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So, you want to fly for fun… but which licence is the right one for you?

A Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) is a great starting point for anyone with little to no flight experience. This licence will allow you to pilot single-engine aircraft up to a maximum take-off weight of 1500kg in day VFR conditions. RPL holders are limited to flying no more that 25nm from the aerodrome where the flight began.

Our RPL syllabus covers the basics of flying an aircraft and includes all the theory and flying experience you will need to complete your RPL flight test.

The following endorsements can be added to an RPL:

  • Controlled aerodrome endorsement (RPCT)
  • Controlled airspace endorsement (RPCA)
  • Flight radio endorsement (RPFR) – requires an aviation English language proficiency assessment
  • Recreational navigation endorsement (RPNA) – requires minimum flight time of five hours solo cross-country

An RPL may be for you if you intend to do short joy flights, or if you are working your way to a CPL.

A Private Pilot Licence (PPL) will allow you to fly an aircraft as pilot-in-command for private operations within Australia. Initially, you will be able to fly single-engine aeroplanes with a max take-off weight of 5700kg.

Our PPL syllabus starts with the same initial training as the RPL. Following this, our PPL flight training takes you into the realm of navigation. It also includes all the theory required alongside the flying. You will learn how to plan a flight and how to navigate across the countryside.

After getting your PPL, you can further your training with additional endorsements and ratings to:

  • Fly at night
  • Fly using instruments
  • Fly aerobatics
  • Fly different aircraft types, including multi-engine aircraft

Our syllabus structure also allows you to start with an RPL and continue onto a PPL later.

You can even progress from a PPL to a CPL if you decide to pursue a career in aviation – or just for the additional challenge!

Contact us or give the office a call on (03) 5369 5162 for more information or to get started.

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Essential Study Skills

Study Skills

Studying is a skill that you can learn like any other. Below are some tips that can help you – whether you’re new to self-directed learning, or you’ve been at it for a while.

Be prepared.

Preparation is important for every stage of study and flight. If you’ve never been a very organised person, now is the time to learn!

Know why you’re studying.

Have a goal to focus on to keep you motivated. Put pictures and inspirational quotes up around your study space. When you get stuck or frustrated, remind yourself why you’re doing it.

Pre-read texts before briefings.

This will mean you are going into the briefing with a basic understanding of the concepts. You can make better use of your instructors by having a list of questions you want answered before you go in – if they haven’t been answered by the end of the briefing, ask them!

Get creative with your study techniques.

Make flash cards, put up key information bites above the kettle to read while you make coffee, or have a poster of information on the back of the toilet door. There are no rules – do what feels right for you.

Study in short sessions – about 40 minutes to an hour is usually good.

Set yourself a goal for each study session. Ticking things off – no matter how small – creates a feeling of accomplishment and helps keep you motivated.

Take regular breaks.

Get up and go for a walk around the house, do some star jumps, or tidy the kitchen to give your mind and body a break from your study. If you’re spending a lot of time in front of screens, make sure to give your eyes a break, too.

Active study is your best bet.

Don’t just read big chunks of information and hope you’ll remember it. Take notes, draw out diagrams, and test your memory/understanding regularly by covering up sections and trying to recall the key points.

Identify your weaknesses.

Acknowledge you will need to spend more time/effort improving those areas. Seek resources to help you. For example, if you have trouble with taking good notes, research note taking techniques.

Find or create a regular study space.

This is more than just a desk or study room. Make it a place you want to spend time. Add plants, cute stationary, candles, music, posters, lamps, or a comfy chair to read in – whatever works for you.

Studies show most people work better in silence – and this can be important for exam study. Creating the conditions that you will be undertaking exams in helps create automatic associations in your brain. You may find you recall things better under exam conditions if you studied them in silence.

Other people like instrumental music to help block out other noises. Study is personal – try different things for yourself.

Minimise distractions.

Turn your notifications off, and close doors to the rest of your household.

Try every trick you can find.

Mnemonics (acronyms, acrostics, and rhymes), involving multiple senses when learning, and rehearsing information recall are some proven strategies.

Practice reading.

Especially if you have not been a big reader previously. Reading a variety of publication types and on different topics will help you improve your overall reading and comprehension skills.

Two psychologist-developed study techniques are POWER and SQ3R.


  • P Get clear on what you hope to gain from your study session.
  • O How will you get there? Create a mental roadmap of what your study session will look like.
  • W Read the material, watch the videos, etc.
  • E Assess how well you’ve understood the material. Do any review questions to test your knowledge or try to explain the key concepts to someone else.
  • R Critically analyse what you’ve just learnt. How does it connect to previous topics? Put it in the bigger picture.


