Caledonian Advanced Pilot Training
The FAA licence gets you part of the way round the world - and the EASA (European) licence takes you the rest of the way (with a law exam here and there!), especially as the OGP companies have stated that they require EASA standards for their helicopter operations. It is now more important than ever to gain your EASA licence for complete mobility.
We specialise in providing the modular ground study courses required to convert your ICAO professional helicopter (and aeroplane) licences over to the EASA equivalents. Your licence conversion will be 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. 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. We can provide distance learning or full time classroom study.
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."
Aside from that, teaching 130% of the material required gives you a better chance of gaining 100% in the exams (we think that if you teach only 100%, the average mark is more likely to be 70-80%). 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 are at the bottom of the page, but just to save a bit of time: 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.
We are now enrolled with ATPL Finance, who may be able to help finance your studies.
You can do online Dangerous Goods training here.
We are now also approved for the EIR/CBIR, which allows a more flexible training route for the fixed wing IR. The course requires 80 hours of study with 8 hours in the classroom (which we do over 2 days). The cost is £495, which includes the time in the classroom and the colour printed notes.
We also have our own private area on AviaFora, the new meeting place for aviation professionals. Students and instructors can interact there and try to make sense of the exam questions. This is where Company announcements are made, including relevant announcements from EASA and the CAA concerning exams.
We have our own question database, with over 10 000 questions.
Our PPL(H) and CPL(H) courses include the First Multi-Engine Pre-entry Conversion course, required for PPL(H) and CPL(H) holders transitioning to their first twin (ATPL(H) holders are exempt).
Our Skype handle is captonline.
Our average pass mark is 88% - "above the national average" - recent CAA audit finding.
The mapping of our syllabus has been given approval for the award of 120 CATS credits on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme for Bucks New University.
"A lot of training materials pass through our hands, and you can count on one hand the ones that are impressive - and yours are truly impressive!"
"Today: Passed all!! Very happy with the 95% score on Gen Nav. Thank you for providing great literature and reference. If it wasn't for the quality of your books, I would have thrown them out of the house, which I would have if it was OXXXXXXXX books;-)"
"Hi Phil - Please find attached my feedback form. Many Thanks to you, it's down to your material and course I was able to get through in 3 sittings and thankfully pass them without any resits. Look forward to the next step now."
"I have now completed my training towards the CPL and wanted to say quick thanks to you and your team. Daunting as the exams are – I was happy not having to flick through hundreds of unnecessary pages as compared to some other theory providers! "
"I have now completed my training towards the CPL and wanted to say quick thanks to you and your team. Daunting as the exams are – I was happy not having to flick through hundreds of unnecessary pages as compared to some other theory providers! "
"I just wanted to say a big thank you to yourself, Gerry, Miguel and Richard for getting me through all of the exams with a first time pass and 92% average! Initially I was concerned and uncertain I'd be able to achieve the results needed whilst holding down a full time job and balancing family life (especially with my second child being born in the middle of my course) but your material and the structure of it made it possible, so thank you. The consolidation courses were a great aid and helped tidy up all of those gaps enabling me to be best prepared for the exams."
"Its a lovely day here today, all the better for me passing my skills test on Saturday, and so have achieved CPL (H) - Hurrah! Thanks to you and CAPT for the excellent grounding in theory, which the guys down here at Fast converted into practical."
"Thank you Phil and Richard for the quality instruction and mentoring which enabled to achieve a 90% average for my ATPL(H) exams. You have been both accommodating and supportive throughout the course and allowed me to complete the course within the timeline set. With a view of a career flying the oil rigs, Caledonian have facilitated me to achieve my goals."
"Thank you so much not only for clearly getting me through the exams but also for taking me on at such short notice and tailoring a course to my individual requirements. I'm really happy with the results of these last 5 exams. Over 90% in Gen Nav and Radio Nav, the two subjects which I was worried about due to their complexity and quantity of numbers respectively."
"I am coming to the end of my progress tests for module 1 and feeling much more confident with this material than I had with XXXXXXX Academy (The references to Monty Python also helped)."
"Just wanted to let you now that I received my CPL POF results last week and I got 94%, so very pleased with that and wanted to say thank you to you and your team for all the help and very easily digestable information you provide!"
"Many thanks to both Gerry and your good self for a great week, I found it very useful and enjoyable! All I need to do now is pass the exams!"
"Just to let you know that I recently passed my OASC at RAF Cranwell to join the Fleet Air Arm. I can genuinely say that I wouldn't have been able to do it without having done your course. Cheers mate!"
