“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.
There are many pathways to becoming a fully qualified pilot. There are also plenty of different types of pilots. Therefore, the qualification you choose to pursue — be it a Recreational Pilot Licence or a Diploma of Aviation — really comes down to what your long-term aviation goals are and the amount of time you have to dedicate to your dreams.
Here at Learn to Fly, we think there’s no better job than that of a pilot. Imagine getting paid to explore the skies. Your office is the clouds, your desk chair is the cockpit, not to mention your office view! Now, let’s find out about what qualifications different pilot types need.
Types of pilots
Not all pilots are qualified to control all types of aircraft. Several classifications dictate the type of plane you can fly, how far you can venture from your departure point, and the conditions you are able to fly in.
Firstly, let’s look at the simplest pathway to earning the title of ‘pilot.’
A Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) is the first step in the journey for any pilot. If your main goal is to just get up into the air and experience the sensation of being in control of a small light plane, the Recreational Pilot Licence is for you. This licence is the most basic licence, and RPL holders must stay within 25 nautical miles of their departure aerodrome.
Next in the progression of pilot classifications, we have the Private Pilot Licence (PPL). The PPL builds on skills learned during RPL training, and then adds navigation. The PPL qualification enables you to both plan and conduct flights anywhere in Australia.
Finally, there is the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), ideal for those who dream of becoming a professional pilot. Having obtained your CPL, you will be able to pursue a number of different pilot career paths. These include airline pilot, cargo pilot, agricultural pilot, flight instructor, as well as many others.
I want to become a full-time pilot: what do I need to do?
To fly professionally you will need a CPL. One of the best ways to get your CPL and fulfil your dream of becoming a full-time pilot is with a Diploma of Aviation course.
The course is run at Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne and takes approximately 60 weeks of full-time study. This includes flight training hours, hours in our state-of-the-art full cockpit flight simulators, and onsite theory classes. Students must be at least 18 years old, meet English language standards, and have passed an aviation medical exam.
Learn to Fly is one of Australia’s leading flight schools. We offer a broad range of courses to meet the needs of every type of aviation student. We are passionate about making flight training affordable and accessible with modern aircraft, state-of-the-art facilities, and highly experienced flight instructors.
Our instructors train everyone from hobbyists to professional pilots:
– Flexible course options to ensure everyone can achieve their aviation aspirations – Realistic pathways allowing students to achieve their flying goals. – Diverse international student base – Student accommodation facilities located just 15 minutes from our Moorabbin Airport training base
For more information about our Diploma of Aviation courses as well as information on how to enrol, contact our Learn to Fly flight training specialists today.
Are you thinking of learning to fly? Regardless of your final goal, it’s important to do your research before you start. There are questions you should ask yourself before looking at flying schools. And then, when you are looking at flying schools, it’s important to know what to look for. In this blog, we’ve put together some handy information to make doing your research easier. Here’s what you need to know.
What is my reason for wanting to learn to fly?
If you are thinking of learning to fly, the first thing to consider is why you are doing it. What is your goal? Are you wanting to simply experience flying, or maybe experience solo flight? Do you want to fly for a career, or fly for fun? If you are flying for fun, how far do you want to fly?
The answer to these questions will help you choose the right course pathway. Also, it will help you choose between flying schools.
If you want to fly for fun but aren’t 100% sure if you’ll like it, you can look at a beginner course. Our beginner courses include the Learn To Fly Starter Set and Learn To Fly First Solo Flight Course. Beginner courses introduce you to flying, without the commitment of a full pilot licence course. Any training you do in a beginner course will be counted if you do decide to continue your training.
Should I do a TIF (Trial Instructional Flight) first?
Regardless of your ultimate goal in learning to fly, a TIF (Trial Instructional Flight) is a great first step. A TIF is a short flying experience, often 30 or 60mins in duration. It allows you to take the controls of an aircraft under the guidance of an instructor.
This is great for people wanting to know what it feels like to control an aircraft. You can then decide if you want to continue your training with a beginner or pilot licence course. It can also be handy for pilots that might have already flown, but want to see what flying a different aircraft type is like.
How do I choose between flying schools?
There are many flying schools out there, especially in a large city like Melbourne. Choosing the right one is very important, and could be the difference between your failure and success as a pilot. It will also impact how much you enjoy your flying lessons.
