EASA ATPL Theory Knowledge in 72 days … and 9 years

It is an old dream of mine to obtain some higher, more professional pilot ratings and licenses. For instance, one of my endeavors is to become a Flight Instructor on a professional level, but only part-time. In order to obtain that rating, one should have passed the theory course for the Commercial Pilot License (CPL). Also, if you want to professionally engage yourself, you need an upgrade from a Private Pilot license (which I have now) to a CPL. But if you study the theory knowledge (TK) for CPL, it is a small effort to do the theory for Air Transport Pilot License (ATPL), which is the next license upwards from CPL. Not only is the extra effort small, obtaining that theory allows you more priviliges later on. So I choose to study the EASA ATPL Theory Knowledge. I went the Modular route via Distance Learning.

I had gone through this already nine years ago, when I started to study the ATPL theory via Distance Learning at Hub’air in Brussels. This course was based on the Bristol Ground School (BGS) books. I did study about half of the courses after my working hours, with a younger family (and a 1 year old baby)… so after 6 months, my initial motivation dwindled and my hopes to obtaining that ATPL TK vanished. I never came close to preparing for any exam. My desire to do this course, however, never disappeared.

Now I am 45 years old. I don’t want to become an airline pilot, but I did feel the burning desire to study like a professional pilot.

Before I start to describe my study, I need you to understand my background:

  • I fly for 17 years already as a General Aviation amateur pilot which means that I know how an airplane flies, how to plan, do M&B, how an engine and avionics work,  ATC etc … but I lack some deeper knowledge
  • I have a FAA and EASA instrument rating
  • I like to conduct my flying as safe and professional as I can
  • For 3 years I have a share in my own airplane
  • I trained a lot with lots of different instructors in different states and countries
  • I studied block A of the ATPL already once but never finished but I rehearsed the content every now and then during the last 9 years
  • I have a background in electronic engineering
  • I have worked for an avionics company

… so with this background I was more prepared than the average ab-initio ATPL student, and I should be able to go faster than average.

So after nine years, after having quit my previous job (unrelated to ATPL), and signed my employment contract for my new job, I found the unique opportunity in one’s life to steal 3 months time to study the 14 ATPL TK topics and give a shot at the exams. My goal was to do everything in those 3 months by means of concentrated hard study on a full-time basis during day-hours, undistracted from work (I didn’t work in between) and family (all to school/work). It was for me the only way to do it as I had already failed nine years ago, trying to pass it after working hours. Also, I only had 3 months available as they need me on my new job soon. No room for resitting any exam!

During these three months I had no income, no car, no job. But I had the most valuable commodity all: time. I took time for the study, but I did take time for family and friends as well. I became a houseman temporaly ! And I could use my mother’s car to my disposal. And I had the time to pick up my kids from school by bike …

I was concerned nevertheless:

  • Would I find the motivation?
  • Would I have the discipline to study full days full-time during 3 months?
  • Would I be lonely during the study?
  • Would I be able to understand the topics with my 45 year old brain?
  • Would I be able to study after not have done this intensively since I was 23?
  • Are 3 months enough while everyone in the industry use 9 – 18 months?
  • Would I get bored with the topics?

The ATPL TK course consists of 14 topics, which are split into two blocks in Belgium:

Block A Block B
General Navigation Aircraft General Knowledge
Radio Navigation Aviation Law
Performance Operational Procedures
Principles of Flight Instruments
Flight Planning Meteorology
Human Performance & Limitations VFR Communications
Mass & Balance IFR Communications

When you do a Distance Learning course, you are supposed to study those topics at home by means of books, to sit minimal 72 hours of classroom to cover the topics with a professor, and to pass the official exams with the Belgian CAA. You have to subscribe yourself to the course in an Approved Training Organisation (ATO) who caters for the books, the classroom sessions and access to Question Database. That Question Database (QDB) is an informal collection of all multiple choice ATPL questions that have been asked in all EASA countries, in far as they have been collected by students. There are a couple of QDBs and none of them are complete, but they get pretty close. Today they contain about 15’000 different multiple choice questions !

I choose to study at the BAFA ATO from Antwerp, Belgium, mainly because of physcal proximity, it’s good name in the community and because they organise their classroom sessions on Friday / Saturday and Sundays. BAFA is using the Jeppesen ATPL handbooks. Next to those books, I also used my old BGS books from nine years ago: they are not as complete as the recent Jeppesen books, but I found their layout better to study as I am a visual learner and I need a good layout to memorise. The drawings are clearer as well: those in Jeppesen looks fancy but the colors and strong contrasts are distracting. Also, it’s very focussed on Germany and some words are left in German and never got translated properly to English.

Study methodology

So in order to do this in three months, I needed a good plan. First off all: my only goal was to pass the 14 exams, not to know all details. You need to obtain a score of 75% for every exam. And every exam only consists of multiple choice questions: 4 answers, one good one, you only score a point if you answer correctly. And there is the QDB…so I decided to focus mainly on the QDB in the limited time I had. I would study ALL 15’000 questions!

