BGS News

Important changes to syllabus and CAA exams for students studying and taking exams for Module 1 and Module 2

Jeppesen Route Manual change

A new Jeppesen manual will be required for anyone sitting their EASA fixed wing or helicopter exams from 1 September 2018 with the UK CAA.

The subjects affected are General Navigation (module 1) and, Flight Planning and Monitoring (module 2). If you are sitting exams for these subjects after 1st September 2018 you will need the new Jeppesen manual (GSPRM) in your exams.

If you purchase a full course or module 2 from now on, you will automatically receive the updated syllabus which incorporates the information you will require to understand these new changes.

If you already have module 1 and intend sitting General Navigation after 1st September 2018, and/or module 2 and intend sitting Flight Planning and Monitoring after 1st September 2018, it is vital that you let us know by emailing so we can ensure that you are on the appropriate syllabus.

The new Jeppesen Student Route Manual (GSPRM) is £64 and can be purchased from our shop at –

We believe that most if not all EASA National Authorities will be introducing the new Jeppesen Manual at the same time, but if you intend sitting your exams with an authority other than the UK CAA you should check with your examiners.

Performance Based Navigation (PBN)

There is a syllabus change coming up in the Radio Navigation (module 2) subject as the topic “Area Navigation” (RNAV) is replaced by the modern version of the same, called “Performance Based Navigation” (PBN).

The PBN regulations will require that from 25th August 2018, pilots may only fly in accordance with PBN routes and procedures after they have been granted PBN privileges as an endorsement to their Instrument Rating (IR); all pilots with an IR will need to have PBN privileges after the 25 August 2020.

To obtain a PBN endorsement pilots have two options:

  1. Undertake PBN IR theoretical knowledge and practical training at an Approved Training Organisation (ATO), which includes passing a theoretical knowledge examination prior to passing a Skill Test or Proficiency Check which includes the applicable PBN IR elements; or
  2. Make a declaration confirming that you are sufficiently familiar with PBN operations, including the theoretical knowledge elements. In addition to passing an oral theoretical knowledge assessment prior to, passing a Skill Test or Proficiency Check which includes PBN IR elements.

What this means to you

To gain your PBN endorsement you will need to have fulfilled a theoretical knowledge requirement prior to undertaking the practical PBN course, either on your initial MEIR or as a supplementary course thereafter. To fulfil this requirement there are two options:

  1. Pass the Radio Nav with PBN exam; or
  2. Complete the PBN lessons and test with us and we will issue you with a certificate of completion as proof. You will then be required to pass a 2-hour oral examination with an assessor prior to taking the PBN IR Skills Test.

We recommend that you choose option 1 if you have not already completed module 2

For exams up to 25 August 2018 the UK CAA will offer you the choice of booking an exam called “Radio Navigation”, which matches the old syllabus, or “Performance Based Radio Navigation” which matches the new syllabus.

If you have a syllabus version 7.2 or earlier, the old syllabus content is shown in Lesson 14 of your learning material and Progress Test 5. The Syllabus you are on is shown on the ATPdigital Dashboard.

Purchases of ATPL(A) full course or module 2 on or after Monday 25th June 2018
To cater for those fixed wing and helicopter pilots who wish to switch to the PBN exam, the new syllabus PBN content has been added to the end of your course and is represented by Lessons 15, 16 and 17 and Progress Test 6. An additional short Lesson 18 containing Helicopter specific procedures has been added to helicopter syllabi. This additional content will automatically appear when you select [update] on ATPdigital.

Feedback PBN questions have already been added to BGS Online.

If you are taking your exams before 25th August 2018
If you intend to take the exam before 25th August you may choose which material you study, and which exam you book. Accelerator Weekends and Revision Courses up to and including the revision course from running 13th to 17th August will teach the old syllabus only, PBN content will be included on subsequent courses.

Radio Navigations exams after 25th August 2018
Once the August date is passed the old lesson 14 and progress Test 5 will be removed automatically when you update ATPdigital, from syllabi numbered v7.2 and older, and the lessons and progress tests will be renumbered.

Syllabi v7.3 and subsequent syllabi will incorporate PBN lessons and tests.

