Flight Training

Learning to fly is a fun and incredibly rewarding experience. Whether it be for pleasure, business,  a career or a little bit of all 3 Thunderbird Aero Service can get you there. We create a fun, relaxed and professional learning environment where you will be taught by a passionate team of instructors. Thunderbird trains 7 days a week, and can offer casual, part time and full time training options to suit anyone.

The first step is to meet one of our team and discuss your dreams! Everyone is a little different and there are a number of different pathways you can follow to get there. Once we have a plan, you will need to complete a Aviation Medical assessment, apply for an Aviation Reference Number and you are set to go! Below are basic outlines of the typical flow your training will take. When you are ready, fill in the form and we will be in touch to arrange a meeting to get you in the sky!


Recreational Pilots Licence (RPL)

Whether you plan to fly for fun or for a career, the first step in becoming a pilot is achieving your Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL). Your training begins with the essentials of flying an aero plane such as climbing, descending, turning and the thrill of taking off and landing. You will then progress through circuit training on your way to your first exhilarating milestone; your first solo flight!

After this never-to-be-forgotten experience you will progress to more advanced phases of your training such as steep turns, basic instrument flying and practice forced landings until you are ready to venture away from Jandakot for your first area-solo flight!

Your flight training will progress in parallel with theory training, including briefings for each flight exercise and the development of your Basic Aeronautical Knowledge.

The RPL is a very challenging and rewarding stage of your flight training. The principals and practices you will learn, form the foundation of all the flying you will do and will prove to be some of the most important lessons you will learn. As such, your choice of training provider is extremely important. At Thunderbird Aero Service you will have the benefit of training with our highly experienced team of career instructors who have experience from airline, charter and civilian flying backgrounds.

This will ensure that not only the continuity and consistency of your training but also an exceptionally high standard of instruction and professionalism. On completion of the course you will be licenced to fly with passengers as Pilot in Command inside the Jandakot training area, within 25 nm of Jandakot Aerodrome or if you add an RPL Navigation endorsement, on approved routes to other airfields. If you want to continue your training and venture further afield, you can progress to your Private Pilots Licence, or even a Tail-wheel or Aerobatic rating.

The RPL training syllabus is flexible and can be undertaken at your own pace. You do not have to pay for the entire course up front; you simply pay at the completion of each lesson. A typical lesson consists of an hour briefing and an hour flight. Approximately 3 hours will be requires for your lesson which also takes into account pre-flight and post-flight preparations.


  • Approx 37 hours flight time
  • All pre and post flight briefings

Also Required

  • CASA Student Pilots Licence
  • Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC)
  • CASA medical certificate
  • Theory text books & BAK exam credit
  • Logbook
  • Headset

Aircraft Used

  • Diamond DA20

Private Pilots Licence (PPL)

Your Private Pilot Licence training begins where the RPL training left off. The syllabus is designed to broaden your horizons and current flying skills and introduce new ones such as cross country navigation and flight planning. The transition from RPL to PPL involves some more in-depth theory and cross country flight to diverse locations. Flight times also increase as you learn to safely navigate using tried and tested techniques as well as utilising state of the art technology such as Global Positioning System (GPS) and glass cockpits.

Each of your lessons will include a number of landings at aerodromes away from Jandakot. You will also become proficient at operating in controlled airspace which surrounds major airports and learn how to handle the many other aspects of cross country flight such as enroute emergency procedures, landing at uncontrolled aerodromes, diversions and refueling.

At the completion of your PPL training you will be licenced to fly with passengers anywhere in Australia, opening up a great new way of getting around the country with friends and family. From here you have the option of adding more endorsements to your licence such as aerobatic, formation or night flying endorsements further enhancing your skills and enjoyment of flying.

The PPL training syllabus is flexible and can be undertaken at your own pace. You do not have to pay for the entire course up front, you simply pay at the completion of each lesson. A typical lesson consists of an hour briefing and a three hour flight. Approximately half a day will be required for your lesson which also takes into account pre-flight and post-flight preparations.

