Pilot Certificate or Pilot Licence – Which Do I Choose?
So you’ve completed an introductory flight, and you’re keen to take your newfound love of flying to the next level. But what should your next step be?
There are three ways you can go: obtain a Pilot Certificate (PC), a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) or a Private Pilot Licence (PPL).
Each option has its pros and cons, so which one should you choose?
The first step in the journey of becoming a pilot is usually to obtain an RAAus Pilot Certificate. Because this is the first milestone you reach when completing flying lessons, restrictions will apply to what you can do.
The Pilot Certificate allows you to fly a recreational two-seater aircraft and a take-off weight of up to 600kg in uncontrolled airspace. The aircraft can only be flown during daylight hours within 25 nautical miles of the aerodrome you depart from, and the aircraft must be flown below 10,000 feet altitude above sea level. With further training you can obtain endorsements which allow you to take a passenger with you or navigate beyond the 25 nautical miles.
Is a Pilot Certificate Right for Me?
The Pilot Certificate is perfect for anyone who enjoys flying every now and then as a hobby and isn’t bothered by the restrictions of where and when you can and cannot fly.
If you’re just looking to take some time out of your busy life to get up in the air and fly around, a Pilot Certificate may be your best choice. The Pilot Certificate is ideal if you’re content with just being able to fly rather than needing to fly to and from different destinations.
The Pilot Certificate can be the first step in your training towards a Recreational Pilot Licence, Private Pilot Licence or even a Commercial Pilot Licence.
Recreational Pilot Licence
The Recreational Pilot Licence offers more flexibility, giving you the ability to fly an aircraft with four seats and a take-off weight of up to 1500kg without supervision. You can fly within 25 nautical miles of your airport however if you also obtain a Navigation endorsement, this licence will allow you to fly across Australia in uncontrolled airspace.
If you gain a Class 2 Medical alongside your pilot licence, you will also be able to carry additional passengers. A Controlled Aerodrome endorsement will be granted to you automatically if you complete your training with us at Archerfield. This will allow you to fly to airports like Coffs Harbour or Sunshine Coast. A Controlled Airspace endorsement can also be obtained, allowing you to fly in controlled airspace and into airports such as Gold Coast, Rockhampton or Townsville.
Is a Recreational Pilot Licence Right for Me?
If you would like to fly further afield without restrictions and share your newfound passion for flying with others, this could be the right option for you. Once you have a recreational pilot licence, you can hire planes from us or local flying groups.
With the recreational pilot licence, you can easily take friends and family on a joy flight. The standard 25-nautical mile radius at PathFinder allows recreational pilots to fly over Redlands, Beaudesert, Stradbroke Island and Logan areas unrestricted however most also opt for a Navigation endorsement, providing the ability to fly across Australia.
The Recreational Pilot Licence can be your next step in your training towards your Private Pilot Licence or even a Commercial Pilot Licence.
Private Pilot Licence (PPL)
The next step above the Recreational Pilot Licence is the Private Pilot Licence. However, the additional capabilities available with this licence come at a cost. A Private Pilot Licence can be three times more expensive than a Pilot Certificate, so keep this in mind when deciding how far you want to take your passion for flying.
With this far more extensive licence, you have the ability to fly a single engine aeroplane up to 5700kg take-off weight, to and from any airport in Australia and through many types of airspace. This licence is internationally recognised. Additional endorsements can be added to you PPL with further training to cover night flying (NVFR), instrument flying (PIFR) or multi-engine aircraft (MEA).
Is a Private Pilot Licence Right for Me?
The main goal for people who seek to obtain a Private Pilot Licence is to be able to fly their family and friends all over the country in an aircraft with 4 or more seats. The Private Pilot Licence is a lifestyle choice, allowing you to depart on self-fly trips to and from different destinations either in a hire plane or an aircraft you purchase for yourself.
The Private Pilot Licence is also an important milestone on the pathway towards your Commercial Pilot Licence.
If you’re still unsure how far you want to go in your flight training, we recommend stepping into the Pilot Certificate Training first because after it’s completed, you can easily continue your study and lessons to pursue a Recreational Pilot Licence or Private Pilot Licence further down the track. Just take the natural training process one step at a time, and as you grow more confident with your flying, you can decide how far you would like to expand your skills and flying options.
So, whether you decide to take part in flying lessons to obtain a Pilot Certificate, Recreational Pilot Licence or a Private Pilot Licence, our qualified and highly experienced flight instructors have you covered.
Call us on (07) 3255 5734 and start your flying lessons with PathFinder today!