Learning to fly

There are many steps from becoming a flying student to an airline captain.

First, you must be over 15 years old to fly solo and at least 16 to get your first licence. You must also meet requirements for:

To become a commercial pilot you must:

  • be in good health
  • have good eyesight and hearing
  • have proficient English.

Most people who succeed in aviation have above-average initiative, self-discipline, common sense, patience and perseverance.

We will not issue a licence to fly as a student pilot. This is because you are under the supervision of a flight instructor and fight training organisation. This also includes when you are flying solo.

Find a flight training organisation

Once you know what type of licence you’re after, whether it be helicopter or aeroplane you can search for a flying school. Make sure it offers the relevant training for your desired licence type.


Search for a flying school.

Recreational and private pilot licence

You should base your choice on what you hope to achieve. If your aim is to fly for pleasure, then look for a school that focuses on either:

Commercial licence

If your aim is a career in aviation, then you need training beyond the private level.

It may be beneficial to do all your training through to commercial level and beyond with the one organisation.

Contact a few flight training organisations to compare costs and quality.

Factors to consider when choosing flight training

Consider the following factors so you get the skills and knowledge you need to fly safely and confidently:

  • licence type you want
  • cost, including whether you need to pay an extra fee for doing your test
  • quality of training, including infrastructure and tools used to teach you to fly
  • course structure that suits your timetable and budget.

Once you have selected a flight training organisation, organise a trial instruction flight. This is usually a 30-minute flight with a flight instructor who will show you the basic features of an aircraft and allow you to take control.

Once you’ve found a flying school that suits your needs, it’s time to start flying.

Last updated:
4 Dec 2021
Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//licences-and-certificates/pilots/process-become-pilot/learning-fly
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