The Student Experience

Student experience


Watch videos of activities and student testimonials to find out what goes on in the Aviation Academy.

Read what our graduates and students have to say:

Chan Ka FuChan Ka Fu, Hong Kong
Cadet Pilot
Cathay Pacific 

Ka Fu Chan graduated from University of South Australia in 2009. Before studying at UniSA, Ka Fu graduated from high school in Hong Kong and undertook one year of study at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. After graduating from University of South Australia, Ka Fu was recruited by Cathay Pacific as a cadet pilot.

I chose to study in Adelaide because one of the major Hong Kong airlines has its pilot training at Parafield Airport. So I thought Adelaide can provide professional world class flight training and actually it does. One of the UniSA campuses is situated beside Parafield Airport and UniSA provides an aviation bachelor program with practical flight training through their own aviation academy. UniSA’s aviation program fulfilled all of my requirements to study abroad and proved to be the best choice for my situation.

Read Full Interview

Teruo Fujioka
Lecturer, Aviation
University of South Australia

The thrill of observing planes overhead take off and land at Adelaide Airport ignited Teruo Fujioka’s passion for aviation. After completing the Bachelor of Civil Aviation and obtaining his commercial pilot’s license, Fujioka decided to undertake a flight instructor training course, a choice which lead him to his current role at UniSA’s Aviation academy.

“Instructing is challenging and that makes it fun,” Fujioka says of teaching, adding that watching students “break-through” after hours of training is the most satisfying aspect of his job. “Being able to see students grow and celebrate their achievement together, that’s when I’m happiest.”

Fujioka recommends the program, which he completed and now teaches in, to students explaining that the integration of the university and flight training components connects the theory to real life experience. “Each component is designed to reinforce each other making learning more effective and relevant.”

Gaining the experience necessary to fly multi-engine planes is the next step in Fujioka’s career, a move which will enable him to apply for employment with a commercial airline.

Grant PriceCaptain Grant Price
Emirates Airlines

“Being located at Parafield Airport the University of South Australia Flying Academy experiences weather conditions that are well suited to flying training. Adelaide’s climate means many fair days suitable for your initial flying training yet come winter your ability will be tested by more inclement weather. However the Bachelor of Aviation is for individuals looking at pursuing Aviation as a profession, and so you will be equipped with skills that will enable you to lead and motivate a team, manage threats and errors in your everyday operation and learn about your own performance and limitations. You will gain a rock solid foundation from many experienced people to build an exciting career.” 

Benjamin Cooper
Bachelor of Aviation

“I wanted the best possible kick start to my career as a pilot and completing the University of South Australia’s degree was the best route for me because it provided all the tools to become a professional pilot including a loan for my flight training, an excellent flying academy and the benefits of having a tertiary qualification. The fast-paced and organised structure of the degree combined with the flight training program caught my eye as an effective way to enter the aviation industry.

The recognised University of South Australia’s Aviation Academy at Parafield Airport has provided me with first-class training and quality flying principles which will take me further throughout my career. There are infinite opportunities available at the University of South Australia which leave you with lifelong memories and valuable experiences. Or example, a few of us flew to Uluru and back by ourselves in the university aircraft as part of our flight training.

The degree has helped me to explore all aspects of aviation and has given me the direction I need to become a safe and educated pilot. The experience staff members all have their connections in the aviation community and are more than happy to help you excel as a pilot. When I graduate I’m going to become a flight instructor and then I’m hoping to become an airline pilot and to fly around the world.”

Paul Beck
Senior First Officer B747
Cathay Pacific Airways

"I graduated from the University of South Australia in 1991. 

I worked as a Flying Instructor for the University of South Australia for 3 years. In addition, I spent any free time trying to get those important multi engine hours doing Bank Runs, Charter, and Freight flights at night. In hind-sight, this was the hardest and most memorable flying I have done.

After 2 years in a Regional Airline flying Turbo-props, I got a job with Cathay Pacific Airways based in Hong Kong. Seven years later I have logged over 4500 hours in 747-400 aircraft.

