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Should You Do Your Flight Training in a Cessna 172?

Planes are beautiful pieces of machinery. They take us up above the clouds and help us travel great distances in a short period of time. With so many planes out there nowadays, you may wonder which one is the best one to learn in. If you ask around at flight schools or amongst pilots, there is a good chance they will tell you that flight training in a Cessna 172 is the best way to go.

This single-engine plane is easily the most popular plane in the world. There have been more than 44,000 Cessna 172 ‘Skyhawks’ manufactured since 1956, and they are still in production today. Impressively, while there have been some technology upgrades since the original, the overall design is remarkably similar to the original. The latest models have integrated cockpit avionics like the Garmin G1000 which has an improved graphical interface, powerful hardware, high-resolution displays, increased functionality for situational awareness, and wireless technology.

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Pilots love the Cessna 172

The Best Plane in the World?

Most pilots that have done their flight training in a Cessna 172 find that the ease and simplicity of operation make it a great beginner plane, regardless of whether it’s a new or old C172 model.

The Cessna 172’s high wing design is also a stand out feature. This design is different to much other training aircraft, as the wings are above the fuselage rather than below it. This gives greater visibility of the world outside the plane for beginner pilots. Also, the higher wings allow for a larger door and better access to getting into the cockpit. 

The Cessna 172 is a fantastic aircraft to learn how to perfect your takeoffs and landings. It’s sometimes even jokingly nicknamed the “Land-O-Matic” by pilots. The tricycle landing gear layout means that the centre of gravity sits in front of the main wheels. If you are learning and your landing is crooked the centre of gravity will naturally pull the plane straight. The C172 also has a great balance between speed and stability in flight. It is a lot easier to recover from spinning situations than a lot of other training aircraft. This is obviously a great attribute for an aircraft to have for beginner pilots.

Here at Learn to Fly we love seeing our students learn and grow in arguably the best light plane ever made. When you are learning to fly in a trusted aircraft design, and a plane you feel comfortable in, you can focus more easily on the more advanced concepts of flight training. When you are ready to become a pilot, Learn to Fly has you covered with flight training with a Cessna 172. Enquire with us on how to make it happen today!

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The classic Cessna 172 on the tarmac at Moorabbin Airport

To find out more, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Pilot Job Guarantee Program: Are You Ready For Take-off?

The Learn To Fly Pilot Job Guarantee Program is your pathway to the runway, clearing your aviation career for take-off. Successful applicants are guaranteed a Flight Instructor role and at least 300 flying hours. This means that you’ll be ready to step into a career as a commercial pilot.

But how does the LTF Pilot Job Guarantee Program work, and are you eligible to apply? We will answer those questions and more in this blog. We will also chat to Chun Ki (Peter) Cheung, our Pilot Job Guarantee Program graduate, to learn about his story and hear how he is going in his Flight Instructor role.

About the Learn To Fly Pilot Job Guarantee Program

Eligibility: To be eligible for the Pilot Job Guarantee you must be between 18 and 35 years old and have little to no previous flying experience. You will also need to meet the English proficiency and CASA medical requirements.

Process: Accepted candidates will progress through CPL training (which includes RPL and PPL as well). You will then complete a Flight Instructor Rating (FIR). You will then be able to start work as a Flight Instructor at Learn To Fly.

Your Pilot Career: Whilst we guarantee that you will at least pass 300 flying hours whilst working as a Flight Instructor at LTF, it doesn’t end there. There are many options to widen your career choices by completing a range of ratings and endorsements as you go. You could choose to upgrade your instructor status. Or you could look at some of our Airline Interview Preparation courses and start getting ready for airline applications.

Click here for more detailed information on the Pilot Job Guarantee Program, including full eligibility requirements and a full process overview.

Why Apply for the Learn To Fly Pilot Job Guarantee Program?

With the recent global COVID19 pandemic, the job landscape for pilots especially has become far more difficult to navigate. The industry will bounce back, but when will that be? The requirement for flight training will rapidly expand in the coming years. However, this still doesn’t guarantee everybody a job as a Flight Instructor when they finish their training.

The Learn To Fly Pilot Job Guarantee Program allows you to bypass that crucial first worry of wondering whether you can get a job when you finish CPL training. As you grow your skills, knowledge and flight hours as a Flight Instructor while working with LTF, you will find yourself in greater demand as a commercial pilot.

Of course, training and working with us means that you will also have access to our state-of-the-art facilities as well as our comprehensive and modern aircraft fleet, and our team of highly experienced Flight Instructors. This gives you the best start to your career possible!

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Meet Learn To Fly Pilot Job Guarantee Program graduate Peter Chun Ki Cheung

Meet Our Pilot Job Guarantee Program Graduate: Chun Ki (Peter) Cheung, Age 20

Why did you want to become a pilot?

I always captivated and fascinated by the sky. Why should we be limited to the ground when there is so much more to explore in the sky? I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and one day I told myself that flying is what I want to do!

Tell us about your pilot journey:

Originally from Hong Kong, I went to Melbourne Australia straight after I graduated from high school when I was 18. I was offered a university degree after I finished school, but my real dream was to become a pilot! There is a lack of training facilities in Hong Kong, so I decided I would learn in Melbourne. I booked accommodation and a flight, and I just went! It was a bit scary to just do it. But fear doesn’t stand a chance if you have a huge passion and a dream to chase.

