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  • AVI50319

Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Helicopter)

At a glance

At a glance

Let your career take-off in the aviation industry with this advanced qualification. This course will provide you with the specialised knowledge and skills required to work as a commercial helicopter pilot.

  • Commercial Helicopter Pilot

AVI50319 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Helicopter)

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Course overview

Course overview

Take off to a career in the aviation industry with this advanced qualification. This course will prepare you with the specialised knowledge and skills required to work as a commercial helicopter pilot. According to the Australian Government's Job Outlook service, the number of people working as air transport professionals grew very strongly over the past five years. This trend is set to continue with the number of job openings over the next five years expected to exceed 4,000.

As a qualified pilot you can find yourself working in a range of different areas. You could pilot scenic flights in the tourism industry, work in rural operations mustering livestock, conduct transport charter operations, or work with State Police or the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) operating search and rescue missions.

TAFE Queensland has partnered with leading aviation training providers including Townsville Helicopters, Airwork Helicopters in Brisbane, and Helitec on the Sunshine Coast to deliver this course. The course provides all the theoretical and practical skills required to be issued with a CASA licence to operate as a commercial pilot. Learn about aerodynamics, meteorology, navigation, radio communications, and operating in controlled and non-controlled airspace. You will also get to execute advanced helicopter manoeuvres and learn how to implement threat management strategies.

Successful completion of this course will allow you to start your career as a commercial helicopter pilot.


The successful achievement of this qualification requires you to complete all core and 1 elective unit from the list below.

Maintain aircraft radio communications
Implement aviation risk management processes
Implement aviation fatigue risk management processes
Implement threat and error management strategies
Manage safe flight operations
Manage aircraft passengers and cargo
Manage human factors in aviation operations
Plan a flight under visual flight rules
Navigate aircraft under visual flight rules
Licence to operate a commercial helicopter
Manage disruptive behaviour and unlawful interference with aviation
Manage pre- and post-flight actions
Operate and manage aircraft systems
Operate in controlled airspace
Operate in Class G airspace
Operate at non-towered aerodromes
Operate at a controlled aerodrome
Apply aeronautical knowledge to aviation operations
Apply the principles of civil air law to aviation operations
Taxi helicopter
Manage aircraft fuel
Control helicopter on the ground
Control helicopter in hovering flight
Take off helicopter and approach to hover
Control helicopter in normal flight
Execute advanced helicopter manoeuvres and procedures
Manage abnormal and emergency helicopter flight situations
Manage situational awareness in aircraft flight
Operate helicopter at low level

Note: For some courses, not all electives are available at all campuses.

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Ways to study

Ways to study

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University pathways

If you want to go on to further study at university, TAFE Queensland has a pathway option to get you there. In many cases, completing one of our diplomas may give you a full year of credit towards a degree with one of our partner universities.

Learn more about university pathways
  • James Cook University
  • Southern Cross University
  • University of Canberra
  • Griffith University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Federation University
  • University of Southern Queensland
Payment options

Payment options

No matter what your circumstances, TAFE Queensland has a payment option to suit you. If you are unsure of what's right for you, get in touch. We're here to help.

Money IconUpfront payment

This may be the full fee for the course, or the student contribution amount if you are eligible for a subsidy or concession.

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Money IconVet Student Loan - $80,388 cap

This is an interest-free personal loan from the Australian Government that provides eligible students access to capped funding to help pay for their studies.

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Money IconPayment plan

If you have difficulty paying for the full cost of a course upfront, you may be eligible for a payment plan.

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Important Information
Important Information

Important Information

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements for Australian Domestic Students ONLY:  The following are the mandatory entry requirements for enrolment with TAFE Queensland in the Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Helicopter). 

Prospective students must:   
be in possession of, or in the process of applying for a current Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) for flight crew. 

  • have an Aviation Reference Number (ARN).  produce evidence of a current Aviation Class 1 Medical carried out by a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME).
  • You will need to obtain your ARN prior to completing the medical. 
  • Be Eligible to obtain English language proficiency to meet the minimum requirements set by CASA. 
  • For VET Student Loan students produce documentary evidence to satisfy Academic Entry eligibility requirements:    
  • Option 1: Produce your Year 12 certificate with passes in English and Math; or,  
  • Option 2: Successful completion at the required level (exit level 3 working at Level 4) of the Basic Key Skills Builder (bksb) assessment through TAFE Queensland.     
  • Obtain a Unique Student Identifier (USI) prior to enrolment. 
  • Hold or be eligible to hold a Aeronautical Radio Operator Certificate. 
  • Participants must be a minimum of 18 years of age prior to the completion of this qualification.

