ATPL (H) distance learning

ATPL(H)/IR Theory Course

World-leading ATPL Helicopter theory tuition

Our modular ATPL(H)/IR training course is your next step toward becoming a commercial helicopter pilot.

With our distance learning option, you’ll be able to complete the course in your own time, from anywhere in the world.

Access to 200+ hours of recorded webinars, ATPdigital, BGSonline question bank, online revision weeks, and all the support you’ll need from the BGS team.


With our distance learning course, you can study from anywhere in the world.

When you start a Bristol Groundschool course, you’ll be able to learn anywhere, anytime, at your own pace.

This means you can fit your studies around your life and other commitments, including your flying.

If you wish to study in person with us, you are welcome to do so as well during one of our revision weeks. As part of your course, you will be able to visit our school in North Somerset, UK, for revision courses at the end of each module.

We have everything you need for a successful study experience, whether you study remotely, in person or a combination of both.

Key Features of our ATPL(H)/IR Course

Learn with ATPdigital – Pioneering Flight Theory Training Software

ATPdigital displayed on a PC and Tablet

When course materials are engaging, learning becomes more memorable.

That’s why we developed ATPdigital: our computer-based training software for ATPL H theory.

With interactive diagrams, animations, and explainers, it breaks down your course into bite-sized chunks that fit into your schedule.

To progress in your studies, you need to pass quizzes at the end of each section. With a dashboard overview of your learning, you can keep track of your knowledge growth.

ATPdigital is available for Windows and Mac OS PCs and laptops. There’s also an iOS app available for iPad.

You can also use the software offline once it has been installed, allowing you to study from any location without an internet connection.

ATPdigital also incorporates the same question bank as BGSonline, so even if you don’t have internet access you can take practice exams.

Get Exam Ready with Revision Weeks

Bristol Groundschool in Clevedon, UK

Each distance learning module is followed by a revision week to consolidate your learning, correct any misunderstandings and prepare you for the exams.

Students have the choice between attending the online revision weeks or attending them in-person at our school in Clevedon, North Somerset (near Bristol Airport); normally the week before the UK CAA exam dates.

While intensive, the results speak for themselves – most Bristol Groundschool students pass all the exams first time.

Students who are following our approved courses must attend a revision week either online or in-person for each module of training. ATPdigital lessons and tests must be completed for the module you are studying prior to revision course attendance.

Free 18-month Subscription to BGS Webinar Library (worth over £290)

Access over 200 hours of pre-recorded subject-based classroom training sessions to watch and help you revise the whole course, with a free 18-month subscription to BGS Webinar Library (usually £290 for 12 months).

Presented by Bristol Groundschool’s team of instructors, our webinar library is regularly updated with new videos to help you get exam ready.

Free 12-month Subscription to BGSonline (worth £160)

As a student studying with Bristol Groundschool, you will receive twelve months of access to BGSonline (normally £160) – a regularly updated database of more than 15,000 exam-specific questions.

With instant answers and detailed explanations, it’s the perfect resource for testing your knowledge and preparing for your exams.

Filter questions by topic or revisit questions you’ve got wrong in the past to make your learning targeted and effective.

All the Support you need for Success

Even when you are learning remotely, we’re there to support you. Throughout your studies, our world-renowned instructors will be on hand to answer your questions and provide insight on your learning.

Printed Training Manuals – Available as an Optional Extra

As well as our online learning materials and computer software, we can provide you with a complete set of printed manuals for all modules in your course. Visit our online shop for more information. If you are purchasing your manuals at the same time as a course you will receive them for a discounted price.


Studying with Bristol Groundschool

Study Part or Full-time

Study part or full-time around other commitments. The course can be studied at your own pace, you choose when to watch the pre-recorded classroom training sessions that can be accessed 24/7.

No Travel or Visa Requirements

There are no travel costs associated with our online ATPL revision classes and the entire ATPL course can be completed from the comfort of your own home, from anywhere in the world.

Industry-Leading ATPL H Instructors

All our courses are EASA/UK CAA approved and are taught by our experienced team of instructors to prepare graduates for an exciting, challenging and rewarding future in the ever-changing aviation industry.

Studying with us in person

You can now study with us in person during one of our revision weeks. At the end of each module, you’ll be required to book one of our revision weeks before taking your exams. These can be attended either online or with us in person at our school in Clevedon, UK, and count towards your required classroom hours. If you choose to study with us person, note that our course fees do not include accommodation, travel, or food. However, we can provide you with a comprehensive directory of local accommodation and are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Sit Your ATPL H Exams in any EASA Member State

Our course allows you to sit UK CAA or EASA exams, if you wish to achieve both licences you can sit both sets. Simply register with your chosen EASA state and the UK CAA when you are ready to book the examinations.


How to Purchase a Bristol Groundschool Course

To purchase our ATPL(H)/IR distance learning course, simply visit our shop page and 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.

