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About us

Following the success of our inaugural program in 2012, Virgin Australia continues to change the face of the Australian aviation landscape through the program in partnership with Flight Training Adelaide (FTA).

The Virgin Australia Pilot Cadet Program is a unique opportunity to play an integral role in shaping the evolution of this iconic brand, and to become a part of a dynamic company that genuinely believes and demonstrates our people are our greatest asset.

We seek candidates who are motivated and committed to excel through a challenging and demanding training program. Successful Cadet’s will demonstrate well established analytical skills, high attention to detail, well developed problem solving ability together with a commitment to achieving high results.

Commencing a career as a Commercial Pilot requires a high level of dedication and passion. In return for this you will be placed in a world class training program and will receive the benefits of training at an internationally recognised flight training school.

To assist you with the transition to a career as a Pilot, you will be assigned a mentor to provide you with guidance and advice. Your mentor has been selected from our highly experienced & high performing Pilot group.

Once you successfully complete the program, you can look forward to an exciting career as a pilot with the Virgin Australia team

 We recommend you review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) prior to commencing an application to ensure you understand the requirements of the course and role of a Virgin Australia Pilot Cadet. 

To hear what our previous cadets thought of their Cadet Program experience, view the below video:


Please see below for the course outline of the Virgin Australia Pilot Cadetship. 

Length of the program

Our 53-54 week residential ab-initio course is conducted by our training partners Flight Training Adelaide, based in Parafield Airport, SA. 

Ab-initio Syllabus Content

Our course is designed to meet CASA’s requirements to achieve a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) Multi Engine Command Instrument Rating (ME CIR) as well as the ground theory subjects for an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) and a Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) Qualification program. Syllabus content can be found below. 

182 hours flying comprising:

  • 167 hours single engine (97 hours dual, 70 hours solo)
  • 24 hours Multi Engine Dual

60 Hours simulator training comprising:

  • 36 hours DA40/DA42 simulator
  • 24 hours (12PF/ 12PM) ATR simulator

809 hours ground theory training comprising:

  • 478 hours towards a Commercial Pilot License and Instrument Rating
  • 286 hours towards an ATPL
  • 45 hours Mass Briefs

You will also receive the following academic qualifications:

  • AVI50215 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot License)
  • AVI50415 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating)
  • AVI60216 Advanced Diploma of Aviation (Pilot in Command) 


FTA employs very highly qualified full time Instructors.

Ground Theory Instructors have a variety of backgrounds that are perfectly suited to the subjects they teach. Instructors come from either an airline and/or military background providing an unparalleled depth of experience.

Flight training is delivered using Grade 2 and Grade 1 Flight Instructors with a ratio of 3 students per Instructor.

All Jet Simulator Instructors have extensive airline commercial operational experience and have held a training role within their respective airlines.


During the Single Engine phase of training during your CPL phase and basic IFR phase, you will be operating a Diamond DA40 aircraft

During the Twin Engine phase of training you will be flying the Diamond DA42 Twinstar aircraft.

A Mudry CAP 10 aircraft will be used to conduct the UPRT phase of training


On completing the course you will have gained the following qualifications from CASA and ASQU

Ab-initio Program

  • CASA Commercial Pilot License (CPL)
  • CASA Multi engine Command Instrument Rating (ME CIR)
  • CASA Theory credits for an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL)
  • CASA Crew Cooperation (MCC) certificate
  • AVI50215 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot License)
  • AVI50415 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating)
  • AVI60216 Advanced Diploma of Aviation (Pilot in Command) 

Candidates are encouraged to research the Aviation industry, Virgin Australia and Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) websites to ensure you are appropriately prepared for the extensive interview and selection process.

This process involves:

  • An initial application submitted online via our Careers page
  • Short-listed candidates will be invited to record an application video
  • Candidates who meet the requirements will be invited to attend an Assessment Day. The Assessment Day will include various activities including group activities and one on one interviews
  • If your application is progressed from the Assessment Day you will be required to complete Flight Screening, including manipulation skills and spatial awareness
  • Successful candidates will be invited to complete psychometric and cognitive testing
  • Progressed candidates will be invited to attend a Panel Interview
  • Reference checks
  • Final management review of applicants
  • Medical assessment
  • ASIC application and eligibility confirmation

Please note that the steps outlined above are subject to change and may vary for each candidate.