I was accepted into the LTF Pilot Job Guarantee Program, and started my flight training with LTF in July 2018 in a Sling 2 aircraft. I flew my first solo, RPL and PPL in a Sling 2, moving to the Diamond DA40 aircraft to complete my CPL and FIR. My Multi-Engine Class Rating was completed in a Piper Seminole, and my MECIR in a Diamond DA42.

How have you found moving from student to Flight Instructor?

I am so excited to move from being a student at LTF to being able to teach the next student pilots. Like many pilots my dream is eventually to work for an airline. However, I am enjoying every step that I am going through to get there. At the moment, I am focused on how to be a great Flight Instructor, like those who taught me at LTF!

Wherever my career takes me, starting with the Learn To Fly Pilot Job Guarantee Program was perfect. If you have a dream to fly, you should apply. An 18-year-old with no flying experience can move to a new country and do all the above, so why not you too?!

To register your interest in the Learn To Fly Pilot Job Guarantee Program, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Preparing For Airline Pilot Interviews – Student Pilot Journal Part 4

Student Pilot Mickey Wu travelled from Taiwan to Melbourne to train with us at Learn To Fly Melbourne. Despite not being able to fly for 3 months due to Covid lockdown, he managed to complete a CPL, MECIR, Multi-Engine Class Rating, and 5 ATPL exams. Now back in Taiwan, Mickey talks about preparing himself to be the best possible candidate for airline pilot interviews.

“What kind of pilots are the airlines looking for?”

People are called by the sky for different reasons. Some people want to be an instructor to pass down the fun of flying, while some simply fall in love with flying and want to keep it for themselves. For me, I want to be an airline pilot.

In order to prepare myself as an employable airline pilot, I decided to ask myself a few questions every day. The first thing I asked myself is:

“What kind of pilots are the airlines looking for?”

Before I started my training, I consulted a few experienced airline captains. One of them told me a story about a candidate that they interviewed years ago. This candidate built 300 hours within 8 months, and got his CPL and MECIR. And he knew all the settings and speeds of the Boeing B777 and Airbus A320, which were the aircraft in the fleet at the time.

“If we don’t hire him, we are making a big mistake”

That was the comment from one of the interviewers. I want to be just like this candidate.

Looking for a pilot job is about a mindset. We are hired to help solve problems. As Steve Jobs once said in an interview:

“Good employees are self-managed. They know the system well, and they know what they can do with the system. You put them together and they just know what to do”

I believe that applies to aviation as well. They don’t actually expect us to know everything. But having said that, the least we can do is to make them believe that we have the potential. And that brings us to the second question I asked myself.

“What can I do to make myself irresistible?”

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A well prepared airline pilot interview could see you sitting in a cockpit like this.

“What can I do to make myself irresistible?”

Based on the anecdote that the captain told me, airlines are looking for someone who knows what to do already. Or who knows enough to take the initiative and work the rest out. So how do we make ourselves closer to that standard to prepare for airline pilot interviews?

The systems on a big jet airliner are different from that of General Aviation training aircraft. A good thing to start with is the ATPL subject “Aerodynamics & Aircraft Systems (AASA)”. CASA uses the Boeing B727 as an example, so the candidates are able to have more tangible material to work on.

It’s similar to the Aircraft General Knowledge theory (CSYA) for CPL, except that AASA is for larger jets. So if you have finished the 7 CPL theory exams and are just building your flying hours, AASA theory is definitely worth spending your time on. AASA and the Boeing B727 syllabus can give you a good general idea about the operation on a big jet airliner.

Realistically, the manual of the actual aircraft we are hired to fly will be the most useful tool to make us more eligible. After passing the CPL flight test, there will be a long period of time during which you are getting ready to apply for airline jobs. This is the phase I am in right now. So now is the time to do some research on the fleet of the airlines I am hoping to apply to, and get familiar with the aircraft inside and out.

While I am preparing myself to be an eligible candidate for airline pilot interviews, the next question I ask myself every day is:

“Is what I am doing now taking me closer to my goal?”

“Is what I am doing now taking me closer to my goal?”

In order to fly properly, we always monitor our altitude, heading, and speed. We are constantly making corrections. Likewise, when we are shaping ourselves to be an employable pilot, it’s a great idea to monitor ourselves constantly. This allows us to keep everything on the right track.

I always try to compare myself to airline cadets. As my friend in Eva Air (Taiwanese Airline) told me, life during their training was pretty intense, and it felt quite similar to serving in the military. They get up at six or seven in the morning for self-study, and the classes are scheduled from eight to five in the afternoon. They will do some exercise after the class and end the day with more self-study. That’s five days a week.

If that is what it takes to succeed as an airline cadet, then this is what I will do to prepare myself to be an eligible airline pilot interview cadidate. So when I was in Melbourne, I kept a fixed schedule, pretending as though I was in the military or studying as an actual airline cadet. I even did this during the 3 month Covid pandemic lockdown in Melbourne.

I made my schedule six days a week, because honestly, if I were as good as those cadets then I would have been one of them. But I was not. So I figured that I would have to work at least a little bit harder than they did. I got up early and studied, cooked, and then studied more. Sometimes the daily Covid announcements kept me company in the afternoon. Sometimes it was the Taipei Tower on Live ATC.

Does it work? I don’t 100% know yet. We’ll find out. But I have faith!

