Caledonian Advanced Pilot Training

We are approved to provide modular distance learning courses for EASA pilot licences, from PPL through CPL to ATPL for aeroplanes and helicopters, plus a few others, including the Instrument Rating. Our satellite bases include Helicentre Aviation in Leicester, Helicentre in Lelystad, near Amsterdam and Atlantic Helicopters in Fort Pierce, Florida, USA, who can also perform EASA helicopter flight training and checking, and CPL(H) checkrides, together with type ratings. Prestwick in Scotland is also available, at which we can supply inexpensive accommodation.

We specialise in converting ICAO professional licences over to the EASA equivalents in CPL training and ATPL training. The process is quick and efficient as our notes and progress tests have been designed to train you for the exams as painlessly as possible while you are still employed, particularly in the off season. For example, our progress tests are online and can be done anywhere there is an internet connection, although they are also available on a CD. There is no need to waste valuable working time in a classroom, except for the minimum 10% of study time that must be done in one, and even some of that can be done with videoconferencing (check with us for full details).

Otherwise, for those who are not already professionals, your real training starts in your first job, and what you learn before then is often all there is between you and an accident, which is why our training goes that little bit beyond the basic syllabus by incorporating safety at every level. Chief Pilots know that it's not just hours that count, but attitude! This comment is from one of our students:

"I chose Caledonian as my preferred trainer because of the industry experience of the Head Trainer and the no-nonsense "straight to the point" concise nature of the training and course notes.

If you are going to succeed as an instrument-rated commercial pilot, you need to be self-motivated and capable of making your own decisions and adapting to a high workload. Oddly enough, these same skills and mindset are needed if you are going to have any chance of passing your exams. In that respect, Phil's course is ideal in that it's not the quantity of the information that ultimately will get you across the line, it's quality and the attitude you develop towards your training.

In my case, I started the course in November 2013 and completed in July 2014, passing all 14 exams on the first try over three sittings whilst being a 49 year old father of two and working full time."

Paul N

Aside from that, teaching 130% of the material required gives you a better chance of gaining maximum marks in the exams. Another consideration that many pilots forget is that, if you do the minimum work for your exams, for example, by learning the answers rather than the material, it will be painfully obvious to the interview panel when you finally go for a job. It's no greater effort to learn the material properly in the first place, especially if you intend to get more than one licence through your career (you'll be in and out of the exam room real quick!)

Our instructors are all working pilots with wide-ranging aviation industry backgrounds (from European IFR to the Canadian Bush) and the communications skills to impart their knowledge in an effective and memorable fashion, which means that you start thinking like a commercial pilot from day one!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the costings?

With the new pricing structure that modern technology allows us, the complete ATPL can be studied for very little expense.

  • The entry to any course costs £395, to include PDF study notes, inclusion on to our study area on Aviation Exam (plus global access to their database), and all the hangers-on which we incur on your behalf when setting up your training file, and telephone/email support while you are studying. This is non-refundable. The fees do NOT cover exam fees, lunch (although we do provide coffee and biscuits!), the Jeppesen Student Pilot Manual, and the flight computer required for the Navigation and Flight Planning exams (we recommend the Jeppesen CR-3). If you need the last two, we have arranged a special package price for the CRP-5 with Pooleys Flight Equipment at £95 plus shipping. For any other products you might require, quote the letters CAPT for a 5% discount.

    *Colour printed notes in A4 ring binders are available as an extra at £250, including shipping. Note: We use our own world-class notes, not those from any other source, including Bristol Ground School, CATS, Jeppesen/Peters Software, Pad Pilot, etc. In fact, other schools and organisations have used ours! If you would like to see some sample pages, you can download the free pre-study notes (with the basic Maths & Physics needed for the courses) from here.

  • EASA requires that 10% of the total study time for each course must be done an approved classroom (we can do 50% of this over the internet). These consolidation days are charged as and when you need them, at £135 per day. Each day consists of 8 study hours.

