If you dream of flying high above the beautiful, rugged coastline of Western Australia, but haven’t gained your pilot’s license yet, then the crew at Bunbury Flying School are ready to help you take the big step into the world of aviation.
The centre is the flight training division of Southern Aviation, and for the past 15 years they’ve been forging a reputation as one of the country’s best schools for recreational pilots, and their teaching techniques have proven results.
In 2009, the school added career pilot training to its curriculum, with the commencement of courses for the standard 200 hour Commercial Pilot Licence. Since then, a huge number of their students have gone on to have successful careers with a number of top airlines.
“Our philosophy is that you must be trained beyond just meeting the specified flight test standards; you must be trained to where you have a genuine operational capability, so that on entry to the industry, you are able to do what you are qualified to do, and do it well,” explains Head of Flying Operations, Adam Levay.
“To do this, you must be highly skilled in controlling an aeroplane. You must perform procedures meticulously and effectively, and with understanding so as to be able to adapt these to different situations. You must use in-depth knowledge to enhance performance beyond the routine and, most importantly, you must manage the flight safely and confidently.”
The team at Bunbury have continued to grow their portfolio of courses. In 2011 the school took the step up to become a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), and in addition to conducting the CASA Approved 150 Hour CPL course, was authorised by the Department of Education to conduct training for a Certificate IV in Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence).
In April 2013 the school commenced single and multi-engine Command Instrument Rating and Instructor Rating training, and was authorised to conduct training for a Diploma in Aviation (Instrument Flight Operations). The scope of the school may have broadened, with more courses and a greater number of students, but the attention to detail and passion for excellence has not wavered.
“I believe that the quality of flight training that we deliver to our students is what sets us apart from other schools,” Levay continues. “We achieve this by insisting on high standards for our students, and by standardising our instructors to all teach the same way. If you learn with Bunbury Flying School, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll receive an exceptional education.
“I am fortunate to have on board a team of talented, dedicated and enthusiastic young flying instructors to help the company maintain and continue its high standard of flight training.”
Lessons are intuitive, informative, and designed to yield results. Training is carefully structured using a step-by-step building block approach that ensures each lesson lays the foundation for the next. There’s no unstructured hour building, and every hour, dual and solo, is used productively.
Theory is carefully integrated to support the practical flying, to ensure that what is learned on the ground can be put into practice in the air. Important members of the aviation industry are regularly consulted to make sure that what is being taught is helpful and relevant.
The local airspace at Bunbury is perfect for initial training, as the relatively low traffic density allows a beginner to focus on and master the basics without worrying about other aircraft zipping in and out all the time. The training area is immediately adjacent to the airport, and the short transit time means that learning at Bunbury is both hassle-free and cost-effective.
The proximity to both Perth and Albany also mean that students can further develop their skills in different operational situations, in both controlled and uncontrolled airspace.
COURSES, OF COURSE
Bunbury Flying School has a broad range of courses that will appeal to everyone from complete rookies looking to start flying for fun, to experienced pilots who want to turn begin a career in aviation.
For those who are in it for the passion of flying, there’s the Recreational Pilot License and Private Pilot License, designed to have you amongst the clouds, with a smile on your face, in a remarkably short amount of time. Both courses can be conducted on either a full time or part time basis.
If you’d like to find a job in aviation, Bunbury are perfectly placed to prepare you for that. With some hard work and dedication, it’s possible to earn your Commercial Pilot License, or go for your Diploma of Aviation.
Any ratings and endorsements you require can also be sorted out through the school. Whether you need to improve your skills for work or leisure, this is the place.
Of course, graduating is just the first step in a long journey, and the gang at Bunbury will always be there to help and support you. The instructors understand what it’s like to be in your position, and are more than happy to assist you as you grow and mature as a pilot.
“Immediately after you get your rating you have very, very basic skills,” Levay notes. “You’ve got to go out into the real world and experience bad weather, experience icing if your aeroplane permits and so forth. It’s really a starting point. I’ve got about 20,000 hours of flying, and it took me a while before I became a competent instrument pilot. I had to fly freight runs in the middle of the night with no autopilot and situations like that, so the rating is a very basic starting point.”
The instructors are hand-picked for their experience and teaching ability, with Levay leading the way with his three decades in the industry.
“I used to work for the British Ansett Aerospace College in Tamworth NSW, and the China Southern Airlines West Australian Flying College Perth WA. I’ve been Head of Flight Training and CFI of various flight training organisations over the past 28 years. As instructors, we all teach airline cadets fly to Standard Operations Procedures.”
MEET THE FLEET
In order to cater to as wide a range of students as possible, Bunbury Flying School operates an impressive number of dedicated training aircraft. Whether you’re looking for basic training or something more advanced, there’s a plane that’s perfect for you. Maintenance is provided by an on-site facility, which assures a high level of serviceability.
This beefy six-seater is powered by a duo of Lycoming IO360 engines, is equipped with a fancy glass cockpit and 2-axis autopilot, and is used for advanced training up to Multi-Engine IR level.
This Chinese-built fully warbird has a 285 hp Housai HS-6A nine cylinder, 10 litre radial engine, so it means business. It has all the noise, character and agility of an aircraft built to handle sudden changes and attitudes associated with combat flight.
Aero Subaru Fuji FA200-160
A versatile aircraft, this four-seater is primarily used for aerobatic training, as well as for navigation lessons. It’s a fun plane to learn in!
Perfect for ab-initio training up to PPL level, the 150’s handling characteristics facilitate the development of a correct, smooth and well-coordinated flying technique.
The 152 are also ideal for ab-initio training, as they challenge students in all the right ways, ensuring that they develop into confident and capable pilots. They’re also economical to operate.
The legendary four-seater is ideal for intermediate to advanced training up to single-engine CIR level, and is equipped with advanced flight and navigation instrumentation. Being powered by Lycoming IO-360 engines developing 180bhp means it packs plenty of punch.
For advanced training, you can’t go past the 182RG. Powered by a Lycoming IO-540 engine that’s capable of producing 235bhp and boasting a retractable undercarriage, it’s a serious machine for serious pilots.
This one’s mainly used for pleasure flights, and for good reason – it’s plenty of fun to fling around! It’s powered by an Ivchenko AI-14 RA air-cooled 9-cylinder radial piston engine.
Redbird MCX Flight Simulator
This advanced sim is used for basic instrument flying and advanced instrument procedures training. Its database includes the radio navigation aids for the whole of Australia, and the full flight profile of each instrument procedures training exercise can first be practiced on the simulator before it’s conducted in the air. The device trainer is approved by CASA for the full credit of hours allowed on a synthetic trainer for the Private and Commercial Pilot Licence, NVFR Rating and Instrument Rating.