Once you have completed your RPL, you will then commence navigation training to achieve your Private Pilot Licence. The navigation exercises teach you the practical skills and airmanship required for flying safely to distant locations: managing fuel and flight logs; radio communication and transitions through different air space and control zones; unplanned diversions (due to weather etc.); conducting circuits at unfamiliar aerodromes; and landing on different types of surfaces. You will conduct several navigation exercises, both under instruction and solo, around North Queensland to reinforce and consolidate your skills in preparation for the Private Pilot Licence flight test. Your navigation exercises will take you to some interesting places such as Mt Garnet, Undara and many other unique locations .

Prior to undertaking the PPL test, you must have acquired a minimum of 40 hours of flight time as a pilot – inclusive of:

  • 5 hours of general flight time as pilot in command
  • 5 hours of cross country flight time as pilot in command
  • 2 hours of instrument flight time

You are also required to pass the CASA PPL theory examination (which can be completed with us at the North Queensland Aero Club) covering the following subjects: flight rules and air law; navigation; performance and flight planning; meteorology; and the principles of flight.

For the flight test, you will demonstrate your skill to the Flight Examiner by departing for a round trip with two or more landings / turning points en route. During the test you will show your ability to divert to an alternative location, carry out emergency procedures and demonstrate competent planning and management of the flight (observing all procedures and rules – navigation, radio work, and general airmanship) before successfully completing the flight.


After passing the PPL flight test, you will be issued with a Private Pilot Licence, which authorises you to fly anywhere within Australia, solo or with private passengers in daytime visual weather conditions. You will no longer require your instructors permission to undertake a flight as pilot in command.

After receiving your PPL you may decide to undertake further training for various aircraft endorsements and/or ratings.

This licence enables the holder to conduct private flights within Australia by day. The minimum age for the issue of a Private Pilot Licence is 17 years. The applicant must be able to speak, read, write, and understand the English language.


The first step in gaining a Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) is beginning lessons and obtaining a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL). Your initial lessons will cover the basics, including operation of the aircraft and its controls, flying straight and level, climbing, descending, turning, stalling, and take-offs and landings. Once you have mastered the basics, you will be sent off for your first solo flight! This usually occurs at about the 15-20 hour mark for the average student, but will differ depending on your individual abilities. You will begin flying in the Cessna 152.


After you’ve completed 2 hours of solo flying, then you go back to the training areas around Cairns and learn more advanced maneuvers to ensure you are 100% competent to take passengers around the local area. More solo flying follows, after which there is a flight test, and then you will have passed your Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), which allows you to take passengers on local flights, all by yourself within 25 nautical miles of the departure aerodrome. The NQAC has aircraft for hire to enable you to excerise the privileges of the RPL


After the RPL phase, you will begin navigation training in the larger Cessna 172. This involves long-duration flights to remote locations such as Undara, Einasleigh, Lakeland and Wrotham Park. There are approximately 5 navigation flights for the average student before two solo navigation excercises, then the PPL flight test. Upon completion of the flight test, you will hold your private pilot’s licence and be able to fly wherever you like!




approximate total cost of $13,950


Involving 35 hours of flying



approximate total cost of $24,950


involving 70 hours of flying. This includes costs for the RPL.


To hold the RPL and fly solo, you will first need to pass an aviation medical from a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME), and also sit two theory exams. We will guide you on where and how to do all of this.

There will be one final theory exam prior to obtaining your PPL. Again, we will give you guidance on when to sit these exams and what you need to study. If you put your mind to it, it’s easy!