What does Part 61 mean for me?

New Era in Flight Licensing

Since 1988 the Civil Aviation regulations haven't been changed with the changing times and Australian regulations haven't been able to keep up with the rest of the world. On the 1st of September, CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) has unveiled new regulations which can be found in part 61 of CASR (Civil Aviation Safety Regulations) replacing the old CAR 5 which ran under the Civil Aviation Orders.

What does this mean to you?

The old GFPT is now replaced by recreational pilots licence. By transitioning to part 61 CASA has tried to streamline the gap between pilots who have been under the ambit of recreational aviation Australia (RA-Aus) flying ultralights & Light sport aircraft (LSA) and pilots flying a more conventional VH registered aircraft under the ambit of CASA. The pilot certificate which is issued by RA-Aus is now equivalent to Recreational Pilots Licence(RPL).

For a student who has been training in a ultralight aircraft or LSA; now has the chance to recognise his pilot certificate and apply to CASA by simply filling a form and getting a RPL issued. The student is required to undergo a flight review, which can be conducted by a grade 2 or a grade 1 Flight Instructor on any aircraft under 1500kgs including a conventional aircraft such as Cessna or a Piper.

In our eyes this is the end of flight training in a VH register conventional aircraft such as a C152, C172 or Piper Warrior. Why train on a aircraft which would cost the student upwards of $350 ph? The new rules allows you to complete your training in a LSA or ultralight and recognising it towards a RPL for as little as $199ph.

CASA has taken a bold move and its welcomed by the industry as it will make flight training more affordable to the masses and reduce the red tape around getting a pilots licence.

What is the difference between an RPL & RPC?

RPL is also known as a Recreational Pilot's licence which is a new license instated by CASA as of 1st September. If a student chooses to commence his/her training under the RPL syllabus he needs to undertake the entire training in a conventional VH registered aircraft such as a Cessna 172 or Piper warrior & the training rates cost upwards of $300 per hour.

At Soar Aviation, we can offer an RPC (Recreational Pilot Certificate) which is equivalent to an RPL and you can undertake training in a more cost effective Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) i.e Jabiru or a Foxbat. The training rates for a LSA aircraft is approximately sub $200. Once issued the RPC the student can recognise the credits and apply to CASA for the issuance of an RPL by simply filling a form and conducting a flight review on a aircraft of his/her liking.

What’s involved in the flight review?

A flight review is an opportunity to review your flight skills and update your operational knowledge. The Flight Review is required if you are converting your RPL to RPL as VH registed aircraft is generally are heavier but not necessarily difficult to fly. Flight reviews are also used to meet the International Civil Aviation Organization’s requirement for countries to ensure pilots continue to be competent exercising the privileges of their licences and ratings.

The general competency guildlines are as follows:

operating the aircraft’s navigation and operating systems

conducting all normal, abnormal and emergency flight procedures for the aircraft

applying operating limitations

weight and balance requirements

applying aircraft performance data, including take-off and landing performance data, for the aircraft. Pilots should consider undertaking training from a qualified person before flying a type of aircraft they have not previously flown, even though they hold the relevant class or type rating.

How often are flight reviews required?

Aircraft class rating: every 24 months

Aircraft type rating: every 24 months

Who can conduct a flight review?

A flight instructor with a grade 1 or 2 training endorsement can conduct an aircraft class or type rating flight review for an aircraft they are authorised to fly. Most of Soar Aviation's instructors are either Grade 2 or Grade 1 which means you can conduct your flight review after obtaining your RPC with your very own favorite Instructor.

Whats the need to convert to an RPL from RPC?

RPC allows you to fly any aircraft under 600kgs such as a Jabiru, Foxbat or a Sportstar and take upto 1 passenger wheras RPL allow's you to fly any aircraft upto 1500kgs which includes Cessna 172 or Piper Warrior.

