Coronavirus update – Exams & Classroom courses

This page was last updated:  1/04/2020

Classroom courses & exams in April & May

You will be aware of the Government announcement that all schools and colleges are to close. No end date is given but there is speculation that this could be for as long as four months.

CAA Exams cancelled

We understand that the UK CAA have sent their staff home in compliance with the Government’s instructions on social distancing. The CAA continues to operate, they are aware of the issues affecting the industry but point out that their priorities lie in keeping cargo and medical supplies moving.

They have cancelled exams provisionally until May 4th, and we expect that date to be reviewed and extended. Because it seems unlikely that the lockdown period will last less than two months, for planning purposes you should anticipate no classroom-based UK CAA exams will be available until at least the 21st of May.

Austro Exams cancelled

Austro Control have cancelled all exams in Vienna until further notice. Our ability to run classroom-based Austro Control exams in the UK depends on the UK social distancing rules and it is unlikely that we will be able to restart in the next two months. Our Austro sittings are therefore also cancelled up to the 21st of May.

Please note – All candidates who have made Austro exam bookings who need or wish to cancel them please do this via the online booking system. This will then generate an automatic refund to your original payment method and then you will be able to re-book your exams at a future date. You will receive a confirmation email when your refund has been completed.

Classroom Courses

Likewise, revision courses will not be able to be run in a classroom setting for several months so, regrettably, the following revision and accelerator courses are formally cancelled, again with the intention of rolling bookings over to some future date.

  • Module 3 revision course from 30th March to 3rd April
  • Accelerator courses on the weekend of 4th & 5th of April
  • Module 1 & 2 courses 14th to 18th April
  • Accelerator course on the weekend of 25th & 26th of April
  • Module 2 & 3 courses from the 27th of April to the 1st of May
  • Accelerator courses on the weekend of 2nd & 3rd of May
  • Module 1 & 2 courses from the 11th to the 15th of May

If the disruption passes relatively quickly the earliest date that we will resume teaching and testing will be the 26th of May, but that date will be subject to ongoing review, and we will give you as much notice as possible if it changes.

When we restart, we have the capacity to schedule additional courses to clear any backlog but there is no point trying to put dates to them yet because of the current uncertainty. We ask you to work with us and remain as flexible as you can.

What happens if the lock-down is for a shorter period than two months?

In the unlikely event that this happens we will review the options as soon as they are available to us, and they might allow us to restart classroom training. If so, we will be proactive, and contact you as soon as our options become clear.

What happens if the lock-down is for a longer period than two months?

The date of 21st of May referred to above is only a guess of the shortest likely lockdown period and is based on the duration of lockdown in other states, particularly in China. We expect the effectiveness of the lockdown in the UK will become clear after two to three weeks and that estimates for the date that the lockdown will be eased off will become more accurate by the first weeks of May. As soon as some clarity returns, we will let you know.

Are there plans to allow home-based exams in the meantime?

There remains an outside possibility that the company that produces the exam software for Austro Control will be able to provide web-based EASA exams that can be taken at home, possibly with video monitoring. We have asked Austro Control if this is possible and are waiting to hear back. If so, it may be that some form of home exam system can be started before the period of social distancing is ended.

The identical question has been asked of the UK CAA, and they are also considering the option. It would be a big step for any Authority to take.

Getting close to your 18-month time limit?

UK CAA

Because Covid-19 has resulted in cancellations and delays to exams, candidates who have already started their Flight Crew Theoretical Knowledge Examinations will be permitted an additional 6 months to complete their exam series extending it from 18 to 24 months.

Details on the conditions of this exemption and how to request are detailed in ORS 4 NO 1353.

Austro Control

With reference to the constant changes and restrictions in connection with the outbreak of Covid-19, we would like to inform you about the current developments regarding our examination centres. Austro Control has submitted to EASA an “Exemption” based on Article 71(1), which we would like to add accordingly:

The content of this “exemption” is an exception in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 Art 71 (1) to prevent negative consequences for civil aviation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions on individual freedom. This automatically extends by 4 months all deadlines set out in Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011, Regulation (EU) No 1321/2014 Annex III and Regulation (EU) 2015/340 and implementing acts adopted on the basis thereof, which expire within 4 months of the entry into force of this derogation.

As a result, all candidates who would have had the 18-month period to complete the theory test within the next four months will benefit from an automatic extension for a further four months. Should candidates continue to be affected by restrictions after this period, we will evaluate this and, if necessary, extend the period accordingly. All other affected deadlines will also be extended accordingly by the aforementioned period.

View the full Austro Control statement

IAA

The IAA have also permitted an additional 6 months to complete their exam series extending it from 18 to 24 months. Details on the conditions of this exemption and how to request it are in their statement

View the IAA statement

Is BGS going to provide web-based training and revision courses during lockdown?

Webinars for specific study areas will start in the week commencing 30th March. The first ones will be a trial, but we anticipate that an individual webinar would cover a particular topic for an hour or so rather than last all day. For instance there might be one covering Satellite Navigation in the Radio Navigation subject, or AC Electrics in AGK.

You will be able to book in to the webinars in advance, and will need at least a microphone on your device to participate. More will be published about this towards the end of this week.

Subject to a successful outcome of the trial (and quite a bit of paperwork) the UK CAA will almost certainly allow time spent in webinars to be counted towards the mandatory classroom time on the course, thus counting towards revision weeks. We expect this to be a learning process for us whilst we establish what sort of course content best meets your needs and welcome your feedback.

With best wishes in these difficult times,

Alex Whittingham, Bristol Groundschool


UK CAA cancelling exams

Updated: 25/03/2020

From the CAA website:

All UK CAA Exam sessions will be cancelled up to and including 1 May 2020. 
Candidates/ATO’s will receive an automated notification of cancellation and monies will be returned to their respective accounts.”

For more information, please visit the CAA website

For a period of three months, from 16 March 2020 to 16 June 2020, the CAA will waive any fees normally incurred for cancellation and/or transfer to a future CAA examination sitting

Should there be any changes to the current status, the CAA will take account of any recommendations from the relevant authorities and implement all appropriate instructions accordingly.

Advice for students

Head to our blog to look at our general advice for students who are in flight training, about to start, or have just finished. View the post here.

For specific information about exams and revision weeks at BGS, please scroll down.

Online orders are still being taken

We are continuing to process and dispatch any orders made through our website. We will update this page in the event that this changes.

Questions for our instructors

If any BGS students have questions for our instructors, please post it to our online discussion board, ATPforum. This way you can see if the question has already been asked, and other students can also benefit from seeing the discussion.

Exam period extension

The UK CAA have issued a letter extending the 18 month rule for completion of theory exams (from the first attempt) to 24 months. You have to have started your exams to qualify.

View the extension letter here

Specific exam questions

If you have any queries in regard to your exams unfortunately, we will not be able to answer these. You should contact the authority that you are sitting them with for further information.

Please be aware that some authorities may have closed down so it will be best to check their website for the latest information.

We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available. In the event of any changes to future exams, please check this webpage.

Please follow government guidelines on Coronavirus.

Public Health England advice

View UK Government guidance on coronavirus