We would like to thank Mickey for contributing these journals on learning how to fly, and on preparing for airline pilot interviews. To get an even greater advantage over other applicants, check out our Airline Pilot Interview Preparation courses hosted by Airline Check and Training Captain Darren McPherson.

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Captain Darren McPherson teaching his airline pilot interview students.

Contact [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Some Tips For Learning How To Fly – Student Pilot Journal Part 3

Student Pilot Mickey Wu travelled from Taiwan to Melbourne to learn how to fly. He returned home to Taipei having completed a CPL, MECIR, Multi-Engine Class Rating, and 5 ATPL exams. In his third journal instalment, Mickey talks about finding the right attitude for straight and level flying, and teaching his mum how to fly using a simulator!

Challenge Accepted

Written on January 15th, 2021

Let’s bring the storyline back to the current day. Well, current at the time of writing. January 2021 in Taipei, Taiwan.

I bought a used set of Logitech controls and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. I wanted to stay sharp. The practice was alright, but without expecting to do so, I actually ended up teaching my Mum how to fly. I found that teaching someone how to fly is not an easy task. The reaction of the aircraft after each input has become second nature to me, but it’s not like that for those who are just starting to learn.

Me: “Mum, this is not straight and level flying. Are you going up or down?”

Mum: “……down.”

Me: “Good. So do you push the control or do you pull to fix it?”

Mum: “……push.”

Me: “Okay, let’s see what will happen.”

Mum (five seconds later): “Hey Mickey, the houses are getting bigger and bigger really quick!!!”

Me: “Tell me about it.”

Warning on the screen two seconds later: “You just damaged your landing gear.”

Just the landing gear?! Wow, that is forgiving!

My instructor once said that sometimes you have to let go and let the learner see the consequence of his or her action or inaction. Obviously, they didn’t let me learn this in a real aircraft, and so my landing gear (and the houses) were safe!

But it’s interesting to see that the way my Mum and I learn things is so similar. Like mother like son. But I have faith in her. My goal is to take her to her first solo on Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. I give it two months. Challenge accepted!

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Challenge accepted! Mickey is teaching his mum how to fly using MS Flight Sim 2020!

The Right Attitude

Written on January 17th, 2021

The “attitude” of an aircraft is an abstract idea to me. It can look like it is straightforward on the aircraft’s artificial horizon, but in terms of the real visible horizon, it’s quite intangible. But it’s obviously very important when learning how to fly, especially for straight and level flying.

LTF Instructor Shannon taught me to judge the attitude with the position of the visible horizon in relation to the dashboard. For instance, on a cruise climb in a Sling 2 we position the horizon on the dashboard. To climb at Vy (the abbreviation for the best rate of climb), the horizon goes through the top of the PFD (Primary Flight Display). And to climb at Vx (the abbreviation for the best angle of climb), the horizon cuts through the middle of the PFD.

It may sound weird, but it works quite well. And for straight and level flying, we put four fingers on the dashboard and the visible horizon stays at the top finger. For a cruise descend, we put five fingers instead. Last but not least, for an approach, we use a “half-land-half-sky” attitude. Of course, we have to adjust the power setting accordingly.

It’s hard to judge the attitude at the beginning when you’re learning how to fly, for straight and level flying and for climbing and ascending. I even had doubts about the whole idea, considering that my visual perspective is different from that of Shannon’s. In addition to that, my four-finger attitude is not the same as that of LTF Instructor Alexey (Alexey is very tall and has huge hands).

But the key is to have a mental snapshot when your instructor says, “OK, this is the straight and level flying attitude.” Memorise what this attitude looks like from your perspective, and set it that way next time you need it. Trust me. It works!

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A big part of learning how to fly is learning how to trust your instruments

We would like to thank Mickey for contributing these journals on learning how to fly in Melbourne. Stay tuned for the next journal entry!

If you are interested in finding out more about our flight training courses and online learning options, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Training with a Melbourne Flight School – Student Pilot Journal Part 2

Student Pilot Mickey Wu travelled from Taiwan to learn to fly with a Melbourne flight school. He has now returned home after completing his CPL, MECIR, Multi-Engine Class Rating, as well as 5 ATPL exams. Mickey is sharing his flight training experiences with us in a series of journals.

Hidden Tiger, Crouching Dragon

Written on January 1st, 2021

Learn To Fly, my Melbourne flight school, is a place full of so much talent. The Flight Instructors are the ones who set up the framework and foundation. And sometimes it is my classmates that inspire me and help to build my own character.

My classmate Terry is an exceptional pilot. He flew the Sling 2 and converted to a Diamond DA40 later on. He is very devoted, and creates his own system to take in and digest the knowledge from the textbooks. Terry also takes flash cards with him everywhere he goes, so he can review VMC (Visual Meteorological Conditions) requirements or air laws whenever he wants.

His notes on airspeeds and the use of the CR-3 (Jeppesen CR-3 Flight Computer) are so concise and accurate. I wish I had taken a screenshot of it. I admire the way he answers his Flight Instructor’s questions. He can quote the rules in the AIP (Aeronautical Information Publication) with the right reference, not missing a single word. And when he says it, he beams with confidence.

Brandon is another hero. He has flown the Cessna 172 all the way from the beginning. I would say Brandon is a born pilot. There were more than six months that he wasn’t able to fly, when pilots were unable to attend their Melbourne flight school due to the coronavirus lockdown. But once he came back, he flew as if he had never been away.