"As you know, I took all of the exams last week, and I wanted to say thank you for the training; I felt well prepared for the exams."
"Just wanted to say thanks as well for you help and the excellent instruction over the last couple of months from Gerry, Richard and Miguel. Its been a great relief to have passed all of the exams first time and am sure I couldn't have done it without all of your support."
"Thank you so much for your support and expertise during the last months. I really appreciate it and I'm sure, that with your books and your study material, I have the best requirements to pass the exams in Germany."
"The instructors [at my IR school] say they've found my background knowledge and skill level to be excellent."
"I also would like to take the oppurtunity to thank you for helping me passing all these IR exams. The books and tutors you provide are just outstanding. That your school also offered such a great flexibility so I was able to run the course in my own time also helped a great deal. CAPT is just number one in my view! "
"THANK YOU SO MUCH for the great course, and everything else, that made it possible for me to pass everything in one shot and only 3 months in total!!!"
"Thanks for all the help from you, Richard and Gerry. Your notes were a pleasure to study from and provided me with everything I needed during my studies. It only took me one try to pass all the exams but I couldn't have done it without the CAPT-team. CU, somewhere, someplace..."
"Hi there Phil - Just a quick note to let you know, although I am sure you will know already, that I passed all my last batch of exams, and I am DELIGHTED!! Thanks again for your support and encouragement, I have now to get stuck into the practical course with Ian at Fast Helicopters. I will keep you advised of how I get on. I thought the course you have put together was thorough, interesting and well structured for learning from home. Thankyou!! "
"Well that is the start so far! I am liking the way the course is set up. I have learned some good stuff and looking forward to completing the course."
"Wow! Thanks Phil. Better result than I expected. Your textbooks are spot on! "
"I got all the materials and the CD and started studying this Monday. Thanks for the quick delivery! Just like I expected from my experience with your Bell 206 Book (which was the first and most important one I read when I began my PPL on the 206, and which was a major reason for choosing your course now), the material is extremely well structured and written in a way that really makes it a pleasure to read and learn. I'm almost done with Module 1 by now and still have to say, great way to learn that stuff, not many boring parts in there, and written in a fun way."
"Having recently, successfully completed the Commercial Pilot (Helicopters) ground school examinations as a student of Caledonian Advanced Pilot Training I can confirm my complete satisfaction with the CAPT organisation.
The subject matter in the text books is clear, concise and written in a manner which is simple to follow. The weekly progress tests are both challenging and rewarding as a mechanism for evaluating the student's progress.
The ground school refresher courses are run by enthusiastic instructors with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the relevant subject matter whom project a professional manner without being overly formal. I found that the most impressive features of the CAPT training programme was the additional information included for clarity in the study material and the invaluable tips that have also been included by the author as a result of many years as a pilot and instructor.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend CAPT as a training organisation to any prospective student looking for a well proven and established, professional training organisation."
"As you can see, I haven't been following the order of study suggested... I really like your material, just get stuck in one subject and can't switch until I'm done. I figured it wouldn't be any problem since my previous studies. !"
"Brilliant, I thought it was too good to be true, so didn't want to get excited too quickly. Your excellent tutelage has paid dividends; I am really pleased - Thanks Phil. More study today :) "
"Your notes are absolutely fantastic. I really like your way to explain things in the easiest way and I also like your examples in the text. I read your notes with pleasure and I am so happy that I don't have to use these stupid xxxxxx books…:"
"Just to let you know that I passed my CPL skill test on Tuesday. So I am all done! Thank you for your help and I am more than happy to recommend your school as that's the only way I could have achieved it."
"Just to let you know that I sat Met, Airlaw and IR Comm yesterday and I think it went rather well. Your book covers all subjects just perfect and that together with the Bristol Question Bank should hopefully provide me with a pass. Will find out in a couple of weeks I suppose ;-) ."
"I found the few days I spent down with you chaps pretty helpful. I personally found the way that Gerry worked things the most beneficial with regards to preparation for the exam. Doing various mock papers and then going through them in detail. The other subjects were helpful and improved my insight but without going through sample exam questions I felt that I did not improve in the way that I did on PoF and HP. Anyway, just my opinion on how it went. Definitely positive overall and really good to meet the other students. Good luck fixing up the simulator - can't wait to see it working!"
"You are a star for getting me through this Phil.."
"Thank you for making me choose CAPT for groundschool, Im really satisfied with the material, and I really enjoy all the real-life stories in the book."
