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Cobham launches pilot cadet program

written by WOFA | August 3, 2018

Cobham Aviation Services has opened applications for its new cadet pilot program in partnership with Flight Training Adelaide.

The company said on Friday it decided to launch the pilot cadet program “in response to the global pilot shortage and to create entry-level opportunities to join its dedicated crews”.

The first intake of eight cadets starts in early 2019 and will be trained to be first officers on Cobham’s special mission Dash 8 fleet, which conducts aerial border surveillance and search-and-rescue operations on behalf of the Australian Government from bases in Broome, Darwin and Cairns.

Cadets who complete the 53-week, four-phase course will end up with an and Advanced Diploma in Aviation (Pilot in command) and an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL).

“This is not regular passenger transport flying; it’s unique, hands-on, low-level flying,” Cobham general manager for Special Mission Ken Millar said in a statement.

“Ultimately, graduates will have the rare opportunity to combine their love of flying with national security and environmental protection.

“Flight Training Adelaide is a highly reputable and highly professional pilot training organisation and we are thrilled to partner with them on this exciting initiative.”


Flight Training Adelaide already works with a number of airlines for pilot training, with the likes of Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, China Airlines, Fiji Airways, IndiGo, QantasLink and Virgin Australia listed on its website.

The course includes flying time on Diamond DA40, Diamond DA42 and Mudry CAP 10 aircraft, as well as stints in various simulators.

In addition to its Special Mission work, Cobham also offers charter and fly-in/fly-out services for resources companies.

Cobham has also provided flightcrew, cabin crew and some maintenance for QantasLink fleet Boeing 717s since 2005. In July 2016, Cobham signed a 10-year contract extension to continue operating the 20 717s currently in the QantasLink fleet worth $1.2 billion.

VIDEO: A look at Cobham Aviation Services’ Special Mission operation, from the Cobham plc YouTube channel.

Boeing forecasts show strong demand for pilots

The 2018-2037 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook showed 790,000 new pilots would be needed over the next two decades across the commercial, business and helicopter sector.

Further, it forecast demand for 754,000 new aviation technicians between now and 2037.

Asia Pacific represented the largest source of demand with 31 per cent of all new pilots, 34.1 per cent of all technicians and 36.1 per cent of all cabin crew to be recruited in the region between now and 2037.

Australian carriers working on pilot recruitment

Locally, Qantas was due to announce the location for its proposed pilot training academy by the end of September.

Meanwhile, Virgin Australia’s 2019 pilot cadetship program, also conducted by Flight Training Adelaide in South Australia, would feature two ab initio courses starting in January and July 2019, the airline said in May.

And Regional Express (Rex) established its Australian Airline Pilot Academy a decade ago. Located at Wagga Wagga, the school trains pilots for Rex’s operations as well as for foreign airlines.

Recently, Regional Express (Rex) publicly expressed its concerns over the impact of the global pilot shortage on its operations.

The airline said Australia was not spared from what it described as a global pilot shortage, with regional aviation the hardest hit as larger carriers actively recruited from this sector.

“Because of the critical pilot shortage, Rex is not able to have its usual contingent of stand-by pilots rostered for duty,” the airline said in what it described as an “open letter to all communities in the Rex network” on July 13.

Applications close on August 12 2018. More details are available on the Flight Training Adelaide website.


  • Sam


    How come the Jetstar cadet course never gets a mention in these article?

  • heee4


    The FAQ section for this program says that you have to pay $270 for “selection testing and processing”.

  • Lynn Dobson


    There are numerous pilots out there looking for work, my husband for one. Why don’t these companies take on these people and invest time in them. Mg husband has 1600 hrs and would be the sort of person who would be loyal to a company like this rather than the young ones who get their hours then do the runner tothe airlines.

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