RECREATIONAL PILOT LICENCE (RPL)
What is an RPL?
A recreational pilot licence (RPL) is a CASA issued flight crew licence, introduced on 1 September 2014. It authorises pilots to fly light, single-engine aircraft as the pilot in command, independently of a flight training organisation, without supervision.
The RPL replaces the student pilot licence and general flying progress test (GFPT) that existed under the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988. It is also available to pilots who have an RA-Aus pilot certificate.
Before operating independently of a flight training organisation, new RPL holders should make sure they are fully aware of their new responsibilities. Initially, pilots need to complete a flight review with an instructor and make sure they are familiar with the new regulations and their responsibilities when exercising the privileges of their RPL.
How Do I Get an RPL?
You must be 16 years old to get an RPL. For each category rating you want to obtain you must:
- complete the relevant flight training
- undertake a general English language assessment (only required for the first category rating)
- pass an RPL theory exam (this can be set and conducted by your flying school)
- pass an RPL flight test
- have at least 25 hours flying time including a minimum of 20 hours dual and five hours as pilot-in-command
Training for your licence, ratings or endorsements (except design feature endorsements and flight activity endorsements) must be undertaken through a flying school which is authorised under Part 141 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.
What are the Medical Requirements for an RPL?
You need to have either a Class 1 or 2 medical certificate or a recreational aviation medical practitioner’s certificate to take the RPL flight test.
What Endorsements Can Be Added to an RPL?
The following endorsements can be added to an RPL:
- controlled aerodrome endorsement (RPCT)
- controlled airspace endorsement (RPCA)
- flight radio endorsement (RPFR – requires an aviation English language proficiency assessment)
- recreational navigation endorsement (RPNA – requires minimum flight time of five hours solo cross-country and a minimum of two hours dual instrument time, of which at least one hour is instrument flight time)
What are the Limitations of the RPL?
Before using your RPL, you need to:
- have a current flight review for the aircraft being flown (see CASA’s flight reviewsinformation sheet for more details)
- meet the medical requirements
- have conducted three take-offs and landings in the previous 90 days if you wish to carry passengers
- have a Class 1 or 2 medical certificate to fly above 10,000 ft, or have another pilot with you who has a Class 1 or 2 medical certificate who is occupying a flight control seat in the aircraft and is authorised to pilot the aircraft.
Unless you hold a navigation endorsement you are also limited to flying within 25 nautical miles of your departure aerodrome, your flight training area and the route between your departure aerodrome and the flight training area.
You need to have a flight radio endorsement if you are going to use the aircraft radio during the flight.
If you want to fly in controlled airspace, you must also hold a controlled airspace endorsement.
If you want to fly at a controlled aerodrome, you must hold a controlled aerodrome endorsement.
Can I Convert my RA-Aus certificate into an RPL?
A pilot certificate is equivalent to an RPL. To get your RPL you need to complete an application form and follow the instructions on the form to provide evidence of your pilot certificate, submit a recent photograph and provide appropriate proof of your identity.
You also need to undertake a flight review before you can use your licence. Your new licence grants you the relevant category rating, aircraft class rating and design feature endorsements.
You are also granted a recreational navigation endorsement if your pilot certificate authorises you to conduct cross-country flights and if you meet the minimum flight times.
How Many Passengers Can I Carry?
If you have an RPL you can only carry one passenger. However, you can carry more than one passenger if you have a Class 1 or 2 medical certificate or if you have another pilot with you who is authorised to fly the aircraft, occupies a flight control seat and has a Class 1 or 2 medical certificate.
What can I NOT do with an RPL?
As an RPL is a recreational licence, you cannot fly:
- A multi-engine aircraft
- A turbine powered helicopter (if holder of RPL helicopter licence)
- At night unless under supervision
- Under instrument conditions (IFR)