Our recommendation

We recommend students who have not already sat the Radio Navigation exam, complete the additional PBN lessons and test in ATPdigital and book the “Performance Based Radio Navigation” exam.

If you have already passed Radio Navigation without PBN in 2018
When you have completed the additional PBN lessons and test in ATPdigital please contact and we will issue you with an electronic certificate of completion which you will need for your application for the PBN rating. Remember, you will also be assessed by your practical examiner to ensure you have acquired the knowledge.

For students who completed Radio Navigation without PBN prior to 2018
When you have completed the 3 PBN lessons and progress tests, please visit our website shop and for a charge of £30 we will check you have completed the PBN lessons and progress tests and then issue you with an electronic certificate of completion which you will need for your application for the PBN rating.

Remember, you will also be assessed by your practical examiner to ensure you have acquired the knowledge.

Check with your EASA National Authority if sitting your exams outside of the UK CAA.

We believe that most if not all EASA National Authorities will be introducing PBN based Radio Navigation exams in a similar manner to the UK CAA, but you should check if appropriate.

If you have any questions, please contact

With many thanks

The Bristol Groundschool tea

Bristol Groundschool BWPA 2017 Scholarships and more- Applications now open

BWPA 2017 Scholarships – Applications now open

BWPA is now pleased to announce that Applications are now open for its 2017 Scholarships. We are awarding up to six Scholarships to successful women applicants this year. As for last year, all applications this year are via the BWPA Website, and this year, all applicants must be members of the BWPA (full or associate) at the time of application, and on the closing date (15th April 2017).

Two of the scholarships are, as for last year, the BWPA Flying Start Scholarship and BWPA Flying High Scholarship. Both these scholarships are for £1000, and both are available for any type of flying, from ballooning through to helicopters, and all points between. As the names suggest, the BWPA Flying Start Scholarship is available for new and very inexperienced pilots to gain their first qualifications, whereas the BWPA Flying High Scholarship is available for more experienced pilots with at least a first qualification who wish, for example, to gain further qualifications or take part in significant competitions, or to undertake other suitable activities to help them further their personal flying aims.

New for this year is the BWPA Saul-Pooley Renewal or Revalidation Scholarship, with a value of £500. This had kindly been donated by Dorothy Saul-Pooley, and as the name suggests is specifically towards the renewal or revalidation of a lapsed licence or rating, and is available for fixed wing or helicopter flying.

We are for the first time this year able to award two scholarships donated by Bristol Groundschool, the BWPA Bristol Groundschool ATPL Scholarships, each for half the value of their ATPL (A or H) course. The BWPA Bristol Groundschool ATPL Scholarships are for applicants with at least a PPL (A) or (H), and relate to the ground school elements of a CPL or ATPL (A or H). Applicants must also be capable of obtaining a Class 1 medical. What is (and what is not) included in these Scholarships aimed at pilots intending to make a career in flying, is detailed on the application forms, along with the necessary qualifications for application.

Whatever type of flying you do, from balloons through to commercial training, application for all the scholarships is via the BWPA website, and the application forms, which include details of how to apply, are now available on the BWPA Website. As usual we are also advertising these scholarships as widely as possible, and in liaison with other flying organisations, to reach the widest possible audience. The scholarship selection panels will comprise BWPA members plus representatives from other relevant flying organisations.  Applications are all by e-mail, as they were last year.

The closing date for all applications is Saturday 15th April 2017, and the winners will be notified in late spring, in time for the 2017 summer flying season. All those awarded BWPA 2017 Scholarships will also be invited to the BWPA Christmas Lunch on December 10th 2017, the venue for which is yet to be announced.

We encourage all potential and current women pilots to consider joining the BWPA (if not already a member) and applying for a scholarship; joining the BWPA directly helps to support our scholarship programme now and into the future. BWPA Membership is not restricted to UK citizens or residents, although the scholarships will generally be UK based. Applicants may apply for more than one scholarship, provided they satisfy the relevant criteria for each application.

Good luck from the BWPA Scholarship Team; February 2017.

