Australian Flying

Facing the Future

Flying schools are the breeding grounds that spawn the pilots of the future. They are the genesis of the Airbus and Boeing skippers that steer hundreds of thousands of passengers across continents and oceans to business meetings and holiday destinations. They are the start-point for the air ambulance pilots, helicopter rescue pilots, charter pilots and croppies that regularly ply the more disorganised Class G airspace that predominates at lower levels.

But flying schools are facing futures of uncertainty and change, which, if handled with a lack of prudence, can have consequences further on up the road of aviation. They are challenges that the training industry is facing very much on its own.

The great divide

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) created a schism in flight training when it bucketed schools into either a Part 141 or a Part 142 organisation. The difference is that a Part 142 school can teach the 150-hour integrated CPL, supported by extended management and safety management system (SMS) whilst a Part 141 school has to put their trainees through the 200-hour syllabus, but doesn’t need the extra bureaucracy. The switch over has resonated through financial bottom lines and is still being felt.

Shannon Wells runs Tasmanian-based Par Avion Flight Training (PAFT), a Part 142 school catering for both domestic and international students. With the affiliate Airlines of Tasmania under the same roof, the company has been through somewhat of an upheaval as they attended to the demands of Part 145 airworthiness and Part 135 air transport operations as well.

“The past five years as far as CASA legislation is concerned has

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