Course Requirements

  • RPL Phase Training
  • PPL Theory Exam

Aircraft Used

  • Diamond DA20
  • Cessna 172 S (optional)

Course Duration

  • 8 Navigation Exercises
  • (Between 2.0 – 3.5 hours each sortie)
  • Part Time or Full Time

Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL)

The Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) allows you to seek work in the aviation industry as a professional pilot for hire and reward. The CPL syllabus builds on the Private Pilots Licence (PPL). It will prepare you for the demands of commercial operations, developing skills such as advanced aircraft handling, systems knowledge, cockpit management, navigational techniques, passenger management, pilot maintenance and emergency procedures.

The Commercial Licence opens doors to a wide range of careers such as a Flying Instructor, an Airline Pilot, or a general aviation charter pilot. You could find yourself conducting scenic flights in a Cessna 210 or Turbine Caravan, night freight in a Boeing 737, aeromedical transfer to remote airfields, agricultural crop spraying, aerial survey and surveillance, or passenger transport charter operations to any number of destinations across Australia or the world.

Depending on your goals the CPL can be completed as either a 150 hour or a 200 hour course. The 150 hour course is a streamlined integrated theory program of supervised ground and flight training, designed for the career minded student. It includes all the training aspects from the Private Pilot Licence and also includes a Night VFR Rating. The 150 hour course consists of 80 hours of dual training and 70 hours of solo command training. This course is GST exempt.

For those who decided to pursue their CPL after completion of their PPL training or are unable to conduct the integrated training, the 200 hour course exists. This course requires a minimum of 200 hours total flight time, with a minimum of 100 hours command time. In the case of existing licence holders with experience in excess of 200 hours, the duration of the Commercial component of your training will be determined after an assessment flight by the Chief Flying Instructor.

Your commercial training will be conducted in a Cirrus SR20, Mooney M20J and a state of the art synthetic trainer. Options also exist to upgrade to a multi engine PA44 Piper Seminole and start building twin hours earlier. Our highly professional team has a diverse range of experience and thousands of hours in actual commercial operations including in the role of chief pilot and current regional airlines.

The professional training you will receive at Thunderbird will provide you with all the skills and knowledge required in this challenging and competitive industry.

Course Requirements

  • Private Pilot Licence
  • CPL Theory Exams

Aircraft Used

  • Diamond DA20
  • Cessna 172 S (optional)
  • Mooney M20J (optional)
  • Piper Seminole PA44 (optional)

Course Duration

  • 150 hours total flight time integrated course

Night Visual Flight Rating (NVFR)

nvfr-02The Night VFR Rating (NVFR) is both an enjoyable and practical rating to add to your pilots licence, as it will not just allow you to fly at night, but will also increase your navaid and navigational skills and forms a solid foundation prior to commencing instrument training.

The NVFR allows the holder to fly at night, in visual conditions preferably with some moonlight. It must be emphasised that this is not an Instrument Rating. Initially designed to allow pilots to arrive back home after last light, it can also be used to depart before first light, or conduct the entire flight at night if required.

The course starts with a review of the basics of instrument flight, including limited panel, unusual attitude recoveries on instruments, human factors and other physiological illusions that can be experienced at night. The training also looks at the use of the Automatic Direction Finder (ADF), and VHF-Omni Radial (VOR) as navigation aids. Thunderbird Aero Service also conducts Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) training and theory on the latest GPS equipment including Garmin 430 and G1000 units.

Once proficiency has been demonstrated in basic instrument flight, night circuits are introduced covering the standard night circuit, emergencies, lighting failures, and go-rounds.

All these skills will then be utilised as you learn about NVFR cross country technique, GNSS Enroute, lower safe altitudes , arrival and departures procedures and pilot activated lighting as well as various in-flight emergencies. Thunderbird Aero Service also offer Multi-Engine NVFR rating upgrades.

