Flight School

Quite seriously, learning to fly is a relatively straightforward process. Despite the popular misconception, it does not require higher levels of Maths or Physics, in fact, providing you can read, write and understand English and you have average hand-eye co-ordination you should find it relatively straightforward and very rewarding.

Like most things in life, if you want to do it well, it will require a high level of application. The more extra study you commit to, then the more cost-effective and rewarding your training will be. Importantly, you will also be safer!

You can begin learning to fly at any age. Although you will need to be at least 15 years of age to fly solo (without an Instructor onboard).

Yes! Latrobe Valley Aero Club does offer a Trial Instructional Flight (TIF), which can be undertaken as an optional first flight lesson. This means it counts towards your qualification should you continue. A TIF will give you a better appreciation of what is involved in future flight lessons.

An interesting question, and one without a correct answer. For initial training, we offer our Tecnam P-92 Echo for the Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) Recreational Pilots Certificate (RPC), and for General Aviation (GA) training we offer our Cessna 172s for the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), Private Pilot’s Licence (RPL) and Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL).
The final decision can be made in consultation with your instructor.

This is a fairly typical scenario of your first lesson.

  1. Arrive at the school and have an introduction to your instructor.
  2. This will be followed by a 40-minute briefing exercise on “Effects of Controls”. This is basically a briefing on how lift is generated and the basics of how to fly an aeroplane.
  3. The next stage is to “sign out” and head out to the aeroplane. The next 20 minutes will consist of the “pre-flight inspection” and completing the associated administration.
  4. Your flight lesson then begins. It will last for approximately 1 hour and much of the lesson will be spent with you flying the aircraft under instruction from one of our staff. Most likely, you will have more “hands-on time” than the instructor. After the lesson, you close off the paperwork, secure the aircraft and attend a debriefing that will typically last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

We welcome Overseas Students and have the ability to train students from China, Fiji, Russia, Japan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, New Guinea, South Korea, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Turkey, Greece, as well as many other countries. The majority of these students will return to their home country to start successful careers with their national carriers.

We are approved by the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) which is the Government Approval to train overseas Students. Our CRICOS number is 02844F.

Importantly, our Company does not deal with Agents or Marketing Companies which would require us to pay substantial commissions which would then charged on to the Student. We do have an International Student Manager who is available to offer you substantial support both before and after your arrival.
International Students

If you are intending to join us at Latrobe Valley Aero Club and are coming from overseas you should contact our International Student Manager (ISM) on ism@auspta.com.au. Our ISM will forward the requirements through to you.

Of course. In fact, we maintain a larger fleet than would be normal practice in this Industry. This allows us to make aircraft available to you for Private Hire. When hiring aircraft, you are only charged for the hours that the engine is operating.

There are no hidden costs. Our rates are all-inclusive. We price all licences on the flight hours that you can realistically be expected to achieve.

Our competitors will generally be pricing all licences on non-realistic minimum hours that cannot be achieved. Our pricing includes all expenses required for the course, including fees to CASA, exam fees, equipment, theory courses, books etc. Any expense that you will incur in Pilot training is reflected in our costings.

Yes, you can. In fact, many of our students come to us after commencing their training with another provider and then transfer to us for the continuation and completion of their training. This is an area we specialise in. We will make the transition as smooth as possible, and all of your previously obtained hours will be fully accepted.

Quite simply, we are absolutely committed to Latrobe Valley Aero Club offering you the best experience of any Flight Training Organisation in Australia. We appreciate every school’s marketing material makes promises. At Latrobe Valley Aero Club, we will keep our promises. If you have any concerns during your training, let us know.

Latrobe Valley Aero Club will stand behind every promise we make. We will offer a modern and uncompromisingly maintained fleet of aircraft. We will back them up with Industry-leading experienced instructors. We won’t make promises we can’t keep. We will give you honest advice on what is best for you, and we won’t “upsell” you.

Latrobe Valley Aero Club offers a diverse fleet of aircraft. We currently operate Tecnam P-92, Cessna 150 & 152, Cessna 172, Cessna 172RG, Partenavia, Beechcraft Travelair and the aerobatic Decathlon. These include 2, 4 and 6 seat aircraft, single-engine and multi-engine aircraft with the Decathlon used for tailwheel and aerobatic training.