So, how do you choose? Here are some key things to look for when considering flying schools:
1. Convenient location 2. Wide range of courses 3. A range of aircraft to choose from 4. Experienced instructors, including Grade 1 instructors 5. Good facilities, including simulators 6. Flexible training options (on-site and distance/online learning) 7. A range of payment options
There are a few things to consider when choosing which aircraft to fly. There are traditional aircraft like the Cessna 172 or more modern aircraft like the Sling 2 LSA or Diamond DA40.
Traditional aircraft are generally older and have analogue controls/avionics. Modern aircraft are usually fitted out with glass cockpit avionics, which means they include an electronic flight system like the Garmin G1000.
Aircraft availability is worth considering when learning to fly, both during your training and after your training is complete. The aircraft cost is also a factor, as the overall pilot course cost will depend on the cost of the aircraft.
The answer to “how much does pilot training cost” obviously depends on the course you are doing. However, there are other factors to consider as well.
The pilot course cost is generally dictated by the length of the course and therefore how many flying lesson hours there are. Also though, different aircraft cost different amounts to fly and maintain. So, the aircraft you choose will also have an impact on the pilot course cost.
A good flight school will offer payment options. The majority of our courses offer the option to purchase a course package or “pay as you fly”. A course package covers the entire course and has most of your required expenses included. The pay as you fly option is as it sounds – you pay for each flying lesson, theory lesson or exam as you progress.
Many of our course packages can be paid for in interest free instalments via SplitIt. This allows you to split the pilot course cost over monthly payments. Click here to read more about SplitIt.
What are the pilot prerequisites for learning to fly?
Before you start learning to fly, there are pilot prerequisites that you need to meet. These depend on what course you are doing. For example, a pilot licence course will require that you get an Aviation Reference Number (ARN), complete an aviation medical check and meet English proficiency standards.
Age is another consideration. Whilst technically there is no minimum age to attend a flying lesson, you must be at least 15 to fly solo. You must be at least 15 to obtain a Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC), 16 to obtain your Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), 17 to obtain a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), and 18 to obtain a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).
There are no set pilot prerequisites for a TIF (Trial Instructional Flight or Trial Introductory Flight), but there are recommendations to consider, such as your general health.
Are there differences in pilot licences in Australia to pilot licences overseas?
The structure of pilot licences overseas compared to Australia is quite similar. You may however find some differences in the exact names or the terminology. This is something to keep an eye out for when researching about learning to fly in Australia.
The USA, for example, has both a Sport Pilot and Recreational Pilot Certificate or License, and these are comparable to Australia’s Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), but with some differences. The USA also has the Private Pilot License and Commercial Pilot License which are again very similar to their Australian PPL and CPL. You may find that overseas licences are called “Certificates” in some countries.
Another note on terminology. Pilot licences in Australia are spelt with a “c” rather than “s” like overseas. For example, Commercial Pilot License in the USA, and Commercial Pilot Licence in Australia.
Want to find out more about learning to fly? Get in touch by email to [email protected] or schedule a meeting and school tour at https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting today! Don’t forget to click the button below and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have a great range of flight training content, as well as free RPL/PPL flying lesson videos!
If you’ve never flown a plane before, the idea of being the person in control of the cockpit might seem like a far off dream. Pilots are cool, calm, and collected — it can seem like they were born to take to the skies. In reality, they’ve just spent a lot of time training and have the confidence, skills, and knowledge to take on any and all situations. Anybody new to flying will have a lot questions about flight training.
Before even signing up to flight training in Australia, it pays to do your research. The pathway to achieving your goal can be quite different depending on what that goal is. Here at Learn to Fly, we’ve helped countless people with a range of different goals fulfil their dream of taking to the skies.
Whatever your aviation aspirations are, Learn to Fly is here to help. Here, we answer some of the most common questions about flight training. If, after reading this article, you still have any questions, you can always get in touch with one of our flight training specialists.
How old do I have to be to fly?
This is by far one of the most common questions that people ask. Here at Learn to Fly, we’re proud to offer a full range of flight packages and experiences designed to help people of all ages achieve their dreams.
As per regulations set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), you must be at least 15 to fly an aircraft solo. You can commence flight training prior to this, but until you are 15 you will always need to fly with an instructor. You need to be 16 to obtain a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), 17 to obtain a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), and 18 to obtain a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).
If you are younger than 15, our Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) is the perfect opportunity to experience what it is like to fly a plane before deciding on whether you want to commit to further training. We also offer a range of simulation packages, which provide an enjoyable, realistic experience for all ages.