Links to applications forms below:

BWPA Flying Start Scholarship :BWPA Flying Start Scholarship 2017

BWPA Flying High Scholarship:BWPA Flying High Scholarship 2017

BWPA Saul-Pooley Renewal or Revalidation Scholarship:BWPA Saul-Pooley Renewal or Revalidation Flying Scholarship 2017

BWPA Bristol Groundschool ATPL Scholarships:BWPA BGS ATPL Scholarship 2017

No immediate change to Civil Aviation regulation expected following Brexit

Following the referendum on EU membership there will be no immediate change to civil aviation regulation nor the CAA’s role in the EU and in relation to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) framework.

The UK continues to be a part of the European single market for aviation. Over the last three decades this single market has let to additional connectivity and has lowered fares for consumers.

The CAA will be working closely with the Department for Transport in assisting the UK Government as negotiations on exiting the EU progress, (source

Bristol Groundschool Air League scholarship winner announced

The Air League announce winner of the Bristol Groundschool 2016 ATPL Scholarship

Bristol Groundschool, Europe’s leading EASA distance learning fixed-wing and helicopter specialist, provided an ATPL scholarship to the Air League who invited their members to apply.

This year’s winner Cherry Charters said: “When I received an email from the Air League saying that I was the lucky person to be chosen for the Bristol Groundschool ATPL course scholarship, I was so shocked I burst into tears of happiness! Today a satisfyingly heavy box arrived in the post full of Bristol Groundschool course material, and I can’t wait to get started on my studies and the next chapter of my life towards a career as a commercial pilot!
“I only achieved my PPL a month ago so this feels like a dream come true to suddenly be nudged on the right track by Bristol Groundschool, an incredibly reputable aviation training school and to be helped in this way! Thank you so much Bristol Groundschool and The Air League for this rare opportunity!!!”
Alex Whittingham, Founder and Head of Training of Bristol Groundschool, explained: “We are delighted to have donated this scholarship to the Air League whose purpose is to encourage young people’s interest in UK aviation and aerospace by helping them to get involved.

“In her application Cherry said that her dream since being a very young girl was to become a commercial airline pilot. She worked to save the money for her PPL and studied hard to achieve mostly 100% passes in her exams. We look forward to her continuing success in her training and supporting her throughout her course.”
Air League chief executive Andrew Brookes thanked Bristol Groundschool for the generosity of their ATPL scholarship. “There will be a considerable shortage of skilled airline pilots in the coming years, and between us we must do all we can to encourage young men and young women from all backgrounds to experience the excitement and challenge of aviation. Long may we continue in partnership with Bristol Groundschool to ensure that the brightest and best fill our flight decks in the years to come.”
For further information about Bristol Groundschool and the courses it offers please visit their website

Wings Alliance actively placing pilots with UK airlines

Wings Alliance is now actively placing pilots with three UK airlines and are likely to be adding more UK and European Airlines and Corporate Jet Operators to this list over the coming months.

Fixed-wing pilots who are interested in a job with any of these airlines and meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply to the Wings Alliance now:

  • Flybe
  • Loganair
  • Monarch

To be eligible individuals must have completed their professional training with Wings Alliance member schools listed on their website –

Eligible applicants will be invited to attend one of the selection days and successful students will be eligible to complete the Wings Alliance Airline Placement Programme. Successful graduates will be recommended to partner airlines.

The Wings Alliance is new and individuals may be cautious, hopefully this will reassure applicants:

  • It costs nothing to apply and individuals are not committed in any way.
  • Individuals will not be put through selection if they do not meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The selection days will only be run when there are places available on the Airline Placement Programme.
  • Places on the Airline Placement Programme are only available to pilots who have passed the Wings Alliance selection.
  • Airline Placement Programmes will only be run when there are indications from employers that they have jobs available for Wings Alliance graduates.

Two successful students who recently completed the Wings Alliance Airline Placement Programme said:

“The training is incredibly hard work and challenging but great fun.  The full motion 747 SIM was fantastic.” Helen Wilson

It was great, I really enjoyed learning about the fundamentals of working in a multi crew environment and the instructor who is also a current pilot was really good.” Michael Windsor

Training with the Wings Alliance will allow aspiring pilots to choose the best and most appropriate Flight Schools for their circumstances at every stage of their training, whilst providing them with a comprehensive training record which is invaluable for airline recruiters.

The next three selection days are 20th May, 24th June and 22nd July.

