1. Non School Time

    09/12/2022 - 27/01/2023
  2. MTB – Cross Country

    9 February - 12 February
  3. MTB – Cannonball Festival & National

    13 February - 18 February
  4. ACER Scholarship Tests – For 2024 Enrolment

    25 February @ 8:00 am - 12:00 pm AEDT


  • We’re Hiring! // Mountain Bike Academy

    We have multiple part-time positions available for support staff in our MTB Academy Program. 🔵 MOUNTAIN BIKE PROGRAM SUPERVISOR 🔵 ————— We are seeking a MTB Supervisor to provide care and support to students participating in the SMGS MTB Program. 🟠 MOUNTAIN BIKE PROGRAM ACADEMIC SUPERVISOR 🟠 ————— We are seeking 2 x MTB […]
  • We’re Hiring! – School Receptionist

    We’re Hiring! // School Receptionist – Snowy Mountains Grammar School is seeking a dynamic and energetic School Receptionist to join their team in 2022. For all the details or to apply online, please visit our website: School Receptionist
  • SMGS 2022 P&F AGM

    The 2022 P&F AGM will be held on Tuesday 22 November 2022 at 6:00 pm via Zoom. Details about the 2022 P&F AGM can be viewed here: AGM Notice 2022
  • We’re Hiring! – IT Support Officer

    WE’RE HIRING! // Exciting opportunity for an IT support professional to join our growing support team in 2022. Recent graduates are also encouraged to apply. For all the details or to apply online, please visit our website 👇👇👇 IT Officer

Aviation Program

//Aviation Program

Take Flight, at SMGS!


The Aviation Program gives Snowy Mountains Grammar School students the opportunity to soar, as they are introduced to the exciting world of flying. The program offers three course “phases” across fixed-wing aircraft and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (quadcopter drones), the program is one of the few provided by an Australian high school. Each level of learning offers students a new and stimulating way to engage with their education, through the application of maths, physics, and geography principles in a real-life setting.

SMGS’s Aviation Program is perfect for students interested in persuing flying for both recreational or commercial purposes. It is founded on the desire to foster responsibility and integrity in students, provide enhanced career opportunities to school-leavers, and inspire dynamic, cross-curricular learning opportunities. The Aviation Program is open to students from years 7-12. Due to the nature of the activity, the Aviation Program’s courses are conducted both during and after school hours.


About the Program

SMGS offers five courses within three phases to students, three of the courses result in commercial qualifications. Those courses providing commercial qualifications are externally assessed to maintain an exemplary teaching standard, and ensure that each student receives an internationally-recognised qualification.


  • To provide students with enough information, much of which is not readily available in the public domain, to make an informed decision with regard to a possible career in the aviation industry;
  • to provide students with the opportunity to gain full commercial qualifications either as an RA-Aus pilot and/or a commercial RPA (drone) pilot;
  • to provide students with the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage when applying for post-school positions within the aviation industry; and
  • to provide students with the opportunity to further explore their interest in aviation.


  • Aviation theory components are studied in allotted times in a student’s normal academic timetable.
  • Flying training for piloted aircraft is mainly conducted on weekends and during holiday periods. A few training places are available during school time for students who have displayed the ability to keep up with their academic and aviation theory programs.
  • Non-piloted (drone) flying training is undertaken in after-school lessons.


  • School oval – drones (non-piloted aircraft training)
  • Hatchery Bay (non-piloted aircraft) – flying training and assessment
  • Jindabyne Randall Community Aerodrome – piloted aircraft.


  • Students in Years 7-10
  • Students in Years 11-12 (external)

Program record:

  • 1 student flying the 787 Dreamliner – Qantas
  • 1 student flying F/A18 Hornet – Air Force
  • 1 student flying Airbus A320 – Air Arabia
  • 2 students flying the Airbus A320 – Jetstar
  • 3 students presently completing their commercial pilot qualifications
  • 12 students have qualified for the RePL (drone) Licence.

Phase 1

All students are required to undertake the ‘Introduction to Aviation’ course which covers aspects of flying both remotely-piloted aircraft (drones) and pilot-manned aircraft. The aim of this course is to establish:

  • a student’s general interest in aviation;
  • the choice of stream (piloted aircraft or non-piloted aircraft) they wish to follow; and
  • the suitability of a student to pursue further aviation studies – this incorporates self-discipline, attitude and commitment.

The duration of the course is approximately six months.

