‘How do I become a pilot?’ is a question we get asked nearly every day, so we thought we would bring together all the information that we have access to, in order to help you on your journey.
At GoFly Aviation, based in sunny Caloundra, in north eastern Australia, we teach students how to fly ‘fixed wing’ aircraft (planes not helicopters).
If you are aged 14-18 years and live nearby, you can take advantage of our affordable GoFly Cadet program. While you CAN learn to fly at a younger age than 14, there is not much point in learning earlier, as you need to be 15 to go solo and 15 to obtain your Pilot Certificate.
If you are serious about going all the way through to become a a Commercial Pilot, you must choose between paying for your licences as you go, at a flight school, and finishing without too much debt, or, going to university for 2-3 years and finishing with $30,000- $100,000 worth of debt. You can do a Bachelor of Aviation at USQ or at Griffith University’s Nathan Campus (in Brisbane). Eligible undergraduate fee-paying students may defer their tuition fees by taking out a FEE-HELP loan which is part of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). Payment of the loan is via the taxation system when income reaches a specified level.
Once per year GoFly Aviation accepts applications from low-income aspiring pilots aged 14-18 for our GoFly Cadet Scholarship. There are other Australian aviation scholarships available and some of these can found here. The Jetstar Cadet Program can be found here. Here is the Qantas Cadet Pilot Program. We have had graduates join both these programs after obtaining their RPC with us.
If you are 18 years and over and living in the Brisbane or Sunshine Coast region, you can choose to take flying lessons with GoFly, in our beautiful and well-maintained Sling training aircraft, for a set fee of $299/hour with one of our friendly and experienced instructors. There are no hidden costs for theory or exams. Our planes and prices are pictured here.
Included in the cost of GoFly Aviation flying lessons are our exclusive online flying lessons, filmed in standard and 360-degree video. New content is added to GoFly Online each week and these lessons can be watched on special headsets at the flight school, and, if you want to watch the videos outside of your lesson time, you can subscribe to Vimeo for a year (for half the cost of a real lesson). Watching these innovative online lessons has been shown to improve the flying skills of beginner pilots and enable them to reach key goals earlier, thus saving money.
We also have our own reality show about people learning to fly at our school. You can find all the episodes of Taking Flight here. We also regularly upload GoFly Quick Tips to YouTube, GoFly Online and our website.
Learning to fly might seem expensive, and this is due to the high costs of running such a business. Owners have to cover the cost of the leasing of the aircraft and the hangar, running an office, maintenance and insurance, expensive fuel, as well as the wages for instructors and administration staff plus memberships of peak bodies and marketing. It all adds up. Those flight schools which are still in business have found the right balance between keeping training affordable for their students and making a profit so they can continue to pay their bills and operate their businesses.
If you haven’t managed to win the lottery, haven’t got well-off parents or money saved in the bank, you might like to read this blog to find out about ways of paying for your flying tuition or check out our GoFly Finance page. During certain times of the year, we also offer special discounts for full time and part-time courses.
At the bottom of this page we will include short videos from a selection of people talking about how they became a pilot.
Click here to see the types of low wing sports planes we use for teaching students.
The lessons that we teach at GoFly Aviation for obtaining the various pilot certificates, and the theory books and other materials required for study, are outlined on our website here. Once you have begun studying, you will need to become familiar with all these student resources. Other flight schools may teach a slightly different version.
Here is a link to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s website outlining the stages for becoming a pilot
Becoming a pilot requires both theory on the ground as well as flying practice in the air.
GoFly Online is our own online immersive flying lesson website with videos shot in standard and 360-degree video. You can subscribe for one year for just $99 for ab initio or $199 for ab initio PLUS cross country lessons and Instructor Rating plus much more! New content is added regularly.
At GoFly Aviation we use Bob Tait’s Theory: Bob Tait’s Aviation Theory School
At GoFly Aviation we recommend we recommend Pilot Practice Exams for getting ready for your exams. Current GoFly Aviation students will receive a discount for purchases from the PPE site, by entering a password, which can be obtained from the GoFly staff.
