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Flying training


RAFC is a volunteer run club that offers limited flight training opportunities alongside our other services, predominantly on weekends, however our capacity is limited and significantly lower than commercial flying schools. If you are interested in flying training with RAFC, please discuss your goals with the committee when applying for membership and we can advise our current flight training capacity and likely commencement date for your training. Note that there could be more than a 6 month wait to begin regular flying training with RAFC

All flying / pilot training is conducted under the Part 141 authorisation of our partner organisation Young Eagles Australia (YEA). Club instructors are all volunteers who come from diverse civil and military backgrounds and bring with them a wealth of experience. The club conducts CASA flight training courses for Recreational Pilots Licence (RPL), Private Pilots Licence (PPL), Night VFR and can offer some design feature endorsements (retractable, CSU) as well as RAAUS to RPL conversions if required.

Trial Instructional Flights

If you have no previous flying experience a Trial Instructional Flight (TIF) is a good first step. A TIF is a half to one hour flight with an instructor who will introduce you to the wonders of aviation including you having control of the aircraft. No medical certificate is required and no age limit applies. Flights such as these will give you a better idea of whether you will start of a new career as a pilot or a lifetime love affair before committing yourself financially or applying for club membership. It also gives you a chance to check out the clubs great atmosphere, facilities and get a bird’s eye view of RAAF Base Amberley. Anyone eligible for membership can undertake a TIF which makes them a great gift idea. Contact the RAFC President if you would like to arrange a TIF.

Prerequisites for beginning Flight Training

a. Received an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) by completing a Form 1162 from the CASA website.

b. Applied for an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC).

c. Applied for a CASA Class 2 (or limited Class 2) medical, refer to the CASA website. This medical is required before flying solo (but not to start flight training).

d. Purchase a Pilots Log Book (we recommend FLIGHT STORE)

e. Purchase theory text books as required for your licence (see Theory section below)

Costs and Payments

RAFC training is conducted in the PA-38 tomahawk, with the option to use the PA-28-180 Archer for longer navigation flights. Whenever flying with an instructor you will be billed at the published “DUAL” prices, and if being supervised by an instructor but flying solo then the “SOLO” prices apply. Aircraft rates are published on the individual aircraft pages under the “Fleet” tab.

Our preferred method of payment for flights, membership, briefings, etc is by using the credit card machine available at the RAFC clubhouse or alternatively by EFT. More information on payment will be provided after being accepted as a club member.

Flight Training Overview

RAFC offer regular flight training on Fridays and weekends allowing students to progress regularly through flight training. After becoming a member, students will be put in touch with the RAFC OPSO who works with students individually to align their availability with Instructors and Aircraft. For members on-base during the week, classroom briefings can be held during lunch breaks or after work, allowing more time in the air on flying days. RAFC’s training syllabus is based on RAAF flight training principles including attitude flying and typically consists of 25 sorties to RPL with an additional 7 to PPL over a 6 month period (subject to instructor and aircraft availability, and noting that allowances can be made for quicker progression for students with higher aptitude or past flying experience). The phases of flight training are summarised below:

First Solo

Going solo is the first big achievement for a student pilot. The first solo flight will involve practicing take-offs and landings, and general flying within the airport circuit. This is basically a consolidation of everything that you have learned to date, such as operation and effect of controls, straight and level flying, climbing and descending and turning. Most students are ready to attempt their first solo after reaching 10-15 hours. Before you can do so, though, you must:

a. be assessed as competent for first solo;

b. pass an examination on basic flight and safety procedures;

c. be a member of the Club; and

d. read, understood and signed the Club Standard Operating Procedures.

First Area Solo

The first area solo is the first time the student is allowed to fly alone outside the immediate confines of the circuit, but within the designated local training area. Prior to undertaking the first area solo a student pilot must:

a. have completed first solo and have 2 hours in command in the circuit;

b. be assessed as competent for first area solo.

Recreational Pilots Licence

At the completion of your instructional flying phase, a flight test will be conducted after which you are able to attain a Recreational Pilots Licence (on continue to progress into navigation and work toward a full PPL). An RPL is an intermediate licence which allows you to hire an aircraft as a licenced pilot and take passengers flying while operating within the immediate vicinity of the aerodrome. Additional information on the RPL can be found on the CASA website however the prerequisites are listed below:

a. Have 25 hours total flight time which includes:

(1) 20 hours dual flying; (2) 5 hours solo

b. Pass the RPL written examination; and

c. Pass the RPL flight test.

Private Pilot Licence

The Private Pilot Licence (PPL) allows you to fly any aeroplane for which you are qualified, anywhere within Australia and work toward additional ratings such as night VFR or a even a commercial pilots licence. To gain a PPL the student pilot must meet the following training requirements and minimum aeronautical experience:

a. Have 40 hours total flight time which includes:

(1) 10 hours solo; (2) 5 hours cross country (3) 2 hours instrument flying

b. Pass the PPL written examination; and

c. ass the PPL flight test.


Prior to each lesson RAFC instructors will provide a 15-20 minute sortie flight brief which will cover the sequences to be flown on the training flight, and long briefs are typically organised on non-flying days (i.e. weeknights).

Students are encouraged to do their own study using flight training theory publications or make arrangements through their instructor. RAFC recommend purchasing RPL/PPL theory text books from Bob Tait’s website. Instructors and Students may also reference the Resources Page during classroom briefings or at-home study and/or purchase a subscription with Pilot Practice Exams for additional pracatice if desired.

Theory Exam/s

Prior to conducting the RPL or PPL flight test, students must complete the required CASA theory exams appropriate to their licence. The above referenced text books prepare students well for these exams, which must be sat under controlled conditions at an aviation theory centre. Students must create an account with ASPEQ and can then book their exams online to be sat at Archerfield.

CASA also require RPL and PPL candidates to undertake an English Language Proficiency Test. Both theory exam and english test are pre-requisites for the RPL or PPL flight test .