Single Pistons (Recreational / RAAus)

RAAus (Recreational Aviation Australia) is a 10,000 member-strong organisation that governs recreational aviation in Australia. RAAus-registered aircraft can be amateur-built, factory-built or factory-built LSA (Light Sport Aircraft) and must have a MTOW of 600kg or under.

After long-standing discussions with CASA (the Civil Aviation Safety Authority) in Australia, RAAus has negotiated a new ‘G’ class registration that will permit aircraft with a MTOW of 760kg to be registered, flown and maintained with RAAus registration.

However, not all recreational aircraft are registered in Australia with RAAus. While the existence of a private self-governing body overseeing the registration of aircraft is unique to Australia, the choice to register your recreational aircraft in Australia is entirely the owner’s. You can register any aircraft is Australia as a VH-registered type!

Like New Zealand, the UK, the USA and every other country in the ICAO group, any aircraft can be registered on the national aircraft registry. In Australia the fee is $130 (2024) and there are no further registration fees.

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FAQs

Learn the answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions relating to buying, selling and flying recreational and RAAus registered aircraft.
Contact us for more information, or if you need your specific questions answered.

Generally speaking, yes. The combination of better technology in airframe design and engine choices, plus higher kit manufacturing standards, the industry is far safer than the ‘rag and tube’ days of old. That said, lower maintenance minimums and lower pilot training requirements provides that RAAus aircraft flight can be riskier in some cases.

Recreational Aviation Australia has managed to negotiate with government over the last two decades or so to develop a competitive advantage over the more ‘traditional’ GA (General Aviation) licensing, medical and maintenance privileges that a traditional CASA license provides.

While CASA has made some steps to make recreational flying more available without RAAus membership, RAAus (as at 2023/24) provides many advantages.

The advantages come down to two main areas; a self-declared medical standard (car license standard) and self-maintenance of aircraft with an L1 Maintenance authority. With the CASA Class 5 self-declared medical, RAAus may eventually lose the first of these competitive advantages.

In a word, no. While CASA aircraft registration is free (except for the initial transfer), RAAus charges a hefty annual premium. Membership is a condition of the RPC (Recreational Pilot License) and costs $330 per annum (2024), whereas a CASA license is perpetual and free of fees and charges.

There are a number of key restrictions to RAAus operations, including that all operations must be flown by day, VFR (under the Visual Flight Rules) and outside controlled airspace, unless the aircraft is equipped with transponder and the pilot is qualified (through their GA license) to fly inside CTA.

The RPC (Recreational Pilot License) is recognised by RAAus and CASA (the Civil Aviation Safety Authority) in Australia only. It allows the pilot to fly an RAAus registered two-seat ultra-light aircraft (generally under 600kg), by day, visually (VFR) within 25 nautical miles of the airport. A cross country endorsement extends this privilege to all areas of Australia outside controlled airspace (OCTA).

The PPL (Private Pilot License) can be obtained either directly through the CASA system or by first gaining a RPC (Recreational Pilot License) with RAAus (Australia only), then using your hours and skills to obtain a Recreational Pilot License (RPL) with CASA (Australia only). Generally the RAAus-to-GA route is cheaper.

The PPL is then the next step. It is internationally recognised, and allows pilots to fly any aircraft that they hold an endorsement to fly, under 5700kg. If you are looking to buy and fly a larger aircraft than a two-seater ultralight you will need to transition your RPC to and RPL, and then move to a PPL depending on your flying future plans.

The process to switch your RAAus aircraft registration to ‘VH’ (CASA) registration is relatively easy and any aircraft can be switched to the national register in Australia.

You will need to provide a CASA delegate (not an employee, but an approved delegate) the registration and airworthiness details of your RAAus aircraft, plus other details as they require. Once they have these details, they will provide you with a Certificate of Airworthiness (or Special Certificate) from CASA and direct you on the physical change of registration on the aircraft itself.

In all, the process is relatively quick and easy and in most cases can be completed within a week or so. While costs very, you can expect to pay between $400-$1500 depending on the delegate and the amount of work that is required of them.

The answer depends on your circumstances. Many RAAus registration holders have traditionally either had a medical issue that prevents them from gaining a CASA medical (Basic Class 2 or Class 2), or they suspect that they will have a medical issue in the future. Others feel that self-maintaining their aircraft is cheaper. And in many cases it inevitably is.

The new CASA Class 5 self-declared medical will change this in 2024, when most of these medical-related memberships may switch away from RAAus to the CASA system. Along with this, many RAAus aircraft owners may decide that LAME maintenance (a likely requirement) is about the same cost as their membership and registration fees combined, and/or provides better quality maintenance at a similar price.