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Student Spotlight: Haydn Fletcher (part 2)

Study tips, from someone who's been there

By Haydn Fletcher

If the thought of studying makes you break out in a sweat or worse, perhaps now isn’t the time. Learning to fly demands commitment.

Dare I say it? Flying is “easy”.

The more difficult and time-consuming part is theory. You should not underestimate the time and study commitment needed. I have heard some people say for every hour of flight, you should be doing 3-hours of theory. I disagree. Double it. At least to start with.

At the time of writing, I am undertaking lessons to gain the Recreation Pilot Licence with the hope to continue onto the Private Pilot Licence. Whilst I am still learning the fundamentals, perhaps the number of theory hours required may reduce. At this stage, however, there is a lot to take in and process so I am ensuring theory time is high.

There are several things I recommend which may assist and work for me.  Importantly, know how you learn. I am not one to simply read a book and know how something works. I also need to touch, listen or see something in action.

Leading up to starting with TVSA, I had already purchased and read the entire Aviation Theory Centre Basic Aeronautical Knowledge book, you could easily read the Bob Tait guides also which is what TVSA recommend. I also pre-purchased and read the TVSA Flight Training Manual (FTM) and completed the questions in the first five chapters before starting so I could be well prepared leading up to flying lessons.

I also watch countless YouTube videos; from pilots “doing stuff” to deep theory on particular topics. Whilst driving or walking the dog, I am listening to podcasts on aviation and using any of this spare time to pick up what I can. I had been watching and listening to these for months before starting and continue to do so, there is so much content available and you just don’t know where you will read, hear or see vital information!

You will get plenty of active learning in the sky and applying the theory so do as much as you can leading up to each lesson. I complete all the pre-reading and questions in the FTM leading up to each lesson and ensure I revisit the night before or morning of a lesson to know what to expect, and importantly any gaps in my knowledge. You will be expected to know in detail what you are in for. The instructor will be grateful you have studied, and you can utilise the time in the air rather than on the ground.

There will be challenging and frustrating times, however, I am enjoying every moment of it and can’t wait to continue learning so I can get out and about. Wherever. Whenever.

Commit to the experience and have fun!

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Flexibility key for Aidan’s aviation career

My Experience as a TVSA Diploma Student

by Aidan White


Since the age of 3, I’ve been set in my ambition to become a pilot. I grew up making model aircraft, going to air shows and playing flight simulator games. I started my flight training journey in 2017, as a year 11 student; after attending TVSA’s open day. After visiting the campus, meeting the staff, and embarking on a half-hour flight in a then-brand new Bristell, I was completely hooked.

I immediately made up my mind that after high school I would enrol in an aviation course. I also got a head start in my training and conducted some recreational flying with Leading Edge aviation (TVSA’s RA Aus partner) while I completed year 12.


While attending TVSA’s open day, I learned about FEE HELP and the ability to pay for my flight training through it, via TVSA. I was overjoyed to learn that I wouldn’t have to spend years saving up, only to crawl through my flight training, booking a lesson once a fortnight. Instead, I could fly now, get my CPL within 10 months and not have to worry about paying anything back until I had a stable income.

After graduating high school, I completed my RPL with a different flight school.

I enjoyed flying there and it was a good school. However, when I started my PPL training with them, I would only be assigned one or two nav bookings per week due to the way the course was designed to balance Uni subjects with flying. Due to bad weather, my only booking for the week would frequently get cancelled, and I’d repeatedly face a week’s wait to be re-booked.

Their course, despite being well taught, with fantastic aircraft and equipment, was completely inflexible and unable to account for delays or any unforeseen circumstances, of which, 2020 provided in generous quantities.

I ended up going over a month without a flight, and then the Covid pandemic struck. At this point, I was sick of the delays and felt as if my course would take twice as long as necessary. I dropped that course before census and transferred to TVSA in early 2020 and my experience has been nothing short of fantastic since. I have zero regrets. When the team restructured the diploma during our 7-month lockdown, so that we could get most of the theory out of the way while we were stuck at home, I knew I had made the right choice.

In TVSA’s Diploma, there is no wasted time, and the staff do an incredible job of readjusting to any unforeseen circumstances. The course is dynamic and adaptable.

If we have a lockdown or a week of bad weather, within a day, the staff will have come up with a plan to conduct theory during the week, if the weather is excellent, sometimes we can complete up to 6 flights in a week. I simply cannot think of any other part 142/ diploma or degree flight school that offers this level of common-sense adjustment with no wasted time.  A testament to the efficiency of this course: after the 7-month lockdown of 2020, which made up more than half of our entire allotted course duration; the restructuring of theory delivery by the team allowed me to complete my diploma only a month and a half behind schedule, despite spending 7 months stuck at home!