If you are interested, please complete the enquiry form on the Wings Alliance website   or for further information please contact us on +44(0)1275 345 915.

Helen Wilson and Michael Windsor - Airline Placement Programme

Helen Wilson and Michael Windsor – Airline Placement Programme

CAA refuse either to credit exams or introduce Quality Controls


Britain’s leading flight schools have failed to convince the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that they should introduce quality assurance measures in the wake of another European exams fiasco. In an urgently organised conference call on the 25th February representatives of the flight schools argued with CAA officials that the Authority should set up procedures to prevent a repeat of the circumstances in early February when a very high proportion of candidates failed the Airline Transport Licence (ATPL) exams.  It emerged that this event had coincided with the CAA introducing a large number of new questions from the European Central Question Bank. In the hour long conference call the schools pointed out that the Learning Objectives which define the exams were so loose that questions in almost any depth could be asked and they lobbied the CAA to publish the Learning Objectives and to introduce new questions slowly so as not to disadvantage the candidates. They also asked the CAA to recognise that very high fail rate indicated a defective exam which required remedial action.

The CAA’s Exams Board Chairman, David McCorquodale, rejected the flight schools’ proposals, saying “I am not convinced there has been any wrongdoing” and “I am not willing either to give [the candidates] free resits or [to] strike out their exam results”. Another CAA representative said the content of the new exams was covered by the Learning Objectives, and therefore acceptable.

Alex Whittingham, Managing Director of Bristol Groundschool, said “It’s very disappointing. This was an opportunity for the CAA to take ownership of the quality issue dumped on them by Europe and to accept they have a responsibility to deliver properly controlled and fair exams. I’m afraid they flunked it.  The CAA say candidates should prepare themselves for the exams from the Learning Objectives but both the CAA and the European Authorities adamantly refuse to publish the very same Objectives.”

Whittingham continued “I can think of no other profession where exams are set without a published syllabus. We are already adapting to the new exams and pass rates are coming back up, but that doesn’t change the fundamental unfairness experienced by candidates in early February. The CAA tell us this is likely to happen repeatedly as more and more new questions are introduced from Europe.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Learning Objectives (LOs) provide a detailed syllabus that the exams are written to. The Learning Objectives that the exams are produced to were produced by the Joint Aviation Authority (JAA), now defunct. Questions for the ATPL exams are now produced by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the replacement for the JAA, in the form of a European Central Question Bank.
  2. Neither EASA nor the CAA will publish the LOs that the current exams are written to, citing copyright concerns. The JAA used to publish their LOs, but stopped doing so after the handover to EASA. Existing LOs are not publicly available, but see note 6.
  3. Responsibility for delivering the exams using questions drawn from the European Central Question Bank (of which the current one is ECB03) rests with a designated ‘Competent Authority’ in each European state, in the UK this is the Civil Aviation Authority.
  4. There are 14 exams for the ATPL for aeroplanes (A) and 14 for the helicopter equivalent (H). Some are common. The exams with the high fail rate in early February were for the two subjects Operational Procedures (A) and (H).
  5. In the UK candidates pay the CAA £68 for each exam taken, a total of £952 assuming no resits.
  6. Bristol Groundschool has, since the exams, published an unofficial version of what it believes to be the current Learning Objectives at . The CAA and EASA still refuse to publish them.
  7. The conference call was attended by officials from EASA and the UK CAA, and representatives from CTC, Bristows, CAE, CATS, Bristol Groundschool, Naples Air Center and Caledonian Advanced Pilot Training.

FREE course places offered to Pilots training with the Wings Alliance

Wings Alliance launches new course with FREE places for pilots

To celebrate the launch of the Wings Alliance Airline Ready Course (MCC/JOC), we are delighted to offer six aspiring pilots the opportunity to attend a FREE one-day selection course on Thursday 25th February at Wings Alliance member Bristol Groundschool’s headquarters in Clevedon, North Somerset, UK.  Two of these candidates will then be selected to attend a FREE 3-week Airline Ready Course (ARC) from April 11th-29th.  If these students meet the required standard, they may then be recommended to a Wings Alliance partner airline.

The Wings Alliance offers training from an individual’s very first flight right up to airline employment. It is a trade association of leading modular flight training schools, offering a cost effective high quality route for professional pilot licensing.

