How is the ATPL(A) course structured?
Distance learning can progress at your own pace, using our state-of-the-art Computer Based Training (CBT) program ATPdigital which has been designed to split the subjects across three modules; each module has a distance learning phase followed by a classroom revision course in Clevedon, Somerset (near Bristol Airport) just before your exams. Hard copy training manuals are also available as an optional extra.
The purpose of these intensive revision weeks at our centre is to consolidate your learning, correct any misunderstandings and 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 optional accelerator days also conducted at Bristol Groundschool’s training centre in Clevedon, designed to help you if you feel you need it with additional classroom time dealing with the more tricky subjects.
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.
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.
The first ATPL module contains the following subjects:
- 022 – Instrumentation
- 061 – General Navigation
- 050 – Meteorology
- 040 – Human Performance and Limitations
After the Module 1 exams you will progress to study the following Module 2 subjects:
- 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. ***
Finally, Module 3 consists of:
- 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.
When you have completed each module you may attempt the examinations with either the UK CAA Examination Centre or Austro Control, for further information please visit our exam guide. 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, so, subject to availability, you could sit your exams at our training centre.
How long will the course take to complete?
Your ATPL theory course with Bristol Groundschool, as part of your modular path to becoming a professional pilot, 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.
Please note that 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.
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.
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 £1450
Module 2 £450
Module 3 £450
Complete package £2350
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 £73 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. For further information please visit EASA exam information
Additional Accelerator Days ** £132 per day
Additional Revision Weeks £800 per week for module 1 and £575 per week for module 2 and 3.
* Shipping charges will depend on your location
** The ATPL(A) course includes Accelerator Days – 2 per module. Additional days may be purchased at any time.
Many students opt to pay for one module at a time; when choosing this route you get one revision week and an Accelerator weekend 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 and, if applicable, Accelerator Day stays in Somerset, where our study centre is located. There is a comprehensive directory of local accommodation in the Student Info of this website.