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Flight Planning Exam Info

Updated: Feb 22

The ATPL Flight Planning exam can be a big issue for most pilots based on the lack of information and outdated aircraft information in use. The exam itself does not have much reliable information beyond the CASA website; which explains very little based on the exam question structure and working towards the answers to obtain.

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B727

Above: Boeing 727-Wikimedia Commons

ATPL flight planning can be very hard or very easy Exam

“3 hour exam with 17-18 questions”

The Exam is comprised of 17-18 questions altogether; with a question breakdown of 3 5 Marker questions, 8-7 3/4 markers and the rest 1 mark Questions. The general technique most take is working backward from the last questions till you finish and complete the exam in 3 hours.


Each Exam comprises 30 marks and every mark is 2%. A 5 marker is therefore 10% and making an error in all 3 will most likely lead to failure. The 5 marker questions will generally be a PNR dp, Flight Plan Backwards and an Abnormal Flight Plan. Examples of the above can be found in our online training and examples on YouTube.


In the middle section of the exam the 3-4 Markers can be the most time-consuming as they are generally just as hard if not harder than the 5 Markers and can use just as much time but you receive fewer marks. These questions will be based on OEI planning, Yaw damper failures, holding, calculating landing payload weights and completing flight plans in various situations.


The One Markers will be based on holding speeds and fuel flow calculations, gross weight at waypoints and basic flight planning questions on climbing and descending. Generally, you will get questions asking for OEI flight levels and how far from descent will you be if at this Flight level and wind. Its common to get asked a climb question relating to climbing from a certain level to a cruise level and the question asks for your weight, ROC or distance traveled.


Time the exam carefully

When sitting the Australian ATPL Flight Planning exam you should consider to finish the 5 markers in one hour, followed by the middle section of 3/4 markers in the next hour and a half. The remaining 1 marker questions can be completed in the last half an hour. The reason we do the most mark-heavy questions first is because we are fresh and as we fatigue and make more errors it is better to sacrifice 1 mark instead of 5 on a question. Generally, if you don't understand a question it's best to skip it but try and finish all sections of the exam together such as End, Middle, and Start. If you skip the start section 5 Markers there is probably an issue with your current study plan and a failure is guaranteed.


If you would like to discuss the exam or go through any questions or exam prep please feel free to contact me or join the flight planning course below.


Free Flight Planning Information and Course

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