Preparing for a flight is not an easy task. Measuring distance and track, checking the weather, drafting a fuel plan, submitting the flight plan…  you name it. What makes Brandon incredible is that he has three jobs to support himself flying. And he makes it all work. Every time when I felt lazy, I thought of Brandon. And that helped me to pull myself together and do what had to be done.

Terry is the best advocate for practice makes perfect, and Brandon’s story always motivates me to keep going at the right pace. I never tell them, but to me, they are the tiger and dragon.

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Brandon Smith with his Cessna 172 aircraft at Learn To Fly

You Have To Leave Something Behind To Move Forward

Written on January 4th, 2021

At certain points of life, you may feel that the burden on your shoulders is so heavy that you cannot breathe. The pressure from your workload keeps you awake at night and makes you reluctant to get up in the morning. But then it is time to hop in a Sling 2 and go for a spin. Well, not really a spin.

The Sling 2, designed and built by Sling Aircraft, is a one-of-a-kind aeroplane. It’s like a sports car in the sky, light and agile. The real-time response to the control inputs builds confidence in the pilot. It’s like an iPhone 5, sharp and smart. The intuitive touch screen interface integrates all the information you need. The exchange of information between the aircraft and the pilot is so instant, it’s as if the pilot were the brain and the aircraft were the extension of his or her body. At 55 knots, slightly faster than what you usually do on the M1 highway, you can defy gravity and take to the sky.

With a Melbourne flight school, you don’t even have to fly far to enjoy the experience of flying. A trip from Moorabbin Airport to Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula to see the shimmering water of Port Phillip Bay is just as good as an orbit around Melbourne’s CBD to feel the vibe of the city from above.

The point is, once airborne, you feel that the worries that have been occupying your mind are left in oblivion far behind. The pressure that was suffocating you becomes so trivial, far below. And that is the magic of flying, because you can savour the purity of the blue sky, and all your troubles are left on the ground.

It’s Just Like Making A Cup Of Coffee

Written on January 6, 2021

“Once airborne, you feel that the worries that have been occupying your mind are left in oblivion far behind.”

That was what I wanted to say about flying. And, well, that is partly true. The fact is, there were moments when I found myself so task-saturated that I actually didn’t have time to worry or even think about anything else.

Shannon helped me to overcome this ‘tunnel vision’ mindset. One day when we were flying back towards Moorabbin Airport, he asked me:

“Mickey, who is your favourite athlete?”

I replied “Lewis Hamilton” without even thinking.

I was so immersed in the pre-landing checks that my brain didn’t actually have time to think about anything else. Shannon took over control, and said:

“I think that you can see the mindset that you need to have when flying in some professional athletes. They are very calm when they play, but you can tell they are still thinking. You can tell from looking at their eyes. They play with their brain. Good pilots are no different.”

He then explained that if we visualize and actually think through the situations we might experience before the flight has even started, then we can focus on more things during the flight.

That problem had been haunting me for a long time. It was not until a couple of months later that I fully realised this philosophy. I was coming inbound from Brighton, and I was thinking about how stunning the beach was. I was also on top of everything else I needed to think about in the plane. It was at this point that I actually started to reap the fun of flying.

Learning how to fly is like making a nice cup of coffee. It takes some skill and some pressure to make the crème, and it takes some time to get the grind and drip right. But it is worth the wait, and when done properly, it tastes delicious!

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Taiwanese student pilot Mickey after flying his first solo in the Sling 2 aircraft

We would like to thank Mickey for contributing these journals on learning how to fly in Melbourne. Stay tuned for the next journal entry!

If you are interested in finding out more about our flight training courses and online learning options, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Starting Flight Training in Melbourne – Student Pilot Journal Part 1

Taiwanese student pilot Mickey Wu has just returned home after an amazing experience training with us at Learn To Fly. Mickey’s achievements are inspirational to other pilots. His time in Melbourne was affected by a COVID19 lockdown that meant he couldn’t fly for 3 months, however he still managed to complete his Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), Multi-Engine Class Rating, Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR), and 5 Air Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) theory exams. Mickey has been kind enough to share his experiences in a student pilot journal series. In part 1, he talks about starting flight training in Melbourne.

Tap the Brakes, Positive Rate, Gears Up

Written on December 30, 2020

Light shower of rain, 11°C. In other words, a typical winter day in Taipei, Taiwan. Now I am sitting in front of the window, staring off towards the south in the distance, as if Moorabbin Airport were right there behind the overcast clouds. I can see Carrum, and I can see runway 35L. There is the windsock by the northern run-up bay, and I see the Diamond DA40s parked on the apron. It was an amazing year of flight training in Melbourne – I think I miss the sky there already.

I went from piloting the single-engine Sling 2 to the twin-engine Piper Seminole, and from flying circuits around Moorabbin Airport to as far away as Ninety Mile Beach in Gippsland.

There were frustrating moments for sure, like having trouble with radio calls or actually getting lost during lost procedures. Sometimes I even sat in my car for hours, thinking I would never make it. But my Flight Instructors always said, “don’t worry – we’ll get you there”, and that is all you need to hear when you have days like this.

Bob Tait (one of the most respected authorities for aviation theory) says long-term memories are subject to errors. Sorry Bob, but I beg to differ. I’ll say, these memories are vividly engraved in my mind, and just like a good wine, they taste even sweeter afterwards.

This is my adventure starting flight training in Melbourne with Learn To Fly at Moorabbin Airport. It is the adventure of an ordinary guy with an extraordinary dream. So, fasten your seatbelt. Tap the brakes. Positive rate. Gears up.

