Air Transport Pilot Licence


Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) (1998) 61.700(3) (a) states “passed the aeronautical knowledge examination for the air transport pilot licence and the associated aircraft category rating” as one of the qualifications for the issue of an Air Transport Pilot Licence.


The ATPL theory exams, for both aeroplane and helicopter categories, respectively test the Aeronautical knowledge standards specified in CASR Part 61, Manual of Standards, Schedule 3.

Exam structure

In each (aeroplane and helicopter) ATPL exam, there are seven parts. Each part covers one or two aeronautical subject(s) detailed in the respective syllabus. Due to the syllabus scope for each part and the time involved, each part is examined separately. Thus each of the (aeroplane and helicopter) ATPL part-exams is an individual exam.

Requirement for a full ATPL pass credit

To be awarded a full ATPL exam credit, the candidate shall pass the 7 subject-parts of the ATPL examination within one ‘window’ (the prescribed period of time permitted). Once all subject-parts have been passed within one window, an ATPL theory credit is awarded to the candidate for that category, ATPL(A) or ATPL(H), which once awarded, is valid perpetually. If a candidate passes some, but not all subject-parts within a window (see Re-training period and window), then they must pass (or re-pass) additional subject-parts until all subject-parts are passed within one window to achieve a full ATPL theory credit.


  • A pass in a subject exam may only be held as a temporary pass until the candidate successfully completes the set of seven subject exams in the window period described above.
  • If all the seven subject exams are not passed within the defined period, the temporary pass(es) for individual subject-part exam(s) will progressively change status to expired at the end of the window.

Therefore candidates are strongly advised not to attempt any subject exam until they have undertaken comprehensive and satisfactory aeronautical knowledge training, required by the respective aeronautical knowledge syllabus. It is each candidate’s responsibility to plan their studies and exams so that they are completed within one window.

Subject exams

For both aeroplane and helicopters, the subject exam testing the syllabus section ‘Aircraft General Knowledge’ is examined under the title of ‘Aerodynamics & Aircraft Systems’, while that for ‘Flight Rules & Air Law’ is examined under the title of ‘Air Law’.

The following table illustrates the subject exams for the relevant ATPL licence, their respective exam code and the time currently permitted for the sitting.

Air Law
Aircraft Category: Aeroplane
Exam Code: AALW
Time: 1.5 hours

Human Factors
Aircraft Category: Aeroplane
Exam Code: AHUF
Time: 1.25 hours

Aircraft Category: Aeroplane
Exam Code: AMET
Time: 1.5 hours

Aircraft Category: Aeroplane
Exam Code: ANAV
Time: 1.5 hours

Flight Planning
Aircraft Category: Aeroplane
Exam Code: AFPA
Time: 3 hours

Performance & Loading
Aircraft Category: Aeroplane
Exam Code: APLA
Time: 2.5 hours

Aerodynamics & Aircraft Systems
Aircraft Category: Aeroplane
Exam Code: AASA
Time: 1.5 hours

Pre-requisite for ATPL exam

The pre-requisite qualification for sitting the ATPL exam is an Australian Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) or a ‘full exam credit’* in the Australian CPL exam of the relevant aircraft category.

For the current CPL exam version (effective since 12 March 2002) the term ‘full exam credit’ means all 7 subject part exams have been passed within the permitted period.

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