In my opinion, the University of South Australia's Degree in Aviation and flying school is an excellent way to efficiently complete all the necessary requirements to become a Commercial Pilot.

My advice to any aspiring Airline Pilot is to work hard, be professional, never give up and most all, enjoy your flying now."

Daina Borrillo
Grade 2 Flight Instructor, UniSA Aviation Academy
Graduate, Bachelor of Applied Science (Civil Aviation), 2002
UniSA Deans Merit Award List, 1999, 2000

"UniSA's Aviation program was really great because it was a good mix of theory and experience. You start flying your first year and you're expected to fly constantly - during your holidays, weekends and whenever you have spare time. It's demanding and hard work but it's what's expected of you and it's definitely worthwhile.

The flying experience I've had at UniSA has made me really confident in the air - once you get used to it, it's just like driving a car really. All of the instructors at the Aviation Academy have completed the Aviation degree and therefore understand the pressures of studying and learning to fly at the same time. The lecturing staff at the Uni specialise in what they do and are more than willing to pass on their knowledge to you. 

To have a successful piloting career you've got to be really committed, both personally and financially, you've got to be dedicated to giving your spare time to flying, you've got to always be calm and in control and you've got to constantly keep yourself motivated."

Richard Brown
First Officer – B767
QANTAS Airways Limited

"The dream of becoming an airline pilot was strong at an early age. With both my Grandfathers pilots in WWII and a strong influence from my father, I was always destined to fly. The question was where should I learn?

After considering different courses privately in Bankstown and University courses in Newcastle and Western Sydney, I attended a seminar in Sydney held by Captain Roy Garthwaite promoting the University of South Australia flying school. I was very impressed with the combined flight training and ground studies and chose to enrol. After moving 1500km away from home, I knew the first week that the course was designed to lay down the foundations for a professional and rewarding career in Aviation. Not only did the course offer highly motivated and experience lecturers, but the students were great people with the same professional attitude and drive to succeed as I had.

After graduating in 1997 I worked construction for 8 months to save up enough money to travel up north in search of work. My first job was scenic flights in Kakadu, which gave me the experience to gain a job in a charter company based out of Groote Eyland and Darwin. I flew C207, C206, C210, C310 and Baron’s on operations throughout NT, QLD and WA. In 2001 I was employed with Qantas as a Second Officer on B747-400 and 2 years later gained a First Officer promotion on B767.

I recommend anyone with high motivation and a strong desire to succeed to choose a career in Aviation. The road is tough and unpredictable but the overall achievement is awesome."

Melissa Game
Bachelor of Science (Civil Aviation)

"Most pilots say it beats working for a living, says Game, 30, who after graduating in 98 spent four and a half years flying general charter in north west Australia, soaring over waterfalls after wet season rains, and flying doctors, visitors and supplies into places so remote most of us will only ever dream about visiting.

Game doesnt know whether it was having an aviation-keen family, a general thrill-seeking streak, or perhaps just watching Top Gun one too many times but becoming a pilot is what shes always wanted to do and she is now living her dream. She and her husband Dave (also a pilot they met at the UniSA Aviation Academy) now work for Rex regional airlines, flying passengers around the countryside to Port Lincoln, Mt Gambier, Broken Hill, Whyalla and Roxby Downs. 

I think most pilots do it because they love it. Its dynamic, its constantly changing, and I feel privileged to have been to a lot of the places I have been, says Game. Every landing is a challenge no two conditions are ever alike. 

Chris Ingram
Second Officer B747

QANTAS Airways Limited

 "Wanting to be an airline pilot since early childhood, I decided that the University of South Australia offered the best course and flight training available to enable me to fulfill my career objective.

I commenced my training with the University of South Australia in 1996 and graduated in 1998. During that time I found the Degree course excellent, with very motivated and experienced lecturers. I chose to conduct my flying training at the University of South Australia Flying School because of the fact that they offered a flying syllabus that was integrated with the ground studies. This I found extremely beneficial to my training. I found the training environment offered by the UniSA Flying School to be one which encouraged high standards at all times, not only from its students but also its  instructional staff.

