Commercial Pilot Theory

Commercial Pilot’s Licence Theory with Helitheory

Helitheory runs short 3-4 day classes for CPL(H) students in Sydney at our classroom at Bankstown Airport. See here for the schedule.

The Requirements

To achieve a commercial pilot’s license, a student must achieve a pass in the theory component of the license syllabus. That is – a pass in all seven CPL exams, as set by CASA.


The exams are mostly multiple choice questions with some numbers-only short-answer questions, done on a computer and marked immediately. On completion of all 7 exams you will get a printout of the results. You currently have three years to complete all the exams. This is a rolling window, so that the exams are valid for two years from your first attempt at each individual subject’s exam.

There are seven exams, covering the following subjects:


The weather is an important consideration when flying any aircraft. This subject covers the basic science of weather, including how hazards such as thunderstorms form, why clouds form, and so on. It also covers the operational side of the weather, specifically reading and understanding messages coded for pilots, especially aviation specific weather forecasts.

Exam is 90 minutes long, pass mark is 70%


On the ground or the sea, navigating is a two dimensional operation, navigating an aircraft is a three dimensional consideration. This subject covers the theory of navigation, taking into account wind and so on, map reading, and principles of dead reckoning navigation. It is fairly mathematical, but also quite practical in that it involves a lot of hands-on map reading and flight planning. It also covers the use of radio navigation aids and flight instruments.

Exam is 105 minutes long, pass mark 70%


The helicopter is a wonderful and aerodynamically amazing machine. This subject covers the basic science of how and why a helicopter flies, as well as possible aerodynamic hazards and how to correct for and avoid them.

Exam is 90 minutes long, pass mark 70%

Aircraft General Knowledge

This subject covers knowledge on the components of a helicopter, the basics of the mechanical aspects such as engines, drivelines, hydraulic systems, rotor systems and flight instruments.

Exam is 90 minutes long, pass mark 70%

Flight Rules & Air Law

Covering the legal aspects of flying for the commercial pilot, the rules of the air, operating in different types of airspace, flight and duty times, passenger requirements, flight planning requirements and incident reporting requirements.

Exam is 120 minutes long, pass mark 80%

Human Factors / Threat & Error Management

These days, the biggest causes of aviation accidents is human error. This subject covers the physiological considerations for a pilot- the workings of the body, effects of drugs or alcohol, health factors, decision making and personality types, stress, fatigue, and the effects of altitude and G loads. This subject also covers aviation risk management and the causes, and reduction, of human error.

Exam is 75 minutes long, pass mark 70%

Operations, Performance & Planning 

This subject concerns planning for a flight, whether the aircraft will be able to complete such operations as hovering in different conditions, planning for maximum altitudes and operating weights, and so on. It also covers how to load an aircraft and plan for an aircraft’s weight, balance and fuel requirements.

Exam is 150 minutes long, pass mark 70%

If you fail any exam more than three times, you have to wait for at least three months before sitting that subject again, without exception. Subsequent failures require mandatory re-training periods, Helitheory is approved by CASA to provide the mandatory re-training.

The course complies completely with the Part 61 MOS. If you are a flight school looking to do integrated training please contact chief instructor Alex Grivas at

Upcoming Sydney CPL Subject Dates April – June 2017 click here

Running between April and June 2017, these intensive multi-day sessions cover the essential elements required to successfully complete the major CPL-H examinations.

Students are free to study one or all of the individual subjects as they require, making them the ideal option for self-study students who’d like a helping hand with some of the more complex subject areas. Training is in Sydney in our classroom in the Heliflite facility at Bankstown Airport.

To secure your position on the above courses, or for more information on CPL in general, please contact instructor Andrew Hobbs on or telephone 0414 456 865.

Another Way of Doing Things

Our other learning pathway for commercial pilot licence (CPL) students starts with a solid base – achieved by attending basic private pilot licence (PPL) ground school. This gives a good introduction to the concepts used in commercial helicopter theory. The student then progresses to one-on-one training with a commercial theory specialist, to give personalised guidance as they undertake each of seven commercial theory exams.

CPL students initially attend class with students in the basic PPL course. The PPL course covers the basics for all of the subjects and each subject is between one and three days long.

Once the basics of the subject are mastered by the student, the CPL student continues their training one-on-one with a commercial theory specialist instructor, to fine tune their knowledge and cover the subjects in the greater depth required for CPL. This allows for individualised training, with the students getting a lot of time with their instructor – ensuring that they get the best results.

We believe that this represents the quickest and most effective way of achieving passes in all seven CPL(H) examinations, thanks in part to the experience of our instructors and the tailored nature of the tuition.

A major advantage of this approach is the flexibility it offers. This flexibility means that students are not locked into three months of intensive study with uncertain results at the end of the study period. Rather, the one-on-one basis allows the instructor to gauge when the student is ready to sit the commercial exams and students can sit the exams when they are ready, rather than when a schedule tells them.

In practise, we have found this approach actually shortens the required study time as it allows emphasis on the areas an individual student finds challenging, and allows solid grounding in the simpler concepts without needless reiteration.

Another major advantage is Helitheory’s dedicated instructors. Helitheory’s commercial theory tutors are not just commercial helicopter pilots, they have extensive training and experience in aviation ground-schooling, adult education, and the commercial theory subject matter themselves.

For more information please contact instructor Andrew Hobbs on or telephone 0414 456 865.

To view our PPLH / CPLH Basics course schedule click here.