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Private pilot licence

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by halifax, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. hi all,

    I know there's a pilot on here but looking for guidance from others anyway.

    Looking to get my private pilot licence and have a few questions as i dont know where to start with this, as there seems to be a few providers.

    How long does it generally take to obtain on a part time basis?
    How much will it end up costing?
    What does the licence allow you to do e.g can you fly night and day
  2. My ex got her private pilots licence over 12 months. (aiming for commercial licence)

    I think you can get it as fast as you have time to pass the exams, and fly the minimum hours.

    She took out a $20k loan to get it done, and I think she was over 1/2 way into it by the time she got the private licence.

    She was restricted to VFR (visual) only, so no bad weather and no night time flying. She mentioned something along the lines of "there are certain minimum courses you must do to get private licence, and then you can do as many of the others as you have time and money for, and Instrument flying (IFR?) is not mandatory for private licence".
  3. Halifax,

    First you have to complete your people where you have to pass a written exam and a practical exam. There are generally a certain number of flying hours you need to complete before you are able to effectively pass the exam.

    The people will allow you to fly under VFR which is visual flight rules meaning you must be able to see a certain distance and no flying at night.

    Once you have your people you can then look at doing;

    CIR - command instrument rating which allows you to fly IFR or instrument Flight Rules so you can fly by instrument meaning flying inall weather conditions and at night

    MECIR - multi engine command instrument rating. This no only gives you IFR but also let's you fly a plane with more than one engine.

    Then you do your ATPL which is airline transport pilots license which allows you to carry commercial passengers.

    Once you have your ATPL you then still need to be type rated for that particular aircraft. That means spending a certain number of hours in a simulator for that type of plane.

    If I won lotto I would do people then mecir then type rating on the plane I was going to buy. You only need ATPL if you want to be an airline pilot or go flying for the flying doctors etc
  4. "Halifax" is certainly a good moniker for someone interested in flying. (y)

    I can't speak regards costs (I did most of my lessons with my old man and a borrowed Tigermoth), but it is possible to knock your people over within a month, and presuming you can get the time off work (if you can spend all four weeks of annual leave on it... that is to say, if the gf/wife/family will let you) then this something I'd recommend. If you can fly everyday and immerse yourself in it, you'll be consolidating your previous day's learning to maximum effect and achieve the licence in the minimum number of flying hours and at the minimum expense.

    It's not imperative you do it that way (I did mine over random days spread across three or four years), but it is the best way, if your other commitments permit it.

    Also, there is a Night VFR rating you can get, after you get your people, so there is no need to go the full CIR to fly at night.

    And another thing, beat the other buggers out of bed and get your lessons in the early morning. It's often the best time of day for it. The air is less turbulent. And there'll be less traffic to contend with, especially if you're doing your training and one of the busy GAAP aerodromes.

    (If Sydney's like Melbourne then you'll also often find the hour before sunset in April and late-March when the weathers sunny to be glorious for flying. Wind gradually dies off, and if you can get your hands on a tail-wheel aircraft, you can set about perfecting your three point landings, before packing it away at last light and heading off for a beer. Bloody marvellous!)

    Best of luck!
  5. wow thanks a lot guys thats some really good info... in fact much better than i expected!
  6. Hey Halifax,
    I have an RA-Aus licence, Gliding licence and i began a conversion to my people.
    How long it takes depends on you.Im not sure what The legal minimum required is, but all the schools i looked at said ab-inito was minimum 60.4 hours For people.
    Costs, you are looking at a minimum of about $200 an hour, more if the school doesnt have old cessnas. The piper cherokee i did my conversion in was $270 an hour
    once you have your full people, it will allow you to Fly any singe engine aircraft you have a conversion onto, during the day in controlled airspace under VFR (visual flying rules, you must be able to see 5km ahead of you)
    you get "endorsements" for different types. ie multiple engine, aerobatics, Night flying.