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The Sling 2 is an excellent aircraft for starting flight training.

Day One, Meeting My Flight Instructor

Written on December 31st, 2020

Just like college tutors, Flight Instructors come from different backgrounds and vary in their fields of aviation expertise. For example, at my school, Learn To Fly in Melbourne, some instructors are experts at flight theory, and some specialise in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations. They are all great instructors, and they all have a unique teaching style. This means that they are able to help different students in their own ways.

On my first day of flight training in Melbourne, I met my first Flight Instructor, Shannon. Shannon is a composed and knowledgeable pilot. On the first day of flight school, he showed me how to read the weather forecast. I loved the way he put together bits and pieces of weather information. It started with mean the sea-level pressure map on the Bureau of Meteorology website, so we had a big picture of what was going on with the weather. Following that, he explained how the weather on GAFs (Graphical Area Forecasts) corresponded to what was on the pressure charts. Then he referred to the TAFs (Terminal Area Forecasts) of the aerodromes on our planned route for a more close-up look. Just after that brief, I already felt that I could give a more persuasive forecast than most of the weather reporters do on TV.

Shannon may seem calm and composed on the outside, but he actually also has a warm and playful heart with a great sense of humour. The first aircraft I flew was the Sling 2 and as I recall, when Shannon demonstrated the pre-flight check, this was what he said:

“Now to measure the fuel quantity, we use what I call a high-tech measuring device.”

With a complete poker face, he took out a wooden stick with a measuring scale drawn on it. The corner of his lips lifted – in other words, he knew that his joke totally got me. There were times when I just did not get his punch lines. I could sense his disappointment in the awkward silence. However, it never stopped him from bringing some fun to the flight!

I feel lucky that Shannon was my first ever Flight Instructor, because that gave my flying career a really good start.

We would like to thank Mickey for contributing these journals on learning how to fly in Melbourne. Stay tuned for the next journal entry!

If you are interested in finding out more about our flight training courses and online learning options, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Instrument Rating (IFR) Flight Training – A Whole New World Of Flying

We recently published a blog from airline Second Officer Vincent Mok, who talked about how important completing an Instrument Rating (IFR) flight training course was to his career. An Instrument Rating really does open up a whole new world of flying for you. It allows to you to plan and fly in a far greater range of light and weather conditions. No longer restricted to daylight and clear skies, it can also drastically reduce the time it takes you to build flight hours.

What is Instrument Flight Training?

Under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions, the weather and light must be better than the visual meteorological conditions (VMC), as specified by CASA. You must be able to operate the aircraft with visual reference to the ground, and by visually avoiding obstructions and other aircraft.

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Flight Training teaches you to fly using the aircraft’s instruments rather than relying on visual cues. You will become an expert at communicating with Air Traffic Control (ATC). All of your aircraft’s procedures will become second nature to you. You will read your instruments as though you were actually looking at the information they provide physically.

During Instrument Rating training, pilots learn on both the simulator and in the actual aircraft. At Learn To Fly we have both the TRC 372 (Cessna 172) simulator and the Alsim AL42 (Diamond DA42) simulator. Both of these simulators recreate the full cockpit environment of each aircraft with highly realistic features and accurate instruments.

Learning in the simulator is a very effective method of training. Simulator hours are far less expensive that flying an actual aircraft. You can save money by perfecting procedures on the ground, which means there’s less chance of having to repeat them in the air. Simulators obviously also provide a highly safe environment to learn unfamiliar procedures.

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Our state-of-the-art Alsim AL42 simulator is a crucial part of Instrument Rating flight training

What Are the Benefits of Completing IFT Training?

Written on December 31st, 2020

Having to fly VFR means that you are limited with the number of hours you can fly, often based on things that are out of your control. When you are trying to build flight hours, it can be frustrating when changes in the weather cancel your flights. It can also be frustrating when other flights are delayed and you run out of daylight hours to go flying.

Completing an Instrument Rating training course will allow you to fly in the dark, and in most weather conditions. This means that you will be able to fly when others can’t, and you will build your flight hours far more quickly.

Pilots with IFR training are far more desirable to employers in most pilot roles. In fact for many pilot roles, including airlines, having an Instrument Rating is required.

Aside from the skillset and career benefits mentioned above, instrument flight training means that you can fly in some stunning conditions. You can enjoy the amazing sensation of soaring both through thick cloud, and above it. You can watch colourful sunsets from the sky, and cruise above sparkling city lights.

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Enjoying sparkling city lights from the air is just one of the benefits of completing Instrument Rating flight training.

Meet Instrument Rating Training Graduate Mickey Wu

Taiwan student Mickey Wu has just completed his Commercial Pilot Licence, along with a Multi Engine Class Rating and Multi Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR), as well as 5 ATPL theory exams. He completed this in just 14 months, and he was unable to fly during 3 of those due to our forced coronavirus lockdown.

Following his amazing achievements, and before he jumped on a plane back to Taiwan, we had a chat to Mickey about his IFR training and his thoughts on the MECIR course.

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Instrument Rating training graduate Mickey Wu with the twin-engine Piper Seminole aircraft.

What are the main differences in flying during instrument flight training?

Instrument flight training is simpler, but not easier, if that makes sense. This is because it is all process and procedure based. Your planning is simpler. ATC provides you with more information. Learning all of the procedures is hard, and it feels like you are going right back to square 1 at the start. Once you are familiar with them however, everything just feels simpler. You feel like a real airline pilot.

