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Friendliest club in Sydney/NSW

Old 6th Apr 2014, 18:07
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 582
Friendliest club in Sydney/NSW

I am migrating to Sydney in the very near future and want to convert my JAA PPL to CASA and subsequently would like to join a good friendly flying club to meet fellow pilots and hopefully share some flying with like minded people.

I would be keen to know the friendliest club (including smaller light/sports aircraft clubs) for flying, or perhaps groups from private strips.
L'aviateur is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 20:58
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Have a look at the Schofields Flying Club at Sydney's Bankstown Airport.

I'm not a member, however, the club has always been friendly and helpful whenever I visited Bankstown.
Rich-Fine-Green is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 22:39
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We don't really have that clubby thing here. The sort of place with a bar, nice restaurant, veranda to watch aeroplanes come and go in pleasant picturesque surroundings and friendly folk around just happy to pass the time of day is not really the Australian scene. Schoies is probably about as close as you'll get. Always friendly and happy to share a coffee and a biscuit but that's about it and Bankstown ain't the most salubrious setting.

Don't get me wrong. Some of the schools are not unfriendly and will be welcoming but generally they are businesses who's main goal in life is to extract money from you. Just one of the minor reasons why GA in Australia is in the doldrums.
Clearedtoreenter is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 08:03
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If you are in Sydney, also visit the Red Baron flying school, a bunch of seriously dedicated aviation enthusiasts. A commercial operation, not a club, but a great atmosphere. Especially good if you are into aerobatics and air sports generally.
About two hours from Sydney, a great old style aero club is the Royal Newcastle Aero Club.
Tootle pip!!
LeadSled is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 08:35
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The Hastings District Flying Club in Port Macquarie is fantastic too. A great bunch of people. No GA aeroplane any more, but a couple of new RA-Aus machines.
skkm is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 11:16
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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Aeroclub's in Sydney

I can personally recommend Pacific Flight Services and Schofield's Flying Club. As close to an aeroclub as you'll get at Bankstown.

DO NOT VISIT THE FOLLOWING: Sydney Aviators, Clamback and Hennesy or Red Baron. many bad experiences with the business themselves or their products... enough said.

If you're willing to go to Camden, you'll find a stronger vintage aviation and GA side going on (various tail-wheel aircraft, less serious (more fun?)) aerobatic scene and I have found the atmosphere more accommodating to a recreational pilot.

Humbly Reserved is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 13:21
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Join Date: Apr 2014
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The Royal Victorian Aero Club at Moorabbin is exactly what you want (although not Sydney of course). Great Club/people/fleet/bar/dining/social functions/outdoor viewing/history - got the lot!
peterma is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 14:25
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Australia
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Red Baron

Credit where it's due,

In my previous dealings with RED BARON many years ago (Hiring aeroplane's and storage) I found it staffed by a very well to do team of people and Joel (if he's still around these days) was a real legend. Now i'm not so sure about RB...

However now I don't know if management have changed or what but the culture has seemed to have shifted to extract as much money from the person as possible. Sure this may be because of "high standards" but it doesn't hurt their bottom line when a student is forced into doing repeat lessons (above market rate) which is caused by this. I've seen a couple students come to us *school undisclosed* who have had more than double the required time to meet a milestone and will fly above and beyond (no doubt from good previous training). yet when asked why they didn't meet said milestone at RB, both responded with "I didn't meet their standards". Needless to say both persons were surprised at their progression after leaving. I recognize this opens a whole other can of worms about stds, but I'll leave it at that

When I managed an operation in VIC last year we had 3 students from RB come over and conducted an interview. Once again all persons could fly like real pro's, and yet only one got the job. Why?, because their attitude and airmanship was terribly shocking. They all came with large chips on their shoulders. I can understand that there might be some prestige with training, but I believe the individual plays the largest role in learning regardless where you learn.

Thirdly; One of the senior pilot's there *undisclosed* spreads lies about the local competition (other flying schools). In fact this person is about to be sued for defamation from two separate people for doing so...

And finally A good mate of mine sold a quarter share in his shiny new Extra to RB and he has been essentially "muscled" out of his own aeroplane.

So with the above said is my own reasons for skepticism against RB, I know alot of people have had good experiences with them, I know in the past I did.

But take it into consideration...


Last edited by Humbly Reserved; 7th Apr 2014 at 14:42.
Humbly Reserved is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 14:41
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Australia
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Am I correct that Red Baron is owned by a different group to when I had dealings with them about 8 years ago?

+1 for Camden too. The guys at Curtis Aviation are some of the most genuine. I did some training there many moons ago and they always welcome you back in for a coffee and a catch-up. It's much more relaxed than many of the money making exercises at Bankstown.
Cynical Pilot is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 17:36
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Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
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It's quite sad to hear that the club scene isn't as popular in Australia.

I will arrive early May, and will try all of the recommended clubs. The clubs may also have some influence on where we decide to live (unless my other half discovers my reasoning on particular suburbs).

As someone who is merely middle of the road in terms of salary, I find that being involved in a club and sharing the flying is the only way it becomes more affordable. If anyone is aware of any groups in the area that would be looking for an additional member to share flying with, then I would welcome a PM.

Thanks guys.
L'aviateur is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 18:15
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Australia
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When you get to Sydney, get a copy of Aviation Trader, there are always advertisements for group ownership, at least one at Bankstown has been around for over 30 years.
Re. Camden, lovely spot, but make your own evaluation of the Schools. Bob Curtis no longer runs Curtis Aviation.
You need to check out the activities of Recreational Aviation Australia sanctioned operations, there is no UK equivalent, they can be much cheaper than GA operations.
Somebody has already mentioned The Oaks, quite near Camden. The cheapest place to fly in the Sydney basin.
Don't pick an area to live in Sydney, based on where aviation is happening, that could be a big mistake. Get to know Sydney first.
Minimizing commuting to your job is more important than weekend travel times.
Tootle pip!!
LeadSled is offline  
Old 10th Apr 2014, 11:01
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Sydney
Posts: 1
Setting the Record straight on Red Baron.