    What is it you are looking at by way of flying? There are other, cheaper options, but there are a few compromises.
  7. The legal minimum required for a full people is 40 hours, typically this breaks down as follows:-

    10 hours to get to first solo - typically circuits of the airfield
    10 hours to get to GFPT (General Flying Proficiency Test) which involves a written test, flight test and entitles you to fly solo within a designated training area - for the Sydney flying schools this area runs from the Warragamba Dam -> Prospect Reservoir Pipeline, south of Camden and includes pretty much all the undeveloped land between Sydney and the mountains. You are entitled to take passengers with you at this point.
    20 hours to get to people - which involves more flight and written tests, which encompass Air Law, Weather, Navigation, etc

    Once you hold a people you are entitled to fly an Australian VH registered aircraft anywhere in the world subject to the restrictions in place on your license - which will initially limit you to Visual Flight Rules and single engine piston aircraft weighing <5700kg. As a people you can share the cost of each flight equally with your passengers, but cannot accept payment yourself.

    Once you have your people you can obtain further ratings and endorsements which alter the restrictions under which you can operate.
    - Endorsements cover additional Aircraft Design Features include retractable undercarriage, tail wheels, constant speed propellors, etc....
    - Ratings tend to cover operating conditions, some of the more common are:-
    - Night VFR - which entitles you to fly at night, under visual flight rules and navigate by radio instruments during the day - without this qualification you must navigate by visually referencing ground features to a map.
    - Aerobatics
    - Low Level Operations (Good for scaring the neighbours)
    - Formation Flying
    - Meat Bombing (Parachute Ops)
    - Private Instrument Flight (PIFR) is a modular rating that entitles you to fly under instrument flight rules as a private pilot.

    It is possible to get your people in 40 hours, but you need to make very effective use of that 40 hours.

    Consider your typical 1 hour lesson from a major airport like Bankstown
    - 5 minutes taxi and run up on the ground
    - 10 minutes flight to training area + climb to safe altitude for training
    - 30 minutes training
    - 10 minutes flight back to the airfield
    - 5 minutes taxi

    So whilst you paid for an hour, you actually only got 30 minutes of useful flight time...if you are in the Sydney area it is worth doing your basic training at Camden, rather than Bankstown as the airfield is actually in the training area and you can avoid wasted transit training time. IMHO it's also worth using a higher performance aircraft - most flying schools operate Piper Warriors, Cessna 150 or 172 or similar aircraft that will climb at 500-600 ft a minute under typical conditions, whereas something like a Citabria will climb at >1100ft/min - Most of your first 20 hours is spent performing manouvres and then recovering back to safe height, so more climb performance equals more manouvres each hour...

    I'd recommend having a chat to Curtis Aviation at Camden if you want to talk to a flying school to get more information.
  8. Kind of off topic.
    Just wondering with commercial pilots flying the big planes like 747s, what would they have to go through to get to that level of licencing? Would the airlines generally train them for this or is it a massive personal cost to get the licence and then hopefully a job?
    I was thinking that a lot of these pilots would be ex airforce as a way to get the licencing and experience etc without the personal cost, is this a misconception?
  9. The airlines will hire people who have already obtained their commercial licence and have 1500 hours of flight time. Pilots end up flying in remote areas, doing meat bombing runs etc. to try and get their hours up.

    There are a lot of ex air force pilots working for airlines.
  10. did she get her commercial licence? loan payed off?
  11. Some of the airlines run cadetships. The places on them are highly competitive . Basically they skim some people fresh from high school with top marks in Maths, Physics and decent marks in English. They generally prefer you not to have any experience before applying, because they'll have 'a preferred system', which is a bullshit way of saying that they don't want to waste anytime and money getting people to un-learn bad habits so that they can train you up in good ones. That said, it doesn't necessarily mean that the way their teaching you, or the people that are teaching you, are any better than anywhere else.

    Mostly, people start at a flying school, get a commercial licence and an instructor rating, then teach to get their hours up. If you're lucky you might get a job in a smaller charter or cargo outfit. More hours, more types under your belt and then you shop yourself around the airlines. The biggest hurdle is the initial expense of getting your commercial licence. Some of the Indian students I've met have budgeted for $100'000 to get them into a position where the Indian airlines will take them on, but that might be including rent and living expences while they are out here. Not sure how much otherwise.

