VET

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Gasket18
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VET

Postby Gasket18 » Thu Mar 7 2024, 12:05

This is a topic I've seen quite a few posts about, in fact I asked a few qs quite a while ago. This will be a bit of a long tale , but it's to show some peoples thought processes( ie mine lol) and how doesn't matter how hard you try to think things thru, there is always the chance a rather large spanner can find it's way in proceedings.
When I was younger I wanted to be one of 2 things, a racer or a pilot and preferably rotary. I was not very good at school, so as much as I wanted to join the air force, that didn't happen as I didn't do year 12. So first chance gone. I got to around 30 before finally being able to afford a biek to chase my racing aspiriations. I went hard at that on and off for 20 years, the offs where injuries and finances. I raced around Australia and overseas. I honestly did keep thinking about flying and even had a crack at doing both in about 2005. But just could not afford both so kept racing. I finally retired in 2017 again finances and I was getting really itchy not racing. And the want to fly was getting bigger. But the longer it went the more I thought about being pointless at my age to go for it, but then I decided if I didn't do it now, I was never going to do it, and like the old adage says it's better to regret something you have done than something you haven't.
Anyway I was 45 I think and started asking around a couple of flight schools. I came across Kieran Brown who was a fantastic guy and unlike most other places I'd been to where they tried to sell me the dream. He was very honest and suggested a practical way of doing things. Cheapest first basically. Go for medical and ASIC, so if you fail either of those obviously not a great deal of coin wasted. Then study, again same reason which after watching a lot of other students who I saw get up to around the 60 and even 70 hour points and hadn't completed all their subjects, then one actually never did pass them all. So he sadly wasted a lot of money on lessons.
I did all the exams self study which took me a couple of years as I work full time as well. I did it even tho I really struggled and a big part of not going to study at schools, is not having anyone to chat about it with and help you with concepts, as when things are written, I find one person will understand its meaning totally different to someone else, if however someone knows the material they put you on the right path and thought process and you end up with a better understanding. Plus it's more fun being able to bounce ideas off other people. Which I saw once I did start flying and saw the way the other students would chat.
Now it was time to think about flying. I was looking at paying as I went but by now I was almost 50 and I'd heard at around 60 CASA start making things a little harder to keep your cpl. They actually made my first physical a bit more stringent as I was 45 anyway. So I was doing the sums and worked out I could only afford 1 and sometimes 2 lessons per week off from work. I'm FIFO, not on massive money tho. Which to me also meant up to 3 years to complete my flight training and then I was also thinking about how when you have breaks between learning things, it makes it harder to remember the skills. So I looked into the VET.
Now it has a couple of pros and a lot of cons. But dependent on things like age is to how big some of those cons are.The big pros are you can fly as much as the school and your concentration levels will allow you to, you don't pay up front and the repayments stay at a fairly constant rate which makes it easy enough to work out a budget. Also the repayments don't start till I think you earn around 45k and then they go up percentage dependent on how much you earn to a maximum of 10%
The cons are there are only a few schools eligible for the funding so right off the bat that cut out a place I really wanted to fly at and also for others youll have to travel a long way. There were students coming up from Vic and NSW to do it this way. The fees are slightly higher also what not many people mention is there is a 20% fee whacked on top of any student loan. So thats around 17k on top of what youd expect to pay for your flight training, before you even start. The other big thing not mentioned is that student loans are linked to CPI I think it's called ( im no finance guru) so as we have had inflation the last few years, I've had an extra 5.5k, 6.5k whacked on top of my debt which makes it far worse than any personal loan you could have gotten.
I had put a lot of thought into the VET and basically I came to the conclusion that being able to fly non stop made the extra 20% at the start worth it. I didn't know I'd be hit with those other ones at that stage.
My flying was going to plan and in 2 months I was at around 48 hours I think. As I could only fly on my weeks off work. Then that magical spanner appeared. There was christmas break for a couple of weeks. came back had a couple of flights then it became very few flights. I can't remembe the exact order and break amounts but it was things like a student had covid so the school was shut for a week, which was my week at home, sometimes not enough machines were available or instructors. and once I got ill. During this time I was getting a few flights in but it was gaps of things like 4, 5 weeks between flights and I was up to navs by this stage. And that spanner just kept getting bigger. It turned out that every time I was rostered on the cloud was to low to allow me to fly. The school to their credit did allow me to do some circuit type training when they could fit me in. But it was still 5.7.4.5 week breaks.
So basically my flying skills wer going backwards whilst my stress levels were going up as I was trying to learn my radios , note taking etc whilst trying to remember how to fly. Before the xmas break I was loving flying and was quite comfortable with the machine and really trying to push my learning.
Anyway we decided the best thing would be to stop flying, save for a few extra lessons whilst the weather settles a bit and get back into it. Sadly at this point I lost my job and was out of work for while. I let the school know and they were ok. I got another job after a few months informed the school and set about saving. Then I got an email saying I was being unenrolled. I called them and they said that they know why I wasn't fling but needed it writing, I guess to show education dept or something. So I complied and they were happy. I then got offered a refuelling gig for the fire season which I took and went down to NSW. I again informed the school and said I'd come back this year and fly full time. It was about another month later I was informed i was being unenrolled. again I contacted them and they said due to not flying it was def happening. So quite a few weeks of emails, complaints, they indeed did unenroll me. Which left me devastated and very stressed out as I was now 100k in debt for no reason.
As I have a mortgage and I already repay the VET I am not left with enough funds to have any chance of saving and paying for flights now. I did think about selling stuff to keep going, however those floods the other year wiped out pretty much all our assets that could be sold. I do have a couple of sentimental things but as I lived on nothing to race I will never sell them. So I'm still in the process of trying to sort it all out and chatting to a school about continuing with VET thru them. Whilst I was refuelling one of the pilots did make a great offer to assist with lessons, but sadly I just dont have the coin to pay as I go.
So when you see ppl asking about VET do not presume they are just taking an easy option. Some people try to put a of thought into their options. Sometimes things go smoothly and sometimes as sadly with me it can make life very hard indeed. I saw a few students just pull out even tho they had a bit of debt from doing a bit of the course, but their hearts werent really into flying. So yes there are those types too, but that goes for any career or thing we do in life. I also saw a couple of students finish and do very well and have jobs now flying.
I don't imagine for one minute that this experience would happen to someone else. But I hope it shows that there are all sorts of things that can happen.
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skypig
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Re: VET

