Freedom Flight

Learn to Fly in Tasmania at
Devonport or George Town Airports

Customer reviews

Learning to fly.

So you've been dreaming of becoming a pilot? Well, until just a few weeks ago, so had I.

I came across an aircraft that suited my requirements and at a price I simply could not refuse. The decision was made to stop dreaming, to start doing and I purchased it.

So now what? I’m not a pilot! Well not yet!

So many flying schools, so many different instructors and a few differences in pricing. How would I decide?

Well, fortunately for me, I have a background in aviation from my father who is a Recreational Pilot, some (well many) years flying Remote Controlled Aircraft and nearly 12 years in the Air Force. This gave me at least a little insight when making my decision.

Firstly, I was hoping to learn on an aircraft that was as close to the one I had just purchased. As all aircraft are different, I wanted the minimum number of surprises when becoming familiar with my own. Next, I was hoping to be able to fly as often as possible. Not just because I had an aircraft and was itching to
 fly it, but flying often, as with learning any new motor skill, would aid in retaining and reinforcing what I was being taught and also save me the cost of having to refresh last week’s or last month’s lesson.

After spending some time online and having a chat with a few of the local flying club members, I came across Freedom Flight, in Georgetown, Tasmania.

Not only did the school use the same model of aircraft that I had just purchased, but they also had accomodation just a few minutes from the airport in which I could stay whilst I was there as a full time student.

Yes, I did just say FULL TIME STUDENT.

Many of you may not have considered this option with regards to the training of a RAAus pilot, but after my experience, I could not recommend a better way to get started in the world of aviation.

I joined RAAus as a student pilot on the 14th Apr 2016 and flew from the mainland to Tasmania on the 16th. I began flying lessons on the 17th and went solo on the 22nd.  That's right solo in 6 days.

(Picture: The hand-shake off congratulations from Eugene Reid, my instructor, after my first solo.)
Flying two to three lessons per day (mostly three) and studying for exams in between made the learning process streamlined. Having the bonus of being away from normal day-to-day life made focusing on flying my only priority for that period of time.

As most working folk work eight hours a day, by comparison, a full-time student flies for three and studies for three. It is not really a lot to ask of oneself especially considering the amount of fun one is having whilst learning.

Eugene, to my liking, emphasised the importance of safety: from the all-important weather forecast, the pre-flight inspections, right through to the actual flying itself. I was taught how to fly in great weather but we also tackled a few not-so-perfect days which was great for my confidence in my new-found skills.

(Picture: Learning to land and take off safely from a narrow, grass field.)

I do understand that being a full-time student may not be an option for everyone reading this. However, if it is at all possible, I could not recommend it more.

Along with the flying and studying, being a full-time student meant I was around aviation and its characters every day. With my background as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, I was able to assist in the diagnosis of a small electrical issue on one gentleman's aircraft and in return we were offered lunch.

  (Picture: Lunch in the hanger after locating an electrical gremlin.)

The lessons and the steep learning curve, along with much practice, continued up until my flight test on the 2nd of May. I passed and finally joined the ranks of recreational pilots.

Now that works out to be just 16 days. However, if you disregard the two days I couldn't fly due to bad weather, it was actually only 14.

Since returning home I have been able to continue flying with confidence, feeling quite safe whilst picking the better than average days to get airborne. I did the wise thing and took a local instructor with me on my first flight in my own aircraft, not only to have an experienced pilot handy if required, but more so to show me around my new home airfield, the new training area and to point out any of the neighbours I need to avoid to help keep the piece between the airfield and the locals. (Cheers, Anthony from Lethbridge.)

I've even managed to take my son, my dad and my mum for a fly.

(Picture: Checking the oil level as part of my pre-flight just before taking mum for a fly.)

At the time of writing, it's about a month since my first flying lesson and
two weeks since my flight test. I now have just over 40 hours in my log book and have booked in with Eugene at Freedom Flight to return next week to take the next step and learn how to navigate cross-country.

Article by Curtis Oliver.

