Enrolling into flight school isn’t as straight forward as you may think. There are quite a few things you need to do before you turn up for day one, and they will take some time to complete. There is the AWA Enrollment Forms and VET FEE-HELP Application Forms if you are going that route, and both are pretty straight forward. You then need an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) which you need before you can do your Aviation Security Identity Card (ASIC) and Class 1 Aviation Medical. The ARN form is pretty simple but you’ll need a copy of your Passport, Birth Certificate or Australian Citizenship Certificate. The ASIC however is a pretty detailed and comprehensive application and requires a lot of information, photos, address history and more, similar to a Passport application.
You will also need to visit two people for your Class 1 Medical, a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME) and Designated Aviation Ophthalmologist (DAO). To find a DAME and/or DAO in your area click here. All up this will take some time, it took me just over a week to do it all. First I had to fill out the online application for the Medical Records System which is quite comprehensive. You will need to provide a whole stack of medical history for the last four years, everything from medication, scans, blood tests and a host more. I had to visit my GP to go through my record, and fax off to other clinics I had been to in the last four years to get the whole story and fill out the forms correctly, which can take time. You will likely need to do a blood test too, so make sure you do it before your DAME appointment as they will need the results on the day. The good news is once you have filled out all the paperwork, each renewal is a bit simpler, as you only have to notify of the changes in that period rather than completely from scratch.
Other things you will need to get if you don’t already have them are black trousers and black shoes. After going to all the different shops and taking on advice from others including my Uncle who is a First Officer for Jetstar, I ended up getting my trousers from Target. They are Target brand in the Tailored Fit style, click here to see. They were the best fitting of the lot and at a great price, I figure I’ll be spending a bit of time crawling around these planes and if I rip, stain or ruin a pair of Target pants, no sweat. Plus my partner’s Dad has been wearing the same pair for over a year and they still look and function great. The debate on what shoes however seems to be a massive bone of contention. It appears you are either on the R.M. Williams camp or not. I tried a pair on, and they fit great, but even factory seconds are around $350 a pair. That is crazy town at this stage, as not only do I not want to trash and scuff an expensive pair of shoes in training, but I have no idea what my feet will want. Once I get into it all, I might end up loving them or hating them, but either way I don’t have $350 spare to find out.
So what did I get? Well I think you’re either a boots guy or a shoes guy, and I’m most certainly a boots guy. I looked at heaps of brands and tried plenty on. Julius Marlow was recommended to me by my Uncle, and if they are good enough for him, they are good enough for me. I liked them, they looked sharp and fit well but I opted against them this time. I don’t know much, but GA does not appear to be the cleanest and neatest industry and my Uncle did say to take that into account, to be practical and make affordable choices. So I went for something a bit out there perhaps. Caterpillar Boots. I went with the Colorado style, no steel cap, click here to see. They were $95 down from $200 and feel great to me. They’re solid, supportive, look smart enough, and importantly for me, are practical and can take some knocks. I got some new socks while I was at it too, a mad CAT beanie and some Dubbin into the boots to keep the leather in good condition. I broke them in over the past few days, important with any shoes really, the last thing I want is to turn up in uncomfortable/unfamiliar shoes.
Tomorrow is the starting point of my training, I’m pretty excited and nervous, I can’t wait. I have no idea what to expect, but I’ll post about it regardless.