Postby skypig » Fri Mar 8 2024, 23:09

For some of the reasons mentioned, and one other important one, I always advise people NOT to borrow money for CPL training. The VET scheme sounds like most finance options: More expensive the easier it is to qualify.

I seem to remember offering this advice to you, the first time you told us about your racing career, and dreams of flying helicopters.

If you can pay it back, you can save it up quicker. (The interest comes your way, and there are no fees and charges. Also, if you are not earning more than an entry level helicopter pilot, you can’t afford flying training.)

Ending up with a large debt, and a CPL-H is bad enough



Others - learn from this: Save, while you do your medical, ASIC, commercial theory. Then, when you can afford it, (After saving, selling your house, whatever), do your flying in one go.

Then go looking for a job “unencumbered”.
Chopper Guy
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Re: VET

Postby Chopper Guy » Fri Mar 8 2024, 23:56

Before this thread descends into a let’s all bash the VET Fee help program, I’d just like to throw my thoughts out there…

Anybody who is considering doing their license really needs to consider the following;

1) A helicopter career is a fun career, not a long career!

In my time in aviation, these are the key milestones I have seen;

0 – 10 Hours: Helicopters are awesome! Hang on, it’s going to cost me how much to do my license? 100K, stuff that, I’m outta here…

60 – 70 Hours: How many of these stupid CASA exams do I have to do? They’re too hard, stuff it, I’m out here…

105 Hours: What do you mean to get my first job I have to move to the middle of nowhere, live in sub standard accommodation and work for no money. Stuff that, I’m outta here…

105 – 500 Hours: So I’ve got my first job, but it’s taking way too long to get my hours up and I’m sick of sweeping the hangar floor. If I go back to my old job, life will be so much better. Stuff this, I’m outta here…

500 – 1500 Hours: I’ve moved onto my second job and am living in a decent area on okay money. Here’s the challenge, I’ve met a girl I really like and I want to make it work. She’s not keen on moving around the country whilst I chase work or waving goodbye to me for two weeks out of every four whilst I work a touring role. Ah, well, such is life. Stuff this, I’m outta here.

1500 – 5,000 Hours: You know what, even though when I first started flying, helicopters were incredibly challenging and exciting, after a while everything just becomes another routine day at the office. I still enjoy what I do, but nowhere near as much as I used to… I need another challenge, maybe better money, maybe a more stable lifestyle. Stuff this, I’m outta here.