Hi, my name is Debbie and I have just turned 61. Six years ago I was given 5 years to live, resulting in an horrendous 6 month course of chemotherapy. I was so ill, for so long, that honestly, I didn't give anything else another thought, but after I'd reached the end and started to regain my strength and feel human again, I began thinking about "living" my life instead of just plodding along, aimlessly, through the days. Eight years prior to all that, I had dabbled very briefly in Gyrocopters, but when my then instructor, Geoff Jamieson was killed, I gave it away. Chemo brought back those memories, probably because it was a time when I felt really 'alive'. I knew then that I'd resume flying but this time I wanted my own plane . I purchased my darling "Scout", a bright yellow Skyfox Gazelle and began flying again in earnest. I had a few instructors before I finally rang Eugene to ask him if he'd take me on for my final year or so. Chemo had left my nerves raw and shattered my confidence, so I was still in a vulnerable position when Eugene took me on. I loved my little plane and knew it inside and out but I still held some crippling fears of things I still didn't quite understand. Unlike a car you cannot pull over if things get tough. Eugene had the right amount of empathy for my situation without letting me use it as a crutch. He gently pushed me forward and refined my style, filling in the gaps in my knowledge and ability. Eugene can be firm but when I needed a hug or a cry, he was there with a kind word.The relationship between a student and their instructor is quite unique and you form a bond that, for me, will stay with me for life. Eugene had to be confessor, teacher, friend, ally, parent, and much more and he literally holds your safety and your life in his capable hands, with his 20,000 hours of experience. It has taken me longer than most to go solo, which happened two weeks ago, but it has been a terrific ride, and what a day. After laughing my way back to the hangar on landing, I jumped out of the plane and into Eugene's arms and laughed and cried with sheer joy. Eugene videoed it all for me and I watch it everyday. I cannot believe that I can now fly and land a plane quite competently, and have completed all the tasks required of a student pilot. What an amazing feat, going from someone who could not even keep my eyes open in the beginning, and would curl up in a foetal position with terror, to the big day every student longs for - "Solo". I persisted though and now it is all paying off. An instructor is many things but some stand out above the rest. Eugene has a good blend of compassion, kindness, strength, firmness, understanding and patience. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him as an instructor for absolutely anyone wanting to experience the ups and downs and roundabouts of flight.

I met Eugene back in 2012 for my first lesson and had no idea what to expect. I was recommended by a friend who said that Eugene was the best in the business. That friend proved correct. Eugene taught me to actually fly!! With over 20,000 hrs and a wealth of aviation knowledge, I knew the whole time that I was in good hands. I’ll never forget my first introductory flight/the time I went solo and the variety of lessons that tested my skills, resulting in an RA Aus Pilot Certificate.

I thoroughly recommend Freedom Flight. The use of Georgetown and Devonport Airports, offer a great learning environment. Along with support instructors such as Phil Evans (who is likewise a great instructor and one that I also contribute to gaining my licence) and the companies competitive pricing make it an unbeatable experience.


I’ve been coming to Freedom Flight Flying School for 7 years because I enjoy flying in Tasmania so much. I’ve had instruction in the USA, but in my opinion the school here is hard to beat. I’ve had float plane and tail dragger instruction (soled in both!) and other instruction in the wide range of aircraft available thru Freedom Flight. Most of my flight instruction has been in the Australian built Jabiru airplane with it’s 100 kt. cruise which is great for training plus country flights over Tassie‘s incredible scenery.

Eugene Reid is a world class instructor and I highly recommend him to anyone wishing to learn to fly or to improve their flying skills.

David Alford
Arizona, USA

I first flew with Eugene January 2009, having previous military, GA and RAAus flying hours logged. Curiosity to fly the Jabiru led me to ask Eugene for the opportunity. Being confident with a professional attitude to safety in aviation was paramount for my subsequent hire & fly activities with Freedom Flight. Aviation experience is in abundance at Freedom Flight, and is well conveyed by Eugene to all of his pilot clients.

