Visiting International Pilots

Hello and thank you for taking the time to find out how to fly legally in Australia.

Visiting pilots are welcome to Australia but there are a few things the visiting pilot needs to know and abide by while flying in this country.


Australia is an independent country with its own aviation laws.

They are laws which help to protect the interests of its citizens, their safety and their property from those that would disregard them.

Australian Law requires all visiting and local pilots intending to fly aircraft administered by SAFA, to hold SAFA membership and the 3rd party insurance it includes, to legally and lawfully fly in Australia. The inclusive insurance is compulsory and not optional. It does not matter if you have travel insurance, or insurance from your home country, you must maintain SAFA membership whilst flying in Australia.

This insurance is required to keep Australia’s existing flying sites open to our pilots. City and State Governments require this insurance to be in place to protect their interest, otherwise they would shut down the flight sites.

The SAFA has to ensure Visiting Pilots have insurance coverage that can be accessed for claims in respect of accidents in Australia and in legal proceedings in Australia. The only feasible means of ensuring appropriate and accessible insurance is in place is for the SAFA to contract for such coverage throughout Australia.


Visiting pilots must be sure they have SAFA Visiting Pilot Membership (VPM), before flying in Australia.

It is preferable for this to be organised before arriving in Australia.

The VPM enables you to fly in Australia on your overseas qualification for the period of the membership and your short term visit.

Tandem or Passenger Carrying operations carried out by Visiting Pilot Members are strictly prohibited, unless you have undergone a Tandem or Passenger Carrying Flight Check with an SAFA Chief Flight Instructor (CFI) and have applied to, and received approval from the SAFA Operations Manager.

After receiving such approval, you may perform tandem or passenger carrying operations, however, instructional or commercial tandem operations or receiving payments for them are strictly prohibited.


The costs for SAFA Visiting Pilot Memberships are available for overseas pilots who hold a current license from their home country organisation, is shown in the website, under the ‘Membership Fees’ tab.

This form of membership is only renewable once in any 12 month period, from the date of the initial application.

Apply Online Here


  1. Under Australia law your pilot licence lapses if you are not a current financial member of the SAFA. Flying without a recognised pilot certificate is an offence against Federal law and is referred to CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) for prosecution by the Australian Federal Police.
  2. Visiting Pilot Members (VPM's) must comply with federal aviation law. The SAFA Operations manuals are a part of Federal Aviation Law.
  3. Access to most sites in Australia does not require local site/club membership with notable exceptions in Australia being Mystic at Bright ,Victoria and also Canungra, Queensland because access at these sites is through local leases or local ownership of land the high cost of which is reasonably borne by the users because without those revenues to support that costly investment, these sites would be non-existent. Some other sites may also require local club membership.
  4. Insurance costs money and the premiums paid by the SAFA are based on the SAFA's total membership numbers which includes the number of visiting pilots; the charge is the same per member whether they fly for one day of the year or every day of the year.
  5. The average Australian pilot pays for SAFA membership plus a compulsory Regional Development levy to fly in Australia and many would only fly 10 days a year. Most VPM's fly intensely when visiting and pay only the national fees. The administration of the membership of VPM's per head is as costly as that of a local pilot.