ATPL (A) course structure

ATPL distance learning can progress at your own pace, using our state-of-the-art application – ATPdigital.  It is Bristol Groundschool’s computer based training (CBT) software. ATPdigital contains the lessons and progress tests that you need to complete during your course. It features in-built testing, interactive diagrams and videos to assist your learning. It can be downloaded on iPad as well as Windows and Mac PC’s. Once you have installed the software it can be used offline allowing you to study from any location.

Our CBT has been designed to split the subjects across three modules. Each module contains a series of lessons and also end of lesson quizzes to test your knowledge on each subject. You will also have to pass an end of section progress test after a group of lessons, both the quizzes and progress tests contain exam style questions. ATPdigital incorporates a smaller version of the BGS online question bank so you can still carry out practice exams if you do not have access to the internet.

Each module is conducted from the comfort of your own home: 

  • You will use ATPdigital and our webinars to learn about the first set of subjects (module 1).  
  • This will be followed by an online revision week just before your exams. We are an approved examination centre for Austro Control and UK CAA exams, or you can choose an approved centre close to you in your own country.
  • You will then repeat this process for modules 2 and 3. 

The purpose of the online revision weeks is to consolidate your learning, correct any misunderstandings, and ultimately prepare you for the exams. 

Please note that you must pass all exams within 18 months of your first exam sitting.

In addition to the revision weeks, there are online webinars which are delivered by our instructors and cover specific topics across the whole ATPL syllabus. The live webinars count towards your classroom time requirement. 

We also have a library of recorded webinars for you to watch, but these do not count towards your classroom time. There is no limit to the number of webinars you can attend. 

Classroom hours requirement

You must complete a total of 650 hours of learning for your ATPL theory course. 10% (65 hours) of this must be live tuition. This works out at a minimum of just under 22 hours per module. You can meet the hours requirement by attending a combination of online revision weeks and live webinars. Please note the recorded webinars do not count towards this requirement.

Our ATPL theory course includes:

  • BGS Online – the leading ATPL question bank
  • ATPdigital – high quality computer based training
  • Online revision weeks (3 in total) to help you with any tricky areas and consolidate your learning
  • Webinars – 4 to 5 live webinars are scheduled each week. In addition, if there are any specific subjects you’re struggling with, we have over 200 recorded webinars that you can access.

You have a total of 6 sittings to pass all the exams and no more than 4 attempts at any one subject within those 6 sittings.

Hard copy training manuals are also available as an optional extra.

Maths and Physics

Before you start the ATPL study, there is a module on Maths and Physics. This serves two purposes; first it is a refresher for you if you have not studied these subjects for a while.

Secondly, it satisfies the regulatory requirement that we ensure your level of knowledge is sufficient for the remainder of the course. The Maths and Physics module is conducted in the CBT only and there are no EASA exams associated with it.

ATPL Module 1:

  • 022 – Instrumentation
  • 061 – General Navigation
  • 050 – Meteorology
  • 040 – Human Performance and Limitations

ATPL Module 2:

  • 062 – Radio Navigation
  • 021 – Airframe and Systems, Electrics, Power Plant and Emergency Equipment
  • 010 – Air Law
  • 033 – Flight Planning and Flight Monitoring
  • 090 – Communications. This subject has two separate exams: VFR Communications and IFR Communications, but we combine them on the course. ***

ATPL Module 3:

  • 071 – Operational Procedures
  • 081 – Principles of Flight
  • 032 – Performance
  • 031 – Mass and Balance

*** You can choose to take your Communications exam as part of Module 2 or Module 3. We include the Comm’s lessons as part of Module 2 to allow you to make this choice.

ATPL (A) distance learning


When you have completed each module you may attempt the examinations with either the UK CAA Examination Centre or Austro Control.

You must register with either the UK CAA or Austro Control and, unless you are exempt from doing an approved course (for example if you are a military pilot or converting an ICAO licence), you must get us to sign-off the fact that you have completed an approved course before your exam bookings are accepted.  You could sit your exams with any EASA Aviation Authority.

We are also a UK CAA and Austro Control examination centre, which means that subject to availability, you could sit your exams at our training centre.

Theory Course length

Your ATPL theory course with Bristol Groundschool will take around ten to thirteen months to complete, during which time you can build up your flying experience, and includes a combination of distance learning and classroom work. There are fourteen exams to be passed for the EASA ATPL, some more difficult than others.

All the lessons in ATPdigital must be completed before you can attend the revision course or take the examinations.

Progress is recorded through a series of short quizzes for each lesson (which require 100% to pass), as well as larger progress tests to conclude each significant section. ATPdigital automatically sends us the results and our instructors are available throughout the process to provide all the support you will need.

Before you start your ATPL 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, so please ensure that you have this to hand when signing up.

You will finish your PPL with 45 to 65 flying hours and the next flying course, the CPL course, requires you to have 157 hours flying time before you start, which means that you will need to be building up your flying hours alongside studying for your ATPL.

“I really can’t speak highly enough of Bristol Groundschool, from the course material that actually makes dull subjects interesting, to the very capable and superb instructors at the revision weeks. Thank you.”
Mark Flanagan

Class 1 Medical and Eye Sight Information

We would recommend before embarking on the time and expense of commercial flight training you should satisfy yourself that you will be able to obtain a CPL on medical grounds and therefore get a class 1 medical.

If you have a prescription from the opticians we would recommend you complete the CAA visual system form when you start your training.

Visa Requirements

If you are travelling to the UK from outside the EU, please note that Bristol Groundschool courses do not qualify for a student visa. You must therefore ensure that you can gain entry into the UK before applying for the course and exams. For further information on visas, please visit the UK Border Agency website.

ATPL Distance Learning Course Fees

To register for our ATPL(A) distance learning courses, simply visit our shop page to complete our course registration form. You will have the option of paying for your course online by credit or debit card, by bank transfer, cheque or with a credit card on the telephone. You may pay online in GBP or your own currency; a conversion will be made at checkout. Payment by other methods must be made in GBP.

Our ATPL(A) course fees* are as follows:

Module 1 £1510
Module 2 £470
Module 3 £470
Complete package £2450

The exam fees are not included in the cost of the course. Students can sit either UK CAA exams or Austro Control exams here at Bristol Groundschool.

The UK CAA exams are £74 per exam if sat within the UK and can be booked via the CAA website. The Austro Control exams are £45 per exam if sat at Bristol Groundschool.

UK CAA Exam Info

Austro Control Exam Info

“I would like to congratulate you for the fantastic ATPL material you offer – well designed, simple to understand, and the thing I like most is the course progression graph!”
William Geraci

Additional Revision Weeks £832 per week for module 1 and £598 per week for module 2 and 3.

* Shipping charges will depend on your location

Many students opt to pay for one module at a time; when choosing this route you get one revision week included. Others choose to pay for the complete course upfront. Once your registration has been processed, your learning materials will be immediately dispatched to your address by courier.

Please note that aside from your course fees, you will need to budget for travel, food and accommodation for the Revision Courses. There is a comprehensive directory of local accommodation in the Student Info of this website.