What new skills have you learnt during IFR training?

I have developed a much larger understanding of ATC terminology. My communication skills and the my relationship with ATC has really improved. Instrument Rating training gives you hands-on experience with a lot of things that you learn in theory. Some of these things you might not use a lot in VFR flight. It’s a great feeling when you realise it’s not “just theory” anymore and you put your knowledge into practice.

How have you used the simulators to help with your training?

On the simulators you can train different types of approaches, and some are much harder than others. When you are training in a sim and you make a mistake or you want to do it again, you can just restart. It’s far more costly to do this in an actual aircraft. With my LTF instructor, we trained on the Alsim AL42 simulator as well as the G430 X-Plane simulator.

What are the benefits of completing an Instrument Rating?

Completing an Instrument Rating will allow me to build more hours quickly by flying in more conditions. It is required by the airlines, which is my ultimate goal. It will also make me more employable in other pilots roles, including becoming a Flight Instructor which I will find very rewarding.

Why would you recommend choosing Learn To Fly to complete an Instrument Rating course?

I have had the best year of my life in Australia at Learn To Fly. I really enjoyed the people and the atmosphere. The instructors are very supportive and come from a wide range of experience and backgrounds. At LTF you can choose from a range of reliable aircraft. You can choose to fly in a glass cockpit aircraft like the DA42, or an analogue cockpit like the Piper Seminole.

We would like to congratulate Mickey on his inspirational flying achievements during difficult times. We’d also like to thank him for taking the time to share his thoughts and knowledge on IFR training. We will catch up with Mickey again for a blog on what it is like as a Taiwanese student training in Australia, and how training here can help you become an airline pilot in Taiwan.

If you are interested in finding out more about our flight training courses and online learning options, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Resilience – An Airline Pilot’s COVID Pandemic Experience

We’ve all seen a lot of news about how the COVID pandemic has affected airlines and airline pilots. Guest blogger and Second Officer Vincent Mok shares an airline pilot’s COVID pandemic experience.

“Resilience”

There were 20 round tables in a classroom the size of a basketball court. We found the specific light switch for the ceiling light at the front, leaving the rest of the room in a dark void.

“Don’t bother with name tags” the CRM instructor said.

This time last year, the same room was buzzing with activity and smelled like perfume and cologne as second officers, first officers, captains, junior flight attendants, flight pursers, senior pursers, chief customer managers and CRM instructors made introductions, all keen to find out what hypothetical in-flight emergency awaited us. Today, the 5 of us were greeted by the silent hum of the air conditioner as the smell of alcohol rub filled the void.

The CRM instructor wrote one word on the whiteboard.

“RESILIENCE”

A picture of an A350 oleo strut came into my mind. I hadn’t seen one for 2 months.

“What can you tell me about resilience?” the instructor asked.

“The ability to spring back like a landing gear, which I might not see again” I said.

“During these times with lockdowns and job losses, the uncertainty can cause our minds to ruminate into a dark corner.”

The instructor then led a discussion on Unhelpful Thinking Styles and how we could challenge them to become resilient professionals. As an airline pilot during the COVID pandemic, a resilient mindset is so important.

1. Mental Filter

Written on December 31st, 2020

As COVID took hold, flying schedules became scant and people lost jobs, I began to question my career decision to become an airline pilot.

“During times of stress, our minds have a tendency to focus on the negative and filter out the whole picture. This mental filtering is an unhelpful thinking style that can lead to stress, anxiety and depression.”

“You mean tunnel vision?”

“Yes. Instead of focusing on a small part of the situation and ignoring the rest, try to see the whole picture

Tunnel vision had made me focus on the transient financial insecurity as a pilot during COVID and filtered out my reasons for leaving a high paying secure job. I’d forgotten that I’d left a 9-5 desk job in a little cubicle with no windows to see thunderstorms from above; to feel the rattle of the nose gear as the jet took off; to take my friends, family, strangers, and essential cargo like vaccines safely across the Pacific Ocean. The job satisfaction from airline flying is unique.

2. Jumping to Conclusions

“I realize that I love being an airline pilot, but with all the upcoming job cuts due to the COVID pandemic, I’ll lose my job in the next few months”

“You see, jumping to conclusions is unhelpful thinking” the instructor said. “You become too busy assuming that you fail to see the opportunities in the present.”

He continued to impart his wisdom.

“Rather than jumping to conclusions, focus on what you can control.”

“A resilient airline pilot knows they’re like an elite sportsperson who is ready to perform during competitions and has back-up options in case of injury.”

The opportunity presented to us while flying less is the free time to improve ourselves as pilots by practicing in the procedural trainer, reading operation manuals and learning more about the aircraft we fly. It also gives us the opportunity to pursue back-up options and other interests. Like elite sportspeople, many pilots have a second vocation to fall back on during economic lows while waiting to return to an airline job. I know of pilots who pursued their fitness goals, learned hydroponic farming, and built their CV through teaching.

“You don’t want to jump to conclusions then give up”.

3. Catastrophising

“OK, you’ve widened my perspective to see the positives and the opportunities. But with all the parked aircraft and no end in sight, I feel that the aviation industry is dying and it’ll never recover!”

“Don’t you think this is catastrophising? It is unhelpful thinking to blow things out of proportion. Instead try to look at the facts rationally.”

