Private Pilot’s Licence – PPL(A)

Plane flying over white cliffs for Private Pilot Licence lesson

Whether you have dreams of becoming a commercial pilot, or you are a hobbyist who wants to take to the skies for the sheer thrill of it, the first step is to obtain your Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). There’s a lot of practical flight tuition involved in earning your PPL and you will need to pass nine exams on the theoretical aspects of flight.

Bristol Groundschool is a world leader in the tuition of flight theory. Our founding ethos is that learning is more memorable when it’s engaging. That’s why we created ATPdigital: interactive software that will guide you through your PPL studies. Our material will teach you everything you need to know to pass your PPL exams first time – with quizzes containing exam style questions at the end of each lesson to test your understanding of key concepts.

Study for your Private Pilot’s Licence theory exams – anytime, anywhere

Our interactive training software makes studying for your PPL theory exams simple, convenient and effective. ATPdigital also comes with revision guides for each subject. Perfect for sharpening your knowledge to help you hit exam day with confidence. Our course materials are compatible with PCs, laptops and iPad enabling you to learn anytime, anywhere.

Key features

  • Computer-based training, ATPdigital, can be used on PC, Mac and iPad
  • Study anywhere – ATPdigital will work online and offline
  • Applicable to the EASA and UK CAA PPL syllabus
  • Incorporates a study guide for each subject
  • In-built testing using exam-style questions with end of lesson quizzes and progress tests.

Purchase PPL(A) Theory Computer Based Training


The Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) theory modules

There are nine subjects in the PPL theory syllabus, each one is assessed by an exam. You must pass all nine exams to gain your PPL licence.

  • Air Law – covering the rules and regulations governing aviation
  • Aircraft General Knowledge (AGK) – including aircraft design and systems, instrumentation, electrics, engines and emergency equipment
  • Flight Planning & Performance – learn how to do important pre-flight calculations to ensure you have sufficient fuel, runway length and so on
  • Human Performance & Limitations (HPL) – covering the psychological and physiological effects of flight
  • Meteorology – learn what causes different weather conditions, how they affect flight and how to interpret aviation forecasts
  • Navigation – basic navigation theory and use of electronic navigation aids
  • Operational Procedures (OP) – covers the standard procedures that you must follow when operating aircraft
  • Principles of Flight (PoF) – aerodynamics, how aircraft fly and how different variables affect lift and drag
  • Communications – how to communicate using radio telephony

Many pilots opt to study the PPL theory in three or more blocks or modules, reducing the number of exams attempted at each sitting.

Plane flying over the Prince of Wales Bridge for Private Pilot Licence lesson


The cost of the training software is £180.  Please visit our online shop to purchase the Private Pilot Licence computer-based training material.

Purchase PPL(A) Theory Computer Based Training

Examinations and obtaining your licence

There is no formal ground school requirement associated with PPL theory training. Therefore you can book your exams with either the UK CAA or your chosen EASA state once you are ready to sit them.

Each exam consists of 12 to 16 multiple choice questions and lasts between 20 and 50 minutes. You have 18 months to pass all nine exams, starting at the end of the calendar month in which you pass your first exam. You are allowed a maximum of four attempts per exam. Each exam costs around £35.

Once you have passed all nine exams, you must apply to have your licence issued within two years of passing your final exam – otherwise, you will have to resit them all. You will also need to get a Flight Radio Telephony Operators Licence (FRTOL) by passing a practical Radio Telephony test, and a Class 1 or Class 2 aviation medical certificate.

Private Pilot Licence FAQs

How difficult are these subjects and exams?
Learning how to fly a plane isn’t easy, but it is exciting! Our training software, ATPdigital, gives you all the knowledge you need to pass your theory exams – guiding you through your learning step by step with tests at the end of each lesson.

How much time will it take me to complete the study?
This depends mainly on your existing knowledge and the amount of time you can dedicate each week to studying. Each of the nine modules typically requires a minimum of around eight to twelve hours of study to get exam ready.

Do I have to complete the exams before starting flight training?
No, you can study in parallel with your practical flight training.  Some would say this is the best option, because the theory that you learn can immediately be applied in the real world.

What are the hardware requirements?
Our training software, ATPdigital, runs on any modern Windows, Mac or iPad device.


Have you got a question about your private pilot licence training?

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