Frequently asked questions

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Pilot Training

I want to become a pilot, where do I begin?

Please see our Students page for information on pilot training.

Which pilot training school should I attend?

Please view our directory of flight school partners here and check out our Students page for more information on how to choose your pilot training provider.

What is ground school?

Ground school is the academic or ‘theory’ phase of pilot training and is sometimes referred to as ‘ground training’ or ‘theoretical knowledge training’. Training organisations offer ground school in different ways (e.g full time, part time, distance learning, virtual) but the exams you must pass are the same regardless of how you complete your theory studies. Find more information for Student pilots here.

How long does ATPL ground school take?

This depends on which course you enrol on and how much time you have. If you study full time, you can complete your studies in 6-9 months. If part time, perhaps via distance learning, the timeframe can vary much more, depending on your other commitments. There is a time limit however, and once you sit your first exams, you must complete them all within 18 months. Please talk to an approved training provider for more advice.

Can I study ATPL theory myself via distance learning?

If you opt for modular (step by step) commercial pilot training, you have the option to complete ATPL ground school via distance learning. It’s an affordable, flexible way to study around work, family or other commitments, but requires self discipline and commitment. You’ll need to enrol on a distance learning ATPL theory course with an approved training organisation and you’ll be given a programme of self-study as well as compulsory teaching sessions (in person or virtually, depending on the ATO).

Padpilot books were originally designed for distance learners and explain everything very simply. Some Padpilot partner ATOs offer distance learning courses and you can download our free guide to studying at home.

I am interested in using Padpilot ground school materials for my ATO

Please see our ATO page for information on the resources we offer ATOs.


How can I purchase Padpilot books?

All Padpilot theory books are available from our Apple Bookstore or by enrolling with a Padpilot partner ATO (approved training organisation)

Which device do I need for Padpilot books?

You need an Apple device (iPad, MacBook, Mac, iPhone) that runs a minimum of iOS 12 with at least 5GB of storage for the ATPL books.

Once you’ve downloaded your Padpilot books, you can use them across all your Apple devices. But which device is better? It’s personal preference but most people choose an iPad as it’s portable and big enough to read comfortably.

iMacs, Macbooks and iPads are all good for proper studying, and your iPhone can be useful for quick quizzes on the go. (If you like to have a 2 page view when studying, you’ll need a screen size of 10.2 inches or more).

If you’re buying a new iPad, we recommend the iPad 10.2.

How do I study, highlight and make notes in my book?

All the interactive features of Padpilot books are explained on our Youtube channel.

Are Padpilot books available for Android devices?

No, they’re currently only available for iPads, iPhones or Macs (OS X Mavericks or later) but we’re working on an Android version. We’ll announce the launch on our blog and social media, so keep an eye out.

How do I get Padpilot books if my country doesn’t have an Apple bookstore?

There are 52 Apple Bookstores worldwide, but if your country isn’t included you can still buy Padpilot books by setting yourself up with a UK Apple ID. If you need help with this, please contact our Support team.

Can I get a printed version of Padpilot books?
We used to print ATPL theory books, but we couldn’t figure out a way to add the interactive video, audio and touch 3D models! Digital books have many benefits in addition to their interactive capabilities: they’re greener and more sustainable; we don’t like cutting down trees; they’re easy to update which means students are always studying the most up to date information (no out of date charts here!) Plus, almost any aircraft you will go on to fly will have its documentation on a tablet or laptop. You’ll need to become used to using tablets and by far the most common device used on flight decks is the iPad.
Are updates to Padpilot books free?
Yes, within an edition, all updates are free for the life of that edition. Padpilot’s first edition ATPL-A books have been available for many years and are still being updated for free. If you purchase the second edition, ATPL-A books, you’ll get free updates for the life of those editions.
I am having problems downloading the Padpilot books

Download issues can sometimes be resolved by syncing your iPad with your PC or Apple Mac. If this does not resolve the issue, make sure that your iPad has sufficient available Hard Drive space.