Terms of Employment and Remuneration

All Cadets are employed directly by Virgin Australia and paid a competitive remuneration package for the duration of the Cadet Training Program. This remuneration package is to assist with FTA accommodation and food costs. Our Cadets will also have access to benefits which include access to the Virgin Australia staff travel program and assistance with obtaining your Commercial Pilot’s Licence.

Following successful completion of the Cadet Training Program and meeting all the requirements of the role, you will be offered a permanent role within the Virgin Australia group and will be employed under the applicable pilots’ agreement.

Throughout the Cadet Program you will be assigned a Virgin Australia group Pilot Mentor to provide you with non-technical support to assist you with your transition into your career as a Commercial Pilot.

Further details regarding terms of employment and remuneration will be provided throughout the recruitment process.  

Please see the below frequently asked questions in relation to Virgin Australia’s Pilot Cadetship. If you have further questions, we encourage you to contact us via

Application Process

When do applications open for the Virgin Australia Pilot Cadet Program?

Applications for the program are currently closed. Please check back for when applications reopen.

When will training courses start?

In 2019, the Virgin Australia Cadet program will have two intakes. Courses are expected to start in January and July 2019.

Is there an advanced program this year?

Virgin Australia recently lowered its minimum hours requirements and therefore will only be offering ab-initio courses in 2019. To view direct entry requirements please see the Pilot Recruitment page

What are the minimum requirements I need to apply for the Pilot Cadet Program?

  • Minimum age of 18 years
  • Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Passport holder with a minimum of 18 months validity
  • Completion of High School with high level achievements in the Sciences (preferably Physics), Advanced Maths and English (if these subjects were not undertaken at school, an equivalent bridging course with high level achievements must have been completed)
  • Ability to successfully obtain an ASIC (Aviation Security Identification Card)
  • None to limited flying experience up to Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL)
  • A strong passion for aviation and a career as a pilot
  • A commitment to and excellent understanding of the requirements and obligations of the Pilot Cadet program.

What working rights must I hold to be eligible for the program?

All applicants must be an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident. For further details regarding working rights in Australia we recommend you visit the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and citizenship website. Please note Virgin Australia cannot offer sponsorship or advice on gaining working rights.

Do I need to have any flying experience to apply for the Pilot Cadet program?

Flying experience is not a requirement; however, some flying experience would be valuable up to PPL level. If you hold a Commercial Pilot’s Licence or higher you will not be eligible for the Ab Initio program.

However, you must hold a Commercial Pilot’s Licence to be eligible for the Advanced Cadet program.

I have completed Year 12, however am unsure if my achievements in Science, Maths and English are high enough. Can you provide advice?

Due to the variations in the national education syllabus we are unable to provide specific feedback to individuals on level of achievement or subjects undertaken at school. Based on the data provided by our training provider FTA, given their extensive experience in training pilot cadets, the ideal candidate profile includes high level achievements in Advanced level Maths, English and the sciences (preferably Physics) as these subjects build a foundation for developing good cognitive ability.

I have completed Year 12 and did not study Science, Maths and/or English, should I complete a bridging course and which one should I study to increase my eligibility?

To apply for the Pilot Cadet Program applicants must be able to demonstrate high level achievements in Advanced Maths, English and the sciences (preferably Physics). We are not able to provide information about what type of bridging course to complete due to the variations in the national education syllabus. However, you will be required to show completion of these subjects if not undertaken at school.

I am at High School and would like advice on subjects to select; can you tell me what I should study?

You should seek advice from your school teacher/s or career counsellors who can help regarding which subjects to select. The ideal Pilot Cadet candidate profile includes high level achievements in Advanced Maths, English and the sciences (preferably Physics) as these subjects build a foundation for developing good cognitive ability.

Do you only accept applications for the Pilot Cadet program online?

Yes, only applications received online will be considered.

Who will be involved in the selection process?

