What are the requirements to start flight training?
You must be a minimum age of 14 and be able to understand and speak English.
Who can be a pilot?
Anyone can Learn To Fly! Learning to fly is not as hard as you might imagine, however, it does require dedicated time. It will require your mind and your body, giving you new muscle memory skills and knowledge. The good news is that just about anyone can learn to fly, it’s all up to YOU.
Where do I start with flight training?
Today there are two options for becoming a pilot; training on RECREATIONAL AVIATION (RA) aircraft, and training on GENERAL AVIATION (GA) aircraft. We recommend students begin their flight training on RA aircraft and move onto GA aircraft once they gain their Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL). This path can make learning to fly faster and less expensive. RA aircraft have a maximum take-off weight of 600kg when fully loaded with people, fuel and baggage. They sip fuel at the miserable rate of about 17L/hr. This is half the fuel consumption of “legacy” pilot trainer aircraft, such as the Cessna 172 or Piper Warrior PA28. Money saved on fuel will be passed onto every student, so the training price on RA aircraft is more affordable than the GA aircraft. Learn To Fly Melbourne (LTFM) works with Melbourne Flight Training (MFT) to offer both options to our students to make flying less complicated and less expensive, and to bring more people into the field of aviation.
Do I need a licence to fly as a student pilot?
You don’t need a licence to fly as a student because while you are learning you will be under the supervision of a flight instructor and your flying school at all times, including when you are flying solo. However, to fly solo you need to have an aviation reference number, which you can obtain from CASA, and you need to provide CASA with your proof of identity. To fly solo, you also need to hold a medical certificate.
Do I need to be studying maths or physics at school?
You do not need to study physics or maths at school to obtain a pilot licence. Having this knowledge certainly does help, but is in no way a requirement. If you wish to become an airline pilot you may need both physics and maths — both are typically entry requirements. You can check individual airline recruiting websites to view a list of requirements.
What are the minimum requirements for airline employment?
For direct entry to most airlines you will require a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) and typically theory credits for the Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL). Airlines will publish their minimum criteria for pilot applications on their website.
How old can I start flight training? What are the age limits?
We would recommend students be at least 14 years old, so you can fly solo at 15 and obtain the RPL at 16 and PPL at 17. For the CPL, you need to be at least 18 on the date you get your licence. For younger aviation enthusiasts, we have children’s programs on our flight simulator and offer a number of activities designed to educate and entertain children of all ages. In terms of an upper age limit, you can go flying no matter how old you are as long as you can pass the medical check.
Do I have to have perfect vision to be a commercial pilot CPL? What are the eyesight requirements?
No, as long as your vision can be corrected to 20/20 with glasses or contacts, you will be eligible for a 1st Class CASA Medical Certificate. This makes you eligible to fly as a civilian professional pilot. If you wish to obtain your Commercial Pilot Licence, you will need to conduct a CASA Class 1 Medical Clearance.
I want to become a pilot, how do I get started?
We believe you probably have an ambition or dream to learn to fly, however, you don’t know if you like it or have an aptitude for it or not until you fly once. So come and do a Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) with us and find out. The TIF lesson will give you an enjoyable hands-on experience that you won’t forget. The lessons starts out with a briefing by your instructor explaining the aircraft’s controls. After the briefing, it’s time to fly. You and your instructor will take to the air for your first lesson, you will be in control of the aircraft as you fly to the Moorabbin training area where you will be guided through a range of maneuvers. If you decide to continue towards a licence then the TIF lesson will be logged as the first lesson of your flight training program.
Are there different types of pilot licences?
Yes, there are different types of licences. You can obtain a Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC), Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). A CPL is required if you intend to obtain work as a pilot. Details of paths to each licence can be found in our Courses section.
Do you offer full time courses?
Yes we do, we offer full time courses for both local and international students
What is the difference between a Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) & Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)?
The Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) is issued by RA-AUS whereas the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) is issued by CASA. The RPC allows you to fly any aircraft under 600kgs (e.g. Bristell and Sling 2) and take up to 1 passenger whereas RPL allows you to fly any aircraft up to 1500kgs (e.g. Cessna 172 or Piper Warrior). At Learn To Fly Melbourne, we offer the RPC. The RPC is equivalent to an RPL. Once students receive their RPC, they can apply to CASA for the issuance of an RPL by simply filling in a form. To activate the RPL, a flight review on a GA aircraft is needed and this can be done by our sister company – Melbourne Flight Training (MFT).
What is the difference between a General Flying Progress Test (GFPT) & Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)?
A GFPT was a student pilot licence which allowed you to carry passengers and for every flight you needed to be authorised by a qualified fight instructor. Under Part 61, the holder of an RPL is the person responsible for the safety of the flight and they don’t need an instructor to authorise them to fly. RPL holders need to have a separate endorsement to fly in controlled airspace, at controlled aerodromes, use an aeronautical radio and conduct cross country flights.
How do I get a Private Pilot Licence PPL?
You must be at least 17 years old to get your Private Pilot Licence (PPL). You also need to do the following for the category rating you want to get with your PPL:
  • Hold a RPL
  • Pass a PPL theory exam
  • Meet the minimum aeronautical experience requirements
  • Pass a PPL flight test
How do I get a Commercial Pilot Licence CPL?
You must be at least 18 years old to get your muscle-memory (CPL). You also need to do the following for the category rating you want to get with your CPL: Complete flight training Meet the minimum aeronautical experience requirements (see this link for more information) Pass a CPL theory exam set by CASA Pass a CPL flight test
How do I get my Air Transport Pilot Licence ATPL?
You must be at least 21 years old to get your ATPL. You also need to do the following for the category rating you want to get with your ATPL:
  • Hold either a Commercial Pilot Licence or Multi-Crew Pilot Licence with the same aircraft category rating
  • Complete the relevant flight training
  • Learn the theory and pass an ATPL theory exam
  • Complete an approved course of multi-crew cooperation training
  • Pass an ATPL flight test
  • Meet the minimum aeronautical experience requirements
What is an aircraft rating?
An aircraft class rating is a flight crew qualification that authorises the holder to operate aircraft that fits the description of the class rating and are not designated as type-rated aircraft. For example, a Piper Seneca is a multi-engine aeroplane and is not designated as a type rated aircraft, so it is covered by the multi-engine aeroplane class rating. Part 61 prescribed the following class ratings:
  • Single-engine aeroplane class rating
  • Multi-engine aeroplane class rating
  • Single-engine helicopter class rating
  • Single-engine gyroplane class rating
  • Airship class rating
What exams must you pass to gain flying licence?
For either the RA or GA pilot licence you will be required to pass 3 types of exams; an oral test, written test and practical test. The practical test is taken with an Approved Testing Officer (ATO). You will train with your flight instructor for the practical test which tests your physical flying skills. However, the other exams require your own self-study. Here are the three tests in detail:
  • Written Test: Multiple choice test that covers all areas of aviation knowledge. You may select a ground school course or study on your own for the written test. There are many good books or mock exam questions which can help you prepare for all the tests.
  • Oral Test: The day you take your practical test in the actual airplane, your ATO will conduct an oral interview where you will be asked to explain all the knowledge areas you’ve studied in ground school. This includes: aircraft systems, weather, aerodynamics, air laws, airport operations, airspace designations and operations, charts, aircraft performance, and much more. This will require study and understanding on your part. Your flight instructor will discuss many of these areas with you but you must study and learn the concepts as well.
  • Practical Test: This is the test in the aircraft. You will fly with an ATO who will ask you to perform all the maneuvers and skills you have been working on since the beginning of your training. It typically runs for 2 hours. This is where all your training comes together.
Are the licences recognised by other countries in the world?
