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Sydney Flight College expands to Tamworth

written by Adam Thorn | October 31, 2023

Tamworth Regional Airport (WikiCommons)

Sydney Flight College will open a second academy at Tamworth in July next year.

It follows a deal between the regional airport and Virgin Australia for a training school collapsing in March 2020 in the days before COVID-19 and BAE Systems exited in 2018, leaving much of its accommodation empty.

The new site is 400km north of the SFC’s original at Bankstown and will house 32 students and 10 instructors along with a fleet of training aircraft. New cohorts of students will start every month and will be able to study its 12-month Diploma of Aviation package.

SFC chief executive Joseph Pilo said Tamworth ticked all the boxes to expand the school.

“From July next year, we will run two pilot training centres – here in Tamworth and our current facility at Bankstown Airport in Sydney, furthering our vision to bring the world closer by shaping tomorrow’s pilots,” he said.


“With its dedicated training runway and facilities, Tamworth is an ideal base for training, offering year-round operations without the hazards that can exist in the crowded skies over Sydney and represents an opportunity for students to turn dreams into reality, receive top-tier aviation training and embark on fulfilling careers as pilots.”

SFC was formed more than 50 years ago and has trained thousands of pilots, many of whom have moved to Australian and international airlines. Others have flown in a variety of roles from the Royal Flying Doctor Service, freight movements and private jets.

Currently, SFC allows students to train in a variety of aircraft, including a new Archer TX, Cessna 182T and DA42. The centre has CASA 142 approval, meaning it can conduct both integrated and non-integrated flight training.

Despite the deal with Virgin falling through, Tamworth is home to Airspeed Aviation Flight School, which also trains students in Dubbo and Scone.

It comes after Australian Aviation reported last year how SFC awarded its first Women Pilot Scholarship in partnership with the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (AWPA) to encourage female participation in aviation.

The flight school has pledged to provide two scholarships per year to women enrolled in its CPL Diploma course.

The scholarship covers the gap between the selected student’s HECS/HELP loan from the government and the total cost of completing the course — meaning the selected student does not need to pay out of pocket to study.

The inaugural SFC Women Pilot Scholarship was awarded to incoming student Leigh Taylor, who was selected by parties from both SFC and the AWPA.

Each scholarship is awarded based on the results of a screening process, SFC said, which includes several written and oral assessments as well as an initial flight.

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