Our fleet is one of the most diverse of any flying school. Our aircraft are consistently maintained to the highest standards. We do not compromise on aircraft safety or presentation. Importantly we maintain a large fleet, this ensures you will have access to a range of aircraft.

If it’s an additional qualification that you are after, then you have found the right place. Apart from the RAAus Pilots Certificate, RPL, PPL, and CPL we offer Aerobatics, Tailwheel, Night Ratings, Instrument Ratings, Instructor Ratings, Formation Training, Multi-Engine Class Ratings, and Dangerous Goods Training. If it can be offered, we will be offering it.

Latrobe Valley Aero Club is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). This allows us to offer both a Certificate IV and an Associate Diploma in Aviation. These additional qualifications do incur a moderate additional cost of approximately $650 each. This is of exceptional value and significantly below the charge made by our competitors. This can be discussed with your instructor at Latrobe Valley Aero Club before the commencement of your training.

Latrobe Valley Aero Club has maintained a policy since its inception of not paying for advertising. Our club has grown to its current size on word of mouth and personal recommendations alone. That’s why you won’t see us in the “glossy” magazines.

Without any doubt, our Personnel is the single biggest asset the aero club has. Of the Pilots employed by Latrobe Valley Aero Club, we maintain an Industry-leading instructor ratio ensuring that at least half of our staff are the more experienced Grade One Instructors. In fact, the average experience of our Instructors is over 3000 hours. We have high expectations for our instructors and they meet those standards. With most of our customers commencing at other organisations before transferring to Latrobe Valley Aero Club we are well placed to obtain feedback, I know we do a good job.

Payment can be made at the front desk after completion of your flight. Another option is the Internet Banking Transfer. Latrobe Valley Aero Club does not accept Diners or AMEX.

For students flying intensively, rather than the cumbersome procedure of paying for each flight, you can run on Weekly accounts. Simply contact us to discuss your request.

As an indication, if you are a non-native English Speaker the following standards of English are required.

  • IELTS Academic overall 6.0, no Grade lower than 6.0
  • TOEIC 350 listening, 300 reading, 160 speaking and 140 for writing
  • TOEFL IBT Grade not less than 71
  • TOEFL CBT not less than 197
  • TOEFL PB not less than 530

For those whose English is below the levels above, they should consider their decision to commence Flight Training. Effective communication is crucial on the ground and in the air.

Experience has shown us that a sound English Language ability will significantly influence the cost of you obtaining your licence. Non-native English speakers generally do well with their training but it is important that you make a realistic assessment of your language ability.

As Flight Training is predominantly conducted on a one to one basis, you don’t have to wait for a course to commence. In fact, you are generally able to commence at any time throughout the year. Our theory courses run throughout the year and this ensures that a theory course will be available at a suitable time in your training. Generally, students can commence within one week of making their decision, although Students from overseas should allow time for the Visa issue and associated paperwork, which our International Student Manager will assist you with.

International Students
We understand overseas students arrival times can be influenced by many different factors. Latrobe Valley Aero Club is generally flexible around the arrival dates of international students. However, where possible, we will attempt to schedule the arrival times of two or more international students, allowing you to progress and study together.

If you are not an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident, it is extremely difficult to secure work in Australia due to the strict Immigration Department requirements, therefore jobs for overseas citizens are very difficult to obtain. It is also very difficult for an Employer to Sponsor an overseas citizen for a Work Visa in Australia.

If coming from Overseas you should plan on returning home shortly after the completion of your training. If a Company were to Sponsor you, they will have strict legal obligations to pay you a Salary that is approximately double what an equivalent Australian Pilot would earn. This acts as an impediment to Overseas Students being able to work in the Aviation Industry after their training.

Unfortunately, there are generally no scholarships available for Flight Training. Female Pilots should seriously consider joining the Australian Women Pilots Association as they do offer significant support to their members. They do also have a limited number of scholarships available.

Most students successfully combine work with learning to fly. Flight Training is predominantly delivered on a one to one basis. Each Instructor will manage several students. They will liaise with you to provide a timetable suitable for your needs.

