Types of Aircraft

Here is a selection of aircraft that you might be interested in learning how to fly.

Powered

Click here for my Free Fixed Wing Flying Guide

General Aviation – Fixed Wing

Find out which aircraft is best suited to you.

You will need to a Recreational or Private Pilot License issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to fly General Aviation Aircraft:

– An Aircraft with more than two seats

– In Controlled Airspace

– At Night

– In Conditions with are not Visual Meteorological Conditions (i.e.: under Instrument Flying Rules)

The minimum training requirements for a Private Pilots License are:

40 hours total time before you can sit your PPL Flight Test.

You will need to pass a number of exams and a flight test.

Costs per hour for training can be between $200 – $400 per hour for single engine piston aircraft.

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Click here to listen to Episode 1 of the Podcast where General Aviation (PPL) training requirements are discussed 

Recreational Aviation

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These aircraft are limited to 2 seats, a maximum take off weight of 600 KG and a stall speed of less than 45 knots.

Recreational aircraft can range from open cockpit ultralights to modern composite single engine aircraft with cruise speeds up to 250km/h.

You generally are not allowed to fly in controlled airspace but that wont hold you back in Australia due to the large amount of class G uncontrolled airspace.

The main benefits of Recreational Aviation is that the costs are lower and there is lower amount of minimum instruction time in comparison to General Aviation.

To give you an idea the average cost of flight lessons in RA is between $ 150-$ 250 per hour depending on the location and school and between $250 and $400 per hour for training in single engine piston General Aviation aircraft.

To Fly recreation aircraft you will need to be a member of Recreational Aviation Australia which costs $220 a year.

The minimum training requirements are:

15 hour dual instruction

5 hours Solo Flight

Pass a number of examinations including Air Law, Basic Aeronautical Knowledge, Human Factors and a Radiotelephony exam.

Costs per hour for training can be between $150 – $250 per hour of instruction for single engine aircraft.

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Click here to listen to Episode 1 of the Podcast where Recreational Aviation (Recreational Pilot Certificate) training requirements are discussed 

Weight Shift Ultralights

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These aircraft are weight shift meaning you use hands to move a bar which is connected to a single control surface.

The training requirements are the same as Recreational Aviation. Training costs are roughly the same a RA aircraft.

Ultralights can be registered with either RA AUS or the HGFA.

Ultralights can vary in cost from $20,000 for single seat to $80,000 for a new high performance twin seater with the latest equipment.

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Click here to listen to Episode 5 of the Podcast where Trike (Microlight/Weight Shift Ultralight) (Recreational Pilot Certificate) training requirements are discussed 

Aerochutes / Powered Parachute / Motorised Parachutes

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These aircraft consist of a frame on wheels and motor connected to a parachute.  They have a relatively low airspeed and a flight duration of around 2-3 hours.  They have very short take off and landing rolls, sometimes less than 30 meters.

Pilots enjoy flying low and slow in these graceful craft. They are very safe and if there are any issues with the motor you can glide safely to the ground.

Costs: A one person Aerochute can be as little as $5,000 although high-end Aerochutes can be up to $20,000.

These aircraft are administered by RA AUS in Australia.

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Powered Paragliding or Paramotoring

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Is a form of flying where the pilot wears a light weight motor on his back which provides enough thrust to take off using an adapted paraglider wing.

Powered Paragliders usually fly between 25 and 70 km/h at relatively low altitudes.

The ability to fly low and slow safely and the open feel this types best attributes.

Costs: A full motor, wing and accessories can be between $5,000 and $20,000.

Training courses are between $2,000 -$4,000 and can be between 10 -15 days long, on completion of the course and demonstrating the competency you will receive a certificate from the HGFA.

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Gyrocopters

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Is a type of rotorcraft which uses an unpowered rotor to develop lift in conjunction with an engine and generally a pusher propeller to provide thrust.  The free spinning rotor provides lift for the vehicle.  The three primary flight controls are control stick, rudder and throttle.

Dual training costs are around $200 an hour.

The sport is administered by the Australian Sport Rotorcraft Association (ASRA)

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Ballooning

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This is the oldest type of flying.  Hot Air Balloons consist of the balloon, basket and burner.  A cold Air fan is used to partially inflate the balloon on its side before the burner starts and inflates the balloon fully.  Once airborne and during the flight the pilots only ability to steer is the ability to climb and descend into wind currents going different directions.

The Australian Ballooning Federation is responsible for licensing private balloon students.  Pilots must undergo 16 hours of training with an instructor and pass five exams to obtain their license.  The cost of training can be between $10,000 to $15,000 dollars for a private license.

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Unpowered

Hang Gliding

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The pilot flies a light and non motorised foot launch aircraft called a hang glider.  The gliders are made of a light metal or composite covered with synthetic sailcloth.  To manoeuvre in the air the pilot shifts body weight in opposition to a control frame.

Cost for training vary but the initial course takes about a week.

You will need the following equipment:

Hang Glider: $1000 – $4000

Harness around – $1000

Parachute – $600

Instruments – about $400

The sport is administered by the HGFA.

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