courses_banner.jpg (56157 bytes)

Email Rob Avery

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for ATPL course information on remote learning via the Internet.

Guidance 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 ?

Answer: 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 other countries.

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 order ?

Answer: 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 ?

Answer: 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 ?

Answer: 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 ?

Answer: CASA may ask questions on conventional cockpits as well as the B767 (EFIS) cockpit.

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 ?

Answer: No to both !!

Question 7. Do I need DAP’s in the ATPL exams ?

Answer: 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 ?

Answer: 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 here.

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 ?

Answer: 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 Licence.

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) website. -

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 opinion/understanding

Home   |   ATPL Courses  |  Pilot Training Books (All licence levels)  |  Training editorials
Latest Product ReleasesAircraft quiz page  | Internet ATPL Courses
FAQ | Training Specials | Conversion to Australian ATPL