International Students
Overseas Student you are permitted to work 20 hrs per week while undertaking study. Importantly, that work must not interfere with your studies.

The more frequently you fly the safer you will be, the quicker you will learn & as a bonus, the more you will save. Bear in mind you are paying about $6.00 per minute in an aeroplane. By flying regularly, you will minimise the time spent on revision on each lesson. Generally, you should aim to fly at least once a week to get the most from your training, and ideally more frequently.
International Students

If you are an Overseas Student, there are strict requirements placed on us by the Australian Government. You are required to attend classes 20 hours per week if on a Student Visa. If your attendance or progression is not satisfactory we are required to inform the Immigration Department.

Latrobe Valley Aero Club can recommend a number of accommodation options. Rates, of course, can vary from place to place. We would recommend a homestay (shared accommodation) initially until you are able to find a place that is right for you.

An interesting question. A diverse range of people are attracted to aviation and are successful in this industry.
Personal experience has shown that people coming from a trade background are particularly adept at Flying Training. We also find people from an IT background most frequently opt for the mid-career change towards Aviation and are usually quite successful.
The maths is fairly straightforward and will not pose a challenge during Flight Training.

A person who sets high standards on themselves will do well. A motivation to do more than the minimum required is another good attribute that is an indicator of successful Flight Training.

Another consideration is how busy you are. You need to be in a situation where you can shut off from the outside world while training. If you are constantly having to deal with work issues, the associated distractions will impede your training.

Your instructor will provide you with regular and honest feedback. As a guide to your progress, you should be aiming to complete your first solo flight in approximately 15 flight hours, an RPC or RPL should require a total of approximately 30 hours with the PPL requiring another 30 hours of flying for a total of approximately 60 flying hours for the PPL.

On the very rare occasion where we feel you are struggling with your training, we will bring it to your attention. Generally, any difficulties associated with Flight Training are related to a lower level of English than required.

It is highly recommended that you ensure your English is at the required standard

We often get students from overseas come to us for a short course of training. This may be because they are trying out for an Airline Cadet Program and wish to gain some exposure to Flight Training. We regularly deliver these programs and they can be tailored to your particular needs. Similarly, some Australian Secondary School students will elect to undertake a short course during their school holidays. Before commencing any program, you need to consider how many flying lessons you intend to take.

If you wish to complete any Solo flying (without an instructor onboard), there are significant additional requirements such as Medical, Security Checks, English Language tests etc. These require you to commence the associated Paperwork at least 2 months before you plan to commence. If this is your intention, then please contact us for further guidance. Generally, if you intend to fly solo you should plan for approximately 15 hours flight time to achieve that milestone.

The course structure would contain the following sequences with each lesson being of approximately 1.2 hours flight time.

  • Lesson 1 Operation and Effects of Controls
  • Lesson 2 Straight and Level
  • Lesson 3 Climbing and Descending
  • Lesson 4 Turning
  • Lesson 5 Stalling
  • Lesson 6 to 12 Circuits- approximately 7 X 1.2 hours flights

The cost of each lesson varies on aircraft type and can be found on our website. As a rough guide, you should plan on approximately $300-$350 per hour. You can choose to do as many lessons as you want, but for the first 5 lessons, we suggest limiting yourself to one lesson a day. We are open 7 days a week but in winter (June, July, and August) we can get consecutive days that may not be suitable for flying. As a guide, if you were to plan on one day in Australia per flying lesson that should be sufficient, i.e. if you hope to do 7 lessons then you should allow 7 days.
The structure of each lesson would also include an extensive Pre-flight and Post Flight Briefing.
Generally, there are accommodation options available close to the airport.

For those coming to Australia from Overseas, this short course could easily be completed with a straightforward Tourist Visa.

You are welcome to discontinue your training at any time. We don’t require any upfront payments. On occasion, you may have elected to place funds into a Latrobe Valley Aero Club account although there is no requirement to do so. In those cases, you will be refunded 100% of your unused fees. If you do need to discontinue your training or take a break, it is strongly recommended that you at least finish the licence or certificate you are currently working towards, before stopping. This will be the most cost-effective approach if you may decide to continue again at a later date.