NVFR Course Includes

  • 12.5 hours flying time*
  • All pre and post flight briefings

Also Required

  • Private Pilot Licence minimum
  • Maps, Charts and documents

Instrument Rating

The Instrument Rating is one of the pinnacles of a pilot’s career. There are many challenges ahead, but we believe we have an exceptional syllabus of training to ensure you benefit from all of Thunderbird Aero Service’s experienced instructors. Our goal is to share this knowledge and experience with you, whether it be included in the syllabus or not. The syllabus has been designed to not only ensure you pass your flight test, but also prepare you for the real world.

Single pilot IFR is some of the most difficult flying you will ever encounter. It is not something to be taken lightly and nor is the training you receive. To ensure you receive the highest standard of training, we have invested in some of the latest technology simulators and up to date well presented aircraft.

Thunderbird Aero Service can conduct training for the 2D and 3D approaches including NDB, VOR, ILS/LLZ and the DME/GPS Arrival endorsements. Thunderbird Aero Service is also the only school on the field with the ability to train students for GNSS RNAV in our Garmin 430 equipped Elite simulator. Our instructors are also highly experienced on using other GPS units including the G1000 and Garmin Perspective, G650 and 750, KLN89B and 94B. We can also train you in your own aircraft (conditions apply).

To assist in giving you the best training exposure possible, Thunderbird Aero Service has invested in the Elite synthetic trainer. With multiple certified aircraft flight models and separate Instructor Control Station, our instructors can simulate any number of environments at any location in Australia to ensure you are capable of dealing with any approach or situation you encounter, no matter where you are in Australia. The ELITE sim also has an approved Garmin 430 GPS unit for initial RNAV and currency training. The ELITE sim is available for private hire to log currency flights after a check out on the trainer.

Thunderbird Aero Service uses the PA44 Piper Seminole for it's multi engine training program. The aircraft are every well presented and the pricing is very competitive affording you quality training for an amazing price. For SEIR (Single Engine) or Private IFR, Thunderbird Aero Service has a new generation model Cessna 172S or SR20 available. These low time aircraft have all the avionics required including a Garmin 1000 or G430 Avidyne glass cockpits respectively to complete all nav aid endorsements required (NDB excluded).


  • Approx 16 Hours Simulator Time*
  • Approx 23 Hours Flight Time*
  • All Pre and Post Flight Briefings

Also Required

  • 5 Hours Night Including 1 Hour PIC at Night
  • IFR theory books
  • IREX exam credit
  • Jeppesen or Aip Dap Approach Plates, Charts, Navigation equipment and associated documents


  • Initial Multi-Engine Rating or aircraft conversion not included

Multi Engine Class Rating (MECR)

The Initial Multi-Engine Training course available at Thunderbird Aero Service covers the required skills and knowledge to safely and competently operate multi-engine aircraft.

The training for this initial issue is undertaken on a PA44 Piper Seminole. With its modern suite of avionics including Garmin 430, HIS and RMI and uncomplicated systems to operate, the PA44 enables you to focus on the real challenges and grasp the broader concepts of multi-engine flying for subsequent multi-engine conversions.

Subsequent conversions are available on our well-equipped B58 Baron. Our AOC also permits training on the following aircraft should you require endorsement training for your operation:

  • P68 B/C Partenavia
  • Cessna 310
  • Cessna 404
  • BE-76 Duchess

The training course for the initial issue of the multi-engine class rating at Thunderbird has been designed and prepared in accordance with the requirements detailed by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) as per the following CAAP publication:

Thunderbird recommend students obtain and carefully read this document before commencing their multi-engine flight training. This document provides the foundation for any multi-engine training in Australia and serves as an important reference on the dangers associated with incorrect operation and training on multi-engine aircraft.

Thunderbird has the highest standard of safety and competency from a dedicated team of experienced twin engine flight instructors.

Tail Wheel

super-decathlon-8kcab-06If you have never had the opportunity to fly a tail wheel aircraft you probably don’t realise what you’re missing. Learning to fly a ‘taildragger’ will be some of the most challenging and rewarding flying you’ll do. It will open up to you a new range of aeroplanes to fly such as war birds, homebuilts, vintage aircraft and high performance aerobatic machines.

