August 4, 2020
Posted on August 4, 2020

In this post we are going to give you a break down of what to expect when learning to fly in Melbourne to achieve you Recreational Pilot’s Licence. Both from a cost and duration point, as they go hand in hand.

So how much are flying lessons?

You can expect to pay between $300 – $400 a lesson in a Cessna 172 in Australia.

How long does it take to get a pilot’s licence?

For the Recreational Pilot Licence you should allocate 4 – 6 weeks full time and 4 – 6 months for part time.

If you have decided on pursuing flying lessons whether for a hobby or as a career then there are some things to consider and we will hopefully help you make a more informed decision to help you make the right one.

Now you obviously want to get a pilot licence or you wouldn’t be reading this right? So regardless of whether you are doing it for a hobby or as a career having an understanding of your training plan or training syllabus for the better word is very important. 

The cost of the Recreational Pilot’s Licence which we will explain today is the first licence you need to obtain whether you are obtaining a licence for a hobby or if you plan to make a career out of it. It enables you to fly solo with passengers up to a radius of 50km from Essendon Airport.

flight training melbourne
flight training in a Cessna 172


It’s important having some background knowledge on the course structure so you get a good overview of how your training should progress.

Then based on the school’s hourly training rate you can track your spend. Some schools may offer a discount for upfront payment so that is something you can definitely ask. We do offer a discount on instalment payments but the majority of our students pay as they go.

An important thing to note in the syllabus pictured below is this is the minimum requirement for the issue of the Recreational Pilot Licence.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is the governing body in Australia when it comes to Aviation. They set out the course syllabus when it comes to the training of pilot’s in Australia.

So regardless of what school you finally select the following lessons need to be completed in order to receive your Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL).

Recreational Pilot Licence training syllabus

As can be seen a total of 25 hours instructional and 5 hours solo, a total of 30 hours is the recommended flying training time for your licence issue.


This is a common question and it really depends on the individual student, weather, good flight instructor and whether you decide to complete your training part/time or full time. As mentioned 25hrs dual and 5 hours solo is the minimum requirement set by CASA.


Wherever you decide to complete your flight training remember that good flight preparation and knowledge will help you to minimise flight training hours.

I can’t stress this enough and if you do not put in the effort with study then learning in the cockpit becomes an expensive exercise and only prolongs your training. It’s normal for some students to struggle with certain aspects of training and when your stuck put your hand up, ask questions.

The best thing you can do is ensure you allocate time to your aviation studies and ask as many questions you may have for your flight instructor.


A good flying instructor is paramount to the success of your flying training. After all your going to be spending a lot of time together.

I suggest you conduct a trial flight and see for yourself if your happy with their teaching style. A good instructor needs to be a good communicator and teacher, able to explain a complex topic in a basic understandable way. He/She need to give you honest feedback and promote a positive learning environment.

You may want to ask about the experience of your Instructor. One with a higher grade of Instruction will have a deeper understanding of the flying training sequence having repeatedly conducted it numerous times.

Another consideration while we are on the topic of instructor’s is to ask if your briefing lessons are inclusive of the lesson cost. We don’t charge for the theory component. Only for the aircraft time. Be mindful of hour hungry instructors’s teaching for the wrong reason.


Weather effects Pilot Training

Hey we are in Melbourne what can I say. All jokes aside the weather can be a frustrating factor when your trying to move forward with your flying training.

The time of year plays a role and winter does delay your training due to less favourable weather. It has to be safe weather wise and importantly it needs to be suitable for the lesson you are conducting in order to receive maximum benefit from it.

Some instructors will take students up when the weather is not suitable and the end result is simply a waste of your money, you will not make any meaningful progress. Some schools put this down to good experience, however this is not the case.


For those electing to fly part time all I can suggest is you try to at least get one lesson in a week. If it is spread out to much especially in the first 10 lessons you’ll find you will be re learning parts of the previous lesson which will slow you down and effect your hip pocket. On average students take up to 4 – 6 months to complete their RPL training part time.


The only thing that will slow you down will be the weather and the amount of study you are putting in. You really need to be 100% committed and have no distractions. You can get quite a few lessons in and your instructor should give you a detailed schedule for completion. 4 -6 weeks is a reasonable outcome.

If you feel you’ve bitten more than you can chew simply discuss this with your instructor and re adjust. Your instructor should identify if this is the case anyway and pull back the reins.


Pilot training in Melbourne

Flying schools differ on the aircraft type they utilise for training. The most common aircraft for flight training in Melbourne is the Cessna 172 or the Piper Warrior PA-28. We use the Cessna 172, with a variety of analogue and glass cockpit’s.


Currently at the time of writing our dual rates for the Cessna 172 is $305.00 + GST  per hour, i.e from engine start to engine stop time.


When researching a flying school you need to take the aerodrome charges at the airport you are operating from into account i.e. it is an extra cost. Our hire rate mentioned above does not include the landing fee at Essendon Airport.

So when enquiring about the aircraft rate ask the question, does that include the aerodrome charges? Some schools incorporate the aerodrome charges as part of their Dual and Solo rates. If your flying lesson exceeds an hour then your flying lesson will become more expensive than if it were charged separately.



The Student Pilot text books are designed for self study. You can complete theory courses but this will add to the cost. Self study is possible and just requires you to allocate time to complete. If you get stuck on a topic then your instructor should be consulted.


You will be required to have a  VTC (Visual Terminal Chart) and a VNC (Visual Navigation Chart). These charts will cost you around $12 AUD and have a expiry date on them. Always have up to date charts when flying.

Pilot charts
Melbourne VTC Chart


Aviation Medical
DAME – Designated Aviation Medical Examiner

A class 2 medical certificate is the minimum requirement but if you are considering a career in flying then I suggest you apply for the Class1 medical to avoid any disappointment.

If you have any doubts about your medical condition then we suggest you do your medical first. The cost of the pilot medical depends on the Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME) and if you are completing a Class 1 or Class 2. Budget for $250 – $350.


Aviation Security Identification Card

You will need to apply for the issue of an aviation security identification card. This enables you to gain access airside in airports around Australia.

The cost for the ASIC is approx. $250 AUD and is renewed every 2 years. The ASIC is a background check including police reports and will not be issued to certain individual’s i.e. a criminal record. For more information on the ASIC go to


The following is a breakdown of what we have discussed and is a good guide on what flight training costs for the Recreational Pilot’s licence will be.


DUAL 25 hrs – $8,387.50

SOLO 5 hrs – $1,182.50

RPL Flight Test Fee – $550.00

Flight Test Aircraft Hire 1.8 hours – $425.70

CASA RPL Processing Fee – $50.00

Total – $10,595.70


Aerodrome Charges, En route Airways charges

Issue of Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC)

Class 2 Medical Examination Fee

RPL Student Pilot Kit (inc. Pilot Log Book)

VTC & VNC maps

RPL Theory Exam Fee

Total – $2,075.00

GRAND TOTAL$12,670.70

Remember the flying hours to reach competency may alter based on the student’s ability and continuity of training.

If a pilot’s licence is something you have been considering please get in touch with one of our flight instructor’s who’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have whether it’s for a hobby or a career.