Summary of occupation
Flying instructors teach learner pilots how to safely fly a plane. This involves briefing the student, demonstrating various movements, directing the student to perform the movements and then monitoring their progress. They also evaluate when students are ready to sit their license exam.
Flying instructors familiarise students with the aeroplane’s controls, systems and emergency procedures, and instruct them on how to ensure that the aeroplane is airworthy. They also teach students to manoeuvre the aeroplane safely on the ground (taxiing), and how to take off and land under various wind and runway conditions.
Teaches the theory and practical skills of flying aircraft. Registration or licensing is required.
A flying instructor needs:
- good communication skills
- good eyesight and hearing
- leadership qualities
- to enjoy working with people
- the ability to handle stress and act decisively
- commitment to following safety standards, and high attention to detail.
Flying instructors teach their students in both a classroom setting, and also in the air. They must conduct lessons in a variety of weather conditions. Whilst in the air, conditions may be cramped and turbulent.
Flying instructors may have to work at dawn, dusk and at night in order to prepare students for various flying circumstances, and may be required to work weekends.
On average, flying instructors can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a flying instructor develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Flying instructors mainly use dual-controlled crafts for teaching, and will sometimes use flight simulators and flight training devices. They use computers to create lesson plans and assessments, to review students’ records and to organise their flying schedule. They are usually responsible for regularly checking the airworthiness of the aircraft, and must have strong knowledge of aircraft maintenance.
To become a flying instructor you must first successfully complete an Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Commercial Pilot Licence and obtain a Grade 3 Flight Instructor Rating.
The Grade 3 Flight Instructor Rating course usually takes six to eight weeks to complete. With this qualification you are able to teach basic training and navigation. Upon reaching 100 hours of flight instruction, you reach Grade 2 instructor level, and are able to send students solo, and to teach at night. Grade 1 instructors are the most experienced and are qualified in all phases of flight instruction.
You must also obtain a Night Visual Flight Rules Rating and/or a Command Instrument Rating, and possess a current CASA Class 1 medical certificate.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.