Shane Nolan

Almost 4 years ago I'd never flown on an aircraft mostly because of my fear for the unknown. I decided to take a trip on a Jet Airliner to Melbourne to experience flight and it wasn't so bad. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life at that point little did I know that was about to change. I was flipping through the news paper casually one day and seen an advertisement "YOU can be a pilot in just 20 hours!". I have NO IDEA what ran through my head at that point to even think of piloting an aircraft but my mind was telling me it was the right thing to do. I picked up my phone and dialed Freedom Flight to book my first Trial Introductory Flight. November 7th 2009 came a lot faster than I thought. I was introduced and greeted warmly by the hand by Eugene Reid. I was then introduced to the aircraft I'll never forget the Jabiru. Thoughts that ran through my mind were "That's the smallest aeroplane I've ever seen!". The same reaction hit when I'd first got introduced to the cockpit. "There is so many dials! will I ever learn this?". I guess self confidence was a bit lacking back then. We departed Runway 24 to track towards Launceston for a scenic flight. The moment of becoming airborne so quickly and the ground disappearing knowing you just can't pull over like a car. My eyes then turned to the gorgeous blue Tamar River approaching us and the beautiful sandy beaches out to our right. My eyes lit up and something inside me started buzzing and a strong overwhelming emotion arose. It was like finally unlocking a treasure chest and revealing the treasure but for me it was a treasure for the passion of flying. I knew then I wasn't going to stop and I continued to undertake flying training. Time passed on and I was studying hard learning theory like "How does an aircraft fly?", obviously "The engine" was the wrong answer!. Times did get hard but with help and perseverance I got through it. I was continuing to broaden my knowledge and come to better terms with understanding theoretical and practical parts of flying. I remember it like yesterday the heart pounding moment where and instructor lets their student spread their wings, my first solo flight..... May 18th 2010, we pulled up to a full stop and I knew what was happening "I've had enough I'm out!" said Eugene. He got out of the aircraft and said "Off you go 3 solo circuits by yourself". Me? SOLO?!. I got even more nervous and adrenalin starting pumping through me backtracking the runway to line up for take off. Finally... I was ready, FULL POWER! 55kts rotate!. Did that jabiru ever get airborne so quickly!, we shot up into the sky and gazed skyward what an AMAZING FEELING!. My landing was nice and smooth then I applied for power for 2 more circuits. After my last landing I taxied back, shut down the aeroplane and stepped out to a happy CFI. "Congratulations!" said Eugene with a big hand shake. I did it! I really did!. From then on it was more solo flights, more intense theory training to prep my knowledge of the jabiru, rules of the air, meteorology, aircraft engines etc. all hard to study for but is so interesting to know and crucial. Exams were passed then flying aeronautical experience had been met for an actual flight test. Throughout the experience leading towards my flight test I'd taken a liking to the jets flying overhead all the time. It was like destiny, something you know you've got to do and WILL happen. I knew I was born to fly the jets and more determined than ever to pursue that. January 8th 2011, Flight Test day. I arrived early and with my nerves rattling I walked down to the aircraft hangar and started to pre flight the aeroplane. As relaxed as Eugene made me feel flying with him all the time I hardly made eye contact, I was so nervous... We jumped in prepared to go and started it up. We taxied out and became airborne off Runway 06. Shorty after with no runway remaining was given a simulated EFATO, straight away I lowered the nose and trimmed for best glide speed of 65kts and picked a field within 30 degrees of the nose. The best field was in front of me so I applied full flap when I knew I'd make it and got told to go around as I'd passed the first part. The rest of the test was included with steep turns, stalls, incipient spins, forced landings at 3,000ft and general flying and situational awareness. The last bit of flying was just a normal circuit and landing on Runway 31 the 300m uphill grass strip. We taxied back and shut down the engine. Eugene didn't speak and exited the aircraft, my heart was pounding even more "Did I pass?". "You Pass!" then given a hand shake and hug. After all that hard effort it all paid off!. Thanks To Eugene and also the help of instructor Phil Evans for help with theory on the side, I HIGHLY recommend Freedom Flight to anyone. The pricing of the aircraft helped me afford flying, the size of the aircraft gave me extremely good aircraft handling skills and the environment gave me a positive and enjoyable approach into my flying career. Thanks to Freedom Flight I'm only 21 and I have gained a Privates Pilots License at a different school that does GA flying and been accepted into Australian Wings Academy on the Gold Coast to complete my Commercial Pilot Training. I currently have 3 out of 7 theory subjects completed and 188 total flying hours and will gain my Commercial license this year. I enjoyed being instructed so much I plan to take up instructing and become a Grade 3 Flying Instructor at the academy and teach others what I enjoy so much before moving forward for a career with the airlines. I'll never forget the amazing experience that kick started my career... IF I CAN DO IT SO CAN YOU! :-)

Donna Russell

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