Flying light aircraft is not an inherently dangerous activity. The cause of most light aircraft accidents can be generally traced to one of the following:

  • Poor lookout
  • Poor situational awareness
  • Flying into poor weather
  • Insufficient fuel for the flight
  • Poor planning

Engine failures are a consideration although you will receive substantial training on how to handle these situations. Every 100 hours of Flight Time the Aircraft go into the workshop for a comprehensive inspection. The maintenance requirements in Australia are very stringent and Latrobe Valley Aero Club maintains the highest uncompromising standards in every aspect of our aircraft maintenance. In fact, in 10 years of Flying, we have not had an Engine Failure, and we aim to ensure we never have one. As stated the risks are generally in the five areas nominated above. We will ensure that we develop sound habits in all our Pilots to minimise these risks.

In all cases other than the RAAus Pilot Certificate, to fly solo, you will need to have an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) and an Aviation Medical Certificate. These can be accessed from the CASA website at www.casa.gov.au. Download the form 1162 which is the ARN application or apply on-line. There is no charge for the ARN. Complete and return to CASA. Once you receive your ARN, you are then able to book your medical examination. A list of the Designated Aviation Medical Examiners (DAMEs) can be found on the CASA website. These are located within Australia and at some locations in other countries. If you intend to complete a Private Pilot Licence then you will only require a Class 2 Medical Certificate. For those going on to a Commercial Licence, they will need to apply for and sit a higher level, Class One Medical Certificate. There is a lower medical available called a Recreational Aviation Medical Certificate (RAMPC). This has some limitations so is not recommended.

To obtain a Recreational Pilot Certificate issued by RAAus, you only need to maintain a medical standard equivalent to that required to drive a motor vehicle. This is confirmed by you as part of your initial membership declaration. However if you are over 75 years of age or have a known medical condition listed on their website, then a doctor needs to confirm your health standard with an annual examination.

For General Aviation, most people shouldn’t be too concerned about obtaining a medical. If you are in good general health you should be fine. There are no minimum or maximum heights specified. Applicants who are significantly overweight may, however, experience some difficulties. Regarding eyesight that generally isn’t a problem provided it can be corrected by spectacles or contact lenses.

If you have diabetes, epilepsy, or have experienced any significant body or head trauma then a more lengthy process for consideration of your medication should be expected.

If you have any concerns it would be best to attend the medical before commencing your training. Fortunately, there are several CASA approved Designated Aviation Medical Examiners (DAMEs) throughout Australia (and around the world). A full list can be accessed on the CASA website through the Aviation Medicine section.

Before booking your medical with a DAME you will need your Aviation Reference Number (ARN) and commence your medical application online on the CASA website found in the aviation medicine section.

For Pilots doing a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), you will require a Class 2 Aviation Medical, while those going on to the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) will require the Class 1 Aviation Medical. Class 1 is issued for 12 months with a Class 2 automatically issued for up to 4 years.

If you are considering converting your licence to an Australian one the procedure is relatively straightforward, although you should anticipate delays with processing by CASA.

CASA will issue an Australian Private Pilot Licence (PPL). The requirements being that your home countries’ pilot licence reflects whether you are permitted to operate a radio and must also indicate that you have at least Level 4 ICAO English. Please advise us if your licence does not meet those criteria and we may be able to provide further guidance.

Next step is to visit the CASA website at www.casa.gov.au and download Form 61-4A. If converting to an Australian PPL there is no requirement to complete the other form that is mentioned (61-4B)

Complete form 61-4A. Read through the instructions on the first page carefully. Accurately and clearly completed forms will help to minimise delays, although I suggest you allow at least one month for this to be completed.

Once CASA has issued your Australian Private Pilot Licence (PPL) you simply contact us for a Proficiency Check, and you are then able to access the range of Latrobe Valley Aero Club aircraft.

It may be that time frames do not permit you to complete the CASA requirements in time. On such occasions, you are welcome to rent an aircraft with an Instructor to accompany you on your flight. Current rates for our fleet of Aircraft can be found on our website or by calling us.

Both options are available to our students. The nature of Flight Training is that it is conducted predominantly on a one to one basis, with your schedule tailored in consultation with you and your own needs. Latrobe Valley Aero Club is open 7 days a week. During the warmer months and Daylight Savings, the operations continue significantly later into the evening. We operate on all Public Holidays.