 After graduating in 1998 I was offered a position with the University of South Australia as an Instructor. I held this position for 2 years before relocating to Darwin in search of Multi Engine experience. I managed to gain a position with a local charter company based in Darwin, and flew C206/210, Barons, C402/C404 Titans and Metro aircraft on charter operations throughout the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland.

In early 2004 I obtained employment with QANTAS as a second officer on B747-338 aircraft.

Anyone considering a career in Aviation should be very motivated and self disciplined. Be prepared for setbacks and always keep that long term goal in mind. 

Craig Ling
Check Captain
Regional Express

"I moved from Tasmania in 1991 to undertake the University Of South Australia's degree course in aviation, graduating in 1993.

I spent the following three years as a flying instructor at the University of South Australia Flying School on both single and twin engine aircraft. While instructing I did the "hard yards" around the area looking for that next step, cleaning aircraft, sweeping hangars etc to show my enthusiasm and attitude towards flying. I managed to build up enough twin engine charter hours and progressed to several small charter companies in South Australia finally receiving a call from Kendell Airlines in December of 1998, now known as Regional Express. I have been fortunate enough to have been progressed in the ranks to Check Captain with a position on the "Rex" interview panel. I can tell you I enjoy my job immensely, it certainly beats working for a living.

The aviation market is very competitive, most people can learn the theory and obtain the necessary skill to pilot an aircraft. This however, as I quickly learned is a very small part of what makes an airline pilot. Today Rex is looking for suitably qualified pilots who have shown they were willing to do those "hard yards" and whom possess a professional attitude and good work ethic. When it comes down to it, an airline is about customers and we as pilots are at the point of contact with them. We must portray a professional and friendly attitude. The disciplined training I received with the University of South Australia, in addition to the focus on those other most important areas of the job have played a very important role in my progression in this dynamic and exciting industry.

Greg Panazollo
First Officer B737

QANTAS Airways Limited

"I studied at the University of South Australia and completed my flying training at the University of SA Flying School from 19951997. After graduating, I gained employment as a flying instructor with the University of South Australia Flying School for 18 months. At the same time I was looking for work on twin-engine aircraft. I was eventually fortunate enough to do 8 months of flying on an Islander aircraft for one of the local skydiving clubs. This twin-engine experience allowed me to chase work with larger companies.

In June of 1999 I moved to Karratha in Western Australia where I began work for a local charter company flying mining and oil and gas workers around the Pilbara region. 

After 15 months in WA, I was lucky enough to be offered a job in Sydney flying the 747-200/300SP for QANTAS. I continued on the 747 for 2 years before moving to Melbourne to train as a First Officer on the 737-300/400/800 aircraft.

During my time in the industry, I have found that those that succeed must be highly self-motivated. Your motivation must come from the love of aviation as it can be an extremely cruel and unforgiving road to success. If you are easily discouraged by setbacks, it is not the career for you. If you stay motivated and focused on your goals, you have an excellent chance at success.

Above all enjoy yourself at all times because a successful career in aviation is something that is very unique and very rewarding, especially at a personal level.

David Prosser
First Officer B747
QANTAS Airways Limited

"I am currently a Qantas First Officer on the 747. I graduated from the University of South Australia in 1997, of which I completed the University Flying school syllabus. I found the Degree course excellent in content and structure, combined with the flying program was a great mix of theory and practical application.

The flying program itself was of a very high professional standard. It is this standard which then holds you in good stead for your career. I ventured up to the Northern Territory for two years flying Cessna 210s, Barrons, C-310s and a Navajo. This experience was essential for my development but could not have been accomplished without the basis of training from the University. It was not just the credentials on paper which the University provided, it was the professional attitude developed amongst its staff and students which I believe to be its strongest asset. This attitude in myself is what has got me to where I am today.

I recommend the University Flying school program to anyone interested in aviation, you will learn a lot, have a great time and make some friendships which last forever. It still holds a very fond place in my memory."

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