What are the steps to becoming a professional pilot?
This is one of the most common questions about flight training. To fly professionally, you will need to obtain your CPL. To start on CPL training you must first have completed and obtained your RPL and PPL.
For pilots who are yet to start any training, a great option is the AVI50219 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) course. This course includes RPL, PPL and CPL training as well as additional learning aimed at better preparing pilots for entering the industry once they graduate. This course is also approved for VET Student Loans (VSL) for eligible students. This means that you can train now, and only need to start paying back your course fees once you are earning money.
Once you have obtained your CPL, you are able to work professionally as a pilot. Depending on what kind of pilot role you want to work in, it may be of benefit to complete further training, like an Instrument Rating for example.
Learn To Fly has a range of additional Rating and Endorsement courses that allow you to upskill and give yourself the best chance at landing your dream pilot job.
Are there any prerequisites I must meet to fly?
As mentioned, CASA has a minimum age limit on who can undertake solo flights. There are a number of other prerequisites that must be met before completing flight training in Australia. These include a medical check, security clearance, Aviation English Language Proficiency (AELP) test, and registering for an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) with CASA.
You can contact Learn to Fly if you have any questions about how to meet the requirements to fly.
What aviation careers are available to me?
Many people become pilots with the dream of flying for an international airline, but that is not the only option. In reality, there are actually a wide range of career paths that pilots can choose from. You might choose to ferry cargo from one airport to another. Perhaps you’re interested in pursuing a career in the medical aviation industry, which is a very worthy endeavour. There are also always openings for agricultural pilots.
One of the best pilot career options is to become a Flight Instructor. Becoming a Flight Instructor is a rewarding career path on its own. In addition, it can be a fantastic stepping stone to another role, as it allows you to build flying hours and experience while you earn money.
Learn to Fly is passionate about helping all our students achieve their dreams, while also opening up doors that you may not have previously considered.
How much does flight training cost?
The answer to this question depends on a number of different factors. The cost of a course will depend largely on the number of flying hours it requires. Aircraft choice is another factor in determining how much training will cost.
If you are an international student, you will need to factor in the cost of your student visa plus living in Australia on top of your course fees.
Learn To Fly offers a range of payment options on our courses. We offer inclusive flight packages to give you a better indication of the overall cost upfront, and many of these can be split into interest-free monthly instalments. There is also the option to “pay as you fly”. Our Diploma courses have been approved for VET Student Loans (VSL) for eligible students.
We are dedicated to making flight training in Australia accessible to as many people as possible. We strive to make flight training more affordable, making it easier to achieve your dreams. Flying is a wonderful experience, and regardless of what your flying goals are, we look forward to welcoming you to our school. If you have any questions about flight training, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions alone can be quite restrictive for private pilots. Planning around light and weather heavily reduces the amount of time you can fly, especially if you are flying in a place with changeable weather like Melbourne. Having said this, there may only be a handful of situations that require instrument flying privileges, and so completing a full Instrument Rating course might not really be required. The good news is that the Private Instrument Flight Rating (also known as Private IFR or PIFR) course allows you to choose exactly which instrument flying endorsements you need.
This means that obtaining a Private IFR is far faster and less expensive than undergoing full Instrument Rating training. So, is this the right option for you? Read on to find out!
What is the difference between Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)?
Basically, VFR means that weather (and light) conditions are clear enough for you to fly and navigate entirely visually. So, you must be able to clearly see visual references on the ground. You also need to see clearly enough to avoid other obstacles in the air (including clouds).
Any conditions outside of what CASA determines to be VFR are considered to be IFR. This is because they require you to use your instruments to fly, rather than being able to fly by visual reference alone.
What is a Private Instrument Flight Rating (Private IFR)?
A Private Instrument Flying Rating authorises the holder to act as a pilot in command of flights under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) in a single-pilot aircraft with MTOW of 5700kg or less. However, in its most basic form, a Private IFR still restricts the holder to flying in VFR conditions only when flying under Lowest Safe Altitude (LSALT). So to solve this issue, there are a range of endorsements that you can add. You can base these on the type of flying you want to do, and also the aerodromes you will likely be flying to/from.
What Endorsements can you add to your Private IFR?
Endorsements allow you to conduct specific flight activities under IFR conditions including en-route navigation procedures, approach and arrival procedures, departure procedures and night flying.
