo. of Instalments
$3,000 – $6,0002 Instalments
$6,001 – $10,000Up to 3 Instalments
$10,001 – $14,000Up to 4 Instalments
$14,001 – $17,000Up to 5 Instalments
$17,001 – $20,000Up to 6 Instalments

If you are making your purchase online via our online store, you can simply select SplitIt as the payment option and you will be prompted to enter the relevant details.

If your course is not available on the website, or you are confirming your enrolment directly through a Learn To Fly staff member, then we are able to set up SplitIt manually for you.

Since SplitIt does not use a pre-approved credit process, you will need to have the entire purchase amount available on your nominated credit cards at the time of purchase. You can choose to nominate more than one different credit card as well if you do not have the total amount available on the one card.

You will pay the first instalment, and then each instalment will be deducted on designated monthly dates.

There is no need to “sign up” to SplitIt. At the point of sale, you will be given login details to the SplitIt portal using your email address, and you can track your instalments through there.

Example – Using SplitIt To Split Your RPL Flight Training Costs

You want to complete the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) course in a Diamond DA40 aircraft. The total course cost is $15,700.

  1. You can choose SplitIt as the payment method, and split the total cost into 8 equal instalments.
  2. You will need to have $15,700 available on your credit card (or have that total available on multiple cards)
  3. Your first payment will be only $3,140 ($15,700 divided by 5 and rounded up)
  4. You will then pay $3,140 per month on the designated date until the total payment has been made

I think you will agree that being able to split your flight training costs into $3,140 per month is much more manageable than paying $15,700 upfront!

Flight Training Student

How Much Does SplitIt Cost To Use?

Using SplitIt to split your flight training costs is absolutely free. There are no sign-up fees, and payments are 100% interest-free. SplitIt charges a merchant fee for each instalment, but Learn To Fly will cover that cost.

Whilst SplitIt only requires that you have the entire purchase amount available on your chosen credit card at the time of purchase, you do need to ensure that you have the instalment amount available from then on. If you do not, then the instalment may overdraw your account and result in fees from your bank.

To find out more about how to split your flight training costs with SplitIt, or to find out about our flight training courses, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.


Becoming an Airline Pilot in Hong Kong in 2023 – Part 2 – Cathay Direct Entry Officer

Welcome to Part 2 where we cover Cathay Pacific Direct Entry! In Part 1 of ‘Becoming an Airline Pilot in Hong Kong in 2023 – Cathay Cadet Pilot’, we introduced you to the Cathay Cadet Pilot Programme. Now we will look at Direct Entry into an airline pilot career with Cathay Pacific.

Direct Entry First Officer, Direct Entry Second Officer

The Cadet Pilot Programme is offered to students with little or no flying experience. Cathay Pacific also recruits pilots as Direct Entry First Officers and Second officers. The requirements for both of these pilot careers can be found here. Read on and we’ll tell you all about it!

Cathay Pacific’s Perfect Opportunity

For some students, the Cathay Pacific Cadet Pilot Programme has an interview process that proves quite difficult. Students who don’t perform well under the interview conditions won’t be offered a position within the programme. If this sounds like you, there’s no need to panic! These two direct-entry pilot positions provide these students with the perfect opportunity to prove themselves.

What Are the Benefits as a First Officer or Second Officer?

Glad you asked! At present (July 2022 data), the target annual salary is based on achieving target annual block hours, a total of HKD 837,000 and a Monthly Allowance of HKD 20,000 for a First Officer. For a Second Officer, you’ll receive all of the above with a remuneration package of HKD 546,000 and a monthly allowance of HKD 14,000. First Offers and Second Officers receive a list of other benefits in addition to their remuneration package, listed below.

  • 28 Days of annual leave;
  • Discounted Travel for you and eligible dependents;
  • Medical Coverage for you and eligible dependents;
  • Global Children’s Education Allowance (for eligible officers);
  • Discretionary Year-End Bonus and Profit Share Payment for eligible officers;
  • Company Contribution to a pension scheme; and
  • – A Typical Hong Kong Tax Rate at around 17%.
How Do I Apply for Direct Entry to Cathay Pacific?

The best objective is to fulfil the requirements for both the Direct Entry positions. Second to this, you should look to exceed the minimum requirements where possible. That will make you more appealing for direct entry! Let’s run through these requirements and what you can do to be a high achiever.

Step 1: CPL with MECIR

The first step you’ll need to take is self-studying your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). Within this process, you should gain your Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR) and complete your ATPL theory. This will typically take 18 – 24 months to complete.

Step 2: Increase Your Hours

Whilst Cathay Pacific only requires a minimum of 250 flying hours for Direct Entry Second Officer, the success rate of pilots with 500 hours is higher – they’re simply more experienced. For a First Officer, Cathay Pacific requires a minimum of 1,500 hours (with a preference for 3,000 hours). As a CPL holder, you will be qualified to work as a General Aviation (GA) pilot and accumulate your flying hours.

Great News!

There is great news for this, too – there are plenty of job opportunities in Australia for Hong Kong citizens! Hong Kong citizens can apply for the Working Holiday Visa to work legally in Australia. The Hong Kong/Australia Working Holiday Scheme has no quota restriction for Hong Kong youths travelling to Australia under the Scheme.

You can learn more about the Working Holiday Visa in Australia here.