Dear Líaviator,

There should be no surprises as to who has written this post. I am not trying to hide behind the anonymity of a forum user name.

A friend told me about this thread and suggested I have a look, he even offered to respond on my behalf. After some consideration I decided to respond myself. I generally ignore these forums as a matter of course, however I feel compelled to set the record straight after reading the comments by Humbly Reserved (HR).

It would appear that I have had some good dealings with HR in the past, as he seems to be damming with faint praise during his critical post. Sadly, a brief check on the RB website would have revealed that I am still involved with RB and do still run it.

I will try to address each of the criticisms raised by HR. I welcome critique as it helps realise where improvement can be made. I donít appreciate lies being spread in the name of advice to someone who may not know better.

Does RB try to extract as much money from customers as possible?
The culture at RB is still the same as itís always been in many respects. Itís staffed by people who love their flying and in particular aerobatics. We are driven by a desire to deliver the highest quality training we can. Our standard are high, but even HR admits, so is the quality of our students flying. RB is also a commercial business run for profit.
When someone comes to us for training they have looked at other flying schools and decided they want to learn our way in our aircraft. At no time is the customer told they cannot leave if they are not happy with the quality of the training or the outcomes we are trying to achieve. Learning to fly takes time and money, sometimes peoples expectations of their own skills may not match the reality when faced with the actual objective. This applies to non-aviation training as well. Without knowing the actual people HR is referring to, I can only assume that perhaps these peopleís expectations of their own skills did not meet with the budget they had set for their flight training. If a student cannot reach the required skill level for a lesson objective then they must repeat that objective until the skill level is met. We often try to be realistic with a student that is showing signs of stagnation to help them decide if they should continue or not. There are two sides to every story and we have training records that will show why anyone is not meeting the required standard. Some students are lazy and only think about flying as they walk through the door for their next lesson, this is not conducive to good learning.

Does RB charge above ďMarket RateĒ?
HR accuses RB of charging above market rates? On what basis does HR make this claim?
If you compare RB to the only other flying school on Bankstown that operates Robins and other aerobatic types then RB is actually cheaper per hour for training than that school (info freely available on the websites of both schools). If you compare RB to other schools, then you are comparing apples with bananas! RB flies late model fully aerobatic trainers with experienced dedicated instructors who have made it their career to instruct as apposed to a step into the airlines. We have a unique syllabus that incorporates aerobatics into the GFPT, this increases the course length but gives the student a higher level of skill on completion. Most schools donít realistically teach to the CASA minimum but will always quote on that minimum to make the cost look good.
GA also seems to be suffering from a recession at the moment, evident by the massive drop in movements at Bankstown and other training airports since 2007. RB charges what the market can bare and what allows it to survive in the hardest business environment to be in since the depression. If HR would like to suggest what business background they are coming from to make such an accusation then Iím happy to take that into consideration.

Students in Victoria.
HR refers to three RB students applying for a job in Vic last year. I have checked and we canít find only recent students or recent CPL graduates that applied for any jobs down there last year. We had several students do instrument ratings out of Moorabin but none applied for jobs from what we can tell. As HR admits, they flew well, as for their attitude/airmanship, the description is vague and doesnít really make sense. I donít employ everyone that asks me for a job, perhaps thereís a perfectly good reason for this.

The senior pilot spreading lies about other flying schools.
This is just a lie itself. Itís easy on an anonymous forum to say rubbish like this. Perhaps HR would not make such a slanderous comment himself if not on a anonymous forum. No RB staff have been issues with defamation writs.

Did RB "muscle" out the owner of the Extra?
This for me proves that HR is a liar and throws into doubt all other claims made by him.
This 'so called' good friend of HRís came to RB to get his Low Level Aerobatic Approval. In getting to know the owner of the Extra 330, it was evident that his operations at Camden were not bearing fruit and that something had to change or he would have to sell the aircraft. I offered several possible solutions, one of which was that I buy a half share in the Extra and that the owner come to Bankstown and work for RB with the aircraft. In the end I was unable to raise the finances but was able to find someone willing to buy the aircraft fully. Even before the sale had gone through the owner had begun training to be online with RB in both Extraís. After selling the aircraft the owner was offered full time work in Perth, where he is now. I am still in regular contact with him, he is free to fly the Extra whenever he chooses. Should circumstances change he knowís he can come back and work at RB.
It is obvious to me the HR heard a story about how RB acquired the Extra330 and decided to lie about it to give it a bit more authenticity.

Líaviateur, please donít judge the flying scene at Sydneyís Bankstown Airport from the posts on this thread. I have been here for over 20 years now and while people and businesses have come and gone there are still some great times to be had here. Please let your feet do the judging and come to Bankers and visit some of the schools here. You will find a friendly and passionate bunch of aviation tragics more than happy to share a story and a coffee and some great flying as well. You need to find the school/organisation that best suits your personality, circumstances, budget and aspirations... Good luck with that!

HR, I donít know what compelled you to write what you did about RB without getting your facts straight, but I invite you to come back out and visit us and really see what weíre still about. You obviously have had some good times with us before, not sure why you arenít still around. We just love our flying and aerobatics and yes, we are trying to make a living from it. Is that a crime?


JH at RB
RedBaronSydney is offline  
Old 10th Apr 2014, 14:10
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,102
And is why we don't want "Which Flying School" threads on here.
Charlie Foxtrot India is offline  

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