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TVSA Cadet Program: Lach’s Experience

Life of a Cadet

By Lachlan Boyd

I was really pleased when I had finally completed my CPL flight test, gained a Commercial Licence, and wondered where to from there.

The initial hurdle was (which a lot of people ask):

  • Do I complete my Multi Engine Instrument Rating? OR
  • Do I complete an Instructor Rating?

If you can do both, then awesome! I guess, both give you significant knowledge which is important for your future career. But, MECIR you will basically need for the majority of careers, and instructing lets you start teaching what you know and building your hours sooner rather than later, again, hours being of importance for your experience in aviation and your future career path.

For me, based on my timing when entering the industry, the Instructor Rating was the best option for me. So, I registered my interest for the TVSA Cadet Pilot Program midway through my studies of the Diploma of Aviation.

Upon completion of my commercial licence, I was invited for an interview with the schools directors. Whilst I was intimidated at first, I really didn’t need to be. The directors were relaxed, enthusiastic and excited to learn about me, what I liked to do and what my goals in my career/life were.

Luckily for me, I was successful. Even if I wasn’t, it would’ve just made my decision easier to go on and continue studying for the Multi Engine Instrument Rating. I guess for me, if I had the opportunity to get into the work force, I would’ve taken it ASAP.

The Instructor Rating was intense. I’m not going to sit here and write that it was a breeze. You think you have an idea of aerodynamics until you have to teach it to your teacher! Probably didn’t help that Charlie (instructor) was ex Singapore Air Force, and James (previous cadet) knew what questions to ask which really got you thinking, sending you down one rabbit hole at a time. Then, making briefs by night, presenting them by day, being critiqued, then the flying component.  So, you absolutely must be prepared to put in some hard work, as well as be prepared for both positive and negative feedback, all of which is constructive!

In saying the above, it was also so much fun! Flying every day for 3 months basically. Your knowledge for aviation will increase exponentially during this period, but you may also learn a thing or two about yourself that you didn’t know.

Then it came to the flight test – I had John Chew. He stands about 6ft 4in tall (so it’s hard not to be intimidated), but a true gentleman in nature. John has an incredible background in aviation and carries with him an absolute wealth of knowledge. Even if you were to blow your presentation out of the park, he will throw a curveball at you because he wants to share his knowledge and educate as much as he can along his journey. But he’s the type of guy you could listen to talk all day long.

Anywho, I passed!

I’m 20 months into my cadetship, and I love it. But let’s start with the challenges. I started working in aviation in 2020, the year of the virus. A worldwide pandemic which has unfortunately crippled the industry. However, I remain optimistic that it will be relatively short term.

Whilst we couldn’t fly, we could still teach. If we weren’t teaching, we were updating our materials that we use to teach. This was really beneficial, not only for TVSA but for personal growth and understanding of what is it that we are actually teaching. We spent an enormous amount of time updating the new Flight Training Manuals for RPL and PPL/CPL. These training manuals really are the best I have seen of the schools around us. They provide a seamless transition throughout your flight training from one lesson to the next. The quality of students’ preflight knowledge has improved which is promising to see. There is also a huge amount of other content outside of flying directly – like refuelling procedures and how carbe heat works – which supplements students on the way to obtaining their relevant licences. So personally, I think they’re great! I wish I had them for my training.

This lockdown time also gave us time to go through and update a lot of our PowerPoint briefings, and the content of these now really aligns to the new training manuals, along with some visual improvements.

Maybe this was work that needed doing for sometime, which lockdown gave us the opportunity to do!

Back flying, it’s awesome. I love taking people for a flight. Whether it’s someone’s first flight, telling someone they can go on their first solo navigation, or throwing the kitchen sink at a commercial student, it’s great fun.

I’ve had a couple of students who were impacted by the lockdowns. They were just about to go solo then couldn’t fly for months. Upon return, got back in the aircraft for a general handling session then straight back into the circuit. After a few attempts, bang, there was the first solos for them. That was really pleasing to see!! Huge confidence booster and they haven’t looked back since. Probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve seen. Just their commitment to stay focused on their training and achieve the goals that they originally set out to do. I’ve got a couple of students who started with me and now obtaining CPLs. That’s really cool to see.

The team of instructors and administrative personnel at TVSA are rad!! It’s really fun walking into work and everyone knows everyone. Whether it be how they take their coffee (Ash – white with no sugar because he’s sweet enough) or the Bahn Mi order (James takes pork belly, with chilli but no coriander), giving Dan Hadler a heads up when the English cricket team has a batting collapse or just simply replying to anything that Albert Molina says with “you are.” It’s all great fun and I enjoy being a part of the comradery every day. The social gatherings in person had taken a hit throughout lockdowns. But that just left us all with an opportunity to play online games. You think you know someone until you play some of those games! Good fun!

Anyways, Grade 2 instructor is next. Then I best tick off the MECIR! 

Enough from me.


Want to know more about our current Cadet Program? Click here.