The selection process will include representatives from the Flight Operations Department, Pilot Cadet Program Working Group, Virgin Australia’s People Team and Flight Training Adelaide.

How long will the selection process take?

The selection process is expected to take 8 - 12 weeks from the close of advertising.

You will receive notification if you have been short listed to participate in our assessment process within four to six weeks of the application close date.

Can I ask for feedback on my application if I am not progressed throughout the recruitment process?

Due to the high interest and number of applications we receive, it is not possible to provide individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants throughout our process. We encourage candidates to reflect on their application and review our program requirements.

Is the course available as a full-time course only, or could I take all or parts of it on a part-time basis?

This is a full-time course only.

Can I complete a shorter course if I already have a PPL?

No. All Cadet Pilots on the Pilot Cadet program will complete the full course of training. Recognition of prior learning may be recognised, however it is an expectation that candidates will start the course at the same level.


How long will I spend away from home during the Program?

You will spend approximately 53-54 weeks with our training partners Flight Training Adelaide, based in Parafield Airport, SA to complete the ab-initio program.

Do I have to live onsite at FTA during the program?

Yes, it is a requirement for student Cadets to live on site due to the high study demands benefits gained through contact with other students at FTA. In FTA's extensive experience in training successful cadets they have found this environment to be the most conducive to the results required of cadets.

Will I have the opportunity to go home during the Program?

During the program you will have the opportunity for days off. This is, however, dependent on the training schedule, course progress and personal circumstances.

What type of qualifications will I receive from successfully completing the Pilot Cadet program?

  • CASA Commercial Pilot License (CPL)
  • CASA Multi engine Command Instrument Rating (ME CIR)
  • CASA Theory credits for an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL)
  • Virgin Australia Regional Airline specific Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) program.
  • AVI50215 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot License)
  • AVI50415 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating)
  • AVI60216 Advanced Diploma of Aviation (Pilot in Command)

Will I be guaranteed a role with Virgin Australia at the end of the Pilot Cadet program?

Pilot Cadets, who successfully meet all requirements of the course and meet all the Virgin Australia Behaviour Standards and Terms of Employment, will be offered a permanent role as a pilot.

Where will I be based at the end of the Program?

Please note that Virgin Australia reserves the right to allocate your base at any pilot base within the Virgin Australia network due to operational requirements. The current pilot bases are Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Flexibility to relocate to any pilot base is essential to be considered for the role.

What is the total cost of the training and how much is the cadet expected to contribute towards training?

The FTA program allows a successful cadet to access Vet Student Loans (VSL) to fund the program. VSL can fund up to $76,125 per qualification i.e. CPL. MECIR, ATPL & MCC, but it should be noted that in 2018 an individual can only access a maximum of $102,392. Further information on VSL can be found on the Department of Education and Training website .

A cost breakdown of the course is as follows:

  • AVI50215 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot License) - $74,990
  • AVI50415 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating) - $27,840
  • AVI60216 Advanced Diploma of Aviation (Pilot in Command) $16,714
  • UPRT – $1,760
  • Uniform - $832
  • 54 weeks full board accommodation - $24,316.74

It should be noted that VSL funding is a stand-alone funding arrangement and if you have already accessed any VSL funding, the figure must be disclosed during the selection process along with an applicable CHESSN number. 

What career progression can I expect in Virgin Australia?

Once you have the minimum requirements required for other Pilot roles within the Virgin Australia Group you will be eligible to apply for other opportunities.

Am I bonded for a period of time?

Following an offer of permanent employment post training, you will work for Virgin Australia and will be bonded for three years. Cadets who resign within this period will be required to repay the outstanding amount (pro rata) of their training.

What if I fail a component of the program?

Flight Training Adelaide Pty Ltd. is an experienced training provider who will endeavour to ensure you receive the appropriate development to meet the required standard. If you require additional training to meet these standards this will be discussed at the time, and a tailored development program may be produced.

If you fail to meet the requirements of the course, your place on the Virgin Australia Cadet Program will be reviewed alongside the Terms of Employment outlined in your contract.

What if I chose to withdraw from the program?

