Our modular ATPL(H)/IR training course is your next step towards 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  – with access to interactive live classroom sessions, 200+ hours of recorded webinars, ATPdigital, BGSonline question bank, online revision weeks, and all the support you’ll need from the BGS team.

ATPL(H) distance learning

ATPL(H) Bristol Groundschool software ATPdigitalATPL(H)/IR Course Structure

ATPL(H)/IR 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.  It features in-built testing, interactive diagrams and videos to assist your learning. It can be downloaded on iPad as well as on Windows and Mac. 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 the same question bank as BGSonline, 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 live and recorded 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 both Austro Control and the 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 that 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. 

Key Features of our ATPL(H)/IR Course

100% Online Course

All of our theory courses can now be completed 100% online, we have now switched to online ground school delivery in combination with our webinars to give you the flexibility to study anywhere in the world. Once it is safe to do so and when restrictions relax you will be able to choose between attending classes online or attending them in person. For more information about our online courses, please read our frequently asked questions about distance learning guide.

Live Interactive Webinars with our Instructors

Our ATPL webinars form part of the BGS approved course, they are online lessons taught by BGS instructors covering specific ATPL(H)/IR topics. We aim to run 4-5 live webinars each week, most are around 90 minutes long. They are interactive, meaning you can ask questions as you go along. Live webinars count towards your classroom hours requirement and you can attend as many as you like.

Revision Weeks

Each module has a distance learning phase followed by an online revision week, which is held Monday to Friday. When we are able to open our school again for classroom delivery, students will have the choice between attending the online revision weeks or attending them at our premises in Clevedon, North Somerset (near Bristol Airport); normally the week before the UK CAA exam dates. The purpose of the intensive revision course is to consolidate your learning, correct any misunderstandings and prepare you for the exams. Much of the time is spent working through practice papers and debriefing your results so there is very little time to cover new material. While intensive, the results speak for themselves – most Bristol Groundschool students pass all the exams first time.

200 Hours of Pre-Recorded Webinars

Access to over 200 hours of pre-recorded subject-based webinars to watch and help you revise the whole course.

Study Part or Full-Time

Study part or full-time around your other commitments. You choose when you book the online classes and you can access the pre-recorded webinars 24/7.

No Travel or Visa Requirements

There are no travel costs to attend our online ATPL revision classes and the entire ATPL(H)/IR course can be completed from the comfort of your own home, from anywhere in the world.

Industry-Leading ATPL 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.

Free 12-Month Subscription to BGSonline

Every Bristol Groundschool student who studies directly with us receives a free 12-month subscription to our extensive ATPL question bank, BGSonline, to help you prepare for your exams.

Payable by Instalments

With our modular courses, you’re able to pay for the whole course upfront or by purchasing the course module by module.

Sit Your Exams in any EASA Member State

Bristol Groundschool holds both UK and EASA approvals to deliver theoretical training. This means you can study with us to sit your exams with either the UK CAA or an EASA member state depending on what licence you are aiming for.

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 are £74 per exam if sat within the UK and can be booked via the CAA website. The Austro Control exams are £65 per exam if sat at Bristol Groundschool and can be booked via us.

UK CAA Exam Info          Austro Control Exam Info

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

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.

Once we are able to offer face-to-face classroom tuition again, if you choose to attend you will need to budget for travel, food and accommodation for the duration of the revision course. There is a comprehensive directory or local accommodation in the student information section of our website.

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.

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)
  • 032 – 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.



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


How long does the ATPL 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 Course Requirements?

Private Pilot’s Licence

Before you start your ATPL 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 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.


Why Should I Study my ATPL Theory with Bristol Groundschool?



Ready to take your next step?

Select one of the ATPL (H)/IR course options below or contact us to discuss your training needs.


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