I’m now studying for my IREX while awaiting my CPL flight test. Some of my friends at my old school haven’t even completed the PPL portion of their flight training, despite starting at the same time as me!

TVSA’s instructors are also fantastic to fly with. All the instructors I’ve flown with at TVSA, both GA and RA, are highly professional, have their own unique strengths and insights, push you when needed, with the bonus of all being great people to chat to and engage in some light-hearted banter with!

Most importantly, the flying itself at TVSA, is fantastic too!

During my solo hour building, we students were provided with a great deal of trust in selecting where we wanted to go, and in making our own decisions.

Other flight schools sometimes place heavy restrictions on where they let their students fly solo, TVSA trusted us, and after having our route checked over, and our decisions based on weather cross checked, we were able to fly to some fantastic places! I personally got all the way into South Australia on my longest solo, flying to Mt Gambier, and then a little bit further. I’ve also landed at Avalon, unimaginable at a lot of flight schools. Some of my friends, on their long solo flights, chose to go to places like Canberra and Merimbula!

Challenges I faced as a student/ my advice for any new students:

Like anything else, this course can be challenging at times! Firstly, students need to understand that this is an intensive, 5-day a week course and requires a full-time commitment. Indeed, you may need to sacrifice components of your social and work life in the process of completing the diploma. However, I cannot think of a more time efficient way to get through your CPL.

One week during my training, I looked at my schedule to see that I’d only received bookings on two days.  On the days where I had no flights booked, I planned to spend my time studying in a classroom upstairs. However, without fail, every single day of that week, an instructor would come ask me if I wanted a plane, I’d say yes and before I knew it, I would be flying solo somewhere!

I ended up flying five times that week when I initially only planned for two. On occasion, due to the full-time nature of the course, there can be only a few days separation between an exam for a challenging subject and a difficult flight! 

If there is any advice regarding theory exams that I can provide to students beginning their flight training journey, it’s:

  1. Start studying as early as possible, because the week leading up to your exam may be filled with flights! If you get a couple weeks head start, this lets you play it safely.
  2. Make full use of your practice exams! There are numerous practice exam providers out there, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Practice exams are absolutely the most efficient way to learn the course material and test your knowledge! In my opinion, there’s no better way to prepare for something than by actually getting out there and doing it.

By following the two previous pieces of advice, I was able to get through all 7 written exams without a fail, saving me a lot of time, and letting me get through my flying without any bottlenecks. Overall, I have found the CPL Diploma challenging and intense, but extremely rewarding!

ALL IN ALL, my experience with the Diploma has been great! I strongly recommend TVSA’s diploma to any prospective student looking for a full-time piloting course.

Inspired by Aidan’s story?

For more information about all our Nationally Accredited training, please click here. For more information about training options or to discuss your steps to a career in the sky, give us a call on (03) 5369 5162

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TVSA Cadet Program: Mike’s Experience

Living the Dream

By Michael Acella

Flying has been a lifelong dream for me and TVSA’s cadetship has proven to be an invaluable part of my development as a professional pilot.

I started my flight training in late 2011 at the University of South Australia and achieved my CPL and Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating alongside a Bachelor of Aviation and Graduate Diploma in Aviation.

At the time I finished my training, work in the industry was fairly difficult to come by and I was heavily focused on getting myself a charter job, but I never seemed to have the right amount or type of experience required. However, I never let my dreams die and over a period of about 4 years I continued to look for work while hiring aeroplanes when I could afford it to keep my skills fresh.

Fast forward to June 2018 when I stumbled across an advert for an instructor cadetship program information night that read “Come along and learn about how we are giving pilots guaranteed full time work and training.” Instructing was never a career path that I had considered, and I thought to myself it was too good to be true but I decided to make the trip out to Bacchus Marsh from my home in Adelaide to see what it was all about.

At the information night I met TVSA’s Head of Operations, Annie, and had a very encouraging chat about my own personal situation. I applied on the night along with another 40 or so people who were there and drove home the next morning. The morning after I got home, I had an interview with Annie over Skype and was then invited back to TVSA for a second-round interview with the directors and a simulator screening.

In late August I received news that my application had been unsuccessful. While disappointed I was still determined to get into this cadetship, so I immediately enquired about the next intake and asked for feedback on my application.