Phase 2

RA-Aus Pilot Certificate

(Fixed-wing manned aircraft)

RePL Preliminary Certificate

(Remotely-piloted aircraft – drones)

Phase 3

RA-Aus Cross-Country and Passenger Carrying Endorsement

(Fixed-wing manned aircraft)

RePL Assessment and Qualification

(Remotely-piloted aircraft – drones)

Instructor Profiles

Phil Ryrie – SMGS

The SMGS Aviation Program and all associated school-based learning is facilitated by Mr Phil Ryrie. Mr Ryrie is a passionate aviation enthusiast and is the Head of the SMGS School of Aviation. Mr Ryrie has had considerable experience and exposure to both commercial and general aviation training environments. He is a qualified RePL instructor and assessor.

Martin Hughes – Alpine Aviation Australia
Mr Martin Hughes is the owner/operator of Alpine Aviation Australia, a Recreational Aviation Australia flight training facility based at Jindabyne airfield, and the school’s Chief Flying Instructor. Mr Hughes is a former RAF pilot and flying instructor with over 4000 hours of flying experience.  Alpine Aviation Australia offers flying instruction for beginners of all ages, conversions from general aviation or type, flight reviews, instructor training and Recreational Aviation Australia endorsements.

John Fleming – FPV Australia
Mr John Fleming is the CEO and Chief Instructor of FPV Australia. Mr Fleming’s company has manufactured custom-built drones since the early 2000s, and is a pioneer and leader within the industry. He is dedicated to providing safety-focused, quality training. Mr Fleming trains RPA pilots for both public and private organisations. FPV provides SMGS students with both the RePL and Aeronautical Radio Operators certifications.


Program Success

The qualifications achieved by students within the SMGS Aviation Program provides students with immense professional opportunity. Possible career paths include Commercial Pilot, Flying Instructor, Airport Operations Manager, Australian Defence Force Pilot, Marketing Content Creator, Infrastructure Inspector, and Videographer. The SMGS Aviation Program regularly provides students with the opportunity to engage with professionals in these areas.

Graduates of the Aviation Program have pursued further study via the University of New South Wales’ School of Aviation, and the Australian Defence Force Academy. Others have commenced pilot cadetships with commercial airlines, such as Qantas, Virgin Airlines, Regional Express, Sharp Airlines, and Air Arabia. Aviation can provide a lucrative career-path for those passionate about the industry.


Recent posts about Aviation

Take flight at SMGS! Aviation Program update for 2021

By | February 23rd, 2021|Categories: Academies, Aviation, Co-Curricular, School of Aviation, Senior School, Uncategorised|

Take flight at SMGS!   Open to students in Years 7-12, the SMGS Aviation Program has been updated for 2021. It now offers three “phases” and five courses across fixed-wing aircraft and Remotely Piloted [...]

SMGS Students get ready to take flight with the RA-Aus Pilot Certificate

By | November 23rd, 2020|Categories: Academic, Aviation, Boarding, Co-Curricular|

It's been a busy term for our budding pilots, below, our Head of Aviation, Mr Phil Ryrie provides an update on how some of the students in the Aviation program have been progressing over this [...]

Highlights from the SMGS 2019 Aviation Program

By | December 11th, 2019|Categories: Academic, Aviation, School of Aviation, Senior School|

Congratulations to the seven students who recently undertook their trial instruction flight (TIF) in preparation for possible commencement of flight training. Highlights from the SMGS 2019 Aviation Program include: - 2 students from over 400 [...]

Six SMGS School of Aviation Students obtain qualifications

By | April 8th, 2019|Categories: Academies, Aviation, School of Aviation, Senior School|

Program innovation and expansion This year has seen the expansion of the aviation program, both in student numbers and the number of courses offered. Presently, twenty-eight students are enrolled in the program and six courses [...]

SMGS inaugural drone flying day

By | February 19th, 2018|Categories: Academies, Alumni, Aviation, Boarding, Co-Curricular, School of Aviation, Senior School, Technology|

Friday the 16th February saw the inaugural flying training day for students undertaking the RePL (drone) licence course. The day was conducted by John Flemming (Chief Flying Instructor – FPV Australia) and Phil Ryrie (Head [...]

Drone Course Set for Take-off at SMGS

By | September 29th, 2017|Categories: Academies, Aviation, Boarding, Co-Curricular, School of Aviation, Senior School, Technology|

In its 10th year of operation, SMGS’ School of Aviation is proud to announce the addition of the Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) Course (Quadcopter Drone). The course joins a stellar line-up of options boasted by [...]