Advanced Flight Theory Review                               

The ATPL course offered by AFT (Advanced Flight Theory) for aeroplane and helicopter pilots is a high-quality, personalised 6 week FT course. Here’s my course review..

aft advanced flight theory logo


Studying the aviation theory for your pilot licence is indeed a demanding process. Finding the best textbooks, a mentor to help explain the difficult parts, the motivation, and even the time to do so – can be problematic. Whilst it can be done, some of us seek a better streamlined method for studying the more intensive subjects, especially those in the Commercial Helicopter and Airline Transport Pilot Licence1 syllabus. Luckily, Nathan Higgins of Advanced Flight Theory, is a resource that many students have utilised to help with their studies (in fact, over 12000 students so far).

advanced flight theory base, QLD
AFT is located at Sunshine Coast Airport, in QLD, Australia.


Formerly a High School teacher and Grade 2 flying instructor, Nathan Higgins2 formed AFT with Warren McIvor in 1993. Warren is also a Director, and a Helicopter ATPL specialist.

AFT is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and specialist aviation theory school based at the Sunshine Coast Airport, Queensland, Australia. AFT has recently moved location into a smart two storey facility close to the flightline. It’s a large airy facility with a big air-conditioned classroom each for ATPL students, and the helicopter CPL /ATPL courses to run concurrently. There’s also a terrific outdoor area on the flightline for breaks and lunches, and even a small shop to buy the latest charts, books or other flight equipment you may need. Together with Admin staff Brett and Vanessa Adamson, and Kate Till, the entire operation runs smoothly. Dave White is also employed as a CPL helicopter.

“A Registered Training Organisation (RTO), our company offers the highest quality fully accredited ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence) and non accredited CPL (Commercial Pilot Licence) theory courses and overseas licence conversions to aeroplane and helicopter pilots from all over Australia, the South Pacific region and around the world. We also provide the best personalised service available, taking care of all of our student’s training, accommodation and administrative requirements.”

The ATPL course

The ATPL course is a full time six week course, covering the four subjects of Navigation, Aerodynamics and Aircraft Systems, Performance and Loading, and Flight Planning. The other three subjects of Meteorology, Airlaw and Human Factors, are meant for self study, and comprehensive text books are provided for these.

You can find more information about the CASA exams here: CASA3

The classrooms are spacious, with huge desks provided to spread out the required maps and charts. Numerous TV screens duplicate the instructor’s display so that everyone has an unhindered view of each process, point and even video presented in each lesson. Nathan himself presents each class in a professional and polished manner, and he is an expert not only in the subjects, but also in keeping the class members alert and interested. This tactical use of questioning, short videos, the occasional dad joke, and live demonstrations keep the students attitude in a positive manner. I’ve even seen him fly a radio-controlled model aircraft inside the classroom to illustrate a point. 

AFT Advanced flight theory course review
Nathan’s students come from a wide and varied background of aviation, and he takes great delight in asking everyone about their history, experience of aircraft types and operations.

Well thought out coffee breaks and frequent student participation also helps. Nathan’s students come from a wide and varied background of aviation, and he takes great delight in asking everyone about their history, experience of aircraft types and operations. Not only does this make you feel welcomed, but it also allows everyone to see classmates’ strengths and possible weaknesses, allowing teams to work and learn together in a friendly environment.

The Random Question Generator4 allows the student to practise thousands of CASA style exams within the set time limits, to further give them confidence and learning before the real exams are sat.

For those that prefer to study at home, then all theory courses can be bought, and the online random questions are still available. Unfortunately, you then miss out on the best personalised service the company offers which includes excellent personal lectures and jokes from Nathan, and the attention of his dog Lando.

If you are unfortunate enough to fail any CASA exams, then AFT will allow you to return to a future class for free, only if there is a free spot, if you feel the need to renew the entire course.

AFT also assist in finding accommodation for the students, and the nearby scenic beaches allow you to truly get away and take a short relaxing break before hitting the books again each night.

Once the courses are over, and you have the passes in all ATPL subjects, you may think back and remember how easy it all was. In reality, the course is demanding, and it takes a lot of sweaty work, and the ability to bounce back and recover in the event of an exam fail. 

“Advanced Flight Theory provides our students with the most innovative training material available. We guarantee to stick with you until you have passed your CASA PEXO Exams.”
Nathan Higgins, AFT course review
Nathan Higgins provides personalised service and keeps his students engaged and interested throughout.


AFT and the staff are an amazingly awesome team that will help you not only pass the exams, but retain as much of that knowledge for your future careers.

For more information about AFT, check out their home page:

Reference List:

  1. Getting an air transport pilot licence (ATPL), CASA. Accessed online at on June 6, 2023.
  2. Nathan Higgins on Linked In. Accessed online at on June 6, 2023.
  3. Air transport pilot licence (aeroplane) exams – AASA, APLA and AFPA, CASA. Accessed online at on June 6, 2023.
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Flying Instructor


Michael Jorgensen is a specialist formation instructor and Australia's premier air to air formation action photographer, based in Sydney, Australia. Jorgo has a wealth of experience, stemming from his career as a military fast jet pilot, and heavy air-to-air refuelling tanker pilot flying for both the New Zealand and British Air Forces. Find out more

Jorgo has 23 posts and counting. See all posts by Jorgo

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