  • The eventual cost of a full ATP course to an ICAO PPL holder would therefore be £1475 as 65 hours are required in the classroom (8 days). A CPL course would be £800 as only 25 hours are required in the classroom (3 days).

  • The cost of a full ATP course to an ICAO CPL holder would be £1070, as only 40 hours are required in the classroom (5 days).

  • The cost of a full ATP course to an ICAO ATPL holder who is able to self-certify (with over a certain minimum number of hours as PIC on multi-crew aircraft), can be very low! You could just buy the colour printed notes mentioned above, but tablet-friendly colour PDFs are available for aeroplanes or helicopters at just $59.99 Classroom time is chargeable as above but, on this occasion, it can be done entirely over the internet.

What are the training materials like? Do you offer any interactive training aids?

The training materials are PDF books in weekly chunks accessed through Aviation Exam, where the progress tests are done (sample notes can be downloaded from here). We do have interactive material as a supplement to the notes, essentially containing the same material as you would be exposed to in consolidation classes, covering the subjects that people have the most trouble with and therefore need more time to be studied. Colour printed notes are printed individually, and usually arrive within 5 working days.

What happens once I've paid?

We send you an application form to complete, which needs to be returned with a copy of your licence and a photo ID. Then there is are weekly reading assignments after which you are supposed to do the progress tests. You can't take the exams before you have done the reading, the progress tests, the time in the classroom, the mock exams, also on the web site. To book exams you need to sign on with the CAA through their exam portal.

Is the combination of CPL(H) + IR(H) still the equivalent of ATPL(H) theoretical knowledge?

After the introduction of the new reduced CPL(H) theory course, the combination no longer equates to ATPL(H) theory. To gain the ATPL(H) with IR if you have a post-Amendment 3 JAA/EASA CPL(H), you must take 12 exams out of the 14 required - you will be exempt POF(H) and VFR Comms. If you just want the ATPL(H), you are exempt air law as well.

However, in JAR Amendment 6 (10) "the holder of a CPL(H) gained under previous amendments of JAR-FCL 2 up to and including Amendment 3 is credited with the theoretical knowledge requirements for ATPL(H)." It is our opinion that, if you have a CPL(H) issued under JAR FCL Amendment 3, that is the equivalent of the ATPL(H)(VFR) in terms of theoretical knowledge - paragraph 2.050(b)(10) refers. This credit was carried over into Part FCL. In addition, Article 4(1) of Commission Regulation (EU) 1178/2011 refers to JAR compliant licences being deemed to be Part FCL licences. The legal definition of "JAR Compliant" licence is in Article 2, which refers to licences, ratings, certificates, authorisations and other qualifications issued or recognised by a State, reflecting "JAR and procedures". We interpret this to include ATPL(H) TK credit.

Since the introduction of the ATPL(H)(VFR), the IR(H) and the ATPL(H) theory have their own validity period from the day the exams are successfully completed - 36 months for the CPL(H) and IR(H) and 7 years from the last validity of an IR entered in the licence, or a helicopter type rating (for helicopters). The ATPL(H) requires 550 hours within 18 months (also the IR), but the ATPL(H)/IR requires 650 hours, although there is no time limit to finish the course.

Is it best to take the CPL(H) or ATPL(H)?

It depends on your career path. The ATPL(H) involves around 40% extra work, but you have to gain your IR within 36 months of passing the exams, which then last for as long as you have a type rating (on a helicopter licence). If you take the ATPL(H)(VFR) first (not the CPL(H), then the IR, you do not have the pressure and can add the IR at any time later. If you do the CPL(H) first, you will have to do 12 exams to get the full ATPL(H).

The other thing to consider is that the ATPL(H) requires multi-crew training and a type on your licence that requires two pilots. Realistically, this is unobtainable outside a company operating such helicopters. However, having the ATPL(H) subjects under your belt looks way better on the resume.

Can the subjects be taken out of order?

