Changes to pilot exam syllabus announced by CAA

Date: 17 April 2013

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published details of changes to the ground-based exam programme taken by students training for a Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). The changes follow extensive consultation with pilot representative bodies.

Under the new exam schedule the number of exam papers sat by a student will increase from seven to nine. This increase is to accommodate new regulations from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) which require students to undertake at least 100 hours of theoretical knowledge training, including a certain element of formal classroom work as well as other interactive forms of training. Each exam will feature between 16 and 20 questions, with a pass mark of 75 per cent.

The CAA also revealed it will extend the definition of a ‘sitting’ to ten days to help students cope with the increase. Rather than the current classification of a sitting being ‘one day’, the new arrangements will allow an exam sitting to take place over ten consecutive days. Only one attempt at each subject paper is allowed in one sitting, however.

The CAA said it had responded positively to industry concerns over its initial intention to define a sitting as three days, which some flight examiners felt would be insufficient for many students.

Ray Elgy, Head of Licensing and Training Standards at the CAA, said: “The new exam syllabus which will take effect in the autumn offers a practical and fair arrangement for student pilots training for a PPL. We very much welcomed input from industry in formulating these changes which represent a constructive outcome for everyone involved in pilot training.”

The changes will come into force on the 1 September 2013. The CAA will publish in due course details of arrangements for students who find themselves midway through their exams on that date.

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Notes to Editors:

The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.