En-route Navigation Endorsements
En-route navigation endorsements allow you to fly under IFR conditions using ground-based navigation aids. They include:
Instrument approaches are set procedures that allow you to approach an aerodrome under IFR conditions. They apply from the start of the approach through to either when you land or reach a point where are able to continue the landing visually. They include:
– STAR – NDB Approach (for eligible aircraft) – VOR / LLZ Approach – DME or GNSS Arrival Procedure – RNP ACHP 2D / RNAV Approach – ILS Approach
An endorsement is required to be able to take off and depart an aerodrome under IFR conditions. There are some aerodromes that have specific departure procedures though, and these are known as Standard Instrument Departure (SID) procedures. A Non-Standard Instrument Departure (NSID) Endorsement can cover IFR departures for all aerodromes that don’t have specific procedures. You will need a separate SID Endorsement for each different aerodrome that has specific procedures.
Night IFR Endorsement
A basic PIFR will only allow you to fly under IFR conditions in the situations granted by your en-route, approach and departure endorsements during daylight. So, to be able to fly at night, you will need to add a Night IFR Endorsement.
What does the LTF Private IFR course include?
A full Instrument Rating course will train you in the vast majority of the endorsement options mentioned above. But you might not need ALL of those things. Subsequently, this is where the PIFR can be a great option.
We utilise practical aircraft training as well as training in our state-of-the-art Alsim AL42 or TRC472 flight simulators. Integrating simulation allows you perfect your techniques on the ground and make the most of your time in the real aircraft.
LTF’s Standard PIFR course package includes:
– 10Hrs Dual Flight Training – 9Hrs Dual Simulation Training – Ground School and Briefings – IREX Theory Course Online Subscription – VOR/LLZ, GNSS, NDB En-route Navigation Endorsements* – RNP 2D Approach Endorsement (RNAV) – NSID (Non-standard Instrument Departure) Endorsement – 2 Approach Endorsements (STAR, NDB, VOR/LLZ, DME/GNSS, ILS)* – 1.5Hrs PIFR Flight Test Solo Hire – PIFR Flight Test Fee
The following aircraft are available from our fleet for this course:
We offer a Standard + Night PIFR package as well that includes all of the above plus a Night IFR Endorsement. We can also offer face to face IREX theory classes for those would would prefer to learn in person. In addition to this, we are able to offer packages for additional PIFR individual endorsements.
Night flying is a great skill for a pilot to have in their arsenal. A Night VFR or Night Visual Flight Rules Rating allows you to fly your aircraft at night. You do however, need other VFR weather conditions to be present.
It gives you the freedom of not being limited by time when flying cross-country. You can also take passengers flying to see the beautiful city lights of Melbourne from the sky. It’s a sight not to be missed!
Not only is flying at night exciting and thrilling, but having this skill also generally makes you a better pilot. Here’s a quick look at getting a Night VFR Rating on your pilot licence and what you should expect:
In order to successfully get a Night VFR rating, the pilot must have:
– At least 10 hours of night flight time training under a supervisor, either in an aircraft or in an approved flight simulator,
– At least 5 hours of dual cross-country night flight time training included in the above 10 hours,
– Successfully cleared the Night VFR flight test.
Why Get a Night VFR Rating
Melbourne winter days are short, with the winter solstice this year clocking just 9 hours and 53 minutes of daylight. Having a Night VFR Rating gives you the flexibility to make longer trips. This is especially handy during the short daylight hours in winter. You can start your flight before sunrise and end it late without having to cut your trip short before sunset. Furthermore, you could even end the day by taking in magnificent views of the city from the air.
Air traffic also tends to be lower in the nighttime, which means you will have a smoother, easier flight. And if you are flying on a night with a full moon, it will not be much different than flying in the day owing to all the light coming from the moon!
Finally, for pilots who aim to fly commercially, having a Night VFR rating and a significant amount of night command time is a necessity, as commercial pilots often need to fly at night. Many airlines looking for professional pilots require the pilot to have at least 100 hrs of flight time at night in order to even be considered for the position!
What to expect from Learn to Fly’s Night VFR Rating Course
Enrolment and Orientation
When signing up for our Night VFR Rating Course, you will get a Training Starter Kit. This will contain all relevant course materials. It will also contain detailed information on the processes of your course and access to shared online resources.