All the licences are ICAO licences so they will be recognised by other member states, and there are 191 ICAO member states worldwide. To fly in other ICAO countries a simple validation and check flight is normally all that is required.
Where can I fly when I have my pilot licence?
Having obtained a Recreational Pilot Licence, you can fly within 25 nautical miles of Moorabbin Airport. The Private Pilot Licence will be endorsed such that you can fly through any type of airspace in Australia below 18,000ft.
What is a proficiency check and why do I need to have one?
A proficiency check is an assessment of your skills and knowledge in a particular operational area. Pilots are required to undertake proficiency checks to ensure they continue to be competent conducting particular kinds of operations. After gaining a qualification, it is normal for some skills to deteriorate over time. A proficiency check ensures your piloting skills continue to meet the standards described in the Part 61 Manual of Standards, and where applicable, those of your operator. The following proficiency checks are prescribed under Part 61:
  • Instrument rating proficiency check (IPC)
  • Instructor rating proficiency check
  • Examiner rating proficiency check
  • Aerial application rating proficiency check
  • Night vision imaging system proficiency check
What is a flight review and why do I need to have one?
A flight review is an opportunity to receive training that refreshes your flying skills and operational knowledge. Pilots undertake flight reviews to ensure they continue to be competent flying particular types of aircraft or exercising the privileges of an operational rating. After gaining a qualification, it is normal for some skills to deteriorate over time. A flight review ensures your piloting skills remain – or are brought back up – to standard. Flight reviews are also used to meet the International Civil Aviation Organization’s requirement for countries to ensure pilots continue to be competent exercising the privileges of their licences and ratings.
Which aeroplanes have type ratings?
All multi-crew certificated aeroplanes have type ratings. Type ratings are also given to specified single-pilot certificated aeroplanes that have performance, complexity or handling characteristics that warrant pilots completing a type specific training course.
What is a type rating?
The official type ratings list is a legislative instrument that will be updated when new types are introduced, changes are made or ratings are no longer required. For more information refer to Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 61.055 and 61.060. Some type ratings cover several models (variants), so the list includes requirements for different training.
What is a aircraft class rating?
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How long does it take to obtain a pilot licence?
A Recreational Pilot Licence typically takes 30-40 hours of flight time. A Private Pilot Licence typically takes another 25-35 hours of flight time. A Commercial Pilot Licence will take 150 (Intergrated) hours or 200 hours (Non-Integrated) of flight time from scratch. The time to obtain the licence is dependant on how frequently you fly, and your commitment to study. We have completed Private Pilot Licences in as little as 10 weeks.
Is there much home study involved?
For the Recreational Pilot Licence and Private Pilot Licence, a limited amount of study is required in your own time. A Commercial Pilot Licence requires a serious commitment to complete the required exams.
How often do I need to train?
At the minimum, you’ll need to train once per week.
Is flight training expensive? Can I afford it? How much does it cost?
Most of the students in our programs have normal 9 to 5 jobs and are still able to afford our programs. You won’t have to worry about winning the lottery or taking out excessive loans to pay for our services. We help you to cut down the cost and make it affordable. Can I commence flying privately if I already have a lot of time commitments? The Recreational Pilot Licence only requires a minimum of 25 hours flying time (although most students will take slightly longer). With good coaching, preparation and commitment from you, even if you can only spare a few hours a week (possibly on the weekend), you could have an RPL in 3 to 6 months.
How much time and effort will flight training take?
The best way is to tell us how much time you have available and we will arrange both the theory and the flying sessions for you to personally suit you. The flying can be done from just one session per week through to full time which is 2 sessions a day, 5 – 6 days a week. The length of time to do the theory will depend on you. As an example, full-time theory will take about 10 days. Theory can be done in conjunction with the flying.
How long does each lesson last?
You will normally spend around two hours at the airport — one hour in the air, the remaining hour split between classroom briefing, aircraft preparation and debriefing.