5,000 Hours plus: Even a bad day in a helicopter is better than a good day in the office. I’ve well and truly established myself in the industry. From here on in, passing my CASA medical every year is going to be my main challenge.

2) Yes, you will be able to get a job post license!

It may be in the middle of nowhere on a low income, but there are jobs available. And hey, “chasing the dream” and the adventures that come with it are part of the fun of being a pilot.

Talk to anybody about their early days whether it was living at the Rock, working on an outback cattle station or flying scenics in the NT and they’ll almost all tell you, they were some of the most fun times they had as a pilot.

3) A VET Fee loan of 100K is realistically a debt for life.

Based on what the average wage is in Australia (talking outside of aviation here!), if you go into 100K worth of VET Fee debt, realistically by the time they add indexation each year, you’ll never actually pay the loan off.

Whilst losing a portion of your pay check each week for the rest of your life may be a bugger, the impact it will have on your borrowing potential when it comes to buying a house will be significant.

If you think getting a loan to buy a house is hard already, it will be nigh on impossible post debt.


Having said the above, it may sound like I don’t think anybody should become a pilot. That’s not true… even though CASA medically retired me well before the 5,000 hour mark, I had some genuine good times along the way (remember I said fun career, not long career!).

Would I do it again… it depends on which day you ask me. LOL
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Re: VET

Postby Biggles » Sat Mar 9 2024, 00:35

Good summary Chopper Guy

I've also been wondering how many RW pilots Defence produce each year? They would no doubt leave the forces at some stage with all the bells and whistles on their licence and compete for jobs with those who did their training with a 141 or 142 provider.

Is it easy for them to transfer to a CASA licence? How many would leave to pursue GA or HEMS in a year?

Any guesses?

cheers B
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Mongrel Dog
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Re: VET

Postby Mongrel Dog » Sat Mar 9 2024, 11:09

Biggles wrote:Good summary Chopper Guy

I've also been wondering how many RW pilots Defence produce each year? They would no doubt leave the forces at some stage with all the bells and whistles on their licence and compete for jobs with those who did their training with a 141 or 142 provider.

Is it easy for them to transfer to a CASA licence? How many would leave to pursue GA or HEMS in a year?

Any guesses?

cheers B


Army guys don’t do nearly as much flying as they used to. So while they come out with all the ticks, these days they often don’t have the hours to meet the contract minimums.
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Re: VET

Postby av8r » Sat Mar 9 2024, 12:18

Mongrel Dog wrote:
Biggles wrote:Good summary Chopper Guy

I've also been wondering how many RW pilots Defence produce each year? They would no doubt leave the forces at some stage with all the bells and whistles on their licence and compete for jobs with those who did their training with a 141 or 142 provider.

Is it easy for them to transfer to a CASA licence? How many would leave to pursue GA or HEMS in a year?

Any guesses?

cheers B


Army guys don’t do nearly as much flying as they used to. So while they come out with all the ticks, these days they often don’t have the hours to meet the contract minimums.


Good thing the Squadron “Jobs for the Boys” program is still kicking in the offshore and SAR fields. Where in GA would you find a pilot with 500TT and 500 multi…
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Re: VET

Postby Gunga Din » Sat Mar 9 2024, 22:16

Not really "Jobs for the Boys", more like finding a pilot who, with only 200 hrs and a brand-new set of wings, has twin turbine, IFR, NVG, hook, hoist, low level, formation.

Not a lot of extra work needed to slot into SAR or EMS. A better option than Kenny the Kowboy with 1000 hrs unsupervised in the R22 chasing cows and being a hoon.
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Zimbo22
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Re: VET

Postby Zimbo22 » Sun Mar 10 2024, 00:21

Not really jobs for the boys anymore. The way the industry is now, all you need is a single engine IR, some hours and you’ve got a great chance at getting picked up offshore. Over the last couple of years I’ve seen guys get jobs with just that and all Robbie time. Industry is absolutely booming at the moment. I went civvie route, there was no VET at the time and now EMS.
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Ogaff47
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Re: VET

Postby Ogaff47 » Sun Mar 10 2024, 01:52

Zimbo22 wrote:Not really jobs for the boys anymore. The way the industry is now, all you need is a single engine IR, some hours and you’ve got a great chance at getting picked up offshore. Over the last couple of years I’ve seen guys get jobs with just that and all Robbie time. Industry is absolutely booming at the moment. I went civvie route, there was no VET at the time and now EMS.


