Pilot and Aircraft Safety at Learn To Fly

At Learn to Fly, pilot and aircraft safety is and always will be our number one priority. It is the cornerstone of our operation, and we strive to maintain a positive and transparent safety culture.  We continue to uphold an impeccable safety record as conveyed on the Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) Accident and Defect Summaries. 

The safety culture at Learn to Fly acknowledges that flying and flight training involves risk. It’s vital that students and instructors alike are educated about these risks and the processes involved in risk minimisation.

See how we carry out pilot and aircraft safety in our flight training operations at Learn To Fly.

Aircraft Maintenance

Each aircraft requires maintenance checks for every 50 and 100 hours of flying. All scheduled maintenance is planned in advance. We will never undertake any flights or flight training on planes requiring maintenance.

Pilots and engineers can write up a defect on the aircraft’s Maintenance Release (MR) at any time. For serious defects, the aircraft will immediately become unserviceable and simply will not go flying until maintenance is completed.

The Maintenance Release is required to be signed by a pilot (instructor or pilot certificate holder) before the first flight of each day to ensure that the aircraft has passed the daily inspection requirements and is suitable to fly.

Instructor Qualifications

Pilot and aircraft safety for us also means company standards require that instructors at Learn to Fly be well-trained. We will only employ instructors who we are confident, focused, alert and ready to respond immediately to any potential situation where the risk outweighs the learning opportunity.

Based on the current guidelines, all of our flight instructors are at an RAAus senior instructor level. This rating can only be achieved if the pilot accumulates certain flight training experiences and passes a flight test that is conducted by external RAAus certified flight testing officers.

Some of our students may become junior instructors when they graduate. However, it is a compulsory requirement that they are supervised by senior instructors when they work at the school.

In addition to this, our chief flying instructor (CFI) actively supervises all flight training operations and consistently checks training records and documentation. This ensures that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are complied with for both instructors and students. SOPs compliance is checked at various times. This is usually by attending flights with students to confirm SOPs are maintained, and ensuring all instructors have current qualifications.

Flight Training

We ensure a safe learning environment every time.  A student will not fly if the weather is not suitable for that particular lesson. For solo flights, these standards will be even stricter and reflect considerations such as turbulence, wind speed, daylight, student’s abilities etc so that we can provide

Before all flights, the aircraft will be thoroughly inspected. This ensures all controls are functional, check for obvious damage to the engine, airframe or structure before any flight is to take place. After engine start and prior to takeoff further checks are carried out as per the SOPs. This is recommended by both the aircraft manufacturer and in the aircraft’s Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) to further assure a safe and efficient flight takes place.

Each student’s flights are recorded in detail. Instructors will rate their performance to make sure students reach the standard or competency of that particular lesson. Students who do not meet these standards or competencies will have to redo the lesson sequence until this standard is met. Within the school, we have systems in place to cross-check and ensure that all training records are completed and updated in a timely manner.

Briefings are always done properly and consistently before and after each flight. This ensures that students are both aware of what they are going to do, and of the specific standard that is required for that particular lesson.

Prior to solo flights, instructors will double-check to make sure the students have all the required documents such as a medical certificate, student pilot licence etc. Training records must also show they have achieved all the necessary competencies prior to undertaking any solo operations.

Creating a Pilot and Aircraft Safety Culture

Further to the priorities and procedures outlined, we maintain our own Risk Management Plan and Safety Management System. This enables us to further minimise the potential risks associated with flight training. Despite this comprehensive system, we must not think that we are infallible. We encourage all of our staff and students to form a habit of looking, learning, and discussing potential risks we see as part of our normal day to day operation. This attitude allows us to evolve and update our systems regularly. That then helps to ensure a safe operating culture persists within the Learn To Fly organisation and group.

We encourage instructors and students to go through appropriate channels to advise safety concerns within or outside of our operation.

We believe that technology as a communication tool has great potential to assist safety operations. Flight training software can provide updates on aircraft unserviceability or if an aircraft may need to be grounded; through to communicating safety concerns or topics that instructors or students raise within the organisation.

Exceeding Expectations

We aim to have higher safety standards than other flight schools in Australia.

On top of the Public Liability Insurance and the RAAus Member Liability Insurance, we cover an additional A$5 million in Liability Insurance for all of our students.

