Learning to fly is an experience unlike any other. Imagine being at the controls of an aeroplane, flying at 10,000 feet, soaking up dramatic landscapes and experiencing the freedom and joy this sport delivers. Flying takes commitment, dedication, discipline and practice, but it is one of the most rewarding and exhilarating lifetime pursuits.
The first step is to decide whether you want to obtain a Recreational Pilot License (RPL) or Private Pilot License (PPL). Obtaining a RPL is the base level in aviation training and enables you to:
- Fly in an uncontrolled airspace away from military establishments and major airports;
- Fly in a two seat, single engine aircraft;
- Fly below 10,000 feet above sea level.
While a PPL offers extra benefits including the ability to:
- Fly in a controlled airspace;
- Fly an aircraft with more than two seats;
- Fly at night (with extra training beyond the basic PPL course);
- Fly in cloud and fly aerobatics (with a lot of extra training!).
A PPL is also recognised internationally to allow pilots the opportunity to take their new skills and passion to a career abroad.
The time it takes to obtain either a RPL or PPL is dependent on whether you are undergoing full-time or part-time training, weather conditions and your financial situation. As a guide, an average student will qualify for a RPL after approximately 25 hours of training and a PPL after approximately 55-60 hours of training.
Learning to fly is a significant investment both financially and personally, but remember you are investing in your education, new skills and the opportunity to open new worlds and create new experiences. There are a growing number of pilots in Australia with a RPL rather than a PPL simply because it is more affordable. The average pilot will spend approximately $25,000 to get their private license or around $7,000 for a RPL.
To take advantage of one of the most thrilling journeys of your life, ensure you have dedicated time to research and explore all information available to you. One of the most important steps in this process will be finding the right flight school to ensure you are on your way to becoming a safe and confident pilot. If your aim is to start with recreational license now and enjoy a couple of years flying before embarking on further training, Recreational Aviation Australia, is a CASA accredited flying school with certified supervisors.
For a Private Pilot License, there are a number of comprehensive flying schools around Australia to select from. Air Australia International offers extensive practical and theoretical training with further education in night flying and aerobatics.