This is 100% accurate with what I’m seeing offshore and with new hires. I always thought the requirement for MEH-IR is crazy. The VOR needle moves the same on a SEH as it does a MEH; but one cost a whole lot more money to get.

I’ll add that out of the 35 pilots at my base, only one is former ADF.
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Re: VET

Postby Friendly Black Dog » Thu Mar 14 2024, 08:24

Going a little off topic maybe. I have to do a careers day talk at my sons school. It's been 25 years since I did my CPL(h) and whilst I'm across the hours required etc I have no idea what the total cost might be. It was about $60k when I did it and that included a full in house ground school.

Anybody here able to give me some quick numbers? Obviously interested to hear VET v Non VET….CPL(h) via a PPL(a)….all the options please. If youve been down the ATPL theory road those numbers would also be helpfull. SEHIR…?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: VET

Postby Zimbo22 » Thu Mar 14 2024, 22:39

Unsure of the price to do a CPL H these days but it’s definitely cheaper than going the VET option. I think going with VET you’re in the hole for close to 100k. (Someone who has done that route could answer this precisely)

For the SEH IR you can go down to FTA or Aerotech and do it for a touch over 40k I believe. Again if someone has done this recently they can give you precise costing.

For the ATPL I did it through AFT and by distance learning a while ago. Think it cost around 3k. Can do the same for CPL.
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Ogaff47
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Re: VET

Postby Ogaff47 » Thu Mar 14 2024, 23:17

Zimbo22 wrote:For the ATPL I did it through AFT and by distance learning a while ago. Think it cost around 3k. Can do the same for CPL.



Good numbers from Zimbo. The MEH-IR, can vary in cost whether you have an AS355 rating or not already. Not really getting away for less than $80K through PHS which is very well reviewed by recent graduates. Depending on where you want to end up, SEH-IR and MEH-IR both have their places considering the market at the moment.

The AFT study guides have gone up to just under $4K for a complete ATPL-H set. An additional $1200 in CASA and Proctor fees to sit all 7, painful, miserable exams.
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skypig
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Re: VET

Postby skypig » Fri Mar 15 2024, 05:15

What’s the hourly rate for dual training in an R22 these days?
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Re: VET

Postby Friendly Black Dog » Fri Mar 15 2024, 09:22

So I'm hearing 80k for a CPL(h) in a 22. If you do the 20 hours in a 44 it ends up around 100. If you go the VET option add another 20.

Something I wasn't aware of was that a CPL(a) ends up around the same money as they have a 200 hour course.
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havick
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Re: VET

Postby havick » Fri Mar 15 2024, 14:31

Not sure if the hours are the same anymore, i haven’t read the new regs. so by my own admission my post probably isn’t too helpful.

But it was almost the same price to do you PPL(A) then CPL(H) addon, then CPL(A) conversion and you walk away with both licenses. That’s what I did.

Was definitely worth it in the end to have both licenses if the regs allow it to be similarly priced to the way I did it in the early 2000’s.
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Gasket18
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Re: VET

Postby Gasket18 » Tue Mar 19 2024, 09:18

To answer some of the questions about hours and prices. There are a couple of base options. 105 hours or i think it's 120 hours. 105 you can only train in 2 machines the 120 hour apparently can train in more. I think the average price for lessons in an R22 are $550 and in a 44 is $990 some charge a little below or above. The G2 that I was in was around the same as a 22.
My biggest issue I had with the G2, is it's basically a waste of a rating as noone other than flight schools in Australia owns one. Having said that, it was a fantastic machine. And after working over the fire season with a fleet of squirrels it's true they are almost exactly the same. Everything is in the exact same place only smaller.
Chopper guy that was a good reply you put up and pretty well bang on.
Basically I think I mentioned when I was originally looking to train I had been looking at fees. I haven't been able to find the page since, but one of the schools I looked at I'd found the prices they advertise then I found a VET breakdown and the prices were around 5% from memory higher. And as was also mentioned there is 20% fee on top of any VET loan, goes for uni etc as well. Also like I and Chopper Guy eluded to, these loans are linked to indexation, so there are massive fees each year even tho they say they arent charged interest. It's higher than any interest rate even on a personal loan. I had $5500 and $6500 added so far over the last couple of years.
I saw a lot of you mentioned armed forces pilots. Where I was working they actually had quite a few come through, organised by the army, to keep their hours up and I think to get some single turbine time. As there aren't enough machines flying for all of the pilots at the moment.

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