"Thank you for all your help. Your notes and support were of top quality and I would reccomend you to anyone who wants to convert."
"Many thanks for your help with the Dragon debacle, and for the great training course - couldn't've done it without you!!"
"Good to see you again at the Helitech today. Thanks again for your course, first time pass in all 14 subjects with a 93% average."
"Just a short note to thank you for your help and support in the first module. It was a great relief to get that envelope on Friday, I had convinced myself that I must have failed each one after going through it in my head for the umpteenth time. Clearly the learning process that you have developed is successful. I look forward to the next module."
Frequently Asked Questions
The course fees cover the cost of VAT, the course notes, telephone/email support while you are studying and the consolidation training. They do NOT cover exam fees, lunch (although we do provide coffee and biscuits!), any exam databases, the Jeppesen Student Pilot Manual, and the flight computer required for the Navigation and Flight Planning exams. If you need the last two, we have arranged a special package price with Pooleys Flight Equipment at £95 plus shipping. For any other products you might require, quote the letters CAPT for a 5% discount.
The training materials are A4 coil-bound colour books (sample notes can be downloaded from here). Although there are areas where definite benefits can be obtained, we are not convinced that people will benefit from CBT for the EASA exams, because the questions bear so little relation to reality. Our feedback indicates that students prefer books that contain everything as they can be conveniently read on the bus (or in the back of a helicopter) - at least they don't run out of battery power! The study notes are printed individually, and usually arrive within 5 working days.
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).
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.
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.
Contact with us can be made by phone, skype or email, usually with an immediate answer.
Progress tests should be submitted weekly for best results - they can be accessed directly from the relevant page on this website. If you need them on a DVD, please ask. Simply complete the test, print a copy for yourself and one for us, and email or fax it to us.
Consolidation courses are held at our offices in Littlehampton, just an hour away from Gatwick, where the exams are held, every other month (but see the calendar page for variations).The first week is for Module 1 of whatever licence, and the second is for Modules 2 & 3, and the IR. Please note that, although we try our very best to provide the most flexible service available, we cannot change the dates because you have a different work schedule! We can, however, lay on extra classes, but this will be at extra cost.
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.
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).
ATPL(H) exams currently can be taken at several exam centres, notably Gatwick and Oxford, plus Florida and wherever the CAA have an exam centre, in the first week of every month. CPL(H) and IR exams must be taken at Gatwick, alternating in the second or third week of every month (see calendar page). The last date for submission of applications is well before the exam date, but we need them a week before that because we have to countersign them to certify that you have done the studying before sending them on to the CAA.
CAA application forms (and other documents) can be downloaded from here.
Please note that this is our only involvement with examinations - it is up to the student to know when and where the exams will take place and to get the paperwork to us in a timely fashion! Although we send the forms by recorded delivery (sometimes even personal delivery), we are not responsible for what happens in the depths of the CAA building! For example, they have been known to bring the cutoff date forward a few days! Also, the Post Office have a neat trick (four times now) of sending mail to the return address (i.e. back to our office!) - they only guarantee first class post over two days anyway! DO NOT LEAVE IT TILL MELTDOWN!!!!!!!!! And don't forget to sign the form on page 2!!!!
Also, although you are entitled to 4 attempts at each exam, if any attempt at an exam results in a mark below 70%, we will not sign you off for any more without further training in the classroom, which is chargeable.
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!
YES YOU DO!
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!
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.
All the helicopter ones are! Naturally, our aeroplane courses are aeroplane specific!
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!
- Human Performance
- Principles Of Flight
- Aircraft General Knowledge
- Air Law
- Radio Navigation
- VFR Communications
- IFR Communications
- General Navigation
- Flight Planning
- Mass & Balance
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.
Any time you like! If you are sending a cheque or banker's draft, please also email us (see above left) 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!
Obviously, your exam success depends on your own efforts! However, we do guarantee our materials to be amongst the best in the world, if not the best, since they are used by Transport Canada, the RCAF, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, CTC, Horizon Academy, CATS Germany and the Royal Air Force, amongst others. We will also stick with you until you do pass, within the 18 month time limit mentioned above, and the maximum number of attempts, whichever is the shorter.
If you purchase a course, and decide to change your mind within 7 days, we will refund your money, less £395 for the notes, plus any VAT & credit card costs or bank charges. Otherwise, no refunds are applicable, although we will always do our best to honour the contract to complete your studies, subject to time limits and fees for new notes, because they likely will have changed. Please note: Your domestic situation (such as suddenly deciding not to fly for a living) is not a valid reason for a refund!