Competency-Based Instrument Rating (Aeroplane) CB-IR(A) Theory Course

ATPL Bristol Groundschool software ATPdigital
ATPdigital learning software displayed on a laptop and tablets

Our Competency-Based Instrument Rating (Aeroplane) CB-IR(A) course is suitable for pilots that don’t have ambitions to fly commercially but would like the privileges that the full IR qualification gives.

Bristol Groundschoool also has theory Instrument Rating courses for approved Instrument Rating (IR) and Basic Instrument Rating (BIR). If you are unsure which course you need, read our guide on explaining IR courses.

Competency-Based Instrument Rating (Aeroplane) CB-IR(A) Theory with Bristol Groundschool

With our distance learning courses, you can progress at your own pace, using our state-of-the-art computer program, ATPdigital, which has been designed to split the subjects across two modules; each module leads to a set of exams.

ATPdigital breaks your course into bitesize stages, guiding you through your studies with interactive diagrams, animations, and explainers, concluding each stage of your learning with a progress test.

In addition to ATPdigital, our CB-IR(A) course also include a free 12 month subscription to BGSonline question bank to help you revise for your exams.

Learn from anywhere in the world, at your own pace.

Key features of our CB-IR(A) Course

ATPdigital: pioneering flight theory training software

A course with engaging materials makes learning more memorable. That’s why we pioneered a computer-based training system called ATPdigital: the first software of its kind in the industry.

Using interactive diagrams, animations, and explainers, it guides you through every stage of your studies.

Progress through your studies by passing quizzes at the end of each section. Watch your knowledge grow with a dashboard overview of your learning.

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

You can use ATPdigital offline once it is installed, so you can study from anywhere without a connection to the internet.

ATPdigital also incorporates the same question bank as BGSonline, enabling you to carry out practice exams if you do not have access to the internet.

Revision Week with our Expert Instructors

BGS Webinars on PC and Tablet

As part of an approved course, you’ll be required to log 8 hours of online tuition for the CB-IR(A). This can be met by attending the relevant subjects within an ATPL revision course.

Our revision courses are delivered at ATPL level, so they may include some content not relevant to the IR syllabus, but your course materials are IR-specific.

The online revision weeks are interactive, so you’ll be able to ask the instructor questions as you go along.

Free 12-month subscription to BGSonline Question Bank (worth £160)

As a student studying with Bristol Groundschool, you will receive twelve months of access to BGSonline: a regularly updated database of exam-style questions.

Test your knowledge and prepare for your exams with instant answers and detailed explanations.

Make your learning targeted and effective by filtering questions by topic or revisiting questions you’ve previously answered wrong.

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 your IR course.

Manuals are available to purchase either as a complete set or by subject.

Purchase IR Manuals

Purchase CB-IR(A) Approved Course


How are CB-IR(A) theory courses structured?

You have a total of 6 sittings to pass all the exams and no more than 4 attempts at any one subject, you need to pass all exams within 18 months from the date of your first sitting.

Maths and Physics
Before you start the CB-IR(A) study, there is a module on Maths and Physics. This is a refresher for you if you have not studied these subjects for a while. The Maths and Physics module is conducted in the CBT only and there are no EASA or UK CAA exams associated with it.


CB-IR(A) Subjects and Exams

There are 7 subjects in a CB-IR(A) although you may be exempt two or three subjects (see ‘exemptions’ below).

Module 1 contains:

  • Aircraft General Knowledge – Instrumentation
  • Human Performance
  • Radio Navigation

Module 2 contains:

  • Air Law
  • Flight Planning and Monitoring
  • Meteorology
  • Communications


When you have completed each module you may attempt the examinations at a UK CAA or EASA Examination Centre depending on what licence you are looking to achieve. You must register with your chosen authority once you are ready to book the exams, fees are payable at the time of booking. You could sit your exams with any EASA  Authority if you are aiming for an EASA licence.

We are a UK CAA  and an EASA (Austro Control) examination centre so, subject to availability, you could sit your exams at our examination centre

How long will the CB-IR(A) course take to complete?

Your CB-IR(A) theory course with Bristol Groundschool will usually take around four to six months to complete depending on your personal circumstance.

ATPdigtal records your progress with a series of short quizzes at the end of each lesson (which require 100% to pass), as well as larger progress tests to conclude each topic. ATPdigital automatically sends us the results and our instructors are available throughout the process to provide all the support you will need.

CB-IR(A) Distance Learning Course Fees

To register for our CB-IR(A) distance learning courses, simply purchase online. You will have the option of paying for your course online by credit or debit card, by bank transfer, or with a 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 fees for the various options are calculated before checkout.

* Shipping charges will depend on your location

Once your registration has been processed, your learning materials will be immediately dispatched to your address by courier.

Purchase CB-IR(A) Approved Course

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