This is not recommended, as we have taken considerable trouble to arrange your studies in a way that avoids repetition and provides the best progression. For example, you need a working knowledge of Meteorology in order to study Flight Planning effectively, and Navigation draws heavily on the other subjects, which is why they are in the last modules. By then you should have had plenty of practice at playing with the flight computer, and exam technique, since they both require you to be quite slick (2 minutes per question in Flight Planning!) Having said all that, as our Lords ands Masters have seen fit to move Inertial Navigation from its logical place in Radio Navigation to Instruments, we recommend that Instruments be studied in the Module 1 program as normal, but actually taken with the Module 3 exams, as some knowledge of General Navigation is also required for best results.

Otherwise, although the study method is to review parts of each chapter in tandem, Human Performance & Limitations is first because it contains important safety implications that should be taken on board before you start flying or studying (it's also the one subject that most people already have at least some knowledge of, so it makes for an easier start). Airframes & Systems draws on concepts and terms introduced in Principles Of Flight, which follows HP & L. Instrumentation and Communications both have questions on radio propagation, which is another reason to take Instruments slightly later, after Radio Navigation.

However, it may be possible to bring a subject or two forward for experienced pilots, but we'd rather you stuck to the planned order. Check with us first, please.

How do I get feedback if I get stuck or have questions?

Contact with us can be made by phone, skype or email, usually with an immediate answer.

How do I submit progress tests?

Progress tests should be submitted weekly for best results - they are accessed through Aviation Exam, or directly from the relevant page on this website.

Where is the ground refresher held?

Consolidation courses are held at Littlehamppton (see the calendar page for timings).

What about accommodation?

In Leicester, the Remada Stage Hotel provides B & B for £30 per night - please mention that you are with Helicentre. Littlehampton being a seaside town, there are plenty of B & Bs, but the nearest Travelodge is within 1 mile, at Rustington - if you book well in advance, room prices can be as low as £9.99. There is another one at Fontwell, near Arundel. There is also a Comfort Inn at Arundel, a mile or so away. And a B & B! And another (from £18)! In Prestwick, and for the pilot exams in Ayr, try Troon Holiday Lets.

What about transport?

We are just an hour's train ride away from Gatwick, where the exams are held, and the railway station is just 15 minutes' walk from the offices (the Coastliner 700 bus from Arundel and Brighton passes the station and stops right outside our door).

Where are the exams held and do you book them, or would that be my responsibility?

ATPL(H) exams currently can be taken at several exam centres, notably Ayr, Gatwick and Oxford, plus Florida, Malaysia, and wherever the CAA have an exam centre.

CAA application forms (and other documents) can be downloaded from here.

Please note that, although you are entitled to 4 attempts at each exam, if any attempts result in a mark below 60%, we will not sign you off for any more without further training in the classroom, which is chargeable.

Can I do a residential course?

Full time learning can be available, under certain conditions, such as a minimum number of students (5) but it is NOT a residential course in the true sense of the word (too much BS). It is more like distance learning in our classrooms with instructors available for consultation as and when required - you still do the work! Contact us for more details. One point needs to be made, however - if you are on a full time course with us, and you disappear for any length of time (personal trainers, etc) we will not provide training again where it has already been provided and you have not been here!

Do I have to do the consolidation classes?

You DO have to do all the progress tests and mock exams BEFORE you take the real exams, and you DO have to turn up for the consolidation periods in the classroom. For the ATPL(H), this is 65 hours, so don't expect to do it over a weekend. Please remember that we cannot sign you off for any exams until this has been done.

What time do the consolidation classes start?


Is there a time limit on my studies?

Yes, all the exams must be completed within 18 months from the end of the month in which the first exam is taken and, for the IR and ATPL(H), all your studies must also be completed within 18 months.

Note: This is not our limit - it comes from EASA!

How does payment work?

