Commercial Pilot Licence│CPL(A) theory training course (UK CAA & EASA)
Bristol Groundschool is a world leader in commercial pilot licence theory tuition.
Our mission is to inspire you to fulfil your ambition to succeed in a career in aviation.
We achieve this by providing high-quality and regularly updated training material and instruction. After all, the biggest dreams deserve the best support.
We train the pilots of tomorrow. You could be the next one.
Learn here with us in Bristol. Or anywhere else in the world.
You can learn anywhere, anytime with Bristol Groundschool. No matter where you are in the world, you can study at your own pace through our online learning materials. This allows you to schedule your learning around your hours in the cockpit and other responsibilities.
In addition to online learning, we also offer in-person training at our school in North Somerset, UK, to deliver our end of module revision courses – welcoming students from all over the world to conquer their CPL tuition with Bristol Groundschool.
Whatever style of learning you prefer, whether you want to learn online, in person, or a combination, we can meet your needs.
For more information about our online courses, please read our frequently asked questions about distance learning guide.
Key features of our Commercial Pilot Licence course
ATPdigital: pioneering flight theory training software
Learning is more memorable when the course materials are engaging.
We have pioneered a computer-based training system called ATPdigital: the first software of its kind in the industry.
It breaks your course into bitesize stages, guiding you through your studies with interactive diagrams, animations, and explainers.
Pass quizzes at the end of each section to progress with your studies. Watch your knowledge grow with a dashboard overview of your learning.
ATPdigital is available for Windows and macOS, PC’s and laptops. There’s also an iOS app available for iPad.
Once installed the software can also be used offline allowing you to study from any location with no internet connection.
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.
World-renowned Commercial Pilot Licence tuition at the tips of your fingers. Study at your own pace using ATPdigital.
Live Webinars with Expert Instructors
We regularly run live online virtual classroom sessions per week with one of our instructors explaining specific subjects in ATPL/CPL theory for both fixed wing (A) and helicopter (H) courses.
The virtual classroom sessions are interactive (giving you the opportunity to ask questions) and count towards the classroom hours you must complete as part of your studies.
Beyond the live classroom sessions, we give you 24/7 access to over 200 hours of pre-recorded classroom sessions.
You can sit back and watch Bristol Groundschool’s instructors offer illuminating insight on every corner of the CPL syllabus. Ideal for brushing up your knowledge.
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.
Revision Weeks – Helping to Get You Exam Ready
In the run-up to your exams, you will attend one of our revision weeks.
Our expert instructors will help you consolidate your learning, with exam-specific tests and recaps of key concepts in the syllabus.
So, you can hit your exams with confidence (It’s no coincidence that most Bristol Groundschool students pass their exams the first time).
Our revision weeks run both online and at our school in Clevedon, UK.
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 12-month Subscription to BGSonline (worth £160)
As a student 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 book the online classes, the pre-recorded classroom training sessions can be accessed 24/7.
No Travel or Visa Requirements
There are no travel costs associated with our online CPL revision classes and the entire Commercial Pilot Licence course can be completed from the comfort of your own home, from anywhere in the world.
Industry-Leading Commercial Pilot Licence 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
If you choose to study with us in 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 Commercial Pilot Licence 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
You have the option to pay for your entire CPL modular course upfront or module by module. It’s easy to pay online or over the phone with your credit or debit card. We can also arrange to take payment via bank transfer or cheque, though these payments must be made in GBP. If you have purchased learning materials that require shipping to your location, this will be done as soon as your order has been processed.
The exam fees are not included in the cost of the course. 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 £80 per exam if sat at Bristol Groundschool and can be booked directly through us.
Additional Revision Weeks £832 per week for module 1 and £598 per week for module 2 and 3.
Once we are in a position to offer face-to-face classroom tuition again, if you choose this option, 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 this website.
