Can I keep learning to fly
during the Coronavirus outbreak?

corona virus and flight schools

Australia has recently introduced the same virus containment measures as other countries. Large festivals, events and meetings are being  cancelled; more people are being asked to work from home; even the way we greet each other is changing. 

How will this affect your flight training? It won’t – unless your flight instructors all get sick at the same time. But your flight school will be taking measures to ensure all staff remain well. Flight training is an activity which is done in close proximity to another person. The chances of catching the Coronavirus will be reduced, or even eliminated, if you and your flight school follow these suggestions.

Measures which you can take when flying:

  1. clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser*
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing
  3. Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth (do so with the back of your hand or with a tissue)
  4. Stay home if you are unwell, have a cough, sore throat, temperature or runny nose
  5. Avoid contact with anyone who is unwell – try to stay 1.5m away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing

As flight training students already know, looking after yourself by eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting regular physical activity, sleeping well and reducing stress is important all the time. For anyone who does not have symptoms, wearing a face-mask is not necessary. On the upside, if other students panic and cancel lessons and stay home, you might finally be able to get all the training slots you want without competing with other trainee pilots! Don’t forget that at many flight schools, instructors are contractors and only get paid when they fly, so if students start cancelling their one-on-one training sessions out of fear, those instructors will find it hard to pay their bills. 

Measures which can be taken at your flight school:

  • Place a sign on the door alerting people who have developed a cough, sore throat, fever or shortness of breath, within 14 days of overseas travel, to go home and call 13 HEALTH (13432584).
  • When possible, leave all doors open so that people don’t need to touch the handles
  • Wipe down all desks, flat surfaces (and even ERSA covers and maps!), EFTPOS terminals, aircraft folders and keys, door handles and light switches at the beginning or end of each day
  • Provide boxes of tissues in the common areas
  • Provide hand sanitiser in public areas and soap in bathrooms
  • Keep a box of sanitising wipes in each aircraft for wiping down the controls and screens after each flight
  • Encourage all students to purchase their own cheap headsets, such as the PNR 2000
  • When students cannot afford their own headsets, issue them with a $3 mic muff each to put onto the school’s existing headset mic, and wipe down the headsets between use.
  • When students cannot afford their own headsets, order cheap ones and provide them to full-time students for the duration of their training (after the payment of a refundable bond)
  • Consider providing a thermometer at reception for measuring temperatures of staff members

If you do end up in quarantine or your flight school closes for a few days, you might like to take the opportunity to:  

  • Refresh your memory about procedures or get ready for an upcoming lesson, by watching the www.GoFly.Online videos which cover all the RPC ab initio pre-flight and in-flight lessons, cross country lessons, Instructor Training and much more. There are interviews with pilots, videos about how to cope in emergency situations plus a reality TV show about learning to fly. There are also over 25 blog articles.
  • Check out aviation videos on YouTube
  • Check out sim videos on Youtube such as those created by Aus Flight Simmer 
  • Use a flight simulator such as Infinite Flight, a game for your iPhone, or if you are using a computer, try  X-Plane 
  • Practice procedures in a real simulator if there is one open in your area
  • Catch up on some reading/listening/viewing. You can read blogs online such as those found at Bold Method or aviation mags available online and at newsagents. You can listen to some podcasts or watch some movies such as those listed at the bottom of this page. You can read some aviation-themed books such as this new release: So you want to become a pilot

*If you cannot find hand sanitiser on the shelf at your local supermarket, chemist or Officeworks stores, think outside the square. Order a bulk supply from a cleaning products website such as Tensens and then put it into smaller containers.