Can I take passengers on my lessons?
Once you have passed your Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) you are able to take passengers on most lessons. Lessons where passengers cannot be carried are generally those where simulated emergencies are practiced.
What happens if the weather is bad on the day of my lesson?
Safety is always paramount at Learn To Fly. Your instructor is trained to assess weather conditions and determine whether flying would be suitable for your level of experience. There may be times when your instructor “pushes the envelope” and encourages you to fly in less than suitable conditions. This is done so that experience is gained with poor weather conditions and techniques that help maintain a good safety margin.
Is public transport available?
Yes! The Moorabbin area is served by frequent bus and train services. The bus service has a pick up and drop off point adjacent to the DFO shopping complex. It is a 1.6km walk (15mins) from the bus stop, around the airport perimeter, to Learn To Fly. There are also two railway stations – Mentone and Cheltenham – that are local to Moorabbin airport. Buses depart from both stations to the nearby DFO shopping complex. Always check timetables for schedule details, particularly for weekends and evenings.
How much experience does my instructor have?
The Instructor Rating is divided into three classes numbered 1 through 3, class 1 being the highest. An instructor’s progression to a higher class is based on achieving at least the required number of flying instruction hours and satisfactory reviews. Several hundreds of hours are involved! In addition to this, instructors often undertake other ratings and endorsements, fly recreationally and participate in other flying activities. Consequently their total flying hours may be much greater as will be their overall experience. Several of LTFM & MFT’s instructors have total flying hours in the thousands, some in the tens of thousands!
Can I learn to fly at Learn To Fly Melbourne or Melbourne Flight Training if I am from overseas?
Yes! Provided you can obtain a Visa to allow entry into Australia, and you satisfy several aviation regulatory requirements like an ability to speak English, medical check, age, security check and so on.
Is accommodation available?
Yes, student apartments are available for international students.
Will I get air sick?
Air sickness is completely dependant on the individual. Some people will have a tendency to feel air sick initially, but as time passes and you feel more confident in the aircraft the chance of feeling sick is significantly reduced.
What methods of payment does LTF accept?
We require a deposit to book all the training flights. The payment can be made online or by cash, bank deposit, Visa, MasterCard or Amex. There is a 2% surcharge for Visa and MasterCard and a 3% surcharge for Amex.
How safe are small aircraft? Is flight training safe?
There is certain amount of risk in everything we do. Flying an aircraft have some degree of risk and for that reason they must be treated with care and respect. If you learn to fly safely with the right and professional instructors then you will go a long way towards reducing that risk. Your safety and that of the aircrafts and its occupants is the most important objective of our instructors. Besides, all of our aircraft are maintained to the highest Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) standards. Flying is safer than driving a car on the road.
How do I monitor whether my training program is unfolding satisfactorily?
It’s best to be critical and demanding in regards to your flight training to ensure you are getting the most value from your time and money. There are a few warning signs you can lookout for to ensure your training is unfolding the way it should. Things to watch out for include:
  • Constant rescheduling or cancellation of lessons
  • Failure to provide proper briefings
  • Constant changes of Instructor
  • Inconsistency within the school
  • Limited or no time with senior pilots
  • No proper debriefing
  • Shotty paperwork
Am I covered by insurance?
All RA students are covered by the RA-AUS members Liability Insurance. Also, it is a condition for any business that provides a service to the public to have Public Liability Insurance so we are covered by this insurance as well.
If I get a RA Flight Instructor Rating or a Commercial Pilot Licence, will I get a job?
Learn To Fly Melbourne, and our sister flight training school – both have flight training operations in Melbourne and Gold Coast. We have flight instructors at these 2 bases are employed in their first flying job. Besides, our Future Pilot Development Program will offer our students the opportunity to become a flight instructor once they meet all the program elements and have their licences. Other jobs such as TV & Video Filming, Photography, Tourism, Firefighting, Search and Rescue plus much more are available.