Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)

Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL)

How do I get my CPL?

You must be at least 18 years old to get your CPL. You also need to do the following for the category rating you want to get with your CPL:

  • Learn the theory
  • Complete flight training at a CASR Part 141 or 142 training organisation
  • Meet the minimum aeronautical experience requirements (see below for more information)
  • Pass the CPL theory exams for the category rating set by CASA
  • Pass a CPL flight test for the licence and category rating.

These requirements must be met for each additional category rating you apply for once you have your CPL.

What is involved in learning the CPL theory?

The theory syllabus for the CPL includes subjects such as flight rules and air law, aerodynamics, meteorology, navigation, human factors, operation, performance and planning, power plants and aircraft systems. You can study the theory yourself if you have a self-learning course or you can attend classes at a flying school (contact a flying school to work out the best way for you to complete the theory training for the CPL). If you are completing an integrated training course, the theory training is incorporated into the CPL training course. The aeronautical knowledge standards are prescribed in Schedule 1 of the Part 61 Manual of Standards (MOS). The details of the knowledge standards for each unit are in Schedule 3 of the MOS.

What is a CPL theory exam?

A CPL exam includes seven exam subjects. Three of the subject exams are common and only need to be passed once. If you already have your CPL and want to gain an additional category rating, you need to pass the remaining four category-specific subject exams. However, you need to pass the required exams within a two-year period. More information about theory exams can be found on the CASA website. Flying schools can also provide details about the theory and exams.

What do I need to know about my flight training for a CPL?

You need to complete a course of flight training with a Part 141 or Part 142 operator. It includes basic general flying, as well as cross-country and instrument flying. Schools which held an AOC prior to 1 September 2014 can continue providing flight training using their old AOC until 31 August 2017 or when they obtain their Part 141 or Part 142 certificate. There are two types of courses: integrated courses and non-integrated courses. Part 142 schools conduct integrated courses and Part 141 schools conduct nonintegrated courses. The practical flight standards are prescribed in Schedule 2 of the MOS. 

How much flying experience do I need to get my CPL?

The following table summarises the flying experience you need to have to obtain a CPL with an aeroplane. Note: The table does not include the experience standards which are allowed under CAR Part 5 until August 2018.

Experience Integrated courses hours Non integrated courses hours

Aeronautical experience

150 * 200 *
Flight time as a pilot

140 A

190 @
Dual flight time n/a n/a
Pilot in command flight time 70  100 A
Pilot in command cross-country time 20 A # 20 A #
Dual instrument time 10 ^ 10 ^
Dual instrument flight time A A













* means up to five hours of the minimum aeronautical experience can be in an approved flight simulation training device.

** means up to five hours of the minimum aeronautical experience can be in a flight simulation training device or as tethered flight time.

@ means the flight time can be in an aircraft of any category.

‘A’ means flight time must be in registered or recognised aeroplanes.

# means the flight time must include a flight of at least 150 nautical miles during which a full-stop landing is made at each of two aerodromes not within the flight training area for the aerodrome from which the flight began.

+ means the flight time must include a flight of at least 100 nautical miles during which a landing is made at each of two landing areas other than the one where the flight began.

^ means instrument time can be completed in a flight simulation training device or aircraft.

What are the medical requirements for a CPL?

You need to have a Class 1 medical certificate to sit the CPL flight test, and whenever you are exercising the privileges of your CPL. Class 1 medical certificates are issued by CASA. If you are exercising PPL privileges, you only need a Class 2 medical certificate. And if you are exercising RPL privileges, you only need a recreational aviation medical practitioner’s certificate (RAMPC); however, limitations apply. You need to carry your medical certificate with you whenever you are flying. Refer to CASA’s Medical requirements for flight crew information sheet for more details. 

How do I maintain the privileges of my CPL?

To keep flying you need to have a current aircraft rating. If you are flying aircraft covered by a class rating, you need to have done a flight review for that class rating within the previous 24 months. If you have a current multi-engine aeroplane class rating flight review, you can operate single-engine aeroplanes. If you are carrying passengers, you also need to meet the recent experience requirements of three take-offs and landings within the previous 90 days. As a commercial pilot you can be subject to operator proficiency checks as well. For more details refer to the following CASA information sheets: Aircraft ratings, Aircraft class ratings, Aircraft type ratings, Flight reviews and Proficiency checks.

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