    The airforce is an option, as you said. You come out well trained and the airlines tend to snap you up, but they tend not to rack as many hours as people that take the commercial route.

    Basically, its increasingly becoming a job for the sons of rich men, but if you've got enough determination (and lets face it, some people would crawl over broken glass to get a gig in the airlines) you can still make it.
  12. Thanks for the replies guys.

    In regards to this comment, I have thought for a wihle that commercial flying is mainly a job for people that come from money.
  13. Fascinating yet informative, this thread has it.
  14. The airlines tend to take less airforce pilots these days. The airforce pilots know how to fly but with the setup in the big jumbos these days they don't need people that know how to fly a stick, they prefer people that know how to read all the systems that are in the cockpit and how to respond to the necessary information.
  15. No.
    She looked around for a crop dusting job (or anything that provided hours as a job to get the hours up) but couldn't find anything in a place she was willing to live. Also applied to some cadetship at an Australian airline and was rejected. As a result she ended up giving up on the entire thing. It was too demanding on both her pocket and lifestyle (to get the required hours).

    She didn't fly for a while and had to do minimum hours (with a trainer or something) before they let her fly solo again. Then she didn't get the annual medical (which apparently isn't a normal medical, it has to be some kind of "rated" medical) which i think means "banned" from flying until it is passed.

    No, she turned the remainder of her loan into a down payment on a new car.
  16. Maybe they just find the airforce types a little odd, and don't want to have to spend 6 hours at a stretch sitting beside them in the cockpit. :p

    What I do know is that, in financial terms, it's a high risk industry, and as a pilot, job security isn't that great. You've probably all seen multiple instances of this during the last 20 years.

    Interestingly, this also tends to have a cyclic effect, not only on the experience levels of pilots entering the airlines, but also on on the quality of training in the flying schools. As the aviation industry ramps up again after a dip, they tend to hire younger pilots rather than those nearing the ends of their careers (it makes sense, cost-wise, with much of the training being type-specific, to hire those who are going to give you better length of service). This means that the many of those pilots, who would otherwise still be working up their hours by instructing, get offers earlier in their careers than they otherwise might if the industry wasn't in the process of ramping up again. This means that the average level of experience among the instructors tends to go down for a period thereafter. If the industry faces cycles of boom and bust in quick succession, it can become an issue serious enough for some flying schools to try and find experienced instructors to give a bit or mentioning an coaching to their junior instructors.

    This wouldn't be so bad if those pilots, who, because they are in the final 5-8 years of their careers, and aren't so attractive to the airlines, returned to instructing, but many of them are by that stage close enough to be able to consider retiring or to set up in another line of business. The pay for instructors isn't that attractive to anyone that doesn't need to use it to get their hours up, especially after time in the classroom is factored into what you make engine-start to engine-stop.

    Again, this isn't to say there aren't talented instructors out there, but the industry does suffer from issues of this nature. I guess there is not much you can do to avoid being affected by it, since it tends to be an industry-wide phenomenon, other than to ask around and do as much homework as possible when picking a flying school and an instructor. But I guess people would be doing this anyway.
  17. The flight school I used to be the CFO of had a lot of young instructors who would turn to I strutting as soon as they finished their course to get their hours up for the airlines. Our parent company in the UK predominately had all retired airline pilots as their instructors.

    Also our instructors covered theory and flying whereas in the UK they had specialist ground instructors and specialist flight instructors.

    It is strange taking flying lessons from a 20-21 year old (if that)
  18. That's really interesting Cambo. I wonder if that's one of the reasons the cost of gaining a pilots licence is considerably less out here compared to England? How do the younger blokes get their hours up over there? Or is the UK industry just structured differently?
  19. mate of mine in the states, who i haven't spoken to for some time, went to flight school in florida some yrs ago. prior to this he was just going from job to job, even receiving unemployment payments at one time. pretty much straight after graduating he picked up work hauling cargo, i believe. money didn't seem to be much of an issue as his family had more than enough. i'd imagine he is doing well right now.