Learn to Fly - 20 Years In Aviation And I Still Love It

"From RAAF To Business Owner"

Richard Emery

Richard Emery

Professional Pilot, Founder, and CEO of Learn To Fly USA

I created Learn to Fly USA to present a unique and exciting opportunity for aspiring Australian Pilots to undergo flight training and seek employment in the USA. This has numerous benefits including lower cost, increased employment opportunity, and the incredible opportunity to live, train and travel in the USA.

RAAF Learn to fly

The concept for ‘Learn to Fly USA’ came about after a long and unconventional journey to obtain my Pilot License and pursue further training and aviation interests both in Australia and internationally. Over a 20 year period I witnessed and experienced a wide variety of flight training options such as;

  • Air Force Cadets
  • Flying clubs
  • Training providers (both Australia and USA)
  • TAFE and University
  • RAAF

Those experiences helped me to develop a model and an opportunity for aspiring Australian Pilots to help them avoid common pitfalls, succeed in their flight training goals, to show them opportunities they may not have been aware of and to make their flight training and aviation journey enjoyable and memorable.

Like many, my interest in aviation began at a very young age and shortly after my 16th birthday I completed my first solo flight in Western Australia. In 2000 I completed a Diploma in Aviation and in 2001 I was ready to begin my flight training with the goal of becoming a Commercial Pilot. Unfortunately, the trajectory of the Australian and the international aviation industry at that time did not align with my plans. Following the tragic events of ‘9/11’ and the collapse of Ansett that year, I was required to put my flying career on hold and consider other career options.

That came in the form of an Air Traffic Control career with the RAAF. What was intended to be a short Military career while the civilian aviation industry recovered turned into a career spanning almost 2 decades. During that time, I controlled in tower and radar environments at airports and bases around the country and I participated in numerous military exercises undertaking tactical controlling, humanitarian relief and search and rescue operations. Fairly early in my career I developed an interest in Aviation Safety which led me to more diverse training in incident investigation, hazard identification and risk management, and Search and Rescue. That training and experience influenced the way in which I would eventually pursue flying training again.

In 2018, I re-commenced my flight training from where I left off 20 years earlier. This time I would do it very differently because I wasn’t content with merely training at the local flight school. With the experience and knowledge I had gained, I was not limited by the traditional training and career paths. I wanted to achieve more, I wanted to see more, and I wanted to really push myself. I also needed a holiday from full time work and controlling, so I decided to take a year off
from the RAAF, learn to fly, travel to the other side of the world and explore everything that aviation in the USA has to offer. If that wasn’t enough, I also decided to have a go at creating videos and started a YouTube channel to document my

RAAF Learn to fly - how to become a pilot

completed my Private Pilot license in Australia before flying to the USA to continue my training towards a Commercial Pilot license while travelling, flying and exploring the USA. I had no one guiding me, I knew no one that had done it before, and it was not easy. I experienced setbacks along the way but they were easily outweighed by the positive experiences and the knowledge I gained. I had some of the greatest experiences of my life and certainly my aviation career during that trip. Highlights include flying a Cessna from Washington DC to Las Vegas, flying friends visiting from Australia over New York City, flying up the Hudson River below the tops of buildings and over Central Park, and flying down the East Coast of the USA to Florida to fly a low pass (100 feet) over the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility runway and watching a rocket launch.

My flying experiences in the USA were incredible, but I knew it could be better! I am always looking at ways to improve and having now been through the process I knew exactly how to streamline it and make it easier and even more fun for the next person following in my footsteps. During the COVID border closures I got to work refining the model and expanding my network within the USA aviation industry knowing that the industry would bounce back and explode with demand once borders reopened. We are now seeing the largest demand for Pilots in history, and I’m ready to begin helping aspiring Australian Pilots benefit from that demand and achieve what they never thought was possible. With training opportunities in the USA that are cheaper, more fun and that lead to more employment opportunities, now is the perfect time to consider an aviation career in the USA. My aim is to see every client reach their goals.

Applications are now open for Australians interested in commencing training in the USA in 2022. The application process involves a number of steps, therefore we recommend contacting us to commence your application at least 6 months prior to your intended commencement date. Courses also have limited capacity.

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