for those studying ATPL theory.
FAQ’s by those studying ATPL theory.
Question 1. What are the
credit time limits on my ATPL theory passes ?
A three year clock starts ticking the day you sit your
first ATPL theory exam, whether you pass it or not. Between then and the
end of the three year period you must have passed all seven exam subjects.
If you do this, you are awarded a “frozen ATPL”, and once you reach the
required flight experience for the issue of an Australian ATPL
(ie: 1, 500 hours total flight time, 100 hours night
experience, etc, etc), you may apply to CASA for issue of the Australian
ATPL licence. There is no flight test requirement, as there often is in
Should you NOT pass all seven exam subjects within the
three years since the first sitting, you will lose all credits, and you
must re-sit all subject areas, even recently passed subjects. The idea is
that you continue to sit and pass subjects in a scheduled way, something
that the airlines wish to see also.
Question 2. What subjects should be sat in what
I suggest to my students that they should do Navigation
first, Flight Planning second, and Performance and loading third. The
reason for this is that navigation builds knowledge required for Flight
Planning, and Flight Planning builds knowledge needed for Performance and
Load (ie: both based on B727 aircraft). Then any subject in any order. Time has shown that departure
from the above sequence can lead to a re-sit of some subjects.
Question 3. When will the
B767 replace the B727 for flight planning ?
The B767 was to be introduced some time ago, but
CASA has no actual planned introduction date in mind at the time of
writing (Mid 2007).
Question 4. What subject
elements are currently based on the B767 ?
Only the glass cockpit (ie: EFIS/FMS/Autothrottle) in
the Aerodynamics and Aircraft Systems examination, though if there is any
doubt as to which aircraft say a hydraulic theory question is referring
to, the B767 may be assumed.
Question 5. Some
commercially available text books on Aerodynamics and Aircraft systems
still feature information on conventional “round dial” (non-EFIS) flight
decks. Am I likely to be assessed on these, and therefore do I have to
know both cockpits ?
CASA may ask questions on conventional cockpits as well as the B767 (EFIS)
Question 6. The
Navigation syllabus specifies knowledge required of Omega VLF (ONS), and
Micro-wave Landing Systems (MLS). Are these still relevant, and will
they be assessed in the exam ?
No to both !!
Do I need DAP’s in the ATPL exams ?
No. They are required for the IREX exam though.
Question 8. I am trying
to study the ATPL on my own (not doing a formal course of instruction)
using the CASA reference book list for training guidance. Is this
possible for all topics ?
It is possible to pass some of the topics on your own, these being
Human Factors, Meteorology, and Air Law. The others require a fair bit
if guidance especially the calculation type exams of Navigation, Flight
Planning, Performance & Loading, and on Aerodynamics and Aircraft
Systems. RE-sitting exams is a fairly expensive excercise and can end up
costing more than a course of study if you fail an exam more than once.
At the end of the day there is no substitute for good training.
For in-depth information on the four most demanding
ATPL subjects, please go
Question 9. I have heard that
some people are by-passing the Australian syllabus by doing an ATPL course
in the USA, and then converting that licence to an Australian ATPL, by
doing the ATPL Law and CPL examinations. Is this a good move ?
If you intend to reside and fly in the USA, the answer
is yes. If you are looking for a job with an Australian Airline, you
should remember that:
About the third question you will likely be asked in
the airline interview will be “Why did you do a US licence, then return
immediately to Australia, without flying in the USA, then do a law exam to
gain an Australian licence”. You had better have a very plausible reason.
Remember that the Captains interviewing you will almost certainly have
passed the Australian Licence to get to where they are, and may not hold
your actions in high regard, and not have a high respect for the American
The airline technical interview and written exam will
be wide ranging, but based on the Australian ATPL syllabus. The US theory
syllabus is different from the Australian one, and may not have prepared
you to a standard required for successful airline entry here. Remember
that an ATPL pass may get you the interview, but only knowledge will get
you the job.
The current ICAO based Australian ATPL syllabus was
formed with input from the major airlines then in Australia. It is their
approved syllabus - naturally the one they accept ahead of all others.
The Australian syllabus is designed to give you a basic
understanding of systems, navigation, flight planning etc. Circumventing
the Australian syllabus/exams may not have prepared you well for the very
demanding airline induction training, and aircraft type endorsement if you
manage to get a job. This could leave you dangerously exposed if your
learn rate drops behind that of your classmates and the airlines demanding
expectations of you.
At the end of the day, you are the Captain of your own
destiny - it’s your call, but keep in mind that gaining any perceived
“quick- fix” ATPL theory solution, will remain with you for the rest of
your career, and you will continue to be judged (perhaps harshly) because
if it, especially at your initial airline entry point.
Question 10. I am an Australian Citizen - can I study and sit CASA
exams overseas ?
Answer: Not at the
time of writing (July 2007).
Question 11. What are the current exam fees for sitting
the CASA examinations ?
Answer: The schedule
of fees can be accessed at this Assessment Services Limited (ASL)
Question 12. Is it true that CASA exams are all
sat on computer ?
Answer: Yes. These are
called Cyber-exams, and can be sat at any of the following values, during
most weeks of the year. Adelaide Alice
Springs Ayers Rock Brisbane Broome Cairns Caloundra
Canberra Coffs Harbour Darwin Kalgoorlie Karratha Kununurra
Launceston Mackay Melbourne Mildura Mount Isa
Newcastle Nowra Nhulunbuy Perth Rockhampton Seymour Sydney Tamworth
Townsville Wagga Wagga.
Results are given to you on completion of each exam.
The above statements are the opinion and understanding of the
writer, and may not be relevant at time of viewing due to
legislative changes. The writer accepts no responsibly for actions
you may take, or decisions you may make, in response to the above