Unfortunately, about 20% of trainees will suffer from motion sickness on their first lesson. Interestingly this drops to less than 1% of trainees getting unwell on their second lesson.

Ensure you come to flight lessons with something in your stomach. A light meal is best. During the lesson, it is important to keep your eyes looking outside the cockpit most of the time. This will ensure your body is receiving the correct visual inputs which help to minimise air sickness. If you do get ill in the first lesson, don’t let that deter you as it is relatively normal, and we will be prepared with airsickness bags.

We are fully satisfied Latrobe Valley Aero Club will provide you with the most cost-effective training available.

Firstly, we are very upfront with all of our pricing. The fact is that no candidate will achieve a licence in the minimum specified hours in the regulations. Therefore, unlike our competitors, we don’t price our licences on those unattainable minimum hours. As we are pricing on realistic hours we may initially appear more expensive. This isn’t the case, in fact, we are simply, more transparent.

Secondly, we have no hidden extras. Unlike many of our competitors, we don’t add on landing fees at any other Airport. We refund all fuel at the rate that you pay, rather than the reduced local rate, we don’t charge extra for briefing etc. Quite simply, the price is the price.

Thirdly, our staff will help you reduce your costs. We have Industry leading instructors. This ensures a high level of oversight and experience is bought to your training.

We brief thoroughly. Without a doubt, we receive most commendations from customers on the amount of briefing that we deliver in comparison to our competitors. One way to save money on your Flight Training is to be well prepared in the lesson. This is best achieved by a thorough Briefing. We pride ourselves on this aspect in particular.

We absolutely commit to not “upselling” our students. We will constantly review your training to ensure you are taking the most cost-effective path available. There are a number of efficiencies that can be built into your training, and we will effectively utilise them.

Latrobe Valley Aero Club does not offer VET Fee Help, and we don’t have any short term plans to introduce it. The reasons for this are varied.

One of the greatest things about learning to fly and pursuing a career as a pilot in Australia is that irrespective of your socio-economic background, with perseverance and commitment you will succeed.

A further consideration is that reasonable salaries often take more than 5 years to achieve. Therefore, on completion of your training and after more than 5 years, a large debt will commence. Quite often at a time of your life when you have significant financial pressures.

Long term, it’s better to pay as you go and complete your training without large debts hanging over your head

 

Assuming your son or daughter has approached you and expressed an interest in flying, can I suggest the following considerations? You should consider that they are not able to fly solo until their 15th Birthday. Generally, the solo lesson will occur on about the 12th to 15th flying lesson. You could plan those lessons before the 15th Birthday with the actual Birthday being the day that we work towards for their first solo.
Be aware that there is a study component as well as the flying component in their Flight Training, so you need to consider if your son or daughter is willing to undertake this additional workload and do they have the aptitude and motivation required to complete the study.
Also, consider the Secondary School Workload. It’s best to make a realistic determination. If school studies will disrupt Flight Training, it may be best to delay its commencement. The most cost-effective Flight Training occurs when it is delivered with continuity and regularity.
Has your son or daughter had exposure to motorcycles, Go-Karts, etc.? The concept of situational awareness and energy management derived from such actions will help to create the mindset for Flight Training and provide some advantage.
Is your son or daughter confident enough to engage with adults and receive instruction or are they more introverted?
Assuming you have satisfied yourself with the above, then commencing Flight Training at a young age may well be the best path to follow.
The most suitable aircraft for younger pilots would most likely be the RAAus Tecnam which is lovely to fly. Please be aware that some lessons may slightly exceed one hour.

As with all pilot training, it is predominantly one on one so lessons can be tailored at the time and pace that is most convenient for the customer.

Generally, the first person to greet you when you enter the flying school will become your instructor. Quite similar to entering a car dealership really! At Latrobe Valley Aero Club we elect to do it somewhat differently. We intend to first arrange a mutually convenient time to meet.
At that meeting, we will have the opportunity to meet and engage with you. We can ascertain your training needs etc. We will then determine which of our instructors will best meet your requirements. Our goal will be to match you up with the most appropriate instructor.
As most of our work comes from personal recommendations, we will always do our best to accommodate your requests.