Cadets who withdraw during the program will be required to repay the training costs that have been incurred at the point of resignation, for training funded through VSL, a cadet that withdraws during the program will have incurred debt to the point past the last census date.

Assessment and Selection Process

If I am successful in being invited to attend an assessment centre what will I need to bring?

You will be given full details of what you need to bring with you prior to your attendance at an Assessment Day.

What if I am unable to attend my Assessment Day?

Assessment Days will be held on specific days at each port. If you are unable to attend the Assessment Day at your closest port you may have the opportunity to attend at a different port. This however will be at your own cost and will be subject to Assessment Day availability. If you cannot attend an Assessment Day you will have to withdraw your application and reapply for the following year.

Please note that there are many stages to the recruitment process and you will be required to make yourself available for each assessment. .

Are there expenses involved in participating in the selection process?

There is no fee associated with submitting an application, however you may be asked to pay for the costs associated with obtaining a CASA Class 1 Medical and a Pre-employment Drug & Alcohol Screen, this will be discussed with you as required.

Cadets successfully progressing to advanced screening will be required to pay $200 (AUD) to undertake the advanced testing portion of the assessment process.

Will Virgin Australia assist with travel and expenses during the recruitment process?

If you are invited to attend an Assessment Day, you will be required to make your own arrangements to attend, at your own cost.

What should I wear for the selection process?

We are looking for people who will role model Virgin Australia brand and uniform standards. Therefore, we expect candidates to attend wearing appropriate business attire.

How do I obtain CASA Class 1 Medical and when should I do this?

While you are not required to hold a CASA Class 1 Medical prior to being selected on to the Pilot Cadet program it would assist in preventing delays in processing your application, should you be successful.

To commence the Virgin Australia Pilot Cadet program you will be required to hold a valid CASA Class 1 medical.

The CASA Class 1 medical process take approx. 3 hours and involves; the application for an Aviation Reference Number (ARN), a medical examination, an audiogram, a blood test, an ECG and an ophthalmic report. These tests are conducted by Designated Aviation Medical Examiners (DAME and a DAO or DAEE). To find more information about the medical examinations, please go to the CASA website. To find your nearest DAME please go to the CASA Website where a search can be made within your particular state.

I have a medical condition and am concerned I may not be eligible for a Class 1 medical, how do I find out more?

To enter training, a cadet must hold a valid Class 1 Medical Certificate. If you are unsure whether your medical condition may affect your ability to hold a Class 1 Medical Certificate, contact a DAME for professional advice. Information about medical certification can be obtained from the CASA Website.

Can I still qualify if I wear glasses and/or contact lenses?

The wearing of glasses and/or contact lenses does not automatically prevent you from obtaining a Class 1 medical certificate. Full details of the eyesight requirements are also available at the CASA website.

I have a criminal record. Am I eligible for the Cadet Training Program?

If you have been convicted, found guilty or subject to proceedings for criminal or motor vehicle offences, this may affect your eligibility to be issued with an ASIC. Employment with Virgin Australia will be conditional on being eligible to hold an ASIC and if you fail to be issued with an ASIC or authority to hold an ASIC is withdrawn, withdrawal from the program or termination of your employment may result.

If you have been cautioned, warned or convicted of a criminal offence (this could include traffic or parking offences) we suggest you check whether you will be able to obtain an ASIC by visiting the CASA website.

If I am unsuccessful for this program can I apply to future programs?
If you are unsuccessful for this program, however meet all of the selection criteria, you are welcome to reapply for future programs. Opportunities to apply for future programs will be advertised on the Virgin Australia Careers website.

I am a current employee of the Virgin Australia group. If successful for this program will I be seconded to the training provider for the duration of my flight training and be employed under the terms and conditions of the Cadet Pilot program?

The aim of the Pilot Cadetship is to commence a long-term career as a Pilot with Virgin Australia. As such, the Cadet Pilot positions are offered on a permanent basis only. If you are offered and accept this position, you will be employed on a permanent basis under the terms and conditions of the Cadet Pilot contract.

I have read your FAQs and have some additional queries, who should I contact?

Please email with any additional queries.