Rod Wren, CEO of the Wings Alliance said: “We believe the Wings Alliance provides a unique opportunity that aspiring pilots have been waiting for; a cost effective and flexible high quality training route. As part of the launch of this course we are very excited to offer these free places on our first Wings Alliance selection day and for 2 of these 6 students to be selected to undertake for free our new 3-week ‘Airline Ready Course’ (ARC).”

To be eligible to apply for a place on the Wings Alliance selection day, candidates must:

  • Have an EASA ME CPL/IR issued and current
  • Have the right to live and work in the EU
  • Hold a DBS certificate (or equivalent)
  • Be educated to GCSE level with 5 passes at A*- C including English and Maths (or equivalent)
  • ICAO Aviation English Language proficiency at level 4+
  • Have completed their CPL/ME/IR training with a Wings Alliance Member
  • Be able to attend the selection day on the 25th February, and if selected be able to attend the 3-week Airline Ready Course from 11th– 29th April 2016 inclusive.

The selection course will consist of interviews and group exercises and students’ performance will be used to choose two of the candidates to go forward to our ARC course.

The ARC itself consists of seven days of ground training covering: Crew Resource Management, Standard Operating Procedures and Pilot Competencies.  This will be followed by a nine-day simulator course. For further information, please visit

The application form can be completed by visiting clicking the link    The closing date is 14th February 2016.

Training with the Wings Alliance will allow aspiring pilots to choose the best and most appropriate Flight Schools for their circumstances at every stage of their training, whilst providing them with a comprehensive training record which is invaluable for airline recruiters.

Individuals who are unable to apply for the selection day but are interested in finding out more may visit the Wings Alliance website –

Members of the Wings Alliance include:

Advanced Flight Training, UK,  Aeros Flight Training, UK,  Airways Flight Training, UK , Ayla Aviation, Jordan,  Bartolini Air, Poland,  Bristol Groundschool, UK,  Cardiff Aviation, UK,  Egnatia Aviation, Greece  HubAir, Belgium,  Multiflight, UK,  Orbit Groundschool, Netherlands,  Professional Air Training, UK,  Ravenair, UK,  Stapleford Flight Centre, UK,  Tayside Aviation, UK,  Ultimate High, UK


CAA EASA exam dates at Bristol Groundschool

Sit your exams at Bristol Groundschool

If you are a Bristol Groundschool student, we recommend you book your exams at the time of booking your revision course with us. For all other students, please book your exams far enough in advance to guarantee your preferred exam centre.

For more information on booking your exams please visit EASA exam information

If you have any questions please email us at







Bristol Groundschool become a CAA exam centre

We’re pleased to announce we have just got clearance from the CAA for the first CAA exam sitting at BGS which will run on the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th of April. The CAA have initially opened up only the first two days to candidates with the remaining two available on demand but we have asked them to open up all four days straight away, and are waiting to hear back. Any BGS students who are booked at other venues can now swap across if they wish, there is a short window for this, transfers must be completed through the CAA exam portal before Tuesday. Exam sittings will be programmed at least once a month from now on – details to follow shortly.

Fast track your knowledge with our free Accelerator weekend

With the new structure of our 3 module ATPL (A) course, we are offering accelerator weekends as a free addition to the course. The accelerator weekends are there to supplement the brush up courses and to enhance your understanding through the modules. The accelerator weekends provide face to face instruction, concentrating on specific subjects. We recommend students take the opportunity to attend the weekends to build confidence in a particular subject and to clear up any areas that you just don’t understand. Each student is entitled to 3 free weekends, one for each module, however, we recognise that different students want help with different subjects so you can pick and mix the accelerators to suit your needs and if you require additional days you are able to purchase them if you desire.

You can book your place through our online booking system.

You may be reading this thinking ‘I’m not a Bristol Groundschool student, can I still attend?’

The answer is of course your can, you’re always welcome to attend our accelerator weekends. All you need to do is visit our purchase page and simply buy the accelerator course you wish to attend. You can opt from one single day to a whole weekend. Once purchased you can book your space on the course and join in with the rest of the BGS students.

Purchase your accelerator day or weekend