  • S Do an overview of the material to be studied. Look at headings, introductory comments, figures, and captions.
  • Q Formulate questions about the topic. Use any review questions provided to guide your reading, but also create your own. What do you want to know at the end?
  • R Read the material actively and critically. Think about how it relates to other topics.
  • R Describe to yourself (or a friend) what you have just read/viewed. Identify your degree of understanding. Create summary notes.
  • R Look over the material again. Answer any review questions. Edit your summary notes.

Some more resources for studying:

Dartmouth College Academic Skills Centre:

Curtin University offers study support with free access to anyone – there are modules for time management, writing, math, test tips, and much more.

UNSW “Resources” page of their Learning Centre website provides access to learning resources, as well as more links to other helpful pages

UniSA “Study Resources” page has a variety of links to files and pages with tips on reading, note-taking, writing, exam preparation, grammar, and even Excel training –

ANU study skills page includes advice on reading strategies, time management, and participating in classes –

Flinders University study guides – math resources, effective reading tips, and more.

Monash University “Quick Study Guides” offer brief overviews of topics like time management, note-taking, and proof-reading. Some have links to further resources.

*all links correct at time of publishing. If you have trouble with them, please try Googling the relevant university.

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Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings

On October 4th, Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time (AEDT) begins, with clocks going forward by one hour at 2AM.

This will result in Victoria being 11 hours ahead of UTC (UTC+11), rather than 10 hours (UTC+10) as it is now. This has implications for flying training at TVSA. It is important to remember the difference between local time and UTC when planning flights for several reasons.

Daylight Available

Those of you who have completed the CPL Navigation theory subject may remember the pain of converting between Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), and Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time (AEDT). Depending on your planned route, your daylight available could be more or less than expected. Let’s have a look at a simple example using Bacchus Marsh:

YBSS 3/10/20

First Light – 021928 UTC = 030528 AEST

Last Light – 030854 UTC = 031854 AEST

YBSS 4/10/20

First Light – 031926 UTC = 040526 AEST / 040626 AEDT

Last Light – 040855 UTC = 041855 AEST / 041955 AEDT

We can see from the above conversions for First Light and Last Light at YBSS that if we were to forget the change on the 4th to UTC+11, we might be expecting to be able to depart in daylight an hour earlier than we actually could, or not use the daylight to our full advantage, and accidentally plan to return home an hour earlier than we needed to.

This becomes slightly more complicated when crossing borders into states/countries that are in different time zones. Queensland, whilst on the same time zone as Victoria for most of the year, does not recognize daylight savings time, and as such remains on AEST or UTC+10.

Departure Time

More obvious is the difference when submitting a flight plan on NAIPS. As flight plans are submitted in UTC, it is important to remember the change in the conversion. A simple example of this is as follows:

On 3rd October, you plan to leave on a flight at 11:30AM. This is equal to 01:30UTC, as the difference is 10hrs. On 4th October, the clocks have gone forward one hour, and now the difference to UTC is 11 hours. If you had submitted your departure time as 01:30UTC, this would now convert to 12:30AEDT.

A simple mistake if you are unaware of the change, but it can have implications on the availability of services or clearances if ATC are not expecting you for another hour. The NAIPS website has a UTC clock at the top of the page to help with conversions, and computer clocks (including smartphones) will usually adjust their clocks automatically to suit. These tools can help you avoid entering the wrong time in your flight plan.


A similar issue occurs when considering SARTIME. Whilst this is a bigger problem when the clocks go backwards at the start of the year, the clocks going forward can also present an issue. Let’s say you submit a SARTIME of 0500 UTC, expecting that to convert to 1500 AEST. In actual fact, it converts to 1600 AEDT. If the worst was to happen and you had to conduct a forced landing, your SARTIME would expire an hour after you expected it to, which may delay search and rescue services.

If we reverse this and consider the clocks going backwards an hour at the start of the year, we can see that SARTIMEs nominated under the assumption of an 11 hour difference would actually expire an hour earlier than expected. This results in lots of expired SARTIMEs countrywide and it is an expensive drain on the resources of AUSSAR.

A Safety Notice will be posted to FSM to ensure that you are reminded of the time difference when you log in for the first time after daylight savings commences. If you have any questions about the impact of daylight savings on flying training, please see your instructor, or the Safety Manager, Daniel Hadler.