ATPL books EASA 2020 Syllabus

April 2, 2020

After two years in development, we’re excited to announce that our new ATPL(A) books for the EASA 2020 syllabus are now available for pilot training academies and ground schools, as well as for direct download from the Apple Books Store.

These are the first textbooks to be published for the new 2020 syllabus (the first major change to the syllabus since 2006), and they’re entirely new editions rather than updates to our existing ATPL books. We’re calling them ‘2nd Editions’ and you can spot them in our Book Store with their bright blue covers.

The one exception to this is our ATPL Meteorology book. If you own the Padpilot ATPL Met book, you may have noticed that the latest version is already a ‘2nd Edition’ book. This means that it can be updated in the usual way, free of charge, to the new syllabus version.

EASA states: “The last significant technical update of the syllabi and LOs for the airline transport pilot licence (ATPL), multi-crew pilot licence (MPL), commercial pilot licence (CPL), and instrument rating (IR) theoretical knowledge courses for aeroplane and helicopter categories was conducted in 2006. Given the emergence of new technologies and the advancement of training philosophy there was a need to review, amend, and update these LOs (where necessary). The theoretical knowledge training for ATPL, MPL, CPL and IRs should provide all the necessary knowledge and competencies to prepare pilots for performing state-of-the-art flight operations. The opportunity to review the applicable examination procedures, as required, was also taken.”

The 2020 syllabus is now in effect, although the old one continues alongside it until it’s final ATPL examinations occur in June 2022. Some pilot training academies are already teaching the new syllabus, and more Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) around the world are in the process of switching in the next few months, despite COVID-19. During quarantine, many Padpilot partner schools have been able to move their ground training online quickly, and theoretical knowledge instruction has been able to continue. During the pandemic, ATPL exams are cancelled until further notice but – at the moment – the first exams for the new syllabus are scheduled to start this summer.

Key changes to the syllabus

EASA states, “This Decision updates the LOs and theoretical knowledge syllabi, and introduces the TEM concept and its application. The updated LOs correspond to today’s operational environment and ensure that commercial pilots are equipped with the knowledge and understanding relevant to modern flight operations and current industry needs. The Decision also introduces new LOs under Area 100 KSA (Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes), which aims to consolidate students’ understanding of the different theoretical knowledge subjects within the framework of the relevant ICAO core competencies. These skills focus on the pilots’ ability to apply their knowledge and understanding across subjects and to demonstrate technical and non-technical skills. These Area 100 KSA LOs will not be the subject of examinations organised by competent authorities using questions drawn from the ECQB, but will be assessed by the ATOs to ensure that student pilots have an adequate level of competency before they are allowed to sit their final theoretical knowledge examination. This modernised theoretical knowledge training will contribute to the overall enhancement of pilots’ core competencies and their ability to make informed decisions.” – Explanatory Note to Decision 2018/001/R

Essentially, the requirement is to improve students’ knowledge and understanding across subjects to improve pilot performance and safety.

1. Extensive updates to the theoretical knowledge syllabus and learning outcomes

The new syllabus has deleted a lot of unnecessary learning objectives and moved others from one subject to another. There is now a greater emphasis on new procedures and technologies. For example, details about the separation rules applied to aircraft by air traffic controllers have gone, making room for a more in-depth discussion of new avionics and new datalink communication procedures, and more about aircraft automation. The new syllabus still refers to some obsolete technology, but it’s more relevant to modern airline operations than the old one.

2. Communications

IFR and VFR Communications will be examined as one subject under the new syllabus, therefore reducing the total number of examinations to 13.

3. More emphasis on Threat and Error Management (TEM)

The fundamental premise of Threat and Error Management (TEM) is that threats and errors are unavoidable. Accordingly, TEM is about developing strategies to manage and mitigate the effects of threats and errors in a way that prevents them from becoming dangerous.

Padpilot 1st Edition books already identified threat and errors with red flags throughout the books and the 2nd Edition books contain more of these. Adopting TEM principles not only brings ground training into line with best industry practices but also captures the attention of students and motivates their studies. By identifying threats and errors with red flags, students understand why the knowledge they are studying is essential.

4. Area 100 ‘Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes’ (KSA)

Area 100 KSA has been introduced to test a student’s attitude to training, not just his or her skill and knowledge, and to ensure the practical integration of various topics from across the theoretical knowledge syllabus while developing students’ core competencies.

Padpilot 2nd Editions – new content, new features

The new 2nd Edition books are compliant with the updated content and new Learning Objectives of the EASA 2020 syllabus. They also contain better graphics, new 3D models, more TEM flags and case studies, as well as a brand new feature: end of chapter summary pages, and interactive quizzes.

The main body of each book explains the theoretical knowledge needed by pilots for modern airline operations. We assume no prior knowledge, and so the books are easy to read, use straightforward language and are illustrated with plenty of pictures, video and animated graphics to help bring the theory to life.

Then, at the end of every chapter, students can use the summary page to review their learning and practice thousands of questions from the new syllabus with the electronic quizzes. The summaries and quizzes directly relate to the Learning Objectives in the 2020 syllabus, making consolidation of knowledge and ATPL exam revision easier for student pilots.

These are the most advanced ATPL books available for trainee pilots.
These new features mean that Padpilot 2nd Edition books are now even better for students who are distance learning as trainees can benefit from comprehensive self-testing before their revision courses and exams.

“These are the most advanced ATPL books available for trainee pilots. We hope that they give the next generation of pilots a secure and memorable theoretical knowledge base that will serve them well for the rest of their training and future career,” said Graham Cownie, MD. Padpilot.

The Padpilot Guide to Distance Learning

The new series of books is accompanied by a free guide which contains a suggested course programme, study tips, and a guide to using the interactive features within the books. Download it from our Books Store

Please note that we will keep both 1st Edition and the new 2nd Edition ATPL books available in parallel so ATOs can purchase the materials they need during the transition period.

If we can support you through the new syllabus update process, please get in touch with our Sales and Business Development Director, Cristina Messaggi at

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Just wanted to reach out and say thank you for your books and resources. I’m currently an ATPL student and my flight school uses your books. It’s clear how much effort the team has put into producing these books - the diagrams, 3d models and mini videos are all amazing and really do help us get a good understanding of the sometimes complex systems. It’s amazing how this content has been incorporated into the books, as well as the added features such as the quizzes at the end of each chapter. I also had the pleasure of meeting two members of the team at the Berlin show. They were incredibly kind and open-minded when I gave feedback on potential developments as to how the industry can improve the way the course is taught. Keep up the good work.

Adam Oarda


I initially started my ATPLs with a different provider and got nowhere until I purchased the Padpilot iBooks. 6 months and fourteen exams later, I was done. Can highly recommend them!



Love your books. They're improving big knowledge gaps I had, especially for Meteorology. And super nice job the way you designed the PoF book as well - it helps so much with understanding everything.

Michael Pace


Compared with other ATPL materials I tried, Padpilot books were by far the most enjoyable ones for reading.



Padpilot make reading more enjoyable - the learner can interact with the book and it’s a pleasure to study, in comparison to other similar products on the market.




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