Thunderbird Aero Service’s tail wheel course begins with an introduction to our trainer, the 8KCAB Super Decathlon, and includes stalls, steep turns and sideslipping. The course then moves into take-off, circuit and landing operations beginning with the three-point landing and progressing onto the more challenging wheeler landing.

Generally 4-6 lessons are required to achieve a consistent standard and become confident landing the aeroplane in all conditions.

The skills you learn will change the way you fly, increasing your confidence in crosswinds and improving your handling of all types of aircraft. Our instructors are highly experienced with thousands of hours in Chipmunks, Tiger Moths, T6-Texan, CAP 10s, Decathlons and the Extra 300L to name but a few so there is no better place to experience flying a tail-wheel aircraft.

Once completed, you can consider using the Super Decathlon for what it was really built for – Aerobatics!!


  • Approx 5 Hours Flight Time
  • All Pre and Post Flight Briefings


super-decathlon-8kcab-03Most pilots spend their entire flying lives never going beyond 60 degrees angle of bank and 30 degrees of pitch and think stalling and spinning is a flight condition that is beyond their control. If you want to set your flying apart and learn to fly in three dimensions, then an aerobatic endorsement from Thunderbird Aero Service is the way to do it.

Thunderbird has teamed one of the most capable aerobatic trainers, the Super Decathlon with widely experienced aerobatic instructors to provide you with an unrivalled training environment.

Our course initially starts with coordination exercises such as wing overs and unusual attitude recoveries. We then move onto the basics of aerobatics, the roll, loop and stall turn. This sets the basic building blocks with which we can then expand on at a later date.

Our course is also unique, as it then covers defensive flying techniques such as stall/spin awareness and emergency manoeuvre training which are not specific to aerobatic aeroplanes and are not effectively taught by other flying schools. This course will increase your confidence and allow you to take friends and family out for an experience that they won’t forget in a hurry.

For those of you who have an interest in competitive aerobatics our course can be expanded to teach the more precise style that has led our graduates to competition success at a state and national level. We can also put you in touch with the WA chapter of the Australian Aerobatic Club who have regular training and completion events to sharpen your skills further!


  • Approx 5 Hours Flight Time
  • All Pre and Post Flight Briefings

Also Required

  • Minimum RPL

Cirrus SR20/22

Thunderbird Aero Service is Perth’s only Cirrus factory approved training centre with Cirrus aircraft available for hire and training including Cirrus Standardised Instructor Pilot’s or CSIP’s.

Depending on your level of experience and training needs, you will be subscribed to an online training packages to go through at home at your leisure saving you briefing time and money.

Once the course is complete, you will meet with your Cirrus instructor and go through the remaining face to face elements before commencing the inflight phase of your training.

All VFR and IFR options are available, including try before you buy experiences which can all be subtracted from the purchase price!

Thunderbird can provide training for the SR20, SR22, Garmin Perspective and Avidyne avionics platforms.

Transition Training (VFR Emphasis)

The three day Cirrus Transition course is designed for licensed pilots who wish to fly a Cirrus aircraft. The course focuses on mastering aircraft control, engine management, use of avionics, use of autopilot, and important emergency/abnormal situations in VFR conditions. Completing the Transition Training course satisfies most insurance requirements or aircraft checkout procedures for pilots new to Cirrus aircraft. This package includes 3 days of one-on-one instruction, an aircraft / avionics specific pilot training kit, and 3 hours in the flight training device.

Perspective Upgrade Training (VFR Emphasis)

The Perspective Upgrade course, designed for experienced Cirrus pilots upgrading into Cirrus Perspective, focuses on the skills and knowledge to operate the Cirrus Perspective avionics suite and upgraded electrical system. Rehearse basic programming tasks using the avionics procedure trainer and simulator before mastering tasks in the aircraft. The focal points of the course are VFR flight planning, communication control, PFD setup and controls, MFD page navigation and controls, autopilot usage, reversionary mode control. This package includes an avionics specific training kit, 1 day with a Factory Instructor, and 1 hour in the Flight Training Device.

IFR Transition training also available as well as Flight reviews and proficiency training for current owners. Flight times and course durations are estimates and subject to change based on the candidates performance and requirements.