Where do I start…
Courtesy of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Learning to fly can be a little daunting sometimes and when you have an ambition of flying, you don’t really know where to start or who to go to, to find out all this information.

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked question to help you on your way.


  • Who can be a pilot and where do I start ?

    Today we live a fast and exciting lifestyle. Flying can be a part of your life.

    It offers:

    • adventure
    • challenge
    • personal achievement
    • peer group admiration
    • use of modern technology and communication
    • increased access to distant places.

    Pilots fly for fun but can also move into a variety of aviation careers such as charter flying, instructing, agricultural spraying and mustering, regional and national airlines and the defence forces.

  • How do I start?
    Find a flying school and go for an introductory flight. These flights are normally 20 to 30 minutes in duration. They allow the instructor a short time to assess your coordination and general attitude toward flying and you to feel the freedom of flight. Most people come back and start lessons straight away.

    As you will read on CASA website “The first step in taking up flying, as a career or just for pleasure, is to undertake a Trial Instructional Flight, or TIF, at a licensed flying club or training organisation.  TIF lasts around 30 minutes. This trial flight will most likely lead to a few lessons after which you should be able to decide whether you want to continue flying training. Your instructor will also be able to make an assessment of your potential to handle an aircraft.

    During the initial stages of flight instruction you will always be with a flight instructor. You will be taught the basics of flight in preparation for your first solo flight in the circuit area (rectangular pattern flown around an aerodrome), but will be familiarised with the local training area, usually a ten mile area around the airport. During this time you consolidate your training and build flying experience. Most likely, you will be ready to fly solo after approximately 10-15 hours of instruction. However each subsequent solo flight must be authorised by your instructor.

    Before you can fly solo, you will need to pass the required medical checks, pass an examination in Air Law and be issued with a Student Pilot Licence (STUDENT). To be issued the SPL, you must be at least 16 years of age and be capable of reading, writing, speaking and understanding the English language. You will also need to obtain an ARN (Aviation Reference Number) from CASA, supply photographs and identification documentation, and complete a security check.

    If you have set your sights on a career in aviation, this is usually the time that your school will advise you of options for commercial training. They will also suggest that you undertake the required medical checks which are more exacting for professional pilots to make sure you can satisfy the medical standards before outlaying considerable sums of money on flying training.”

  • When can I start flying?
    You need to be 15 years old to go solo and hold a student pilot certificate and 17 to hold a private pilot’s licence. There is no maximum age although all pilots, from 15 to 96, are required to have a medical examination.
  • Can I fly before I'm 16?
    There is no limitation on when you can start learning to fly when accompanied by a flight instructor, but you must be at least 15 to fly solo. Many flying schools have junior programs as do the Girl Guides, Scouts, Air Training Corp and Australian A.
  • How do I find a flying school?
    Flying schools and academies are at all secondary airports in the capital cities and at airports in most provincial towns. Flying schools advertise in aviation and flying magazines which are available at newsagents. You can visit the airport and walk from school to school making enquiries, or look in the Yellow Pages under Flying Schools.
  • What is an integrated flying course ?
    An integrated training course is an intensive program that combines ground theory with practical flight training in a structured course and is designed to be completed within a condensed period of time. Theory training is delivered in parallel to the practical training as a planned integrated sequence. The benefit of integrated training is that the flying experience required is reduced compared to non-integrated training.
  • When can I fly around Australia?

    After passing the PPL Test, you will be issued with the licence which enables you to fly anywhere within Australia, solo or with private passengers in daytime visual meteorological conditions. You will no longer require your instructor’s permission to undertake a flight as pilot in command.

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