BEFORE YOU START YOUR FLIGHT TRAINING, YOU NEED TO FIND THE RIGHT FLYING SCHOOL:
So you want to be a pilot? That’s awesome! You won’t regret embarking on this rewarding and exciting career. Before you even get to sit in the cockpit and take the controls, there are lots of considerations, particularly around choosing a flying school. Let’s take a look at things to know before you start flight training.
We’re sure you are aware that becoming a pilot is full of challenges and requires hard work. If it were easy, everyone would do it! Pilot training will test your limits of knowledge, persistence and patience – in a good way.
There are dozens of reasons to do your pilot training in Australia. Australian pilot qualifications are internationally recognised and highly regarded because our education and training standards are some of the highest in the world. We also boast:
- being a world leader in aviation safety
- consistently good weather
- Visa options that allow students to also work up to 20 hours a week
- A safe, and politically and socially stable environment to live and learn in
WHAT ARE YOUR PILOT GOALS?
Let’s start with a fundamental question about you first. What do you want to achieve with flying? Being a pilot doesn’t have to be a career. You might just love flying and want to fly for fun, and take leisurely flights with friends and family on weekends.
Choose a flying school that has course options to suit your goals. If you’re looking at a pilot career, you’ll need to look at a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) course. If you want to fly for fun, a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) might suit, or a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) to allow you to fly further.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A FLYING SCHOOL’S AIRCRAFT FLEET?
The cost of pilot training courses is in part reflective of the type of aircraft in their fleet. You can select the training that fits your budget according to not only your pilot aims but the kind of aircraft you want to learn in.
A quality flying school will have different types of aircraft in their fleet to not only suit different budgets, but also to allow for varied flying experiences. Some pilots prefer to train in aircraft with all of the modern technology equipped (like glass cockpit, auto-pilot etc), whilst others gain more out of flying an aircraft where the majority of functions are performed completely manually.
A good flying school will allow their pilots to experience different aircraft, and to “progress” to other aircraft during training. They’ll also have flight simulation options available for extended learning whilst on the ground.
Another very important factor to consider before you start your flight training is the availability of aircraft. Make sure you choose a flying school with a big enough fleet to cater for their students during busy periods, and when aircraft require scheduled maintenance.
Learn To Fly offers a range of aircraft including the Sling 2, Cessna 172, Diamond DA40, Piper Seminole and Diamond DA42 – covering both single and multi-engine flight training. Check out our fleet here.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS?
The best flying schools will have Grade 1, 2 and 3 Flight Instructors. Whilst Grade 1 instructors are generally the most experienced by flying hours, an instructor’s flying background is made up of much more than just hours.
Flight Instructors with endorsements and ratings such as Multi-Engine or Instrument Flight Rating are a great asset to your training too, so it’s important to look at the instructors’ range of flight experiences and not just the flying hours.
Besides qualifications, you want an instructor who is enthusiastic, adaptable and professional. You’ll be spending a lot of time together, so you need to get along and connect with their teaching style. Your instructor should be able to give honest, constructive feedback at all times to help you become an better pilot.
FLIGHT TRAINING BOOKING TIP: Book extra sessions in as a back-up in case of cancellations due to weather, or aircraft and instructor availability. Be as flexible as possible and take every opportunity to fly.
WHAT IS ICAO ENGLISH PROFICIENCY?
The International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) establishes certain principles and arrangements to facilitate safe and collaborative international civil aviation, including English proficiency standards. English is the chosen international language of civil aviation. Essential to your pilot training from the point of enrolment onwards, you must be able to communicate in clear English.
ICAO English proficiency testing is recognised in 192 countries which is great for international students wanting to transfer their licence to their home country. Aviation English standards are considerably higher in Australia, so you will be confident in your abilities.
There are English language requirements that you need to meet before you start your flight training, regardless of whether you are from a “native” English Speaking country. Check out the CASA website for more information.
DOES IT MATTER WHAT AIRPORT I TRAIN AT?
Location, location, location is so important in many life choices, and your flight school is no different. Is the flight school location easy to get to by public transport or do you need a car? How far from the city is it? Can they arrange accommodation if you are from interstate or overseas? These are all important questions to think about before you start your flight training!
Your flight school might be at an aerodrome, but is it near a major airport?
Different locations mean different aerodrome classifications. This can affect where and how often you can fly. For example, a Class G aerodrome has no air traffic control (ATC), meaning less practice on those vital radio calls allowing you to develop your aviation communication skills.
A flight school near a major airport may seem logical, but that also means operating in more restricted airspace, and therefore potentially having to go to other airports to practice your circuits.
LTF’s main training base is at Melbourne’s Moorabbin Airport, which is a Class D controlled airspace and one of the largest flight training airports in Australia. It has an advanced runway setup and a high volume of aircraft movements – which makes it perfect for learning aspects of flight training that smaller airports simply can’t offer. It’s also very well located with plenty of public transport options nearby.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO FLY?
The best time to fly in Australia is generally from Spring through Summer and Autumn, as that period offers more daylight hours and less chance of inclement weather. The state of Victoria also has “Daylight Saving” time from October through to April which allows you to fly until much later (up to 9pm in Summer).
It is beneficial to your flight training to experience a variety of flyable weather conditions – and the changeable climate at LTF’s Melbourne base is perfect for that.