AAPA - Australian Airline Pilot Academy


Testimonials Ben Hansen – Rex 001
I’m proud to say the Australian Airline Pilot Academy played a founding and integral role in my aviation career.

It’s easy to ascertain from the AAPA website that a high standard of training, modern and well maintained aircraft and world-class facilities will be provided as part of the program. What’s not as easy to see, is the entire journey you’re about to embark on, and just how much you’ll gain from it on a personal level.

I joined the AAPA cadetship having just completed an engineering apprenticeship, and had little flying experience. Fast-forward eight years and I’m a First Officer on the Boeing 777 for Cathay Pacific, flying all over the world.

The AAPA course was intense - twelve months of full-time study, exams and flying. By far, this was one of the most challenging and augmenting periods of my life. The learning curve is steep - hard work and dedication - are fundamental to success.

The values demanded by AAPA and ultimately Rex, are high, as they should be – Rex is a world-renowned regional airline, just as AAPA is a world-renowned pilot training facility.

When I consider my time as a cadet with AAPA and what I gained, it’s not so much the skillset I’m grateful for; it’s the sense of professionalism, ownership, respect and integrity that was naturally instilled throughout the experience.

The AAPA cadetship is not easy, but I can honestly say it is worth all the hard work. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
Benjamin Lai - Rex 001
I joined the Rex cadetship on the first intake in 2007. With their new state-of-the-art fleet of Piper aircraft, I highly enjoyed the training process. From Day One, the airline mentality was introduced to us. The procedures that we used on the training aircraft are tightly aligned with the standard operating procedures at Rex. This makes the transition into airline operation comfortable.

I completed my training in September 2008 and started with Rex the following month. Despite the high standards of training in Rex, the transition was not as difficult as I imagined since we had been trained at AAPA to a high standard. For a 250-hours commercial pilot, the experience gained at the regional airline is invaluable. Furthermore, with the new Pilot In Command Under Supervision program (PICUS), once you have gained the required hours, you are able to hold command on the Saab 340.

I currently work at Cathay Pacific as a Boeing 777 Senior First Officer. When I did my upgrade course to Junior First Officer, I was concerned if I would get through the course (since I had been a Second Officer for three years sitting at the back). However, the moment I sat in the right hand seat, the flying nature came back to me. It was as though I was flying a Saab - just twice the speed and 17 times heavier!

Without a shadow of a doubt, the Rex cadetship prepares you from Day One and nurtures you into a competent captain, regardless of a career spent in regional, international, or business aviation.
Alex Marshall – Rex 001
I was lucky enough to be one of the cadets on the inaugural cadetship course in December 2007. It was a great experience and there was a feeling amongst our group that the cadetship was the start of something big, for both Rex and for our careers.

The cadetship initially operated from Mangalore aerodrome, about an hour and a half north of Melbourne. We arrived two weeks before Christmas and the facilities were still being completed. The training aircrafts were still being shipped from the U.S. and the AOC hadn't yet been issued so we busied ourselves with learning the theory required to obtain a commercial pilot licence. When the first aircraft arrived in early 2008 it was very competitive to get the keys to go flying.

A year later I was flying the Saab 340 as a First Officer with Rex. I still remember the feeling of my first take-off and landing - it was exhilarating and frightening at the same time. I spent the next four and half years gaining hours and experience and in 2013 was thrilled to pass the command training and became a Captain. I was lucky enough to fly throughout the whole Rex network, but the flights through outback Queensland with its spectacular scenery and unique challenges really stand out.

I have been a Training Captain since January 2016 and its very rewarding watching a candidate’s ability improve and their confidence grow. I have also learnt a lot from teaching and know I am much more capable now then I was prior to becoming a Training Captain.

I am very appreciative of the training I received from Rex and the cadetship, and of the opportunities it has provided for me. It has been an honour to be involved.
David Steinhardt – Rex 002
Since I was young I have always wanted to be a pilot. Regional Express (Rex) has provided me with a solid, streamlined pathway from cadet to training captain. I was provided with first class training from the moment I started as a cadet at AAPA, through to becoming a Rex First Officer, followed by promotion Captain, and now Training Captain.

AAPA is an exceptional training academy. The academy is state-of-the-art, the instructors are very knowledgeable, and the facilities are high class. In less than 12 months I completed the course at AAPA and graduated to become a Rex First Officer.

Amongst many qualities, AAPA has taught me discipline, leadership skills and the importance of clear communication. This is some of the expertise that is required to train others to be successful airline pilots.

Being a Training Captain, I have enjoyed the challenge of teaching upcoming first officers and captains. I am looking forward to my future training opportunities within the Rex Check and Training Team!
Luke Gormley – Rex 003
In 2008 I was accepted into the Regional Express (Rex) cadet pilot program as part of Rex 003 at the Australia Airline Pilot Academy (AAPA), the third intake of cadets since its inception. We started in Mangalore in Victoria where AAPA was in its infancy, but its facilities were first class. There were new buildings and accommodation for us to study and live, and most importantly, a brand new fleet of fully equipped training aircraft. The training was excellent and designed for seamless transition to multi-crew airline operations at Rex. Only six months after I started at Mangalore, AAPA had already outgrown its facilities and relocated to an all new purpose-built site at Rex's spiritual home in Wagga Wagga, NSW. These facilities allow for the most professional training you can hope for as an aspiring pilot.

After nine months of hard work I completed my training, graduated from AAPA and began my training at Rex to become a First Officer on the Saab 340. This kicked off the career I could only have dreamed of 12 months earlier.

The last seven years has seen a lot of hard work - first officer line training, ATPL exams, the Rex Pilot In Command Under Supervision program (PICUS), command upgrade, and most recently training captain upgrade. The training captain upgrade has definitely been the most rewarding. It has given me the chance to pass on the knowledge that I have acquired from the instructors at AAPA through to all the great Rex Captains out there that I have had the opportunity to fly with and learn from.

When training new cadets or first officers to the rank of captain, it is easy to relate to those who have come through the same program as I have as I know what they are going through. To be able to try and help a guy or girl that might be struggling with some aspect of training and see them get through and achieve their goals, are a very rewarding experience. All this began and was made possible by the solid foundation laid during my initial training as a Rex Cadet pilot at the Australian Airline Pilot Academy.
David Butcher
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at AAPA and am so proud and appreciative of the opportunity to learn to fly here. The Airline focus and professionalism of the organisation and its team have prepared me well for my future aviation career.

The resources at AAPA are second to none. The accommodation, recreation and most importantly the learning facilities are of a very high standard.

The culture at AAPA is one of a supportive and totally immersive learning environment and this was clear to me within hours of arriving. All my classmates were so supportive and compassionate, irrespective of the varying experience levels. Everyone has time to help you. There is really no other option than to be successful. I have made a number of new best mates here and look forward to progressing through our careers in aviation together!

My fondest reflection of AAPA however, is the calibre and level of care the Instructors show the students. I have a very apparent feeling through my time at AAPA, that each of my instructors genuinely wanted me to be the very best pilot I could be. I can recount many occasions that instructors gave their own time to assist the students in progressing through the syllabus and believe AAPA's superior product is reflective of this.