On the day of orientation, you will be introduced to your instructor. They will take you around the airport, airspace and our facilities. You will also get to learn about the processes Learn to Fly follows.
Night VFR Ground School
Once you have successfully settled in, the first part of the course will include some ground training and instructions. These are typically conducted in the form of theory classes where you will learn of the fundamental concepts of a Night VFR Rating. You will also learn what to expect during the actual night circuit training.
Night VFR Flight Training
In this step of the course, you will learn different landing techniques, approaches and what to do in emergency situations. You will also familiarise yourself with common navigational aids. These include NDB (non-directional beacon) and VOR (Very high-frequency omnidirectional range) as well as the use of pilot activated light (PAL) and other runway lighting equipment.
Night Solo Training
Once you have successfully mastered the last step, your instructor will determine if you are ready for your first solo night flight. The first solo flights will involve circuit flying. Once these have been mastered, you will then move on to navigation training. This form of training makes you a more independent pilot, as it involves planning and executing a number of navigational flights at night, helping you prepare for the next and final step.
Night VFR Flight Test
Approximately 3 hours in duration, the Night VFR Flight Test is conducted in a CASA approved aircraft under the supervision of a CASA approved instructor. This test will include take-off and landing as well as navigation skill assessment and the correct use of navigational aids. Finally, the test will also assess some nighttime emergency procedures and how prepared you are to handle them. Once you successfully pass this test, you then get your Night VFR Rating. Congratulations!
Why Choose Learn to Fly
At Learn to Fly, all of our flight training courses, including the Night VFR Rating course, involve simulation training. This allows students to become familiar with the controls and behaviour patterns, procedures and systems of the aircraft they choose whilst still on the ground. We have a range of simulators available. This includes full cockpit synthetic trainers like the Alsim AL42, replicating the cockpit of our Diamond DA42 twin-engine aircraft.
To find out about our Night VFR Rating course, email [email protected]. You can also visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour. For more great flying tips and the latest flying videos, click below and subscribe to our YouTube channel!
Want to learn to fly in Melbourne? Even in your later years, you can take to the sky as a mature age pilot.
Becoming a pilot is often considered a youthful pursuit. A majority of students who achieve their pilot licence with Learn to Fly are under 25 and go on to have successful pilot careers or fly recreationally. However, if you are well over 25 and still have pilot aspirations, you don’t have to give up on your dream. Even with certain medical conditions that some people perceive as a barrier to obtaining a pilot licence, as LTF student Pete Bain shows us, it’s an achievable goal.
We sat down with Pete, who is undertaking his GA Private Pilot Licence, for a quick chat to ask him about being in his fifties and deciding to become a pilot in Melbourne.
Did you always dream of becoming a pilot, or is this a new endeavour?
I had dreamt of becoming a pilot, but
it never came to fruition. I joined the police force at 20 and followed
that path instead.
I undertook some flying lessons when I lived in England many years ago and acquired about 10 hours. However, it became unaffordable for me, so I stopped. I then developed a condition in my eye that has left me virtually blind in my left eye. I just assumed that this would disqualify me from getting the medical clearance required, so once again, I didn’t pursue it any further.
When I moved to Australia, on a whim I started making some enquiries. It was in my investigations I discovered that being a monocular pilot is not uncommon. I also found out that becoming a pilot was more affordable in Australia than in the UK, so I decided to retake the plunge.
After some research and talking to some Melbourne flying schools, I decided on Learn To Fly. One of the reasons I chose this school because of the busyness of the airport, so I could get more experience with air traffic and radio communications.
Tell us more about that. What has this meant for obtaining your PPL?
I started with LTF in November 2018. I have got roughly 40 flight hours. So I am at the stage where if I had my medical clearance, I would have been able to progress to solo and then go onto licences. So it has stagnated my progress a little. In the interim, I’ve continued with my instructors to keep practising things such as emergency forced landings and short field takeoff landings. However, again, I haven’t been able to fly solo and go and do that myself. I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels a little at the moment.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is, you’re the pilot” ~ Michael Altschuler.
What has been the highlight of learning to fly so far?
Today. I’ve had to jump through loads of hoops for CASA to get my Class 2 Medical Clearance. Today was the last hoop so it is looking good that I will get the required medical certificate so I can keep progressing with my PPL dream.
What have you found the most challenging about learning to fly?
