HERE TO HELP: Colin Appleton (left) of Ultimate Thrill Ride, and Sunshine Coast Aero Club chief flight instructor Doug Field.
HERE TO HELP: Colin Appleton (left) of Ultimate Thrill Ride, and Sunshine Coast Aero Club chief flight instructor Doug Field. Iain Curry

Sunshine Coast Aero Club hitting new heights

HITTING the heights is now a whole lot easier as learning to fly becomes more affordable.

Sunshine Coast Aero Club chief flight instructor Doug Field said it was the tireless work of volunteers that made his club the Coast's hub for cheap flying lessons.

"It's vital to have the input from all the club members to make it affordable," he said. "Everyone gets in occasionally and cleans the club or the barbecues."

The not-for-profit pilots are hoping to help people explore their interest in the sport and welcome anyone who's wanting to give it a go.

"The main goal for us is to encourage new people into aviation, whether male, female, young or old," Mr Field said.

"At the moment, our youngest student is 14 and our oldest student is 73."

It's not just cheap training they're offering, though, with the club giving charities the chance to auction off a prize to the skies.

"We just donate the flights as a prize they can raffle," Mr Field said.

"We also do barbecues and stuff as well. Sometimes the barbecues donate to the RACQ CareFlight chopper at the other end of the runway."

Mr Field said it wouldn't take too long for students to gain their licence but it varied for each person.

"The more regularly they fly, the quicker they'll achieve solo flight," he said.

"The minimum hours you need to get the licence is 20 hours."

However, many aero clubs and flight businesses also offer an option for those wanting to get a bird's eye view of the world without being behind a steering wheel.

"We do aerobatic adventure flights as well," Mr Field said.

"All the guys have a lot of experience."

MORE INFO

FOR more information on aero clubs, visit http://www.aeroclub.com.au and the Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia at http://www.rfaca.com.au.

Sunshine Coast Aero Club is at Sunshine Coast Airport.


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