Recreational Pilot’s Licence


An RPL is your first qualification for freedom in the sky. Earning your RPL allows you to carry passengers within 25 nautical miles from your take-off airport. You can add other qualifications, including ones that allow you to fly cross-country and in controlled airspace.

Central Coast Aero Club Preforming pre flight checks before a training flight
  • First Solo

    All of the training thus far includes general aircraft control and basic emergencies whilst in the circuit area of the aerodrome. It takes an average of 12-15 hours of training before your instructor will clear you for your first solo – an experience no aviator ever forgets. Prior to going solo, there is a short theory questionnaire that must be completed. You’ll complete one circuit of the airport with your instructor monitoring you closely from the ground, that involves taking off, flying around the airport back to the start of the runway and landing.

  • First Area Solo

    After your first solo the training starts focusing on refining your skills in the circuit, as well as introducing some more advanced emergencies that may occur away from the aerodrome. This is in preparation for you to fly away from the aerodrome, called your first area solo, by yourself. Prior to your first area-solo, there is a short theory questionnaire that must be completed. After completing your first area solo, you will be able to fly as pilot in command around the Central Coast’s pristine beaches and lakes, from Terrigal all the way up to Catherine Hill Bay.

  • Recreational Pilot’s Licence

    You will undertake further training, mainly focusing on more advanced aspects of flight and emergencies away from your departure aerodrome. As for the theory component, you’ll learn aerodynamics, the components of the aircraft’s fuselage, control surfaces and engine, as well as flight rules, basic meteorology and how to complete fuel and weight calculations. You’ll need to have completed the RPL theory exam prior to attempting the RPL flight test. To help you through the study, the Central Coast Aero Club often runs a ground school course that covers all of the required theory for the pre-solo, pre-area solo and RPL theory exams.

Requirements to earn an RPL

  • Minimum hours: 25
  • Typical hours: 35-40
  • Be at least 16 years old (no minimum age to start flight training however you need to be 15 to solo)
  • Hold class 1, class 2, Basic class 2 or a RAMP-C medical see CASA Aviation medical 
  • More infomation available on CASA website

Average cost for an RPL

Based on the average hours required to earn an RPL, the total cost including all flight hours and books is $14,000. As this is quoted based on the average hours taken to complete the RPL (35 hours), any hours above the average will attract additional fees.

(Be wary of schools that give quotes based on minimum hours of 25, virtually no one reaches the required standard in the minimum hours)