1. Week 1

    25 January @ 8:00 am - 29 January @ 5:00 pm AEDT
  2. Staff Day 1

    25 January @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm AEDT
  3. Australia Day

    26 January @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm AEDT
  4. Boarders Return

    27 January @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm AEDT
  5. Staff Day 2

    27 January @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm AEDT


  • SMGS Environment Committee Interviewed by ABC

    In September, members of the SMGS Environment Committee gathered to learn that they had been successful in their application for a grant from theFRRR and ABC Heywire. The student group is one of only 24 from across Australia who will share in over $180,000 of funding that will contribute to engaging youth in their local […]
  • SMGS named as Innovative Schools 2020 winner!

    We are extremely honoured to be named as an Innovative Schools 2020 winner for our work in reimagining our Kindergarten readiness program, Let’s Explore to provide our future learners with a meaningful and memorable transition program despite the current climate around COVID-19. To read The Educator’s media release and to view the full list of […]
  • Registrations now open! – ACER Scholarship Examination – for 2022 Enrolment

    Examinations for Years 7 to 11 Academic Excellence Scholarships will be held at Snowy Mountains Grammar School on the morning of Saturday 27 February 2021.   To learn more about Snowy Mountains Grammar School’s Academic Excellence Scholarships, visit:   SMGS’ Academic Excellence Scholarships for Years 7-11 2022 enrolment will open in 2021 after the […]
  • We’re Hiring – Multiple Positions

    It’s exciting times at Snowy Mountains Grammar School and there is no better time to join our multi-award-winning team. The following positions have just been advertised: Junior School Education Support Teaching Assistant IT Support Officer Boarding House Supervisor Junior School Music Teacher (Years K-6)

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 seven full courses 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 are 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. From 2019, the Aviation Program will be 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 seven courses to students, three of which 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.

Introductory Course – Introduction to Aviation Certificate
This course provides an introduction to SMGS Year 7 and 8 students, to the world flight. The Introduction to Aviation Certificate is an interactive theory-based course, with modules on airlines and aircraft, and the career opportunities available within the Aviation industry. Students also undertake a case study on the Boeing 747-400, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft.


Flight 1 – RA-Aus Pilot Certificate
This course offers students the opportunity to take to the skies! Training begins on the ground, in the SMGS classrooms. Students learn about the theory of flight, and are given the opportunity to hone their flying skills from the safety of the school’s flight simulator. Alpine Aviation Australia externally manages all of the SMGS Aviation Program’s flying and flight assessment. Students are encouraged to undertake 5 flying lessons, all of which are conducted in either the Jabiru J120-C or Jabiru J170-D. Both are modern, safety-first light-sports aircraft. Alpine Aviation Australia is located at Jindabyne Randall Community Aerodrome, a mere 5-minute drive from SMGS.

The Pilot Certificate qualifies SMGS students to fly within a radius of 25 nautical miles of the Jindabyne Randall Community Aerodrome and up to 10,000 feet above mean sea level, during daylight hours and in good visibility.


Flight 2 – RA-Aus Cross-Country Endorsement & Passenger Carrying Endorsement
As the final and most advanced flight course offered at SMGS, this course allows students the opportunity to build on their Pilot Certificate and further expand their aviation knowledge and skillset. Theory modules are conducted in the classroom at the school, and are externally assessed. This allows students to receive commercial qualifications, while ensuring that quality education and student safety remain paramount. Areas of study include Australian aviation law, navigation, meteorology, and flight planning. Students also have access to a flight simulator. Flying lessons and practical assessments are facilitated and conducted by Alpine Aviation Australia, out of Jindabyne Randall Community Aerodrome.

The Cross-Country endorsement authorises a pilot to fly throughout Australia, from most airfields (controlled airspace excluded).

RPA (Drone) 1 – Remotely Piloted Aircraft License
There is more to flying a drone than meets the eye! In this course, SMGS students undertake a thorough study of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), as well as other ancillary topics. Involving both theory and practical components, the Remotely Piloted Aircraft License (RePL) course introduces students to the engineering of the machine, aerodynamics, and motion. Concepts surrounding aspects of flight such as navigation, meteorology, and both Federal and State law are also covered. Students receive their qualification through an external provider. Their skill and knowledge are assessed against a national standard.
This course is perfect for those students who want to fly high, while keeping their feet firmly on the ground!


RPA (Drone) 2 – Aeronautical Radio Operators Certificate
The Aeronautical Radio Operators Certificate is a commercial course that allows students to become familiar with the procedures and equipment associated with communication in the air! The ability to correctly communicate via radio is a vital safety tool for any aviation enthusiast, and this course takes a hands-on approach to learning. Topics covered include radio set-up, legal requirements and responsibilities of radio operators, and the various procedures used in radio communication by the aviation industry. Emphasis is placed on learning how to maintain the radio set, place emergency calls, and manage a loss of radio communication during flight. Thus, this course is externally assessed to ensure safety standards are high, and quality control is maintained.


RPA (Drone) 3 – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Aerial Photography
Coming 2019!

For those interested in combining creativity and technology, the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Aerial Photography course provides the perfect combination of art and aviation! SMGS students are invited to develop their photography skills, as they apply to a Remotely Piloted Aircraft. This course involves an introduction to photography and image processing, as well as the application of those skills to the aerial camera. Students also learn about legislative requirements, and further develop their piloting skills.


RPA (Drone) 4 – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Aerial Videography
Coming 2019!
The Remotely Piloted Aircraft Aerial Videography course allows students to further diversify their portfolio. Building on previously acquired knowledge, they work through various modules and learn more about Remotely Piloted Aircraft, the aerial video camera set-up, and how to process content. In this course, imagery is captured on a DJI camera, and professional-grade software is used to create a final videography project. Once qualified, students are provided the opportunity to attend outdoor school events in an official capacity, and capture content for use on various media channels.


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 teacher at SMGS, and a passionate aviation enthusiast. He 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.

Martin Hughes – Alpine Aviation Australia
Mr Martin Hughes is the owner of Alpine Aviation Australia, and the school’s Chief Flight Instructor. Mr Hughes, is a former RAF pilot and trainer. He been flying since 1961, and has amassed thousands of hours of experience. Alpine Aviation Australia offers flying instruction for beginners of all ages, conversions from General Aviation or type, flight reviews, 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 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

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 [...]

SMGS Wins Innovative Schools Award for Second Year in a Row

By | September 4th, 2017|Categories: Academic, Academies, Aviation, Co-Curricular, Director of Junior School, Elite Snowsports Academy, Junior School, Let's Explore, Principal, Senior School, Snowsports|

Twenty-one years ago, Snowy Mountains Grammar School set out to offer a diverse range of opportunities, leading to the development of outstanding citizens equipped for an ever-changing world. Fast forward to 2017 and the school’s [...]