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TVSA Cadet Program: Albert’s Experience

My Cadet Experience

By Albert Molina

I started flying at TVSA in January 2018. I completed my RPL flight test and joined the Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) in one of the intakes.

Why TVSA you ask? Well, when I visited for a Trial Introductory Flight, I was welcomed by friendly staff as well as a rose-bush-lined brick pavement to the building which would eventually make way for a new and larger facility where we now operate from. As much as I love our new and advanced building, I do still miss the old weatherboard building with it’s renovated interior (ahh memories). In addition, TVSA was within close proximity to metropolitan Melbourne and offered a course which I was after.  

After receiving my RPL, I then completed my Navigation training in the Diploma. Thereafter, I started hour building towards my CPL. This allowed me to explore various places in Victoria. During this time, I also attended classes and sat the CPL exams. 

As I embarked on the course, I attended the TVSA Cadetship information night. It was during this session I got to find out more about the program. The program was something I could see myself doing and therefore I expressed my interest. Based on what was on offer, how could one not have applied? 

I applied and was successful in being selected for the program. After my CPL flight test, I completed the Flight Instructor Rating as part of the TVSA Cadetship. Not long after, I started to deliver theory and conducted instructional flights. Now I was the one teaching someone else to fly!  

At the same time, I also worked on my Multi-Engine Instrument Rating, which I achieved while working on the job. Adding this rating to my Licence built the foundation to one day teach others on a Multi-Engine aircraft and also under IFR. Trust me, when you fly into your first cloud during the Instrument Rating, it is something else..  

Since then, I have conducted many instructional flights and have now become a Grade 2 Instructor which brought me to another milestone of sending a student on their first solo. Quite an experience if you ask me.

Suffice to say, the Cadetship has been instrumental in getting me to where I am today. I’m now continuing to embark on my journey in aviation and it’s pretty much onwards and upwards from here!


Want to know more about our current Cadet Program? Click here.

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Sometimes it’s not a matter of “if” but “when”

Learning to fly, oh my. But why?

By Haydn Fletcher

Losing my wife to cancer earlier this year was the only push I needed to do something in life I have always wanted to do.

Gaining my pilot license is more than 25-years in the making. I was fortunate to have a teacher who was a pilot and my school permitted him to establish an aviation elective as a trial subject. After the semester, those in my class who desired went on and attempted the then General Flying Pilot Theory exam. At fourteen I was on my way to becoming a pilot.

Then health got in the way – my bloody ears.

From three years old I’ve had countless ongoing issues with ear infections. This resulted in five operations over 30-years to have grommets implanted in each ear and later a mastoidectomy to correct the problem. A failed class-1 medical ensued and the end to a flying career.

Dreams shattered, I moved on and have since created an enjoyable career in solar energy. The desire to fly though has never left and I am sure there are so many more like myself who haven’t lost that desire to get in the air.

Losing someone so close to you and realising the plans you made together wouldn’t come to fruition makes you reflect and prioritise your own life. What matters most? What are you waiting for? Who do you want to be? These are by no means easy decisions and plans will change, but for me, there was only one thing I wanted to do.

After Mel passed, I set about keeping busy and focusing my energy on becoming a pilot. The big decision was who with?

I took my time figuring out who I would choose to teach me to fly. Not only did I not want to waste money, but most importantly, it had to be an enjoyable experience. The critical thing I took from this process was understanding needs and preferences, whilst also appreciating not to over analyse!

I created a shortlist from my key priorities: minimise driving time, determine who would provide good value, who came across as friendly and of course who “felt” competent. Like a lot of people in the Melbourne area, I considered Moorabbin since there are several providers who each had pros and cons. Being in the west, to avoid travelling across town I also looked at providers in the north or west of Melbourne.

I ended up landing on TVSA for several reasons. When mentioned to providers at Moorabbin I was looking at TVSA, they came recommended by a few pilots. The drive was very similar to Moorabbin on “good” traffic days however when peak hours were considered, Bacchus Marsh was far easier. Importantly, however, on my first visit to TVSA I was impressed by the quality of the facilities, friendly staff and their experience/longevity in the industry.

A final key influence was Bacchus Marsh being a smaller uncontrolled airspace with minimal aircraft in the area. I did not want to be waiting in the taxiway to take off as I saw at Moorabbin – I wanted to undertake the briefing then get underway as soon as possible. With fewer aircraft and no Air Traffic Control (ATC) to consider, I could concentrate on the basics of learning to fly and worry about ATC later!

I highly recommend taking time to understand what you need from a provider and go with your gut instinct. TVSA ticked so many for me it was an easy choice and one I am glad to have made. Once I started to meet more of the instructors and staff, it was a perfect fit.

If, like Haydn, you’d like to come check us out to see if we are a good fit for you, please give us a call to schedule a one-one-one meeting and tour with an instructor.

Haydn has also offered some advice on studying the theory side of flying, but we felt that deserved a separate blog. Keep an eye out in coming weeks for part two!