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 or EASA exams anywhere in Europe.

The UK CAA exams can be booked via the CAA website. The Austro Control exams if sat at Bristol Groundschool can be booked via us.

UK CAA Exam Info          Austro Control Exam Info

Additional Revision Weeks can be booked through our website.

Many students opt to pay for one module at a time; if you choose this option you will get access to one online revision week and the related live and pre-recorded webinars for the module purchased. If you have bought learning materials that require posting to you, this will be done as soon as your registration has been processed.

If you choose to study with us in person, you will need to budget for travel, food, and accommodation for the duration of the revision course. There is a comprehensive directory of local accommodation in the student information section of our website.

ATPL H Student Testimonials

We’re proud of our excellent reputation and high-quality tuition, but don’t just take our word for it. Click to read what our students have to say about studying their ATPL(H) with us.

Read more Student Testimonials


ATPL H/IR Course Overview

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 or UK CAA exams associated with it.

Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes

In the same module as Maths and Physics there are a series of lessons addressing the ‘Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes’ (KSA) requirements. This subject area addresses non-technical requirements such as communication skills, workload management, leadership, and situational awareness.

How is teaching delivered?

The training is divided into 3 modules, which must be studied in numerical sequence; an exception is ATPL(H) where Module 3 can be taken before Module 2. The courseware for each module must be completed before sitting exams; bookings can be made prior to completion with BGS agreement but the courseware must be completed before the exam is taken.  Bespoke courses are not possible.

ATPL H/IR Module 1:

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

ATPL H/IR Module 2:

  • 062 – Radio Navigation
  • 021 – Aircraft General Knowledge: Airframe and Systems, Electrics, Power Plant and Emergency Equipment
  • 010 – Air Law
  • 033 – Flight Planning and Flight Monitoring
  • 090 – Communications

ATPL H/IR Module 3:

  • 070 – Operational Procedures
  • 082 – Principles of Flight (Helicopter)
  • 034 – Performance (Helicopter)
  • 031 – Mass and Balance

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. As well as our online learning materials and computer software, we can provide you with a complete set of printed manuals for all modules in your course. Visit our online shop for more information. If you are purchasing your manuals at the same time as a course you will receive them for a discounted price.


If you have already been issued with a CPL (H), you are exempt from Principles of Flight (H) and Communications* if you are applying for an ATPL(H)/IR.

If you are only applying for an ATPL(H)/VFR and if you have been issued with a CPL(H), then you are exempt from Principles of Flight (H), Air Law and Communications*. Please see the UK CAA’s regulation on this for more details here

* Prior to the introduction of the 2020 exams, you would have been exempted only 091 VFR Communications. EASA are clear that the exemption now applies to 090 Communications. However, the UK CAA advice is ambiguous. We are seeking clarification on this point but, until we receive clarification, if you hold a UK CPL (H) and are seeking to upgrade your licence to an ATPL (H) or ATPL(H)/IR, we recommend that you ask the CAA for advice.


When you have completed each module you may attempt the examinations with either Austro Control or any other EASA examination authority.

Bristol Groundschool students are given priority when booking Austro Control exams at our school. The booking system is released to non BGS students near to the actual exam sitting date.

If you are taking your exams with Austro Control, you must register with them 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.  This applies to other exam authorities too.

Austro Control Exam Info


You must register with either the UK CAA 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.

UK CAA Exam Info      UK CAA Exam Learning Objectives


How long does the ATPL H Course take?

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. The course includes a combination of distance learning and classroom work. There are thirteen exams to be passed for the EASA and UK CAA ATPL, some are more difficult than others.

All the lessons in ATPdigital must be completed before you can attend the revision week 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 with a pass rate of 75%. ATPdigital automatically sends us the results and our instructors are available throughout the process to provide all the support you will need.


What are the ATPL H Course Requirements?

Private Pilot’s Licence

Before you start your ATPL H theory course, you must have a PPL(H) 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(H) 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.

Class 1 Medical and Eyesight Information

We 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.  For UK CAA courses this obviously needs to the issued by the UK CAA; for EASA courses by the EASA state you wish to issue your licence.

If you have a prescription from the opticians we would recommend you complete the UK CAA visual system form or your EASA State’s equivalent 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 you 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.  However, remember that you may now complete all your theory training without the need to visit us in person.

Contact Hours Requirement

You need to complete a total of 650 hours of learning for your ATPL theory course. 10% (65 hours) of this must be live tuition. This can be completed by attending our revision weeks which are available to attend in person at our school in Clevedon, UK or online (excluding module 3, which is currently offered online only). Please note our recorded classroom sessions do not count towards your live tuition requirement. The revision weeks are a mandatory part of our approved courses.


Why Should I Study my ATPL H Theory with Bristol Groundschool?



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