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Do you even need a RPL if you're shooting for a PPL or a CPL?

  • willfitz
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willfitz created the topic: Do you even need a RPL if you're shooting for a PPL or a CPL?

Hi everyone

I am about to start my flight training, a long journey ahead I can't wait to start. Also a medical class 2 has just been granted to me, leaving only the ASIC or AVID (I'm not too sure which one is for what) and I'll be ready for take-off.

To this end, I also did my homework and visited a few schools in my area to get a feel of what's to come and choose the one that best suits me. And now I am a bit perplexed. My understanding of the curriculum – the way school instructors/managers explained it to me or what can be inferred from most websites – is that the standard path to obtain a PPL in Australia has an intermediate milestone, a licence in its own right called a RPL. Similarly a PPL is then the stepping stone to the CPL, etc. Yet it seems that a RPL is pretty useless for anyone with serious flying intentions and requires endorsements to lift some of its most immediate privilege restrictions. Moreover, I hear that aircraft operators/owners aren't too keen to let RPL holders hire their hardware and demand at least a PPL, the ICAO universally recognised licence. And if you're going to fly recreationally anyway, wouldn't RA-Australia be a better fit to begin with?

In short a PPL is therefore what seems to be the only obvious option for me (and for many more out there).

Every school I spoke to gave me the strong impression that one needs a RPL to begin PPL training. Yet my interpretation of CASR Part 61 doesn't support this. Specifically art. 61.515 (Requirements for grant of private pilot licences—general) makes no explicit mention that holding a RPL is necessary, just that candidates need to be over 17, pass the associated aeronautical exam, undergo flight training for the PPL and associated aircraft category rating, pass a flight test mentioned in the Manual of Standards Part 61, and have the required flight time. No school mentioned that one can also just go straight to PPL though.

Question: Why then would they have me get a RPL first and then a PPL? Shouldn't I be able to request training for the PPL straightaway, thereby skipping a few administrative steps and saving some dollars that would be better spent on further training? Am I missing anything?

If the same argument can be made for a PPL followed by a CPL, my interpretation would be that the only benefit to such a holder is they would still enjoy the privileges of the PPL with a medical class 2 should their medical class 1 lapse. But no such argument holds for RPL and PPL.

Moreover, art. 61.475 (4) stipulates that the holder of a PPL is taken to meet the requirements of (2), ie. those needed to be granted a RPL.

My apologies for the lengthy post. I'm sure you'll get the gist of my question. Thank you for your time folks.

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  • Beazley
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Beazley replied the topic: Do you even need a RPL if you're shooting for a PPL or a CPL?

im a little busy so just brushed over your post.
this is how it is:
you do NOT require an RPL licence to commence PPL training.
you ARE required to pass the RPL theory exam.
you are NOT required to sit or pass an RPL flight test if you are continuing to PPL.
(the RPL will be issued with your PPL, however the RPL is a useless licence. imo)
you DO have to complete the flight training to standard up to RPL level in order to continue to PPL nav training, this will be up to your instructor to asses this.
NOTE - the only money you will save by not doing the RPL licence test, is the cost of the flight test itself. OH and the tendency to want to take your mates flying within 20nm of your departure AD while wasting your time and burning cash that can be spent elsewhere.

NOTE - if you are going to commercial level, i strongly suggest you do a Class 1 medical.
Your licence is only as good as your medical.
however if you are happy to gain a PPL, then do a class 1 and find your have a medical issue that will not allow the issue of a Class 1, then continue as you are.
however if you are dead set on a CPL and a flying career, best you get that class one sorted. better off spending $800 on DAME/DAOE then spending 20K and finding you can't hold a CPL because of the medical.

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  • willfitz
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willfitz replied the topic: Do you even need a RPL if you're shooting for a PPL or a CPL?

Many thanks for you clear reply Beazley. I'm a practising lawyer so the PPL will most certainly be the final stop for me. In other words, a RPL seems rather counterproductive for any student intending to obtain (at least) a PPL as it is just adding costs to the school's sole profit. I'll take that new piece of information back to the school and confront them with it. I'll probably choose according to how well they react.

If I may add, I'm quite flabbergasted that none of the 4 schools I visited deemed necessary to mention what appears to be an important distinction in the curriculum of prospective students. I'd have expected a more transparent discussion to go down as "There's pathway A which involves getting a RPL, then optionally progressing to a PPL for those who aren't sure. And there's pathway B which consists in skipping the RPL flight test and getting a PPL right away".

I find it borderline dishonest of them not to mention it because I made myself quite clear that I was after a PPL.

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  • Posts: 8
  • Thank you received: 3 replied the topic: Do you even need a RPL if you're shooting for a PPL or a CPL?

My instructor discussed the paths to go down with me prior to commencing. My choice was the RPL as I was planning on doing it over a longer time.. like 2 years... although that has blown out to 3 years now... family/work commitments etc.
I plan on doing my check ride for my PPL in the next few months.
I guess it really depends, but as with anything doing your homework is a good thing to make sure you get what you want out of it.

Regards, Michel.

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baddles replied the topic: Do you even need a RPL if you're shooting for a PPL or a CPL?

No, you don't need an RPL but it is a good milestone.

It takes time to learn the necessary flying skills. If you take one 1-hour flying lesson a week, it will be at least 9 months before you are allowed to take the PPL flying test. Many of my fellow pupils are keen to be able to fly their friends and family as soon as possible, and the RPL is the quickest route to a licence: the minimum flying experience is lower (25 hours instead of 35, so 6 months instead of 9 months), and the practical test is less demanding.

Taking the RPL flying test is good preparation for the PPL flying test, and the RPL gives you the opportunity to practice and consolidate basic flying skills on your own. Since you'll be paying $300-$400 an hour for flying lessons anyway, the cost of an extra flying test is not very important. And if you're a good study, then you can skip the RPL written exam and just sit the PPL written exam (i.e. you can get the RPL by passing the RPL flying test and the PPL written exam).

My story: I started learning to fly in January 2018 and passed the PPL written exam in June. I'm aiming to take the RPL flying test soon. The flying test syllabus is listed in the "Part 61 Manual of Standards" and it is a very long list of tasks that must be performed to a stated tolerance (e.g. you must be able to land the aircraft so that the runway centreline is between the wheels). Personally I'm very glad to be aiming at the RPL for the moment, where there is a more limited set of skills to demonstrate. The PPL will come later when I'm ready.

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Reddish replied the topic: Do you even need a RPL if you're shooting for a PPL or a CPL?

1 thing not mentioned here is the process involved, when a company applies for a 141 or 142 training certificate standard CASA syllabus are incorporated into the company's operations manual. Changes to these syllabuss can lead to a higher application cost so most companys use the standard.
If you read the standard syllabus below you will note under pre-requisites that the RPL is required prior to beginning the course. It is a legal requirement for a flyingschool to operate in accordance with the syllabus contained within their operations manual.

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