  1. Set your iPad ‘sleep’ settings to ‘Never’ while it is downloading (Settings – General – Auto-Lock – set to ‘Never’).
  2. On your iPad, in the Apple Books library, click ‘Select’ top right, and find the title you’re unable to update. Point to it (so there’s a tick bottom right) and then choose ‘Delete’ (top left). This removes the title from your iPad.
  3. Give your iPad a reboot (power it down and then back on again).
  4. Go to the Purchased tab (bottom right) in the Books app and find the book title again then re-download it.
  5. If that does not work, delete the book(s) from your device and re-download the book on to your laptop and then manually sync it with your iPad.
I have an error message saying ‘Authentication Error’?

If you get an ‘authentication error’ message, please contact us at

I’ve found an error or incorrect information in a Padpilot book

We welcome feedback and will quickly rectify any mistakes found. If you see a potential error, please tap on the link in the book Addendum to call up a reporting form or contact our Editor.

What is PadpilotACE?
PadpilotACE (Assessment Consolidation Enhancement) holds progress tests and final exams which your ATO may ask you to complete.
I’ve forgotten my PadpilotACE password
  1. Go to Padpilot ACE Log-in and click FORGOTTEN PASSWORD.
  2. On the ‘Recover your account’ page, in the USERNAME box, type your Username or email address and click RECOVER. An email will be sent to you with a verification code.
  3. Open the password recovery email, and click the password recovery link.
  4. In the NEW PASSWORD and CONFIRM PASSWORD boxes, type a new password and click RECOVER.
  5. You should now be logged into your account and with your new password. If you need further help, please contact
Do you offer a Basic Instrument Rating course?

No, we have not created theory notes for the new BIR course. In the past, EASA required the same theory content for both the Competency Based Instrument Rating and En-route Instrument Rating course, but they recently decided to make the syllabus of the BIR course different from that of the CBIR course.

The BIR subjects are:

  • Air Law
  • Instruments
  • Flight Planning
  • Human Performance
  • Meteorology
  • Communications

We do not recommend purchasing the 2020 CBIR books for BIR study. Much of the ATPL syllabus material that was removed from the CBIR course is still applicable to the BIR syllabus. So we recommend consulting the EASA document below for the BIR Learning Objectives and using the 2nd Edition ATPL books for the course content. Most of the BIR LOs are covered in the Basic Instruments book.

For more information on the BIR Learning Objectives, please consult EASA’s reference document.

How do I log reading time on Padpilot books?

To log reading time you need to have a Padpilot book downloaded to your Apple device AND have a Padpilot registration on the iMRS (online system).  If you do not have access to the iMRS, please contact your training provider.

  1. To start logging reading time, click on the  CLOCK  icon at the beginning of the book chapter.
  2. Enter your personal login details of the iMRS and click on LOGIN
  3. After clicking LOGIN, click  START  and the system will start registering the reading time. Close the window by clicking on the X (top left) and start your reading.
  4. When you stop reading, click on CLOCK  of the chapter page again and click STOP.
  5. If you would like to check your reading time, login on the iMRS with your personal login details at  and click TRACK READING. 

Please note:

The clock stops after 90 minutes to prevent issues of forgetting to stop the clock, and because we recommend shorter periods of reading. The reading log is as accurate as the start/stop of the clock, so please follow the procedure for correct values. Reading time accumulates per book, not per chapter. For further help, please contact ​

Why are my books showing a price next to them?

As long as you add the same Apple ID to your device, you can download ALL historic Apple purchases to the device (and to any subsequent devices you may purchase in the future).

Assuming you’ve added the same Apple ID to your device, simply open the Apple Books app on your device and look in your library. There you should find all books showing (with a cloud symbol) and you can now download them.

If the books are not showing in your library then you will need to either:

  1. Check your hidden purchases (click on READING NOW, then the silhouette icon, then scroll down to HIDDEN PURCHASES)
  2. Search for the book title using the magnifying glass symbol.
How do you use my data?
We don’t. We don’t even use cookies on this website, which is why you haven’t been asked to agree to them. If you or your ATO choose to use PadpilotACE then we will ask you for your permission to store your (encrypted) login details. ATOs using PadpilotACE will ask your permission to store and use the results of any progress test and final exams that you take.


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