We only buy brand new RA-Aus aircraft so we can be certain of the maintenance history for every plane.

All RA aircraft in our fleet is equipped with Rotax engines which have an outstanding reputation and operational safety history.

At Learn to Fly, we believe all these extra steps – combined with the safety culture exhibited by our individual pilots, instructors, and the student group – will allow us to go a long way in providing an extra margin of safety.


Want to fly with us? Email [email protected]. You can also visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.


What is Threat and Error Management in Aviation?

Threat Error Management (TEM) in aviation is a term that has commonly been associated with airline operations. But it also extends to all other aspects of aviation. TEM is all about being a safe and well-prepared pilot.

The definition of Threat and Error Management in aviation 

Threat Error Management (TEM) has been defined by various institutions. The Australian authority Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), defines it as:

‘The process of detecting and responding to threats and errors to ensure that the ensuing outcome is inconsequential – the outcome is not an error, further error or undesired state’.

It wasn’t always called TEM

The term has evolved over time from Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) to Crew Resource Management (again CRM), to its current form as TEM.

Although these big words and terms sound noteworthy, you most likely won’t come to grips with what they are really about or how much of an impact they have on a pilot during a flight without exploring them in detail through study and practice.

Its impact extends beyond aviation

While TEM was first adopted by the airline industry, its importance for all of us should not be underestimated. TEM has impacted of all kinds of industries in a multitude of ways.

Threat and Error Management processes and practices have become the benchmark when approaching tasks and activities in a range of professions, including our flight training and other standard aviation procedures.

TEM gives us perspective on perception

Each of the key concepts in TEM relates to a specific aspect of a total process, and all are aimed at handling a particular threat.

What is a threat? Furthermore, what is a threat to you?

In many cases, this threat can be different to the one which is commonly perceived.

Threats can come in many forms, such as environmental. The weather, or other factors that may seem inconsequential such as:

Flying in a different aircraft compared to your usual one

Having a change of instructor on the day

Preparing adequately for your flight

Not having enough sleep the night before

All of these are considered threats as they can have an impact on the outcome of any flight.

Errors become easier to manage

Beyond the threats is the resulting error. Some errors may result in a further error, varying in size but depending on how we handle it may or may not impact on the safety of the flight. Ultimately, this aspect relies heavily on how the management of that error is addressed.

As pilots, we are the last line of defence when considering errors and, therefore, safety. The key responsibility to prevent this error from having an outcome or impact on the flight and placing one’s aircraft in an ‘undesirable state’.

This management should not be underestimated because a significant or undesirable outcome places one in a position that none of us would like to contemplate, irrespective of the size or aircraft type that we are operating.

TEM Invites closer analysis of safety

The question that arises is what should we do when handling threats and errors each time we go flying? The answer may vary, however, we should actively look around us and consider any factor that may be perceived as a threat.

Beyond this, consider what error could arise from this and how as an individual you would manage or handle this situation. Only then with constant attention, proactive discussion and consideration of factors around us will we improve our skills and awareness towards becoming better and potentially safer pilots of the future.

See how Threat and Error Management in aviation is discussed in one of our flying lessons on YouTube below. Don’t forget to subscribe for more great flight training content!

Want to fly with us? Email [email protected]. You can also visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.


6 Ways to Maintain Pilot Proficiency and Safety

Once you achieve the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) or Private Pilot Licence (PPL), as well as any endorsement or rating on top of that, you must apply yourself to the tasks required to maintain pilot proficiency and safety.

Commercial pilots do this by flying a lot of hours, but unfortunately, a lot of RPL and PPL pilots don’t have this luxury, which means their skills diminish over time. Here are six ways to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

1. Know yourself

For the sake of common sense and for safety, a pilot should keep analysing their performances and keep practicing. More than anything, they should be aware of their limitations. It’s your responsibility to assess where you’re with your skills and knowledge at all times and compare it with where you aim to be. If you ever find there’s room for improvement, take the time before your next flight to prepare for it.

2. Show safety in your attitude

Flying is an attitude and a way of thinking. It’s about one thing above all else, and that is a concern for safety. To maintain pilot proficiency and safety means turning up focused for the flight. It’s what will keep you on track to maintain your relevant skills and qualifications down the line. Even better is if you can start putting this attitude into effect while you’re still on the ground.

