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Joining sport and recreational aviation
Learning to fly: RA-Aus organisation, facilities and clubs
Rev. 10 — page content was last changed 27 February 2012
To implement these duties and responsibilities, the Operations Manager approves and initially appoints suitably qualified Chief Flying Instructors [CFIs] as Pilot Examiners [PEs], who then undertake that responsibility for maintaining the high level of ultralight training practice and the general flying standards usually within a particular region. Pilot Examiners carry out the following routine tasks:
Regional Operations Coordinators [ROCs] are also appointed to assist the Operations Manager. An ROC has all the duties and responsibilities of a Pilot Examiner and additional responsibilities, which are specified in Section 1.09 of the Operations Manual. See the listing of ROCs (PDF document).
RA-Aus flight training facilities [FTFs]. There are about 175 approved FTFs currently operating at about 200 locations throughout Australia; all have a minimum training capability up to and including the cross country, passenger and radio endorsements. See the location list with telephone contacts. More detailed information, including training fees, can be obtained from the FTF website list. There are other trike schools approved by the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia.
Flight training personnel. There are around 300 members whose Pilot Certificate is endorsed with a currently valid instructor or senior instructor rating. The majority of the senior instructors also hold an RA-Aus document of approval to act as the Chief Flying Instructor [CFI] of a particular FTF or FTFs, thereby being held responsible for the operation, administration and control of the nominated FTF/s.
Note: in USA aviation the 'CFI' initialism is the shortened form of 'Certificated Flight Instructor' and describes every flight instructor rather than the senior person responsible for flight operations, administration and control at a particular flight school.
Various document listings of the personnel associated with flight training are also available on the RA-Aus site. The following provide names and contact means by location.
• Senior Instructors with current Chief Flying Instructor role.
• Other Senior Instructors
Some RA-Aus flight training facilities have an associated club — or a close association with a co-located club. The clubs usually provide a range of services to members, from advice and assistance in all aspects of flying and owning a recreational and sport aircraft, to hangarage and perhaps hiring of club owned aircraft — for both training and pleasure. About 50% of the clubs are themselves 'affiliated members' of the RA-Aus. Generally most club members would also be RA-Aus members.
Some RA-Aus clubs tend to specialise in a particular category of aircraft, i.e. 3-axis aeroplanes, weight-shift control trikes or powered parachutes. Conversely, others include a wider range of interests, including general aviation aircraft and pilots. Other clubs may focus on particular interests, for example, constructing aircraft from commercial kits.
Clubs may provide on-site accommodation for non-local members, varying from individual rooms, or bunkhouse, to caravan or camping. Membership may entail a small joining fee and an annual fee. Some clubs may offer family membership to cover the non-flying family members. Social activities might include regular fly-ins, flyaways and handicap flying competitions. The hangar barbecue tends to be a regular monthly event at which visitors — and potential members — are always welcome.
See the RA-Aus website for their list of clubs and club websites, or other contact information.
The next module in this 'Joining sport and recreational aviation' series documents a students viewpoint of the learning to fly process.
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