Ron Newman’s Online Aviation Theory website
Aus Web Cam at Caloundra
In the coming months we plan to interview a number of employed pilots to show you the path they took for studying and the jobs they have worked in. We shall post these videos on our new website at www.goflyonline.com.au
Recreational Aviation Australia is the membership body for all Australian Flying Schools with over 170 Flight Training Schools across Australia.
CASA is the Civil Aviation Authority of Australia
Airservices Australia is an Australian Government owned corporation, responsible for providing safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry within the Australian
Women in Aviation – Australian Chapter
There are many useful and relevant websites for beginner and established pilots and we will add to this list as we come across them. There are also many forums and Facebook groups where beginner pilots can obtain advice from established pilots, and in these groups there is a real sense of support and a generosity with advice from experienced pilots who share your love of aviation.
Pilot Career News (English site)
Australian Aviation news
Find the group on Facebook and request to join.
GoFly Graduates Group for our own graduates
Learn to Fly Group
Use our own site as a starting point and take a look at all the world-wide aviation-related people and organisations that we follow
Use our own site as a jumping off point and take a look at all the aviation-related people and organisations that we follow then look at who they themselves follow
Flyer Mag (UK)
Sport Pilot Magazine (published by RAA)
AIN Publications (US)
Ipad news about apps and software for ipads (US)
GoFly360 immersive online flying lessons (one year subscription)
Sporty’s Pilot Shop YouTube videos
Uncontrolled Airspace available on iTunes
Airline Pilot Gateway Podcast (USA)
In the pattern podcast
Some of the software and apps that pilots like to use include:
OzRunways Pty Ltd is a CASA CAR 175 approved data provider, meaning that Australian pilots can rely on OzRunways EFB or RWY to meet all the requirements for documentation carriage in flight; private and commercial, IFR and VFR.
AvPlan is the leading Australian flight planning application for the Apple iPad and iPhone. It is available from the Apple App Store. They are CASA approved under CASR Part 175.295 so AvPlan EFB can be a legal replacement for paper maps, ERSA, DAP, AIP and AIP SUP.
CloudAhoy is a product for post-flight debriefing, for pilots. It is cloud-based, and the debrief is done via a web service – on a desktop or laptop and in any browser on any device, on the iPad, or on the iPhone. CloudAhoy integrates flight data with information from a comprehensive suite of aviation resources, analyzes the flight using a rule-based knowledge engine, and presents the analysis via detail-rich interactive display. CloudAhoy brings technology to post-flight debriefing, adding value to any flight training, and enhancing the experience. It is used by pilots around the world.
Debrief with CloudAhoy is suitable for pilots at all levels and for a variety of scenarios. CloudAhoy debrief can be done for VFR and for IFR, and is effective for review and currency flights. For flight training at any level, CloudAhoy provides an objective look, in a calm environment, at what happened in the cockpit where things happened fast and the pilot is often overloaded with tasks and information. Review on the ground adds significant value to the lesson or review flight.
CloudAhoy also maintains a flights list, with detailed information about each flight. Some of the information is generated automatically by the analyzer – such as the exact times of wheels up and down and a list of manouevres performed during the flight.
Foreflight – flight planning, charts, weather, airport information, flight logging, document management, hazard awareness, and more.
FlightAware is the world’s largest flight tracking data company and provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service companies as well as over 12,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions. FlightAware leverages data from air traffic control systems in over 55 countries.
Flightradar24 is a global flight tracking service that provides you with real-time information about thousands of aircraft around the world. Our service is currently available online and for your iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) or Android device.
Flight shop (Australian)
Oz Pilot (Australian)
The following video shows the path Lachie Smart (the youngest person to fly a single engine aircraft around the worldm in 2016) took to become a pilot. You can see more interviews with pilots over at GoFly Online.
If you still have further questions, you can email us at email@example.com or make an appointment to drop in to chat to one of our friendly instructors seven days per week.
We wish you all the best in your aviation career!
The GoFly Team