Aviation has suffered many setbacks throughout its history, from the Wright Flyer crash in 1908, to September 11 2001, to the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. Although flying would never be the same after each crisis, it led to advancements in efficiency and safety. Aviation will continue to evolve through each challenge, and pilots will always be there as safeguards.

Furthermore, history has shown that all pandemics end. There are already promising advancements with vaccines and scientists are building their knowledge on COVID at a rapid pace. When it is safe to do so, people will return to the skies and the industry will bounce back.

“Aviation is dynamic. Resilient pilots stay rational through crisis and prepare themselves for disruption through devotion to learning and self improvement”.

Looking To The Future

During these unprecedented times, resilience has never been so important. Part of it is in recognizing and mitigating unhelpful thinking styles. When encountering a crisis, it helps to step back and look at all the evidence instead of mental filtering, jumping to conclusions and catastrophising. Adopting a positive attitude and eliminating unhelpful thinking styles helps us build resilience. This keeps us moving forward, not just as an airline pilot during the COVID pandemic, but in life as well.

For flying students, try to see the opportunities in the increased availability of aircraft. Think about the uncongested airspace, or unique experiences like being able to fly into Melbourne International Airport while a jet’s at the holding point. On one of my recent flights out of Sydney, ATC cleared us to overfly the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is something that would usually only be reserved for special events (such as the recent Qantas Boeing B747 farewell flight).

As for the commercial future of airlines and airline pilots, there’s no doubt the world still needs aviation, and it will bounce back. There will be changes, which will most likely include more stringent health requirements for passengers. Initially, it’s likely that the first sectors to bounce back will be the domestic and cargo markets. Australia is similar to China in that COVID outbreaks have been well controlled. Post-COVID, China has actually seen an increase in domestic passengers already compared to last year. It’s looking very likely that Australian domestic flights will bounce back strongly very soon.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. In my opinion, there has never been a better time to pursue recreational flying or flight training.

Airline First Officer

We’d like to thank Vincent very much for providing this valuable insight into an airline pilot’s COVID pandemic experience. If you are interested in finding out more about our flight training courses and online learning options, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Should I Start My Pilot Training During COVID?

The current pandemic has had an enormous negative impact on the aviation industry, so should you start your pilot training during COVID?

It’s obviously a fairly tough time for current pilots, with huge disruptions to domestic and international travel. Major carriers like Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have had to stand down thousands of employees. Sadly this has included even experienced airline pilots. Many people may think that starting pilot training now is risky, but we think the future is bright. Read on to find out why!

So if the aviation industry is struggling, why is it a great time to start your pilot training?

Firstly, becoming a pilot doesn’t happen instantly. It usually takes 15 to 18 months to be able to complete your pilot training to achieve your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). But that is just the initial training. If you are looking to become an airline pilot, you may need to have up to 1,500 hours of flying experience before you apply.

We anticipate that airlines will most likely start recruiting again in 3 to 4 years. Let’s break that down a little further to put it in some perspective:

First, let’s start with the 15-18 months CPL pilot training.

Once you obtain your CPL, most pilots will look for work (such as flight instructor) in the General Aviation Industry to gain experience and build hours. Let’s assume that you are able to work/fly 500-600 hours per year. To reach 1,500 hours might take you 3 years in itself.

We don’t yet know exactly what minimum hourly requirements airlines will have for direct entry positions when the industry peaks again. But whatever that minimum requirement is, starting your pilot training now during COVID gives you the best chance to be ready!

Why do we think that the industry will bounce back and that airlines will start recruiting again in 3-4 years?

There are a number of factors that indicate to us that the aviation industry will bounce back strong in the post-COVID world. In Australia, regional and domestic holiday hotspots are booking out. Those who are able to travel are travelling in high numbers. With higher vaccination rates, lockdowns will become a thing of the past. As more borders open, people will look to travel further abroad.

In China, reports indicate that the domestic aviation market has actually already recovered to surpass traffic numbers from before the pandemic struck. This will only continue on an upward trajectory. While international air travel may take longer to recover, demand for domestic flights is likely to bounce back very quickly in many places.

Another factor to consider is the retirement of older pilots. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has remained consistent with their predictions of increased retirements over the next 5 to 15 years. It’s possible that the pandemic may actually accelerate these figures, with a number of pilots stood down deciding not to return to the industry.

But what about finding work straight after finishing pilot training during COVID?

Looking outside the airline industry, we are also confident that there will be many opportunities for pilots in General Aviation. Many students have had to put their pilot training on hold during COVID, but we are starting to see more enquiries from potential student pilots.

What this indicates is that the demand for Flight Instructors will remain strong, and even get stronger as student numbers continue to build.

In Australia especially, it’s likely that there will be a boom in local tourism. This means that charter operations will see increased demand, and require pilots. Becoming a charter pilot is a great way to build hours after pilot training. It can also be an exciting career in itself.

How can I start pilot training during COVID?

During COVID we been hard at work to build an extensive online training platform that allows students to access high quality training even if they are unable to physically attend our training base.

Our online student portal has full theory courses available for Recreational Pilot Licence, Private Pilot Licence, Commercial Pilot Licence and IREX. These courses are taught by an experience instructor and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. The portal allows students to complete mock practice exams online as well.

We are the first flight school in Australia to offer the fantastic V360E platform, which allows students to train aircraft procedures in a full 360 degree virtual cockpit environment.

