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Commercial Pilot Licence

Ready for an office in the sky?

A Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) is the dream of many aspiring pilots. Giving you the skills and authority to be able to work in the aviation industry as a Commercial Pilot.

CPL Requirements

A CPL is a big commitment involving lots of flying training, theoretical training and examinations. 


To qualify for the Commercial Licence, you will need to meet a number of requirements, be a minimum of 18 years old and able to hold a Class 1 medical.


CPL Course Overview

You will undertake dual flight training with an instructor, briefings, solo navigational flying and plenty of study. There are 7 commercial theory exams to complete, these can be done at your own pace and you have a 24 month period to complete the theory from when you sit the first exam.

Once you meet all the requirements and have completed a Pre-Licence flight with an instructor you will sit your Commercial Flight Test.

A Commercial Pilot Licence will allow you to be employed as a pilot. Depending on who you work for, you will then move up the ranks and start flying larger, more sophisticated aircraft on more complicated operations and routes.

The steps to achieving

Step 1: Trial Introductory Flight. Your first experience in the pilot’s seat and the start of your aviation career.

Step 2: Ab-Initio training. Your initial lessons will cover the basics, including operation of the aircraft and its controls, flying straight and level, climbing, descending, turning, stalling, and take-offs and landings.

Step 3: First Solo Flight. Once you have mastered the basics, you will be sent off for your first solo flight! This usually occurs at about the 15-20 hour mark for the average student, but will differ depending on your individual abilities. A first solo usually consists of a single circuit flown around the airport before landing again.

Step 4: Recreational Pilot Licence or Area Solo Training. You go back to the training area and learn more advanced techniques to ensure you are 100% competent to take passengers around the local area. More solo flying follows.

Step 5: RPL Flight Test (Optional). Once you have met the prerequisites you are eligible to sit the RPL flight test and earn your Recreational Pilot Licence. If you are moving to a PPL this is not essential, though it does give you the ability to go to the training area solo and practice additional movement as you would like.

Step 6: Navigational PPL Training. After the RPL phase, you will begin navigation training in the larger Cessna 172 or Piper Cherokee. This involves long-duration flights to interesting, remote locations such as Undara, Einasleigh, Lakeland and Wrotham Park.

Step 7: Private Pilot Licence Flight Test. You will complete a PPL flight test with our in house examiner. Upon successful completion of the flight test, you will hold your private pilot’s licence and be able to fly wherever you like!

Step 8: Further, more advance navigation exercises in a more advanced aircraft such as the Cessna 182 or the Cessna 206, both with Constant Speed Units (CSU). You will obtain your CSU endorsement during this stage.

Step 9: Complete the 7 CPL Theory Examinations at a licenced venue. These can be self studied at home with textbooks from multiple organisations. Our instructors are always around if you have any questions though!

Step 10: The CPL Flight Test. Before you undertake your flight test, you will need to ensure that you have a valid Class 1 CASA Medical. After a pre-licence flight check and some theory questions, you'll be on your way with an Examiner for your Flight Test, and when you pass, you'll have your Commercial Pilot Licence!


Why should you complete your CPL with the NQAC?

Your choice of a flying school is very important when deciding to train for a CPL. The North Queensland Aero Club is one of the oldest and largest flying schools in Far North Queensland. The NQAC has been training commercial pilots for over 70 years with our graduates going on to have long and successful Airline and General Aviation Careers.


This gives our students access to a wealth of knowledge, experienced instructors and mentoring from former students who are now working as commercial pilots.

One-on-One Training

Training with the North Queensland Aero Club also gives our students the benefit of one-on-one training at ALL stages of their Commercial Licence. You are able to work with your instructor through any questions or difficulty without delay and are never just another face in the crowd or a number on the page.

Range of Aircraft

At the NQAC CPL students will complete all of their Commercial Licence flying in General Aviation aircraft and get to experience flying a range of aircraft including both high and low wing aircraft. Your final CPL training will be completed in our C182.

Broad Range of Cross Country Flying

Our students get to experience not only flying cross country into remote areas with different grass and dirt aerodromes but also controlled airspace. Our location has us ideally situated to train in the busy controlled airspace of the Cairns International Airport. Many new CPL holders will find themselves travelling to Northern Australia for their first jobs, our students have the added advantage of wet season experience which is not only valued by potential employers but allows our former students to make safe flying decisions in the face of the big wet in Northern Australia.

Graduate Support

The support does not stop with the completion of a CPL. At the NQAC we will support our graduates in finding their first job and beyond.


Commercial Pilot Licence Course

There's two options!

Integrated 150 Hour CPL

The integrated 150 hour CPL course must be completed within an 18 month time period. This is a structured course with achievement gates to be met within the 18 month period including a number of flying progress checks.

150 Hour CPL Requirements

  • Total Flying Hours: 150 hours.

  • Command Hours: 70 hours.

  • Basic Instrument Flying Hours: 10 hours.

  • Main Theory Exams: RPL, PPL, 7 x CPL Subjects.

  • Maximum Course Time: 18 months.

  • Financial Requirements: Pay as you go*

* The NQAC will require proof of your ability to fund this course within an 18 month period prior to 150 hour course commencement.

  • Taxation: GST Free^

^ For the 150 hour course as per a private ATO ruling obtained by the NQAC, August 2018.

  • Can I be employed as a pilot on completion?: YES!

Hours & Cost

Integrated 150 Hour CPL


*involves 150 hours of flying. This includes the costs for the RPL and PPL in a range of different aircraft.

Flexible 200 Hour CPL

The second option is our flexible 200 hour CPL course. There is no time limit on this course. This allows you to train around your work and family commitments at your own pace. The course requires more hours to complete but this can be beneficial when seeking employment.

200 Hour CPL Requirements

  • Total Flying Hours: 200 hours.

  • Command Hours: 100 hours.

  • Basic Instrument Flying Hours: 10 hours.

  • Main Theory Exams: RPL, PPL, 7 x CPL Subjects.

  • Maximum Course Time: No Limit.

  • Financial Requirements: Pay as you go

  • Taxation: Subject to 10% GST.

  • Can I be employed as a pilot on completion?: YES!

Hours & Cost

Flexible 200 Hour CPL


*involves 200 hours of flying. This includes the costs for the RPL and PPL in a range of different aircraft.


CPL Endorsements

Once you have a CPL you may wish to gain additional endorsements or training to further your career. The NQAC can help with a number of advanced training options including Instrument Ratings and Instructor Ratings so you can train new pilots.

The Airline Transport Pilot's Licence (ATPL)

If you wish to fly for an airline, then you will require an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL). This is something you train for and when you have the correct amount of hours (minimum of 1500) and have completed the necessary theory exams (another 7 exams), then you will “tick over” to an ATPL.


This will allow you to fly as pilot-in-command of large passenger-carrying aircraft in regular public transport operations.

Want more information?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are my chances of employment at the end of my Commercial Training?

The answer to this question depends on a couple of things, firstly, where the industry is at, at the time you compete your licence. The industry goes through periods of pilot gluts and also pilot shortages. Also, your willingness and also your ability to move to a remote place for a period of time to get the first job, will also determine the chance of gaining a job. There are very few General Aviation jobs in Capital cities or large regional towns. Most General Aviation flying is done in remote locations.

Your aviation career is cleared for takeoff

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