Flight Training


WELCOME to the world of Aviation. Lao Tzu, the famous oriental philosopher once said… “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Congratulations on planning your first step towards the exciting journey of becoming a pilot!

The first step

Involves a hands-on Trial Instructional flight (TIF). You will actually take control of the aeroplane under the supervision of a qualified flight instructor. This flight is usually around 30-40 minutes and can be logged towards the hours you need to obtain a licence.

The prerequisites

After your Trial Instructional flight (TIF), if you choose to continue your flying training, you will need to comply with a few basic requirements:

  1. You need to apply to the Aviation Regulator (CASA) for an Aviation Reference Number (ARN). There is no fee for this but you will require basic ID documents.
  2. You need to complete a medical check with a Doctor who specialises in Aviation Medicine who is approved by CASA. Find an Aviation Medical Examiner
  3. You need to apply for an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC).

The next step: choose which licence you wish to attain

After your TIF you will most likely want to sit down with an Instructor and discuss the Licence options. Some choose to get enough hours to fly for fun and go for a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), some choose to continue through to the Private Pilot Licence (PPL), others may aspire to a career in Aviation and aim for the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). The choice is entirely yours.

You might even prefer a let‘s see how I go approach and log a few more hours before deciding. Whichever path you choose, and whichever qualification you aspire to, Merimbula Air Services can certainly help you reach you goals. The sky is the limit here in fact – literally!

The RPL (Recreational Pilot Licence)

The RPL allows you to carry passengers and to fly within 25 nautical miles of the airport. To obtain this licence you need to be at least 16 years of age, hold a current medical certificate and have a minimum of 25 hours logged with 5 of these hours being solo. The RPL can generally be achieved for around $10 to $12K based on competency and the regularity of your training. Merimbula Air Services operate on a pay as you go system, saving a huge upfront cost.

RPL (endorsements)

As a holder of an RPL you can build on your skills and abilities by electing to pursue further hours of training and be issued with various endorsements – for example a navigation endorsement will lift the 25 nm from the airport restriction.

The PPL (Private Pilot Licence)

The PPL licence is less restrictive than the RPL as it allows you to carry passengers and fly anywhere in Australia. The total minimum hours required to attain the PPL are 40hrs of which 10 are solo hours. The PPL can generally be achieved for around $ 15 to $17K, once again this is competency based.

The CPL (Commercial Pilot Licence)

The CPL license allows you to fly and be paid. We run a non-integrated Commercial Pilot Licence, requiring a minimum of 200 hours. Our instructors wish to pass on their commercial experience, using checklists from your 1st flight that are easily transferable to larger more complex aircraft as you progress. We don’t believe in burning up a lot of hours (and money) just to gain hours, rather we look to build a commercial plan with as much training as possible towards your chosen specific career path, within the mandated 200 hours. This may include an Instrument Rating and Multi Engine Class Rating for those looking at airlines, or a Tailwheel Endorsement and Low-Level Endorsement for those looking at Aerial Application. We have access to a variety aircraft and recommend you contact us to tailor a plan to suit your specific needs. Our joy comes in seeing you achieve!

The Theory

There will be various inhouse written tests of your aviation knowledge stepped along the path to your licence, like the presolo test, a pre-area solo and the radio proficiency test. CASA also require an online exam testing knowledge, for which Merimbula Air Services is a certified testing facility. We have written practice exams to help you self-test your level of knowledge before sitting an exam.  

Some of the more complex subjects you will need to study the in-depth principles and procedural requirements. This can be done either by self-study (textbooks required), by enrolling in a class or by organising some private tuition. Classes and tuition will involve extra costs. We are here to help guide and advise on which program of study works for you and we will certainly be available to answer any questions if you choose the self-study path.

How often should I plan to do my training flights?

Twice weekly is ideal to stay at the top of the learning curve. Once a week also works – as long as you do some “mental rehearsal” between flights. We do however understand that time, bad weather, and financial constraints often stretch out the time between training sessions. The general rule is the less time between training flights, especially in the first 15 hours, the more likely you are to obtain your licence in the minimum required hours and therefore the less it will cost you. Gaps of 3-4 weeks between training flights in the initial stages usually means more time spent on revision instead of stepping up to the next lesson on our curriculum.

Dont hesitate to Contact our Head of Operations (Tracy Bolt) should you have any further questions.

Aircraft Prices

As of 1 July 2022

  • C172 VH-UFE (180hp) $425 / hr for PPL training
  • PA-38 VH-HAT Tomahawk $365 / hr dual for RPL training
  • C150 VH-TIW (100hp) $365 / hr dual for RPL and PPL training
  • C172 VH-TUE (160hp) $405 / hr for RPL and PPL training
  • PA 32R VH-HYM (300hp) $515 / hr for CPL and advanced training
  • PN 68B VH-JQM (twin engine 400HP) $880/ hr
  • Instructor only rate (your aircraft) $155 / hr

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