Pass your exams and become a pilot

To become a pilot, whether an airline pilot, a helicopter pilot or a private pilot flying for fun, you probably know that the training involves both practical flying training and some academic (theory) study.

Studying aviation theory and passing the regulatory exams can be a daunting prospect for many aspiring pilots. For ATPL theory, there is a lot to learn. But with good teaching, focused motivation and helpful materials, it needn’t be as scary as you might think.

Gaining a good theoretical knowledge education may not be the most exciting part of becoming a pilot. But it is essential. And it doesn’t have to be a drag.

Padpilot interactive books have been giving lift to theory studies for over eleven years. Read on to find out how we can help you pass your exams and achieve your flying dreams.

Even if you are not in training to be an airline pilot I would recommend the Maths & Physics book to anybody that wants to transform their understanding of Maths (for use in any workplace) overnight.

Andrew L


I studied carefully every topic in the ATPL material to gain comprehensive knowledge. I was well prepared for the new exam content and scored above 90% in every subject!



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.



Having ATPL manuals as Apple Books is an amazing idea! You can have your manuals on any device and carry on studying wherever you are.



Pilot training explained

How to become a commercial aeroplane pilot

Become a professional pilot and fly passenger airliners, cargo or corporate jets with an Airline Transport Pilot Licence.

Aspiring commercial pilots will need to decide on either a modular (step by step) training pathway or a (full time) integrated training course. Different courses suit different budgets, time frames and lifestyles. The qualification you gain at the end of the process is the same (fATPL), so consider all the options.

We recommend visiting independent careers events such as Pilot Careers Live to help you decide. Also take a look at our 3 part Pilot Foundation Course which gives you career and training information and essential pre-training knowledge – perfect for pilot training assessments. 

Once you’ve decided on the training route for you, research possible schools, universities and academies, and don’t be swayed by the marketing, or lack of. Excellence can be found within organisations of all sizes, so look at quality, results and a career focus.

Modular students will begin with PPL training (flying and theory) before moving on to ATPL theory, whereas integrated courses usually start with a classroom-based ATPL theory phase.

How to become a commercial helicopter pilot

Become a commercial helicopter pilot with ATPL (Helicopter) theory training and prepare for a career as a professional single or multi-crew pilot.

Most helicopter pilots train via the modular route – in other words, a step-by-step training programme that begins with a Private Pilot Licence (PPL-H). With a PPL-H, you can then move on to commercial training.

You must successfully complete a commercial training programme at an EASA Approved Training Organisation (ATO) or Declared Training Organisation (DTO).

During commercial ground school you’ll study the theoretical knowledge required for the ATPL(H) and will take exams in subjects such as Helicopter Performance, Engines And Transmissions, Principles of Flight and Air Law.

What is an Airline Transport Pilot Licence?

The ATPL is the highest licence a pilot can obtain and stands for Airline Transport Pilot Licence. It’s the official qualification you’ll need in order to apply for an airline role and to be the commander (Captain) of a commercial aircraft.

To obtain a CAA/EASA ATPL you must successfully complete a commercial pilot training programme at an Approved Training Organisation (ATO). Your course will include theory exams and practical flying skills tests.

Once you have successfully completed all the elements of the training, you’ll have what is known as a ‘frozen’ ATPL.

This becomes a full ATPL (‘unfrozen’) once you’ve flown a total of 1500 flying hours, including 500 hours in a multi-crew environment.

What is ATPL theory?

The classroom element of pilot training is known as ‘ground school’, or ‘ground training.’

It’s the academic foundation of your future career. During ground school you’ll be taught the theoretical knowledge required for the ATPL and will be tested in a series of exams on subjects such as Flight Planning, Aircraft General Knowledge, Radio Navigation and Air Law.

ATPL ground school is a challenging and vital part of becoming a pilot. Airlines recruit pilots who they believe will fit their organisation well, and will easily complete all phases of training. They look for pilots who can demonstrate an intelligent approach to flight operations and have the depth of knowledge needed to navigate unexpected challenges, so it’s extremely important to build a good base of theoretical knowledge during ATPL ground school.

The Padpilot approach to ground school is designed with your career in mind. Our books don’t just help you pass the exams – we also help prepare you for aircraft type training and your future professional career.

How to become a private pilot

Enjoy the freedom of the air as pilot in command of a light aircraft fly (with non-commercial passengers) with a Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane).

Choose a PPL training course with an approved training organisation (ATO/DTO) or registered training facility (RTF). You can find a list of flight schools on your national aviation authority’s website and all Padpilot partner schools are listed here

PPL courses combine practical flying lessons with ground school. As you learn to fly you’ll also study basic aviation theoretical knowledge (‘theory’ for short) and you must pass exams in subjects such as Principles of Flight, Air Law, Communications and Meteorology before you can obtain your licence.

To pass the PPL theory exams, and to give yourself the best grounding in aviation theory, you’ll need up to date, easy to use textbooks that help you become a safe and knowledgeable aviator.

Padpilot PPL books make theory simple. Colourful, interactive animations and video content bring the syllabus to life, making ground training easy, understandable and memorable, even for complete beginners.

If you’re a modular student, once you have a PPL, you can begin the ATPL theory phase of training.

Competency-Based Instrument Rating for private pilots

For experienced private pilots who want to learn to fly in cloud, in any class of airspace, but don’t want to become commercially qualified – the Competency-Based Instrument Rating (CBIR) is ideal.

The CBIR is a more practical approach to gaining an Instrument Rating and takes account of your existing flying experience. The emphasis is on practical flying skills but there are still theory exams that must be passed before flight training can begin.

The Padpilot 2021 CBIR book series has been fully updated for the new CBIR/EIR syllabus and contains the specific knowledge you need for the CBIR in Apple Book format with explanatory interactive content, study aids and revision quizzes built in.

Which flight school?

Choosing where to enrol is a big decision.

The quality of training matters, so visit every school or academy you’re considering and do your own research.

Take a trial flight, talk to current students and ask about their experience. Ask the instructors lots of questions – including which ground school materials they use for the classroom phase of training.

There are training organisations that deliver excellence in training all over the world. Check out our trusted partners here. 

(Training organisations can find out more about using Padpilot materials for theoretical knowledge here.)

Read our blog, How to Choose a Flight School, here.  

Maths & Physics for Pilots

Get your maths and physics up to speed with our free, downloadable Apple Book. It revises all the basics and has helped thousands of future pilots prepare for selection and ground school.

It’s also included as a free book within the complete sets of PPL(A), ATPL(H) and ATPL(A) eReader ebook editions, available for all devices.



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