Selection criteria

Domestic and International students
In addition to the entry requirements, the following selection criteria requirements apply to International and Domestic students:

Before enrolling in this course, you must meet the below Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) requirements:

  • First, seek an Aviation Reference Number (ARN). You must apply for an ARN through the  Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
  • Obtain a valid CASA issued Class 1 Medical Certificate from a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner. Find out more about this process here.
  • Hold an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) which will require a comprehensive background and criminal history check as part of the application process. Find out more about this process here.
  • English Language Proficiency
    • All foreign pilots converting to an Australian license or a Certificate of Validation (CoV) must be aware that they require an ICAO English language proficiency assessment.
    • This should be either stated on their foreign license or a statement from the issuing authority stipulating that the license holder, at least meets, Operation Level 4 for English language proficiency. A license or a CoV will not be issued without the proper ELP assessment.

Prospective students are to be advised that the CASA theory study and exam component includes solving of basic mathematical problems as well as the ability – after completing ground-based theory study - to determine outcomes of multiple choice online supervised CASA exam questions.

International students
The following selection criteria requirements apply only to International students:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age to enter into this course;
  • English Language Proficiency: Academic IELTS 6.0 (no individual band less than 5.5) or ISLPR 3 on all skills or other - For a list of all English Language test accepted by TAFE Queensland International; and
  • Academic Requirements: Completion of Year 12 (or equivalent). Non school-leavers must have relevant work experience or qualification that indicates likely success of course completion. For more information on the international education achievement levels equivalent to Year 10 and 12.

Applicants should be a minimum of 17 years of age and turning 18 during the first year of study with TAFE Queensland. International students who are under 18 years of age and are applying for a student visa are required by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs to have adequate welfare arrangements in place. TAFE Queensland has entered an agreement with Union Institute of Language (UIL) to facilitate the provision of the welfare services (fees apply).

Resources required

North and Far North Queensland
As part of this course the following resources will be required:

  • A calculator
  • Closed in shoes (not steel capped)
  • Accurate wrist watch
  • Townsville Helicopters uses a customised version of the Advanced Flight Training CPL book back for theory training. Please contact Townsville Flight Training directly for more information.

If you are completing this course in Townsville, you will also require the following region-specific charts for practical navigation:

  • Townsville / Cairns Visual Terminal Chart (VTC)
  • Townsville / Cairns Visual Navigation Chart (VNC)

Your instructor will let you know when these need to be purchased. Charts can be purchased at the school, or online from Aviation suppliers for approximately $12 each.

Due to wear and tear, you may need to purchase more than one copy of each chart during your training.

Greater Brisbane and Sunshine Coast
You will be provided with the resource list at your orientation.

Need to know

Please be aware that additional costs may be incurred for any unsuccessful examinations undertaken with The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). 

TAFE Queensland will invoice the student the cost of re-examination as per the following:

  • Human Factors $155.90
  • Aerodynamics $155.90
  • Aircraft General Knowledge $155.90
  • Meteorology $155.90
  • Navigation $168.20
  • Flight Rules and Air Law $168.20
  • Operations, Performance and Flight Planning $178.60

Should extra flying hours be required to achieve the standard Commercial Pilot Licence, then additional fees may apply.

Weight restrictions
There are weight restrictions on the below aircraft. You will not be able to train in an aircraft type if you are above the maximum weight.

  • R22: 109 kg
  • R44: 136 kg

Assessment Methods

Skill and knowledge assessments are an essential step in progressing through your course. You may be assessed in a number of ways while you are studying at TAFE Queensland, including observation, written assessment, questioning, portfolios, work samples, third-party feedback, and through recognition of prior learning. Read more about assessment methods.


All information was accurate at time of publication, however TAFE policies, tuition fees and course content is subject to change without notice. Course commencement is dependent on sufficient enrolment numbers. Timetable information is subject to change prior to commencement and/or during the duration of your course.

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How to apply

How to apply

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and credit transfers

Fast track your way to a formal qualification by earning credit for the things you already know. Getting recognition for the skills you've gained from the workplace or previous learning means less study time for you, and getting the paper to prove you're qualified a whole lot sooner. We can assess your skills, directly apply credits from previous successful study, and give you advanced standing in your course.

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Get started with TAFE Queensland

If you have read and understood the student rules, refund policy, understand your fees and payment options, have a Unique Student Identifier (USI) and checked you meet the entry requirements and selection criteria for this course, you're ready to get started.

University pathways

If you want to go on to further study at university, TAFE Queensland has a pathway option to get you there. In many cases, completing one of our diplomas may give you a full year of credit towards a degree with one of our partner universities.

Learn more about university pathways
  • James Cook University
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Canberra
  • Federation University
  • Griffith University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • University of Southern Queensland