Commercial Pilot Licence Course Overview
Maths and Physics Refresher
As you might expect, CPL regulations specify that students must have a solid understanding of maths and physics. So, before you start your commercial pilot licence studies, we provide a refresher module to give you a solid platform from which to learn.
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 (KSA)
Also, at the start of your studies is the ‘Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes’ (KSA) module. It’s a short module designed to help you thrive with your CPL studies and beyond, addressing key career skills such as communication, 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.
Introducing the three modules
We divide the 13 Commercial Pilot Licence subjects into three modules.
CPL (A) Module 1:
- 022 – Instrumentation
- 061 – General Navigation
- 050 – Meteorology
- 040 – Human Performance and Limitations
CPL (A) Module 2:
- 062 – Radio Navigation
- 021 – Airframe and Systems, Electrics, Power Plant, and Emergency Equipment
- 010 – Air Law
- 033 – Flight Planning and Flight Monitoring
- 090 – Communications
CPL (A) Module 3:
- 070 – Operational Procedures
- 081 – Principles of Flight
- 032 – Performance (Aeroplane)
- 031 – Mass and Balance
*** You can choose to take your Communications exam as part of Module 2 or Module 3. We include the Comm’s lessons as part of Module 2 to allow you to make this choice.
How long does the Commercial Pilot Licence theory course take to complete?
Your CPL (A) theory course with Bristol Groundschool, as part of your modular path to becoming a professional pilot, will take from six to eighteen months to complete, depending on how much time you can dedicate to your studies. During this time you can build up your flying experience, including a combination of distance learning and classroom work. There are thirteen exams to be passed for the EASA CPL, some more difficult than others.
Please note that all the lessons in ATPdigital must be completed before you can attend the revision course 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. ATPdigital automatically sends us the results and our instructors are available throughout the process to provide all the support you will need.
Before you start your CPL theory course, you must have a PPL 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 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 CPL theory exams.
Taking your Commercial Pilot Licence Examinations
When you have completed each module you may attempt the examinations at a UK CAA Examination Centre or Austro Control. You must register with either the CAA or Austro Control and, unless you are exempt from doing an approved course (for example if you are a military pilot, resitting lapsed exams 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. You can sit your exams with any EASA Aviation Authority.
We are also a UK CAA and Austro Control examination centre, so, subject to availability, you could sit your exams at our training centre.
If you are not sure whether to select a UK CAA or EASA course, have a look at our web page about the UK leaving EASA.
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 them, you must register with Austro Control 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.
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.
Commercial Pilot Licence Course Requirements
Private Pilot’s Licence
Before you start your CPL theory course, you must have a PPL(A) issued to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. This is a mandatory requirement, and you will be asked for your licence number when you register.
You will finish your PPL with 45 to 65 flying hours. The next flying course after your PPL is the CPL. It requires you to have logged 150 hours of flying time before you start. So you will need to build up your hours alongside studying for your CPL if you intend to start your practical training soon after you have passed the Commercial Pilot Licence exams.
Class 1 Medical and Eyesight Information
Your medical certification must be issued by the body governing your licence: i.e. the UK CAA or your EASA state’s equivalent. If you have a prescription from the opticians we also recommend you complete the UK CAA visual system form or your EASA state’s equivalent.
Bristol Groundschool courses do not qualify for a student visa. Make sure you can enter the UK before applying for your course and exams. For further information on visas, visit the UK Border Agency website. (You don’t need a visa if you are studying with us remotely.)
However, remember you may complete all your theory training online, without the need to visit us in person.
Commercial Pilot Licence Contact Hours
You need to complete a total of 650 hours of learning for your CPL theory course. 10% (65 hours) of this must be live tuition – whether that’s in the classroom with us or dialing into our live classroom sessions and online revision weeks. (Note: our pre-recorded classroom sessions do not count towards your live tuition requirement.)
Why Study my Commercial Pilot Licence theory with Bristol Groundschool?
Ready to take your next step?
Select one of the CPL(A) course options below or contact us to discuss how we can bring your aviation ambitions to life.