By Tilly Smith Dix

Ask any boy what he’d like to become when he grows up, and eight out of ten times the answer would be to be a pilot. The trend is fast catching on with young girls too.

The remarkable team at the Yarra Valley Flight Training (YVFT) is passionate about flying and teaching their pupils to become competent flyers.

Given his first flying lesson by his dad as a present for his 14thbirthday, Ian Ryan, Senior Flying Instructor and Head of Operations at YVFT cannot remember a time since that magical day that he was not thinking about flying aeroplanes.

“That birthday gift from my dad while I was on a school music tour, proved the catalyst of all my adult decisions. It was an inexplicable desire that is universally understood by pilots,” says Ian.

Yarra Valley Flight Training plane Coldstream Airlfield Oct 30 2017

Yarra Valley Flight Training at Coldstream, Victoria.

He managed to get his next flying lesson at the age of 15, after which he obtained his RPL (Recreational Pilots Licence) at the age of 17. By the time he turned 19, he had his navigational and full private pilot’s licence.

A qualified analytical chemist with a BSc, Ian’s passion is his chosen profession, realising others’ dreams of becoming pilots – and flying most days of his life.

Ian is firmly ensconced in the scenic Yarra Valley and finds the locale of countryside, nature, bush, winelands and mountains and the close proximity to the city and ocean an ideal location in which to reside and work.

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Ian Ryan of Yarra Valley Flight Training.

“Many of our flight students live in the city and enjoy the easy, scenic drive into our spectacular valley. With student ages varying between the ages of 15 and 50-upwards, it is not unusual for a family of three generations to sign up for flight lessons,” he says.

Dick Gower, award-winning aviator of some 58 years with over 11,000 hours under his Senior Instructor’s belt, remains involved as a consulting instructor.

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Dick Gower of Yarra Valley Flight Training.

As a young boy aged 12 living in Townsville, a friend of his father arrived in a de Havilland Gipsy Moth and took Dick for his first flight around the satellite aerodromes built around the area during WW2. “That was it for me, I had no doubt that what I wanted to do was fly aeroplanes for the rest of my life,” he beams with that familiar twinkle in the eye.

His first solo flight took place at RVAC Moorabbin in a Chipmunk in 1961.

His technical support experience on aircraft avionics, electrical, fuel and hydraulic systems on piston, turboprop and jet transport aircraft, together with his qualifications as an electrical and electronics engineer, result in a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with new as well as fellow aviators.

As an aircraft design signatory, Dick established Australia-Pacific Aviation Service Pty Ltd in 1990, providing consulting and expert witness services relating to accident, engineering and insurance matters.

He qualified as a commercial pilot, holds a US commercial pilot licence on multi-engine aircraft on land and sea, is a seasoned flight instructor, with instructor training approval in aerobatics as well as formation flying.

Dick received the Col Pay Award for a lifetime of service in general aviation in 2017, which was reported in The Royal Aeronautical Societyand Australian Flyingmagazine last year. Further service and awards include recognition through the highly regarded Les Mason Award for his outstanding contribution to Antique Aviation in 2009.

Dick’s advice to aviators is to learn all they can and to be generous in sharing their aviation knowledge with the industry and would-be aviators.

Bob Boyd, founder and MD, remains at the helm as Chief Flying Instructor (CFI), and is confident about the YVFT school expanding and the team sharing its wealth of aviation knowledge with a new generation of young pilots. The training centre has Part 141 approval.

What is on offer to student pilots at YVFT:

Recreational and private pilots’ licences as well as aerobatics and formation flying qualifications are the norm for the flight school at present.

Scholarships are available from the Australian Women’s Pilots Association for both men and women, which can be accessed via YVFT in Coldstream.

A great demand for pilot training in the Yarra Ranges adds to the myriad attractions and activities on offer in this picturesque region.

General aviation at YVFT in Coldstream includes:

Aviators at the Coldstream Flyers Club own aircraft, lease aircraft, or invest in a plane by forming a syndicate to share the costs. Some have acquired aircraft to refurbish, while others have built aircraft from scratch as an extension of their hobby. Several commercial pilots fly smaller aircraft in their spare time to de-stress from flying passenger jets.

Many pilots opt for aircraft rental by the hour from YVFT, where the fleet includes a Tecnam P92 Echo Super, a Piper Cherokee Warrior I, a Piper Cherokee Warrior II, a Piper Cherokee Six, and a Cessna C150.

The well-established flight school provides GA (General Aviation) and RA (Recreational Aviation), including CPL (Commercial Pilots Licence), training.

How to qualify as a pilot:

In brief, to qualify for solo flight level status is competence based, as per CASA regulations; an RPL (Recreational Pilots Licence) comprises a minimum of 25 hours, to which Navigation, Controlled Airport, and Controlled Airspace credits can be added; a PPL (Private Pilots Licence) requires a minimum of 40 hours of flying; and a CPL (Commercial Pilots Licence) includes a minimum of 200 hours of flying. A Flight Instructor course comprises a minimum of 50 hours of flight.

Contact Yarra Valley Flight Training at:

03 9739 1406 – 96 Killara Road, Coldstream, Victoria – www.YVFT.com.au

Media enquiries: Contact Tilly Smith Dix at tilly@dix.co.zaor call 0452247149.

 

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