PPL Ground School & Exams. We know what makes a good school.

A flying instructor qualification is all that is generally considered acceptable to deliver PPL Ground School. We beg to differ.

PPL Ground School & Exams. What makes a good school?

It is vital that you undertake a course of comprehensive and structured ground school when training for your Private Pilots Licence.

For the award of a Pilots Licence, you have to pass 9 examinations. This is not designed to cause you pain and suffering by the authority or your respective flying schools, it is a vital component of your pilot training.

The syllabuses for each of the 9 subjects have been specifically designed by the authority to ensure that you are safe when acting as pilot in command of an aircraft. Sadly, some instructors and even worse, some flying schools doctrines, advocate students passing their PPL exams by merely referring to past papers and quiz books and remembering the answers to questions.

We appreciate that not all schools have the relevant resources to deliver a comprehensive PPL Ground School course.  This could be down to a number of factors but usually involves one or more of the following:

    •    Finance & Budgets
    •    Lack of staff
    •    Lack of staff expertise
    •    Lack of teaching resources (Equipment, Classrooms, ICT & CBT etc)
    •    Unmotivated staff (would rather be flying than teaching ground school; wouldn’t we all!)

Does it mean that my flying school is no good if they do not offer PPL Ground School? Not necessarily. We know many excellent flying schools that do not offer such courses, but what they do know, is how to point their students in the right direction and ensure that they receive the education they need. This could either be in the form of one to one tuition with their own instructors, external courses offered by other companies or structured self-study using books and CBT.

We have put together a check-list that you should use when approaching a new school for PPL flight training. If the answer is no to most of these questions or the school do not seem sure or take a long while to address your questions, or appear uninterested  or dismissive of your questions, consider looking elsewhere.

What follows is fundamental and all schools should be able to address these questions immediately.

PPL Ground School Check-List:

  • Does you school offer a formal and structured PPL Ground School Course that tackles all elements of the syllabus for the 9 subjects?

  • If they don’t, do they have an instructor mentoring system, self-study course with instructor review or can they recommend a school that does do PPL Ground School?

  • Assuming they do offer PPL Ground School, who is/are the person/people responsible for delivering it? What are their professional qualifications? Do they have a degree? Do they have a teaching qualification and understand the concept of different learning styles in a classroom environment? How much experience do they have?

  • What learning resources do the school make use of? What equipment do they have?

  • What revision strategies do they employ to prepare you for your PPL Exams?

  • Post licence issue, do they run regular PPL Ground School refresher courses? If not, why not?

  • What is their attitude towards PPL Ground School? Do they appear to embrace it? You can tell a lot by how many educational posters relating to PPL theory that they have on their walls.

  • Are their courses cross-curricular? I.e. do they ensure that the courses are taught in a specific manner such that you get maximum benefit from all 9 courses? After all there is a reasonable amount of overlap and getting the order right is of paramount importance.

  • Do their PPL Ground School courses relate directly to the syllabus AND your flight training syllabus? Or is it just one or the other? A good course will always cover both and relate each lesson to a flying lesson. This is vital.

We hope this article has been useful and helps you make some headway when selecting a flying school. Best of luck, and more importantly, fly safely and enjoy!

TGC Team

More information on PPL Ground School and PPL Exams.