How Much Does It Cost To Become a Pilot in Australia?
As air travel increases, so does the industry’s demand for qualified commercial pilots. Experts say that over the next few decades, airlines may need an additional 125,000 licensed pilots or more. Those numbers mean that a career in aviation is a wise investment. How much does it cost to become a pilot if you live in Melbourne?
How Much Does It Cost To Become a Pilot?
In Australia, the cost of learning to fly depends on several factors, from the type of course you select to the licence you pursue. The larger the aircraft you want to fly, the more you can expect to budget for training.
Type of Licence
The journey to piloting large passenger aeroplanes has multiple stages. Each step requires a licence. For example, to take the exam for flying commercial aircraft, first you need to hold a private licence. The order is as follows:
- Recreational pilot licence
- Private pilot licence
- Commercial pilot licence
- Air transport pilot licence
Getting a CPL costs significantly more than applying for an RPL because of the increased requirements for education and flight hours.
With a CPL, you’re equipped for many commercial flight operations in Australia, such as surveillance aircraft, emergency medical services, charter flights, air transportation for cargo and support positions in some Australian airlines. These are valuable careers in their own right.
That said, many aspiring pilots dream of being the commanding officer on a passenger plane. International airlines generally look for a bachelor’s degree in aviation and ATPL certification. This process usually takes about three years and carries a higher cost; it also provides more lucrative career opportunities.
Another factor that affects how much it costs to become a pilot are endorsements. To fly a multi-engine aeroplane, your CPL or ATPL licence needs to carry the appropriate class endorsement. Here are some common endorsements that Australian commercial pilots pursue:
- Night flight
- Instrument rating
- Flight instructor rating
- Low-level flight
- Multi-crew aircraft
Some flight schools include the cost of endorsements in the course tuition. Others only provide certain endorsements, such as IR. If you see training prices that seem drastically lower, there’s a good chance the course only includes certification for visual flight rating, requiring you to get an IR endorsement yourself.
Your choice of Aviation Institute
The commercial pilots licence cost also depends on the aviation school you choose. Most Melbourne flight institutes charge an average $150,000 AUD for a Bachelor of Aviation degree, which is necessary to become an international pilot.
One key benefit of studying with Holmes Institute Aviation is that our Bachelor of Aviation (Flight) is covered by FEE-HELP. That means that you may be eligible to apply for a FEE-HELP loan, which can be used to defer payment of your tuition fees. Please contact a course advisor here to determine your eligibility.
It’s possible to pass a CPL exam with a diploma of aviation instead — lowering course costs — but it can make it harder to land your dream job. To help you decide, contact local airlines or visit their websites to see what requirements they have for pilots. That way, you pursue the right degree from the start.
A final factor that determines the costs to become a pilot in Australia are the total number of flight hours you need to qualify. Each type of licence has a minimum requirement of hours in an aeroplane or flight simulator:
- RPL: 25 hours
- PPL: 35 hours
- CPL: 150 hours
- ATPL: 1,500 hours
You only receive your licence when you pass the associated exam. Some pilots require extra training, which means paying aeroplane rental fees, hourly rates for a flight instructor and similar costs.
How Much Does It Cost To Learn To Fly?
To give you a better idea of how much it costs to become a pilot in Melbourne, this guide provides average prices related to flight hours, course materials, exams and other essentials:
- Books: $800-$1,000
- CASA Medical Cost: About $500
- Aviation Security Identity Card and uniform: About $500
- Aircraft Lesson: About $400-$500 hourly for a lesson, depending on model
- CPL exam total costs: $1,140
The list of things included in tuition varies by flight school. Generally, institutes cover a specific number of flight hours required for the licence exam.
Here at Holmes Institute Aviation we are proud to include everything you need in our single course cost. This includes 195 flight hours as standard in our Bachelor of Aviation (Flight). By completing these hours combined with our course content you will become eligible for a CASA Commercial Pilot Licence. Plus if you are eligible you are able to defer payment of your tuition fees.
What Types of Financial Assistance Are Available for Commercial Pilot Training?
You may be confused by the term ‘FEE-HELP’. Here at Holmes Institute Aviation we qualify under the FEE-HELP guidelines, meaning students can obtain financial assistance from the Australian government to cover tuition costs. Under the FEE-HELP program, students don’t have to repay the main balance until their taxable income goes over a certain threshold.
Afterward, repayment happens automatically via taxation. This system helps many Melbourne residents reach their career goals comfortably.
How Much Do Commercial Pilots Make in Australia?
Commercial airline captains for larger aeroplane fleets (such as Qantas) stand to make about $250,000 to $450,000 in Australia. General line pilots for single-engine planes make about $50,000 to $80,000 depending on their position, and copilots for smaller multi-engine aeroplanes earn as much as $70,000 to $90,000 a year.
As a commercial pilot in Melbourne, your career progression may start as a flight instructor or transport crew member. Once you have more flight experience, generally 1,500 hours total time with 500 hours on multi engined aircraft, you can apply for the big leagues.
If you prefer the freedom of charter flights or emergency medical transport services, you may take to the skies almost as soon as you build your hours and get your licence.
How Much Does It Cost To Become a Pilot in Your Case?
The answer to how much does it cost to become a pilot — and how long it takes — depends largely on how well you retain what you learn. A trusted aviation institute with expert instructors can make a huge difference. At Holmes Institute Aviation, we have over 30 years of experience and have successfully trained over 85,000 students. Discover why we’re the right choice to launch your aviation career.