For me, I guess it’s the workflow and the checklists. Remembering those and keeping on top of them. Every now and again, an instructor will ask you a question. For example ‘can you remember what we do for a steep turn’, and you think ‘I hadn’t thought of that in a while’ – so trying to remember those details of what you aren’t currently practising. It does become more and more familiar with the practice over time.
What is your ultimate goal as a pilot in Melbourne?
I want to get to PPL. I don’t want to
be a commercial pilot. Besides, I’m 53. A job with an airline is not an
option for me. I could get a job as a flight instructor or something like that. However, I’m happy doing what I am doing. I just want to fly.
The idea of flying my wife, or
friends, or even my dog to an airfield for lunch or even a short break
somewhere nice, and then coming back is pretty cool. I’ve got family in
NZ and England and when they come over to visit it could be quite nice
just to take them up and fly them around and Victoria from above.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone who is considering being a mature age pilot?
Persevere. There might be hurdles to
overcome in terms of balancing what’s required from a learning
commitment point of view. You may also have to face obstacles concerning
CASA medical clearance regulations, but that is all part of it. If you
keep at it, you will get there. Take things at your own pace.
Thanks, Pete for showing others that the art of flying as a mature age pilot absolutely can be done!
If you have already learnt the fundamentals of flying and are hoping to obtain your Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or even a Cross Country Endorsement (for RA-Aus RPC holders), then learning basic pilot navigation skills is the next thing on your agenda.
The majority of the PPL syllabus centres around navigation, and you will learn both basic techniques and advanced skills to allow you to conduct flights to and from anywhere in Australia.
Whilst technology has provided us with incredibly powerful tools to assist with navigating in an aircraft, learning and understanding the principles is still extremely important for any pilot.
The Fundamentals of Navigating an Aircraft
Since there are no roads in the sky, navigating from Point A to Point B can potentially be a lot more difficult in the air to what it is on the ground.
The concepts of using maps, a compass, and landmarks or geographical features as navigational tools have been around since well before the first flight ever happened – but they are still central to navigating an aircraft today.
The core syllabus for learning basic pilot navigation skills includes:
Maps and Charts
Student pilots learn about the different types of maps that exist, what aviation-specific maps and tools are available, and how to use them correctly. They will also need to have a detailed understanding of the terminology, symbols and scales used in aviation maps and charts.
Some of the maps and charts used for navigating an aircraft include:
– Visual Terminal Charts (VTC) – Visual Navigation Charts (VNC) – World Aeronautical Charts (WAC) – Jeppesen Airways Manual Low Altitude Charts – Jeppesen Low-Altitude En-Route Charts and Area Charts
The Earth, Positioning, Distance, Direction and Time
The concepts for the most basic pilot navigation skills come from understanding the shape of the Earth, and how location positioning conventions have been applied to it. Student pilots will learn how co-ordinates for a specific point are determined, and look at key features including:
– Latitude and longitude – The Poles – The Equator – Cardinal Points – Great Circles and Rhumb Lines – Time (Including Coordinated Universal Time UTC)
The concepts relating to velocity and its effects on navigating an aircraft is sometimes referred to as the “Velocity Triangle”. Basically, this compares the direction and speed properties of a moving aircraft to the direction and speed properties of the wind to determine the effects on an aircraft’s track, and end destination.
To understand these concepts and perfect navigation solutions to the problems they pose, students learn about:
Speed & Velocity
Heading and bearing
Track and Track Made Good (TMG)
Indicated, calibrated and rectified airspeed
Using Navigation Computers
The next phase of basic pilot navigation skills involves applying the
previously learnt concepts to the planning of flights, which include a
number of waypoints or stops. Additional factors are included at this
stage such as:
There’s a lot to take in when you are learning how to fly, and sometimes the most simple of advice can help to make your flying safer and more enjoyable. So, here are some pilot flying tips from our experienced LTF flight instructor team!
Practical navigation exercises
Of course the most fun part of learning basic pilot navigation skills is putting them into practical use!
Integrated PPL syllabus will combine theory and practical flying as you go, gradually building to more complex navigational flight exercises as more concepts are learnt and grasped.
We believe it’s essential for a pilot to understand and be able to apply concepts without the aid of computers, but it is also important for them to learn what technology is available and how it can reduce the potential for human factor errors.
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!
Late last year we posted a blog story announcing that two 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 eight 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:
What excites you the most about taking part in the 2018 outback air race?
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.
What have you been doing to prepare for the race?
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).
What are your goals for the race?
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.
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