Getting Started

Helicopter Careers

Helicopters are used to perform a wide range of tasks, from transferring executives rooftop to rooftop between city sky scrapers, to carrying sling loads of supplies into the remote villages of PNG highlands. Scenic joyflights, cattle mustering, agricultural spraying, heavy lifting operations, seismic survey, offshore oil rig support, emergency services, rescue, fish spotting and scientific research projects in Antarctica are just some of the specialised jobs undertaken by helicopters.

Each of these operations require unique skills from the pilot and specialised training. Early in your career you will need to consider which area you would eventually like to specialise.

Making the right choices when you commence your training can have a very positive influence on ensuring you achieve your long term ambitions.

Obtaining your Commercial Helicopter Licence is only the beginning of a continuous training and development process. It is important to consider every work opportunity you receive as a stepping stone to achieving your long term career ambitions. It is often necessary to travel to remote areas and undertake quite difficult tasks along the way. Occasionally you may even need to leave well paid positions where you are at the top of your field to move back down the ladder to gain the additional experience necessary to achieve those ambitions.

It is always worth the extra effort you make!

Obtaining the right information to help make those early decisions can be difficult. Your flight training represents a large personal investment, so choosing the best flying school is a major decision. It is important that you take the time to personally visit each of the schools you are considering. This allows you to inspect the school’s facilities and meet the CFI. Enjoying the friendly atmosphere of a school and feeling comfortable with your instructor is essential. Being able to find an instructor who takes a personal interest in you and finds the time to discuss all of your options with you, will prove to be extremely beneficial to your future career.

Advanced Flight Theory provides CPL theory courses for many of Australia’s leading helicopter flying schools. Most of these schools are owned and operated by their Chief Flying Instructors, who are able to offer you personalised instruction and service. You should avoid any school where you feel you would be handed from one instructor to another, without anyone taking a personal interest in your training progress. You future depends on the quality of your training and your attitude towards learning to be the best you can be.

Our instructors have taught aviation theory to over 2000 CPL/PPL pilots, 800 Helicopter ATPL pilots and almost 3000 Aeroplane ATPL pilots. With all of those pilots out there in the industry we have the widest range of contacts within Australia and Overseas.

Over the years our students have included pilots from Hevilift PNG, Pacific Helicopters PNG, Colombia Helicopters Canada and PNG, Bristow Helicopters Australia and UK, Lloyds, Jayrow, Helijet, Helicopter Resources, Esso, 5 Aviation Black Hawk Squadron, Army Helo School and Recce. Squadrons, Emergency Services and Rescue, Heli-Muster and numerous other mustering, agricultural, survey, charter and tourist helicopter operators from Australia and overseas.

There is no substitute for this kind of experience, or for our dedication to providing you with the best theory training at the best ground school facility in Australia.

CPL theory study is not something you attempt in a small rented room at the back of a hangar, airport terminal or aero club. Theory instruction is a specialised field and we have not hesitated to invest in excellent facilities so your study time is enjoyable, productive and most importantly excellent value! The theory syllabus you study is intended as essential background knowledge to the flying that comes later. Many schools don’t treat theory training seriously enough. You will find yourself out the back studying with an instructor who would rather be flying than teaching you theory.

Don’t be tempted to try shortcuts. In the end, you are the one who suffers the consequences of poor tuition!


Gathering The Information You Need

We cannot overstate the importance of doing proper research into your choice of training school!

 Contact the Flying Schools

We have a list of all of the helicopter flying schools in Australia. Many of these schools regularly send students to study with us. Some of these flying schools conduct their own ground theory classes, however to ensure you receive totally independent advice from us, we have included them on the list. Feel free to contact as many as you like, and read their information carefully before taking the next step.

Talk to the Instructors

Use the phone. Talk to as many people as you can, because no-one can give you all of the answers. While discussing your options with various schools, you may even feel you are being given conflicting advice at times. However, it won’t take long before a trend appears in the information you are receiving, and you are able to see the real picture. You are very welcome to contact us anytime you have a question regarding your training options.

As we are not directly associated with, or controlled by, any of the flying schools, we are in the very best position to give you totally independent advice and assistance.

Visit the Training Schools you are most interested in training with!

There is absolutely no substitute for personally visiting the schools you are considering for your training.  It can prove to be a very expensive mistake to select a school solely on the information you receive in a brochure or over the phone!

While you are visiting the school ask yourself these questions…

Do the instructors have the experience you need?

 There is no substitute for experienced, professional instruction. From your first day in theory school, to your retirement in many years, the success of your career will be largely influenced by the quality of instructor you select now.

Do you feel comfortable at the school?

Until you have actually sat down with the staff and instructors at the various schools, you won’t know if you are going to feel personally comfortable with those people. If you aren’t comfortable you are wasting your valuable time and money!

Are the facilities as good as described in the information brochure?

It is very easy to exaggerate in a brochure, however it is only when you are actually there in the building that you can really judge the quality of the facilities.  If it is possible, visit the school to ensure you are comfortable with the facilities. 

You are paying the instructor good money and you need to learn in an environment that is the best for you!

Is the school in a position to offer ongoing training and support?

Ongoing support comes in a variety of forms like advanced theory training and flight training. You should be planning your future now. For example even the most experienced mustering pilots eventually feel the need to move on to other types of flying. By making the right contacts now, the progression will be easier when that time comes.

Can the school actually deliver their promises?

Many schools do try very hard to help find you work and extra flying hours, and some have excellent work experience programs for their students, but the more reputable ones know better than to give you an unconditional guarantee!

There is absolutely no benefit in being given a guarantee of service if the school is not in a position to deliver the service when it is required by you! Be cautious of offers that guarantee you a job on completion of your training, unless you are able to see that the work really exists.

Reputable schools can show you their programs, but even then they may not guarantee you a job before they know how well you can fly, and how well you will fit into an operational helicopter company? Don’t be afraid to ask for the names of recent students who trained at the school and are now working. The good schools will not hesitate to provide names.

When you commence your theory training you may be promised a free re-sit of the course if you have any difficulty with the exam. Advanced Flight Theory makes such an offer. However you must make sure if you do need to do extra study, the school you studied with can provide the backup you need. You won’t have to chase us around the country for service!


Your commitment to aviation is going to be lifelong.  Make sure your training school’s commitment to you is also lifelong!