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A step by step look at what is involved in the training for your Private Pilot Licence 

There are nine theoretical exams to complete during your pilot training. These are the same for both the LAPL and the PPL. Each exam is multiple choice with a pass mark of 75%.

Air Law

The highway code of the skies.

Operational Procedures

Light signals and runway markings at aerodromes and procedures in case of an emergency.


An understanding of weather systems, why they occur and understanding forecasts.


How to map read and calculate track, drift and heading.

Flight Planning & Performance

Pre-flight calculations such as the aircraft weight & balance, and take-off performance.

Principles of Flight

How the aircraft wings function and how they allow an aircraft to steer through the air.

Aircraft General Knowledge

Aircraft systems such as the engine and electrics.

Human Factors

The various ways that flying can affect the human body.

Radio Communications

The correct terminology to use on the radio to Air Traffic Control.

PPL theory course

Radio Telephony Exam

The Radio Telephony exam is in addition to the nine written exams. It is normally done towards the end of the course and you have to have completed the Radio Communications theory exam before you can attempt it.


It consists of a simulated flight and all you need to do is talk as if you were flying the aircraft. You will communicate with the  examiner via headset who will be in another room. They will play the part of Air Traffic Control.

It tests your knowledge of using the correct radio terminology. By the time you sit this exam you will have had plenty of practical experience using the radio on every flight that you do. The main additional item to study is distress and urgency calls which you will hopefully not done for real in the aircraft! All this is covered in the revision material for the Radio Communications theory exam.

If you still want guidance for the test or usage of the radio in general, we run Radio Telephony Ground School classes in the Winter months. The emphasis of these courses is confidence building and practical use of the radio without distractions of flying an aircraft and without an instructor looming over your shoulder!


Westair uses the Pooley’s textbooks which cover the entire syllabus. In addition, we offer Pooley’s revision guides which focus on the core elements of each subject and include a number of practice exam papers.

We also hold regular Ground School courses. These are highly recommended as course leaders can of course give you first hand guidance. We currently hold 4 courses covering Air Law and Operational Procedures, Meteorology, Navigation and Aircraft General Knowledge and Principles of Flight. Each course runs for 4 consecutive weeks in the winter, typically from September through to March. Alternatively if you are interested in private tuition this can be arranged.

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