Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)

This page provides you with a detailed breakdown of the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) Course. For general information about learning to fly with Airborne Aviation visit our Learn To Fly section.

A Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) allows you to fly “in command” in the flying training area. This course typically runs on a one-to-one basis or a full time basis. For the full time basis, the course duration is 8 weeks.

You may not charge for your services as a pilot without holding a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), but you are permitted to cost share with your passengers to split the cost of the aircraft hire.

The Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) course comprises of three main stages:
  • First Solo Flight
  • Training Area Solo
  • Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)
Flight Training and Experience Requirements

Aeronautical experience requirements for the issue of a Recreational Pilot Licence are detailed in Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) Part 61. The requirements are as follows:

25 hours total flight time, which includes:
  • 20 hours of dual flight training
  • 5 hours solo flight (PIC)

Flight training is undertaken to ensure standards meet or exceed the recreational pilot standard specified in the Part 61 Manual of Standards (MoS). This training syllabus incorporates the Australian National Competency Standards for Recreational Pilots.

With the extensive competencies that need to be met, and to receive a licence with endorsements to fly in all airspace types, a student without prior flying experience could not expect to meet these standards in 25 hours. A realistic target for budgeting purposes is 33 hours to be adequately prepared for the RPL flight test. The exact number of hours you will require are dependant on the frequency at which you have lessons, and your skill level.

The three stages to obtaining your RPL are as follows:
  1. First Solo Flight :

    This part of your initial training will cover all aspects of flight necessary for you to undertake your first solo flight including normal and abnormal operations. The hours required to complete your first solo will vary depending on the frequency of your lessons, and your competence.
    Students should expect to complete their first solo flight after approximately 13 hours. A total of 2 hours of solo flying in the circuit (take-off and landing) will be undertaken.
    You must be 15 years old to fly solo.

  2. Training Area Solo :

    This training prepares you for more solo flying in the flying training area adjacent to the airport.
    You will complete 3 hours of solo flight, during this time practicing sequences that have been covered in your training.

  3. Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) :

    Successful completion of this flight test indicates that you can “fly” the aeroplane to the required standard – but are yet to learn how to navigate over long distances.
    Holding a RPL you are now authorised to fly as pilot-in-command in the flying training area.You may also carry passengers whilst being pilot-in-command in the flying training area, however there are conditions on the number of passengers you can carry if you hold a recreational aviation medical.
    You may only operate a single engine aircarft to the MTOW of 1500kgs in day VFR conditions.

In addition to the flight training and experience the following requirements you must:
  • Be at least 16 years of age to be issued a RPL
  • Pass a Class 2 or recreational aviation medical examination – refer to the
  • CASA web site
Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) Exam Structure

There are four exams which you will undertake while on the way to your RPL.

  • Pre-First Solo Exam
  • Pre-Area Solo Exam
  • Basic Aeronautical Knowledge (BAK) Exam
  • Flight Radio Endorsment Exam

These examinations are based on the Part 61 Manual of Standards (MoS) provided by CASA.

Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) Endorsments

There are four endorsments that can be added to a Recreational Pilot Licence.

  • Controlled Aerodrome Endorsment
  • Controlled Airspace Endorsment
  • Flight Radio Endorsment
  • Recreational Navigation Endorsment

The controlled aerodrome endorsment, controlled airspace endorsment and flight radio endorsment will be issued at your flight test as Camden Airport is a Controlled Aerodrome with 7 day air traffic control coverage from 0800 – 1800.

With additional training any of these endorsments may be added to your Recreational Pilot Licence.

Recreational Pilot Licence Course Estimate

Many students with no aspirations of seeking employment as a “commercial pilot” elect to obtain their Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). There are a number of reasons why:

  • GST free flying up to 150 hours, including recreational flying
  • Your flying hours as a recreational pilot can be put towards a CPL and is GST free
  • Increased flying proficiency and knowledge, making you a better pilot
  • A number of advanced ratings can be included within the 150 hours
  • There is no set time period to obtain a CPL – do it at your own pace

When you commence your training with Airborne Aviation if you tell us of your intent to obtain a CPL in the future your flying training is GST free. There are no lock in contracts and no time constraints.

Below is an estimate of the costs for a RPL based on list pricing at 1st May 2018. Courses typically run on a one-to-one or full time course basis and are designed to fit in to both your schedule and budget constraints.

Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)
Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) ————>> Price: $14,800
  • 27.3 Hours Dual (C172)
  • 5.2 Hours Solo (C172)
  • Theory (15.5 hours)
  • Landing Fees (33)
  • Movement Fees (33)
  • Exam Fees (First Solo, Area Solo, BAK & Flight Radio Exam)
  • Security Checks & ASIC Card
  • Pilot Bag
  • Theory Manuals, Aircraft QRH, Student Notebook
  • USB with useful documents
  • SYD Visual Terminal Chart
  • David Clark H10-13.4 Pilot Headset
Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) Flight Test ————–>> Price: $930
  • 1.5 Hours Dual (C172)
  • Flight Examiner Fee
  • Landing and Movement Fees
  • CASA Licence Fee
Estimated Total: —————>> Price: $15,730
  • Price is exclusive of GST for applicable components.
  • Payment can be made as you go, pre-paid in full or via instalments.
  • Medical examination fees paid directly to designated aviation medical examiner (DAME) not included.
Option 1: Initial Training in a Tomahawk (PA38) ———->> deduct $1,318

Exchange RPL 34 hours C172 for:

  • 28.8 Hours Dual (PA38)
  • 5.2 Hours Solo (PA38)
  • Landing & Movement Fees
Option 2: Initial Training in a Citabria (7GCBC) ———->> deduct $1,216

Exchange RPL 34 hours C172 for:

  • 28.8 Hours Dual (7GCBC)
  • 5.2 Hours Solo (7GCBC)
  • Landing & Movement FeesOn completion of your Recreational Pilot Licence you could consider undertaking any of the following courses to increase your knowledge, skills, options – and for the fun of it!
  • Private Pilot Licence Course