Come early October I received a phone call out of the blue with news that one of the accepted applicants into the cadetship had pulled out and I was the next choice on the list and there was a spot for me if I wanted it. Of course, I accepted, and I now had about 2 weeks to pack up my life in Adelaide and move to Melbourne!

Mum and dad kicking me out of home!

The training I received at TVSA throughout my Instructor Rating was second to none. The experience was personal with only two students to one instructor and incredibly thorough. The instructor, Jerome, had a wealth of knowledge and strived to ensure we understood all aspects of our training. We were afforded the opportunity to deliver briefings to real students under Jerome’s supervision which I found to be an incredibly daunting but invaluable experience! The Instructor Rating was one of the most challenging but also rewarding things I have ever done, and I still look back on the experience with great fondness.  

Learning to de-fuel a Cessna 152
Cool, calm, and collected on the outside… Freaking out on the inside!

February 14th, 2019 – Test Day. The day began like any other, I woke up, had breakfast, showered and put on my uniform, then the nerves set in! You would think that tests get less nerve wracking as you become more experienced but I’m here to tell you that those nerves are always there! For my test I had to deliver a long briefing on stalls and a pre-flight briefing on PFL’s before we went flying. I’d been practicing my stall brief over and over beforehand and after I got over those initial nerves, I managed to work my way through it without too much trouble. The pre-flight brief went pretty well I thought but then the testing officer started throwing random questions at me. He asked me about high- and low-pressure systems and I confidently explained to him that low pressure systems rotate anticlockwise, and highs rotate clockwise. “Are you sure?” he asked. Uh oh, was he playing mind games, or did I screw up? Of course, I had messed up! This and a few other questions I weasel my way through and off we went flying into the afternoon! We returned and I packed up the plane and that was it, I passed! I rewarded myself that night with a pub dinner and a couple of drinks all by myself. As I sat and ate, I wondered why this pub was full of couples and why they were all staring at me. Then I realised what day it was… Feb 14th, Valentines Day! I must have looked like the loneliest guy on the planet to those people, but I could not have been more happy and proud of myself!

Newest instructor on the block!

In the two and a half years since achieving my Grade 3 Instructor Rating, I have been afforded some incredible opportunities and had my professional development heavily supported by TVSA. In 2019 I was able to start training towards becoming an aerobatic instructor and during a single week in December I hit 500hrs of command time (more than double of what I had when I started the instructor rating), got my aerobatics endorsement, and became a Grade 2 instructor! 2020 brought new achievements as I attained 1000 hours of total time and an aerobatic training endorsement! 2020 also brought new personal and professional challenges with the Covid-19 pandemic, challenges that continue as I write this. As a company, TVSA has done and continues to do an incredible job to weather the storm that is this global pandemic and I have no doubts that we will come out on the other side better than ever.

My first victim… I mean student!!
I’ll spin you right round baby, right round
Joining the 1000 hour club calls for unsolicited pictures of me in aviators right?

The news that we are once again offering a cadetship program is incredibly exciting especially given the current state of the aviation industry. To be guaranteed a job at the end of your flight training is something that you don’t often see offered in our industry and so I encourage anybody who wants a career in aviation to apply for this program. The staff at TVSA from instructors right through to the directors want only the best for our students and will always strive to provide not only top-quality training, but a unique and personal learning experience that you won’t get anywhere else. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be a part of the TVSA family and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve in the future.

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

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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!

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Time to change careers from finance to aviation? Lachie thought so

Diploma of Aviation - My Experience

by Lachie Boyd

Biting the bullet…

After about 10 years of being in the banking industry, I was ready for a change and to be honest, I hadn’t thought too much of aviation, purely on the basis of thinking I had to be a rocket scientist and study for 5 years, but I had a general interest of aviation due to my grandparents, and their input that they have had with the Colac Aero Club. When I came across TVSA on social media, I was intrigued.

So, I looked into studying the Diploma of Aviation with TVSA. I was really surprised to find that I could go from nil experience to a Commercial Pilot with a Diploma of Aviation within 12 months. Cool, this could work!

I arranged a visit to the school and just wanted to have a look around. To be honest, it was the Head of Operations – Annie Corcoran that made me want to complete the training at TVSA. She spoke passionately about her love of teaching, and the aviation component complimented her want to teach. She was quite inspiring. If you don’t know Annie, our conversation went for 10-15 minutes, and I probably got 10-15 words in the entire time.  It was clear, she loved what she did.

