EARN A RECREATIONAL PILOT CERTIFICATE (RPC)
Here's what you need to know...
Earn A Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC)
So, you may be wondering, what exactly is a Recreational Pilot Certificate? And how does it differ from a Recreational Pilot License (RPL) and a Private Pilot License (PPL)?
Here are the facts:
What is a Recreational Pilot Certificate?
A Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) is issued by Recreational Aviation Australia Ltd (RAAus) under an exemption to the Civil Air Regulations of Australia. The RPC has proven popular for purely recreational pilots who don't need the additional benefits and privileges of the PPL. With an RAAus issued certificate, you can conduct private flying but are restricted to 1 or 2 seat recreationally registered aircraft with a total take-off weight limit of 600kgs.
On 2 December 2021, CASA will implement changes to regulations that include confirmation that an increase in MTOW to 760 kg is now available. The weight increase proposal provided by RAAus introduced a Group G RPC for fixed wing, 3 axis, single engine aircraft with an MTOW between 601 and 760 kg, regardless of stall speed. This is great news as this new increase to MTOW 760kg allows RPC candidates to undergo flight training in a whole new range of two-seater Light Aircraft that will fall under the new limit, like the Cessna 152 (which is also used for RPL and PPL training). In addition, this provides RPC candidates who undergo flight training in a Cessna 152 with an upgrade path to full US PPL by i) completing additional 20 hours of flight training in the USA ii) passing both the US PPL ground exam iii) and final check ride.
A Recreational Pilot Certificate allows you to:
- Fly a two-seat recreational registered aircraft in uncontrolled airspace during daylight hours within 25 nautical miles of your departure aerodrome in Australia
- Medical standard is equivalent to that required for a motor vehicle license
- Take a passenger when endorsed to do so
- Fly in good weather conditions (VMC)
- Fly further in uncontrolled airspace with an additional Navigation (Cross-Country) endorsement.
What about a Restricted Pilot License (RPL)?
A Restricted Pilot License (RPL) allows you to carry additional passengers in general aviation aircraft like single-engine aircraft with a higher maximum take-off weight (MTOW) limit of up to 1,500kgs. Another advantage of the RPL is that with additional training and instructor endorsement, you can fly into or close to busy controlled airspace and airports. However, just like the RPC, RPL holders are only allowed to operate flights during the day and only in suitable visual flight conditions (VMC).
What about a Pilot Pilot License (PPL)?
A Private Pilot License (PPL) allows you to carry additional passengers in a single-engine aircraft with no explicitly regulated maximum take-off weight limits (MTOW) (for a private pilot with a valid medical). However, extra certifications and training may be required to fly heavier aircraft. In addition, a private pilot can fly at night. With an instrument rating, a private pilot is even able to fly in instrument flight conditions (IMC).
Who is the Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) suitable for?
The lower minimum age requirements make the Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) particularly suitable for 13 to 15-year-olds who possess a keen interest in aviation and who wish to learn how to fly an airplane. This is because the minimum age to commence in-aircraft flight training for the Recreational Pilot Certificate is 14 years of age (compared to 16 years of age for a Private Pilot License). In addition, the minimum age to qualify (take the check ride) for a Recreational Pilot Certificate is 15 years of age (compared to 17 years of age for a Private Pilot License).
13-year-olds can choose to start their ground school and flight simulator training in Singapore with us before proceeding to Australia to commence their in-airplane Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) flight training at 14 years of age and take their check ride when they turn 15.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the main benefits of earning a Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC)?
Benefit #1 - Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) offers lower minimum age requirements. As such, it is suitable for 13 to 15-year-olds.
Benefit #2 - Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) flight training is carried out in an economical two-seat light sport aircraft, resulting in lower per hour flight training fees (A$250/hour for RPC flight training versus A$450 for PPL flight training).
Benefit #3 - Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) written knowledge tests covers fewer subjects compared with a full PPL, resulting in fewer subjects to study and hence lower ground school fees.
Benefit #4 - Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) holders 17-years and older may elect to upgrade to the full United States issued Private Pilot License (PPL) by i) completing additional 20 hours of flight training in the USA ii) passing both the US PPL ground exam iii) and final check ride. *This is provided the RPC holder logged time during RPC flight training in a higher MTOW 760kg aircraft like the Cessna 152.
Benefit #5 - After earning a US-issued PPL, in order to be eligible to rent and fly a US-registered single-engine aircraft in Singapore, the newly-minted PPL holder just needs to undergo 5 to 10 hours of flight instruction (for insurance purposes) in an aircraft of his/her choice.
What does the Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) written knowledge test cover?
Part 1 - Basic Aeronautical Knowledge (BAK)
Section 1: Aerodynamics
Section 2: Aeroplane General Knowledge
Section 3: Aeroplane Performance
Section 4: Local Meteorology
Section 5: Introduction to Radio
Part 2 - Air Legislation
Part 3 - Human Performance and Limitations
If one is 17 years or older, would it make any sense to pursue a Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC)?
Truthfully, the answer is NO if you are based in Singapore. Because the Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) cannot be utilised in Singapore for two reasons:
Reason #1 - An Australian-issued Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) holder is only allowed to fly an Australian-registered two-seat aircraft with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) limit of up to 1,500kgs.
Reason #2 - The entire airspace in Singapore is controlled airspace. A Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) holder is only allowed to fly in uncontrolled airspace.
What are the upgrade requirements for earning a Private Pilot License issued by (Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)) in the United States of America?
Total Time: 40 hours minimum for zero-time trainees.
(Just 20 hours are required for Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) holders)
Dual: 20 hours minimum of flight training with an instructor on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:
3 hours of cross country flight training in a single-engine airplane;
3 hours of night flight training in a single-engine airplane, that includes at least:
a) 1 cross country flight of over 100 nm total distance; and
b) 10 T/O’s and 10 landings to a full stop with each involving a flight in the traffic pattern at an airport.
3 hours of flight training by reference to instruments in a single-engine airplane; and
3 hours of flight training in a single-engine airplane within the 60 days prior to the practical test.
Solo: 10 hours minimum of solo flying in a single-engine airplane on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:
5 hours of solo cross country flying;
1 solo cross country flight of at least 150nm total distance with full-stop landings at 3 points and one segment of at least 50nm between T/O and landings; and
3 T/O’s and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower
Click here to find out the lowest cost method to earn a Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC).