2021 Syllabus

In 2018 the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an amendment to Part-FCL (the rule book for pilot licensing). This details new theoretical knowledge Learning Objectives.  The National Authorities and the training industry were given until 2020 to prepare. Despite the disruption caused by the Covid pandemic, all National authorities have introduced exams based on the new syllabus (ECQB 2021).

Withdrawal of ECQB 2016 Exams


Despite extensions to the rule for completing all theoretical exams with 18 months of the first exam, EASA ruled that the ECQB 2016 be withdrawn as of 31 January 2022.  Students must complete any outstanding exams and re-sits following the 2021 syllabus.

Austro Control allow this mixture of syllabi to complete the theoretical knowledge exams. However, students should check with their Authority issuing their licences (DGAC, AESA etc).

As of 01 Feb 2022, Austro Control stated that students following this hybrid solution would now need to complete KSA. Again, students should check with their Authority.

BGS students in this position should contact support@bristol.gs to request free access to this small module which must be completed before a candidate can book their final exam.


The UK CAA deadline has already passed to start a series on the old syllabus.

The CAA has left EASA and does not recognise or allow mixing the syllabi. However, the CAA announced that the final withdrawal of the old exams will be in December 2022.

Be aware, the CAA online booking system no longer allows the selection of exams for the old syllabus and rejects attempt to do so.

Candidates must telephone the CAA to book the old syllabus exam.

As communication may be delayed and exam places may be lost, it may be useful to book an exam by selecting the 2021 syllabus. Then contact the CAA who will change the exam to the old syllabus while retaining the booking.


Differences between syllabi

The changes between the syllabi are not enormous.  Some defunct topics have been removed, several have switched between subjects and some new material has been introduced.  There is a new subject area called ‘100 KSA’ by EASA.  This introduces the concept of pilot core competencies, which are largely the non-technical attributes that airline pilots are selected, trained, and assessed against.

There is no KSA examination, but your school is required to assess you against the competencies before your final examination.  Although you will not encounter these again in your flight training, pilot core competencies form the basis for multi-crew and airline training, so the background gained in ground school will be useful.

If you want any more advice, please contact us to discuss your circumstances.


Frequently asked questions

 I have bought the material, but I haven’t really started Module 1. I won’t be able to sit my first exam with my chosen Authority before the cut-off date.

If you have done very little in ATPdigital it may be worthwhile updating your Module 1 content as well to match the new syllabus. The disadvantage is that when we do this you will lose any results you have recorded and need to do those lessons/tests again. Contact support@bristol.gs.


Will I have different revision weeks for pre-2021 and ECQB2021 BGS based courses?

No, the differences are not huge, we will point them out during the webinars and also on the revision course.


What about the Webinars – will they cover both syllabi too?

It depends on the subject; the majority will apply to both syllabi but, when a webinar is specific to a pre-2021 or BGS2021 course, we will make that quite clear.


My State of Licence Issue (SOLI) and Exam Authority have different cut-off dates.  Which applies to me?

We believe that it is the cut-off date applied by your Exam Authority; obviously, you will only be able to sit the exams they will allow you to.  However, if you intend starting a series of pre-2021 exams with your chosen Exam Authority after your SOLI’s cut-off date, it may be prudent to check with your SOLI that they will accept the results before you commit.  It is quite likely to be a question they have not considered.


If I want to switch mid-series, what happens?

Austro Control will allow candidates to switch to the new syllabus mid-series. The UK CAA do not allow switching mid-series.


How does Brexit affect this?

If you are seeking an EASA licence, you must pass exams that are administered by a national EASA authority such as Austro Control.  Bristol Groundschool has received EASA approval from the Irish Aviation Authority and is an Austro Control examination centre. Students can choose to take the EASA or UK CAA examinations, depending on which licence they are seeking. You are not restricted to Austro Control though; you could train with us then sit your exams with any of the EASA National Authorities.


Can I take CAA and EASA exams at the same time?

Yes. BGS is registered and has approvals for both, and the courseware is the same. You must, of course, register with both the CAA and Austro Control and pay for two exams.


Explore our ATPL (A) course

Explore our ATPL (H) course