Learn to Fly Questions
What do I have to do to learn to fly?
Welcome to the world of flying! The first thing to do is book in for a half-hour Trial Instructional Flight (TIF). This is the best way to find out if flying is for you. You will have a briefing on what is going to happen in the flight, and then go fly. A TIF gives you the opportunity to fly an aircraft to see what it is like, without having to cover too much theory. Following the TIF, you would book in for the first lesson.
Which aircraft should I use?
This is very much up to you. Our aircraft all have different characteristics and excel at different areas. The Tecnam is a very new and inexpensive aircraft, but only seats two. The Piper Warriors are larger and more powerful, but more expensive per hour. We have two Warriors, so it is more likely that one is available at any given time.
Should I pick Recreational Aviation or General Aviation?
This does not really matter. The most important thing is to find an aircraft you feel comfortable in and fly that one. Picking either system does not lock you into one or the other; you may start in one and change at any time. Recreational Aviation (RA) is limited to aircraft with two seats maximum. General Aviation (GA) aircraft do not have these limitations, however depending upon the aircraft used may be more expensive per hour.
Recreational Aviation Questions
I have a PPL/CPL. How many hours do I have to do to obtain a Recreational Pilot Certificate?
There is no minimum hours requirement. You only have to reach the appropriate standard. The main differences between GA and RA aircraft originate from the lighter weight of the latter and often superior glide characteristics. Training in Human Factors is now also required for the RA certificate, which is satisfied if you have completed a CASA exam involving Human Performance and Limitations/Human Factors.
Do the flight hours in training for a Recreational Pilot Certificate count towards a Private Pilot Licence if I wish to obtain one later?
Yes, the RA hours count towards the CASA administered Recreational and Private Pilot Licences (RPL or PPL). This is specified in CASR 61.475. In addition, if you have already obtained an RA Pilot Certificate, you may also be granted an RPL from CASA, and fly aircraft weighing (MTOW) up to 1500kg. This will be subject to holding a security clearance (see below), medical and conducting a flight review. This is specified in CASR 61.480.
Where am I allowed to fly if I have an RA Pilot Certificate?
You can fly anywhere in Australia except controlled airspace (A, B or C airspace) and the usual restricted and prohibited areas that apply to all licences. If you also have RPL Controlled Aerodrome/Airspace endorsements or higher and a current medical certificate and flight review, you can also fly RA aircraft in controlled airspace.
What is the difference between a Recreational Pilot Certificate and a Recreational Pilot Licence?
A Recreational Pilot Certificate is issued by RAA and permits a pilot to fly in an RA-registered aircraft outside controlled airspace. The certificate can have a cross-country endorsement attached so that the pilot can fly beyond 25nm from the take-off aerodrome. A Recreational Pilot Licence is issued by CASA and allows a pilot to fly a GA-registered aircraft up to 1500kg. The licence can have endorsements attached for navigation (beyond 25nm from take-off aerodrome), controlled airspace, controlled airfield or flight radio. This is expected be be a confusing point for years to come. Remember, a certificate lets you fly an aeroplane with numbers on the side and a licence an aeroplane with letters on the side. One does not let you fly the other without completing the necessary paperwork and flying until deemed competent.
Do I use the same pilot logbook for RA and GA?
Yes, and both RA and GA hours are recorded on the same page in sequence. The certification and endorsement pages in the front are used by both systems.