An RPL provides flexiblity and also allows additional endorsements to be added on later such as constant speed unit, aerobatics, controlled airspace or retractable endorsement. As there is no additional cost in getting an RPL besides the Flight review; we recommend students if they are not going to immediately start working towards their PPL then to convert to an RPL immediately after an RPC issuance.

What are the age requirements for learning to fly?

To begin flight training you must be at least 14 years old and cannot fly solo until you are 15 years old. On the opposite end of the spectrum there is no age limit for flight training. The only requirement is that you are fit and healthy enough to pass an aviation medical before your first solo flight.

How long will it take to get my licence?

Every type of pilot licence has a minimum amount of hours you must complete, as regulated by CASA and RA Aus. Earning your licence is completely competency based, this means the time taken to obtain it can vary widely between students. Commitment to study and flying frequently will help you reduce these hours.

Typically, a Recreational Pilot Licence takes a minimum of 20 hours; a Private Pilot Licence can take you a minimum of 60-70 hours; and for a Commercial Pilot Licence, you’re looking at 150 hours.

What payment methods are available for flight training?

Block Booking - this option allows you to pay for the flight training in advance, in doing so you can avail of a 10% bonus on the flying hours purchased. Effectively reducing the rate of flying by 10%!

Pay-As-You-Fly - this allows you to be more flexible with your payments, all that is required during enrollment is a $500 deposit into your Flying Account, from there you can simply pay for each lesson as you go.

What do I need to wear for my first flight?

There are no strict requirements for your first flight. It is recommended that you wear comfortable clothing that is appropriate for the weather on the day of your flight, including flat sole shoes. Aviators are optional.

Can I take passengers on my lessons?

The training aircrafts used are for initial training are two-seaters, so there is only enough room for you and your instructor!

I have to wear prescription glasses; can I still become a pilot?

The majority of the time, wearing glasses won’t stop you from learning to fly a plane. Whether you wear glasses or not, all students are required to obtain a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Class 2 Medical Certificate following an examination by a medical practitioner known as a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME). More information is available on the CASA website: www.casa.gov.au

Once I complete my pilot’s licence training, what sort of employment can I pursue?

After completing your initial flight training and having satisfied all the program requirements, there are a number of career options you can pursue. Many Soar Aviation graduates have gone onto work as a professional charter pilot, corporate pilot, purpose flying (e.g. aerial spraying), coast guard watch, flight operational officer, ground and flying instructor, fire spotting or air ambulance pilot.

If you’re looking to obtain a job in the commercial airline industry, most airlines can require up to 2000 hours total flight time, along with any extra qualification requirements, for direct entry as a First Officer. Other jobs for regional or charter companies may require as few as 300 hour or less.

You can also opt to undergo flight instructor training and become a private pilot license instructor with a flight training school. This is not only a rewarding long-term career, but also a great way to build up your flight hours.

Can I transfer flying hours between courses and schools?

If you’ve had previous training, hours flown and levels achieved can be taken into consideration for other training on a case-by-case basis. You will need to supply a logbook for review when your training begins.

How long is my licence valid for?

Your pilot licence is similar to a driving licence, in the fact that it will never ‘run out’. However you are required be in good health and must pass a medical every 1-2 years, and also complete a flight review every 2 years.

Will I get airsick?

Like being able to stomach a rollercoaster ride, this is different for everyone. You may feel a little airsick to begin, but with time you’ll find your nerves reduce as you become more confident with the aircraft and your abilities.

How much home study will I need to do?

Like any specialised skill you can learn, the greater the final accomplishment, the greater the commitment outside of the classroom or cockpit. A private pilot license requires a limited amount of your own time. However, a commercial pilot license requires a serious time commitment in order to prepare for your exams.

Do I need a medical?

It is required that students working towards their Private Pilot Licence, complete a class 2 medical and students earning their Commercial Pilot Licence complete a class 1 medical. For more information and a list of Designated Aviation Medical Examiners (DAMEs) in Australia, please refer to the CASA website www.casa.gov.au


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