Normally, a cheque or banker's draft is OK, and we can take bank transfers (ask us for details). We can also take credit card payments through paypal, on the relevant page, but this sometimes does not work due to their somewhat strange security arrangements. We can take credit cards directly, but a commission charge of 3% will be applied.

Are the courses all based on helicopters?

All the helicopter ones are! Naturally, our aeroplane courses are aeroplane specific!

How intensive are the consolidation classes?

Ground school is an opportunity to brush up on areas that are not best studied over a distance, or which need extra emphasis, or which may have changed at the last minute. For example, PPL(H) holders typically will not have had exposure to autopilots, navaids or EFIS. We have simulators available for that. In addition, it is also an opportunity to get used to the types of question being asked, and exam technique.

We have found that many students rely on the consolidation week to fill in gaps rather than just ask during their studies - if you don't know your stuff by the time you get to the classroom, you won't know it inside a few short days! Ground school is for brushing up - it is not an opportunity to go through the whole syllabus in the space of a week! Otherwise we would be doing it already! We are entitled to assume a minimum amount of knowledge, as you will have a PPL(H)! Remember that mock exams have to be fitted into the time available as well, which means that the work must have been done before you come! For example, we routinely don't cover pitot-static instruments. If you feel the need for extra tuition, this can be laid on, at extra cost (we can do pre-course brushups as well).

The minimum time is 10% of the official study time, which is 25 (250) hours for the CPL(H) and 65 (650) hours for the ATPL(H).

Please note that consolidation classes are NOT optional!

Whose study notes do you use?

We use our own notes, not those from any other source, including Bristol Ground School, CATS, Oxford Aviation Academy, CTC ProPilot, etc. In fact, other schools and organisations, such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Northern Lights College, CATS Germany, Transport Canada and the Royal Air Force have used ours! If you would like to look at some sample pages, you can download them from here.

What is the breakdown of subjects?

Module 1

  • Human Performance
  • Principles Of Flight
  • Aircraft General Knowledge
  • Instrumentation
  • Module 2

  • Air Law
  • Operations
  • Radio Navigation
  • Meteorology
  • VFR Communications
  • IFR Communications
  • Module 3

  • General Navigation
  • Flight Planning
  • Performance
  • Mass & Balance
  • Can I bridge without holding the full licence in the other category?

    Commission Regulation (EU) 1178/2011 as amended, Annex I, Appendix 1 (Crediting of theoretical knowledge), paragraph 3.1 requires that a licence in another category should actually be held. An applicant who has completed all the ATPL examinations for another aircraft category, whilst those examinations are still within their validity period, is covered by FCL.035 (b)(4), which refers in turn to FCL.025(c), so a CPL(H)IR holder with valid ATPL theory credits can now bridge to ATPL(A) and vice versa. The ATO must be approved specifically to deliver the bridge course and that the course must comply with requirements for approved training such as at least 10% of course time being in the classroom.

    Is your training accepted by all EASA authorities?

    In theory, yes, but it is wise to check if you want to take the exams in your own country. They will probably want to see our certificate of approval, which you can download from here. The Irish, Polish and Finnish authorities have already gone through the process. Note that you cannot take the UK-based exams in another country, even under supervision.

    When can I start?

    Any time you like! If you are sending a cheque or banker's draft, please also email us with your address so we can get the printing process started. If you are using a credit card through paypal, we will get that anyway. When returning the application form, please also include a copy of your ICAO PPL(H) and a photo ID, so we know that it is really you when you turn up for consolidation classes!


    Terms & Conditions

    Although our materials are amongst the best in the world, your success depends on your own efforts! However, we will support you within the 18 month time limit for the exams, or the maximum number of attempts, whichever is the shorter.

    Before you take the exams:

    Contact Us

    We can be found as follows:

    Address: 2a Courtwick Road BN17 7NE UK
    Telephone: +44 1292 310968
    Mobile: +44 7870 295932
    Canada: (403) 539 1232
    USA: (757) 941 8504
    Skype: captonline
    E-mail: Click Here to Email