Done. Sign me up. I resigned from the bank and became a student.

“Sometimes, not knowing what you’re doing allows you to do things you never knew you could do.”

I’ll start with this, I had nil experience. That may have been my biggest fear when I walked into school for the first time. I was a bit worried of being the only guy in the classroom that wasn’t an Av Geek. But I walked in, said g’day to few people, put my books down next to (my now good friend) Albert Molina, opened up my Aviation Theory Centre – RPL Textbook and began reading.

The flying comes along with it. My first flight was August 28, 2018. 
I remember it as clear as day. The flight was with Ash Miller and I genuinely could not wipe the smile off my face.

Training is broken down into 3 phases:

  • Phase A – Ab-Initio Training
  • Phase B – Navigation Training
  • Phase C – Solo Hour building and Commercial Navigation

Phase A
It was very busy. Reflecting back on it, it was always going to be.
I had a lot to learn, and to get a Diploma of Aviation in 12 months, you need to apply yourself and stay busy! Theory and Practical components for each lesson, plus the study in between. It meant studying at school and at home.

First Solo came on October 11, 2018 and Phase A was completed on December 6, 2018.

No rest for the wicked, straight into theory training for navigation. 

Phase B

Again, Phase B was a very busy period. 

Preparing for a Nav was really important. The more preparation I could do on the ground before a flight meant the more prepared I was in the air.

My first nav, YBSS – YBLT – YOLA – YBSS// with Ash Miller again, was December 26, 2018. It felt like an information overload going through everything new for the first time as well as flying the aircraft, but so much fun getting out of the training area.

Nav 2 came soon after, the following day. It was one that I remember very clearly. 45 degree day, I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life. Poor HCY had to work hard that day. 

But flying consecutive days, I soon realised how important it was to prepare for each flight as much as possible, both physically and mentally. Flying is by no means a cheap hobby, so I guess I thought it was important to invest my time wisely.

My first flight into Essendon has to be one of my favourites. I can’t exactly remember the debrief with Ash after that flight, but I can guarantee radio calls was one of the points to work on. I was 100% not ready for the human on the other end of the radio to speak back at me. It blew my mind. Feedback was constructive so it gave me something to really focus on. I think I just hated the sound of my own voice on the radio. I sound too Aussie!!

But the rest of the process was a great learning experience as well and I loved every minute of it.  Throughout Phase B, I flew with various instructors. Ash Miller, Jerome Wong, Travis Fox, and Michael Acella.  All with varying talents and tips which was great for development.

Phase C

I finished Phase B in mid-April of 2019. By this point, I had passed 6 of my 7 CPL subjects with just performance to complete.

The study for each Commercial subject was intense, as we were studying for a week then completing an exam. This meant long days and nights of study, as well as completing assignments.

Hour building was heaps of fun. Possibly one of the coolest ways to see Victoria in my eyes. Flights to West Sale, Echuca, Wilsons Prom, Warrnambool, City Orbits, all highlights and highly rewarding.

Ticked off CPL Performance in June 2019. CPL Theory credit, check.

The CPL dual flights ramped up a gear. 90 minutes of preparation went by really quickly. You really have to be very fluent in what you are doing by this stage. Knowing what you can and can’t do in a short period of time.

Then the training for the Arrow. Retractable Undercarriage and MPPC were really cool to learn, and I enjoyed flying in WIN. My CPL Navs were a combination of flying with Ash Miller and Dan Hadler, both teaching me a lot through phase C. 

Phase C took me from mid-April until August 29, in readiness for my flight test.

The Test

Yep, like most big events, tests, sporting finals etc that I’ve ever been involved with, I was super nervous.  Not a bad thing though.

Lawrence Gillett was my testing officer, and as if I was nervous enough, he rolls in with his vehicle registration plate “ITESTU.” Intimidating much??

He is a very experienced, reasonable testing officer. I completed the theory component and was happy enough with how that all went, with the flight to follow the next day.

Flight day – I had beautiful weather so I can’t complain. The flight itself went well, well enough to pass I guess. Couple of classic testing officer moves to make you double check yourself but I stuck to my guns which worked in my favour, and there it was. Commercial Pilot Licence on September 3, 2019.

I left a stable career in finance, to go and study something which I grew a passion for, and I don’t regret any part of it.

If you are interested in following Lachie’s footsteps on your path to a CPL, click here to find out more about our current Diploma offerings.

Interested in where Lachie’s training has taken him? Keep an eye out for a future blog post to find out!