ATPL vs CPL – What’s the Difference?

ATPL vs CPL – When deciding your future career in aviation, it’s important to understand if an ATPL or CPL licence is right for you and how you would like to study based on your current commitments.

 

The two main types of commercial aviation licences are:

CPL – Commercial Pilot Licence

ATPL – Airline Transport Pilot Licence

 

The two main ways to study for either a CPL or ATPL is integrated or modular.

Integrated means carrying out all your training, full-time, at an approved flight school. Modular allows you to carry out your training in your own time and around any current commitments you may have. When comparing ATPL vs CPL, either integrated or modular, it’s important to understand the differences between licences.

 

A brief summary of ATPL vs CPL:

 

CPL – Commercial Pilot Licence

CPL is the next step up from PPL. With this licence, you can act as pilot in command of a small piston aircraft that holds less than 9 passengers for commercial purposes.

Before you start your CPL theory course, you must have a PPL issued to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. This is a mandatory requirement and you will be asked when you register for your course for your licence number.

There are thirteen exams to be passed for the EASA CPL, some more difficult than others.

Click for more information about CPL courses

 

Completing your CPL on a modular path – If you choose to complete your CPL theory course along a modular path, it will take around ten to thirteen months to complete studying part-time, during which time you can build up your flying experience, and includes a combination of distance learning and classroom work. 

 

ATPL – Airline Transport Pilot Licence

The Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) is the highest level of aircraft pilot licence, required to command aircraft over 5700 kg or with over 9 passenger seats.

The Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence is a common licence standard that has been agreed by 26 European countries and the UK CAA. Although EASA sets the rules, the National Authorities still exist, and act as agents of EASA, issuing pilot and engineer licences and approving the schools who are allowed to conduct training, normally within their national boundaries.

Before you start your theory training, you must have a PPL issued to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. This is a mandatory requirement and you will be asked when you register for your course for your licence number.

You will finish your PPL with 45 to 65 flying hours and the next flying course, the CPL course, requires you to have 150 hours flying time before you start, which means that you will need to be building up your flying hours alongside studying for your ATPL.

Click for more information about ATPL courses

 

Completing your ATPL on a modular path – Studying for your ATPL along the modular route will take around twelve to eighteen months, to complete, if studying part-time, during which time you can build up your flying experience, and includes a combination of distance learning and classroom work. There are thirteen exams to be passed for the EASA and UK CAA ATPL, some more difficult than others.

 

Why study for an ATPL or CPL remotely?

Studying remotely means you can progress in your own time and work around other jobs and commitments. It also saves you time and money as you can complete all your theory training without the need to visit us in person.

Students can sit either UK CAA exams or Austro Control exams here at Bristol Groundschool or EASA exams anywhere in Europe.

 

Is studying remotely as good as in-person classroom teaching?

Bristol Groundschool’s webinars are broadcast live during the week and are taught by BGS tutors in all topics and subjects. Being live, students can ask instructors questions and get help where they need it – just like being in a classroom. The live webinars also count towards your classroom time requirement. 

Once in-person classroom teaching returns, you’ll be able to choose between attending class online or at the school, so even if you start your training with us now remotely, in future there will be a chance for you to learn in a classroom environment.

We believe that our distance learning option offers a high-quality alternative to classroom teaching. It all depends on how you like to learn and what works best for you.

 

Why study with Bristol Groundschool?

Bristol Groundschool ATPL and CPL Courses include aceess to ATPdigital, free 12 month subscription to BGSonline, live webinars and 200 hours of pre-recorded, subject-based webinarsBristol Groundschool is Europe’s leading specialist in modular distance learning and training for UK CAA and EASA professional pilot theory exams. Our learning software includes interactive lessons to make studying immersive and engaging with animated diagrams, videos, a built-in question bank and tests. Test results are instant, and you’ll be able to view your course progress on the dashboard.

You’ll also receive a free 12 month subscription to our question bank, BGSonline, to assist with your exam preparation.

Our webinars form part of the course and are online lessons taught by BGS instructors, covering topics within ATPL subjects. The webinars cover both fixed wing (A) and helicopter (H) subjects.

When you study your theory for ATPL or CPL remotely with Bristol Groundschool, we’ll help you gain the knowledge to pass your exams through excellent teaching from our industry-experienced instructors, plus strong support, all without compromising on the quality of learning.

 

 


Ready to take your next step?

With the option for online-only tuition, you can fit your studies around existing commitments – no matter where you are. We turn today’s students into tomorrow’s pilots. And we can do the same for you.

Find out more about our CPL and ATPL training courses.

ATPL (a)    ATPL (H)    CPL (A)    CPL (H)