3. Watch the weather

You can download the relevant weather from www.bom.gov.au or NAIPS on a regular basis to see how it is expected to develop during the course of the flight. When you know what to expect from the weather you will automatically start solving related problems prior to the flight. It will set up your in-flight decision making for success and quicken your response time when adjustments are called for.

4. Refresh your knowledge

Maintaining pilot proficiency and safety requires a high level of skill. It’s about doing what you can when you’re not physically in the cockpit, and preparing yourself for the next flight. For example, when a pilot doesn’t fly a particular aircraft for some time, particularly if it is a complex aircraft, they should study critical aspects such as speed, RPM settings and emergency procedures before flying again.

5. Seek out other pilots

Refreshing your accumulated knowledge in aviation should always be self-directed, but this doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to other pilots to get support and advice. If you’re in doubt, ask an instructor at your flying school to test you on the spot or give you ideas about who to contact.

Although things like a check flight will normally be conducted by the flight school automatically, you must be disciplined throughout your training, so that you can later recognise when this is necessary and follow through.

6. Build up your ratings and endorsements

Another way to maintain your proficiency is to go and get a new endorsement or rating. This can take your flying to a whole new level and benefit all areas of your competency to fly. While this training will add to your existing skills, it will also force you to go over what you have learnt already.

Bonus tip! Enjoy the ride!

Pilots have no shortage of things to learn and all of this needs to be maintained in the long term. Hopefully, your competency rewards you with better, easier flying experiences over time. Many pilots come to love the many small details in their regular procedures that allow them to exert an amount of control over a flight, which changes the technical success of every journey.

Once you have achieved your licence, you will need to continue to to maintain pilot proficiency and safety.

Want to fly with us? Email [email protected]. You can also visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour. For more great flying tips and the latest flying videos, click below and subscribe to our YouTube channel!


Training Beyond the Private Pilot Licence (PPL)

After completing your Private Pilot Licence you might wonder, “what’s next?” As strange as it may sound, many pilots are still keen to do more training after achieving their initial goals. Realistically, if you want to fly regularly or as a job, learning is ongoing. Let’s take a look at training beyond the Private Pilot Licence.

Fly more aircraft types

Why limit yourself to flying just the one aircraft type? Why not fly aircraft that are bigger, faster, have more than one engine, or maybe even can land on water?! There are ratings and endorsements that can open up a whole new range of aircraft to you. These include a Tailwheel Undercarriage Endorsement, Multi-Engine Class Rating, and more.

Having the capability to fly more aircraft types increases your skill level, and gives you a lot more options when organising recreational flying trips.

A tailwheel endorsement opens up a range of new aircraft options.

Fly at night

Flying at night is an amazing experience. If you live near a major city, seeing the sparkling lights from above is absolutely spectacular. Completing a Night Visual Flight Rules (VFR) course. will allow you to fly at night, in otherwise good weather and visibility conditions.

Fly in more weather conditions

One of the most important areas of training beyond your Private Pilot Licence will allow you to plan and conduct flights in far more weather and light conditions. Instrument flying is a great skill to have, not just for your own flying abilities, but for added convenience when planning flights. It allows you to fly in inclement weather conditions, cloudy conditions, and at night.

Flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) alone can be quite restrictive, especially in areas with changeable weather like Melbourne. A Private Instrument Flying (PIFR) course can be customised to your needs, making it a great option.

Flight activity endorsements

There are some seriously fun flight activity endorsements that you can add to your repertoire.

Formation flying is an experience that even the most seasoned pilots get a huge thrill from. Taking off, flying, performing manoeuvres and landing with another aircraft right next you is surreal. Flying in formation is also a very good tool for honing your precision skills, with precise control movements required for accuracy.

Another popular endorsement is aerobatics and spinning. Aside from being a huge amount of fun, this type of flying is again great for your skillset. Knowing how your body reacts and how you can recover from high G situations and unusual attitudes is actually very important.

As you can see, there is no shortage of options for training beyond your Private Pilot Licence. Additional endorsements will enhance your ability to get the most out of your PPL, and also help you to keep your skills sharp.

A formation flying endorsement is an exciting way to hone your precision control input skills.

Find out about our extensive range of ratings and endorsements for PPL holders! Email [email protected]. You can also visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour. For more great flying tips and the latest flying videos, click below and subscribe to our YouTube channel!