In addition to this, we are regularly adding new content to our YouTube channel including RPL/PPL flying lessons, aircraft pre-flight check videos, and more. Click the button below to subscribe!

Online Pilot Training

To find out more about pilot training during COVID or to register your interest please email [email protected]. You can also go to https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Flight Instructor Rating – A Flying Start To Your Pilot Career

After completing your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), you are ready to start your career as a pilot. Whilst there are a range of exciting pathways that await you, the best way to give your pilot career a flying start is by completing a Flight Instructor Rating (FIR) course. In this blog we will talk about the Flight Instructor Rating course itself, and why it is such a great way to give your pilot career the flying start it needs.

What Is A Flight Instructor Rating?

The Flight Instructor Rating (FIR) course teaches you all the necessary skills to conduct flight training and develop the next generation of future pilots. Our course includes 35 hours of flight training as well as comprehensive ground briefing training so that you will be able to effectively instruct in both practical and theoretical settings.

The syllabus includes:

1. PMI Theory

Principle and Methods of Instruction (PMI) is an important part of the syllabus, as it teaches you how to teach. You’ll build your confidence as both a person and a pilot, learning how to effectively deliver training in the classroom and in the air to range of personality types, and to students with different learning profiles. It also includes a mandatory CASA PMI exam.

2. Flight Instructor Rating Ground Theory

Ground theory involves conducting long briefs, pre-flight briefings, formulating lesson plans and using training aids (like multimedia/PowerPoint) to conduct interesting and effective lessons based on real flight training syllabus and utilising the techniques learnt during PMI. Students receive detailed feedback from classmates and highly experienced flight instructors throughout.

3. Flight Instructor Rating Practical Flight Training

During practical flight training students will conduct 35 hours of dual flight instructor training that includes a highly experienced instructor role playing as your student. You need to demonstrate that you are able to analyse student responses, provide appropriate feedback and determine when to take corrective measures, as well as conducting pre-flight briefings and post-flight debriefings.

4. Aerobatics/Spinning Endorsement & Optional Qualifications

The LTF course includes aerobatics and spinning endorsement manoeuvre training in an aerobatics-rated aircraft. You can also opt to include additional training endorsements like Multi-Engine, Instrument rating, and/or Night VFR.

Flight Instructors at Learn To Fly
Improve your pilot knowledge and skills with a Flight Instructor Rating

How Can The Flight Instructor Rating Kickstart Your Career?

Obtaining a Flight Instructor Rating (FIR) is a rewarding and exciting challenge for any pilot. The skills you learn will not only make you an effective flight trainer, but a better pilot in general. On top of that, a FIR can really open up your pilot career opportunities, and not just in flight training. Here’s how:

1. Get Paid To Build Flight Hours

Many popular pilot career options require that have a minimum number of flight hours under your belt. This includes airlines, private and commercial charter work and air ambulance roles to name a few. Becoming a Flight Instructor is one of the easiest and quickest ways to build your flight hours in preparation for the next step in your career. And the best part about it? You actually get paid to do it!

2. More Job Opportunities

A Grade 3 Flight Instructor role is an easy role for you to step into straight away after your training. Job availability is also generally higher than many other pilot jobs. We have a number of LTF instructors who completed our Flight Instructor Rating course, then joined our flight training team. Flight Instructor work is also a highly desirable asset to have on your resume when you are looking at the next step in your career – airlines in particular will look for it.

3. Professional Development

While working as a Flight Instructor you will have varied training experiences. You can also further expand your qualification and skillset by completing additional ratings, endorsements, and training endorsements. On top of that, you can progress yourself as a trainer by moving up to Grade 2, Grade 1 and even Flight Examiner level.

4. More Job Security

With the 2020 COVID19 pandemic, aviation was thrown into chaos. During this time, Flight Instructors saw far greater job security than other pilot roles. If you have a Flight Instructor Rating but have moved on in your career to other things, there is nothing stopping you from coming back to flight training if you need to. We saw many experienced pilots (including airline pilots) stepping back into instructor roles during the pandemic.

Can Flight Instructing Be A Career?

1. Grade 1 & Grade 2 Flight Instructor

You will start as a Grade 3 instructor after completing your Flight Instructor Rating, but you can progress your career by moving on to Grade 2 and then Grade 1 status respectively. As you progress through each grade you can take on more roles and responsibilities, which also expands the options available to build flying hours.

2. Additional Training Endorsements

While working as a Flight Instructor, you have the opportunity to undertake a range of training endorsements, allowing you to teach students in more varied flight activities including Night VFR, Multi-Engine, Instrument Rating, Aerobatics & Spinning and Design Features. This even further expands the ways in which you can build hours.

3. Grade 1 & Grade 2 Training Endorsements

Grade 1 and Grade 2 Training Endorsements offer you even more flexibility in your role as a Flight Instructor, by allowing you to teach other flight instructors at higher levels. They also allow you to take on more supervisory roles within a flight school.

4. Flight Examiner

Once you have been a Grade 1 Flight Instructor for a year and meet certain other CASA requirements, you can apply to become a Flight Examiner. Being a Flight Examiner means that you can conduct final licence flight tests for student pilots. This increases your earning capacity and gives you another avenue to diversify in your flight training career.

Female-Flight-Instructors
Becoming a Flight Instructor opens up a wide range of aviation career options

To register your interest in a Flight Instructor Rating with Learn To Fly, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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