Step 3: Gain Endorsements and Experience

The more ratings and endorsements you have, the more job opportunities will become available to you. One of the most obvious endorsements is your Flight Instructor Rating (FIR). An FIR will allow you to work as a Flight Instructor, which opens up a variety of job opportunities around Australia. That’s just the start!

If you’d like to view different types of jobs currently available, have a look at the Australian Federation of Air Pilots website. There are plenty of aviation opportunities that will help to increase your hours!

Step 4: Check You’ve Completed All Requirements

Check you’re eligibility for an HK ATPL on conversion (according to DCA607). On top of that, you’ll need a valid Class 1 Medical Certificate, ICAO English Language Proficiency (Level 4 or higher) and your COVID-19 vaccination certificate. You’ll receive priority consideration if you’re a Hong Kong permanent resident, too.

Step 5: Apply!

Finally, you’ve landed a job and you’re getting paid to gain all of those flying hours. Moreover, you can start your application for the Direct Entry Positions into Cathay Pacific. The application process starts here.

Learn To Fly Can Help You Brush Up on Those Interview Skills

Our Learn To Fly Airline Interview Coaching Sessions are designed for students like you! These sessions will help you be your best for the Cadet Programme or Direct Entry. You’ll have the choice of face-to-face or live online, with the time to support your learning and development to help you nail that interview.

Need a Bit More Help?

Schedule a meeting with us or get in contact, and one of our flight training specialists can answer your questions. The aviation industry needs pilots, which makes it a very exciting time for pilots who want to fly for Cathay! The time to start preparing is NOW!

Our social media offers free flight training videos and much more! Follow us at https://linktr.ee/learntoflymelbourne


Aviation Schools in Melbourne: Why Learn to Fly is Your Best Bet

Every year, dozens of new pilots graduate from aviation schools in Australia. With the proper training and guidance, you could be one of them. The only question is: how to become a commercial pilot?

Multiple aviation schools in Melbourne offer training for commercial and private pilots, air traffic controllers, and ground crew personnel. It’s about finding the program that fits your budget and learning style.

If you’re looking for the best way to learn how to become a pilot in Australia, we recommend taking advantage of our free guide—where we’ll walk you through Melbourne’s best flying school ‘Learn To Fly’ to get your pilot’s licence in Australia!

Why Choose Learn to Fly?

The aviation industry offers some of the most exciting and rewarding careers. It’s not just flying but taking charge of your future, building a career you love, and travelling the world. ‘Learn To Fly’ offers a range of courses to help you. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a pilot just looking to improve your skills, we can help.

That’s right—there are more options than ever for aspiring pilots who want to become pilots in Australia. Whether you’re looking for a full-time or online certification course, there are plenty of reasons to get started on your career path as a professional pilot today with Learn to Fly!

Here are just some of them:

Safety First Training

The first and most important thing when it comes to learning how to fly is safety. Flying is a dangerous activity, and therefore you must have the right training and instruction before getting into a plane and taking off. At Learn To Fly, we focus on providing only the highest quality training for our students and ensuring they can get their licences as fast as possible without compromising safety. We are continually working to improve the efficacy of our preventative measures, which is why we have undertaken these actions to establish various rules and procedures about solo operations.

Highly Qualified Instructors

Another reason Learn To Fly is one of the best providers of flying lessons in Australia is that we employ highly qualified instructors with years of experience teaching people how to fly, including commercial pilots, private pilots, military pilots, and even glider pilots! This means that not only will you get excellent instruction from someone who knows what they’re doing but also knows exactly what it takes to become a pilot.

A Wide Range of Aircrafts Available to Use For Training

For most of our flight training programs, students can choose from various aircraft in Learn To Fly’s extensive inventory. With both single- and twin-engine Diamond DA40s and DA42s in our inventory, we are the only flying school in Victoria to offer instruction in modern glass cockpit aircraft.

We run the most extensive fleet of Sling 2s in Australia, so you can trust that you’ll be in good hands. Every one of our aircraft undergoes meticulous maintenance following our various safety protocols. Next to the leading training site, we have our very own maintenance hangar.

Affordable Prices

One of the most significant barriers for people who want to learn how to fly is cost – tuition fees at most schools start around $40,000 per year and go up from there! But at Learn To Fly Australia, we offer affordable lessons that fit various budgets. Our introductory flights start at $1415! You can try out a lesson before committing.

We offer great rates on training packages, as well as flexible payment options so you can get started without breaking the bank.

The Employing of a Responsible Flight Instructor

To go solo, a learner must first receive many recommendations from their teacher attesting to their competence. The student’s regular teacher will ensure this, but the stage check instructor will double-check everything before the student’s first solo. This is when the Flight Instructor comes in once the time has been set for the student’s solo flight.

Our flight instructors are highly qualified pilots with thousands of flying hours under their belts who examine flight plans, verify the weather, and inspect risk assessments. Furthermore, they perform the role of ground teachers by keeping an eye on the student’s route while in the air to ensure everything is going according to plan. 

The flight instructor maintains touch with ATC during the flight, enabling timely transmission of any necessary messages to the pilot. The solo flyer can be called back to base if the instructor notices anything that could cause concern.

At Learn to Fly, one of the leading aviation schools in Melbourne, we have helped hundreds of aspiring pilots get their pilot licences in Australia and get started on their aviation careers. You can be next! Simply get in touch with us for more information on how to apply.

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