The QDB I subscribed to is from the Czech company AviationExam.com. You can get access to their QDB via a webbrowser (online) or offline through a synchronised App for iPhone or iPad. This tool was of enormous value to me because I could literally practise questions wherever whenever.

I made an agenda based only available study days, needed repition dates, planned classroom study and exam dates. I based my plan on the number of QDB questions per topic: an approximation which was not always accurate because some topics go slower or faster than others in terms of questions. I also kept free days and I avoided stuffing the weekends full of study as I knew I had to spend time with the family and would get distracted during the weekends. I planned time dor a short-ski, some flying, some engagements and family.

For every topic, I used the following methodology in going through the QDB:

  1. I read the study books and annotated in yellow marker the important items. I tried to understand all items without learning them by heart. I mainly used the old BGS books for that, although I regularly check out the Jeppesen books mainly for more recent topics like GPS, PBN, EASA airlaw etc.
  2. I went through all questions on the topic: one by one, days and days in a row. I tracked my progress in excel. For every question I saw the first time I could either solve it correctly or not. In that positive case I never looked at it again. Questions that I either solved wrongly or I knew I was guessing, I flagged it (AviationExam has a good flagging system).
  3. Whenever I perceived a pattern of wrongly-answered questions or subtopics that I did badly, I restudied the BGS or Jepp books. I also used the “Explanation” tab in AviationExam on some questions to understand better the correct answer to a questions: invaluable!
  4. I had downloaded a comprehensive summary of the ATPL topics from Rob Groothuis which I had found via Google. This summary was not always complete or up-to-date but it gave me a great basis and I annotated that summary with other items that I had to learn by heart. This summary grew into an interesting package of condensed information.
    You can email me for the scanned copy. Disclaimer: I do not guarantee correctness. Some words are in Dutch.
  5. Once I had answered all questions of one topic, I saw how good or bad I did. In average I scored about 70% right at the first time. The number of question I could cover in one day varied more than expected from topic to topic. Mass & Balance for instance is easy but takes a lot of calculation time per topic (118 questions per day). Human Performance, for instance, is easy and fast (668 questions per day): I took that for breakfast and dinner.
  6. Every now and then I went back to the books to study and annotate those topics (in orange marker) that come back repeatedly in the questions. Despite my focus on solving the multiple choice questions, I sincerly started to develop a deep understanding of the topic: I was really learning stuff! And on top: it was very interesting: I never got bored with the theory.
  7. I repeated the wrongly answered questions until I had answered all questions right.However I did not unflag them so I could repeat the difficult ones later on. Once I had answered all questions correctly once, I considered the basic study done.
  8. Then I did my Progress Check on Avex for BAFA so I could prove to the pilot school that I was prepared. I was ready to start another topic.
  9. Once I had done the basic study of all topics of one block, I went into repetition mode: reread and study the yellow and orange marked items of the books, study the summary and redo all marked questions until I answered them well again…. rinse and repeat!
  10. The days & hours before the exam bloks I focused on learning the summary, formulas, small details and nasty questions by heart.

About the multiple choice questions

There are really a lot, a lot, a lot of questions. This is my unscientific split up:

  • in average 70% of the questions is easy to answer. Remember that 75% is the pass-score so that’s a good beginning
  • about 3% of the questions contains “new ” stuff like GPS, PBN, EASA law, diesel engines, …
  • about 25% of the questions are hard
  • quite a lot of questions are very similar: once you can solve one, you can solve them all
  • about 5% are really hard questions
  • 1% are plainly wrong or designed to completely trip you: they freak everyone out

These heuristics I wrote down while I was studying as a tip to myself while doing the exams:

  • Read the question intensively and completely.
  • Answer the question that they ask for and not what you expect.
  • Answers containing “only”, “always” are often false.
  • When really in doubt, the longest answer is sometimes the right one.
  • The most complete answer amongst several subanswers is often the correct one.
  • Beware of a negative question.
  • “All of the above” is often correct, but not always!
  • When annoyed by the stupidity of the question, don’t… just learn it by heart.
  • When really in doubt, looking for the answer with most similarity amongst answers may  sometimes work too.
  • Always read all the notes on the diagrams.
  • Often superfluous info is given to confuse you.
  • In order to avoid stupid calculation erros, always use a electronic calculator for even the simplest calculation.
  • Use the CRP-5 circular computer as minimal as possible.
  • Mark off given information when you used it so you know what info you haven’t used yet.

One striking feature of the AviationExam application is the fact that you can read and leave comments to Avex or other students too. Some questions are loaded with comments, and that is a sure-tell sign of a nasty question where people vent on how annoyed they are with that question. That by itself was a form of community-shaping that I appreciated a lot with AviationExam and it helped me getting the boredom of covering all these questions.

It is important to note that the Belgium CAA follows the classic EASA multiple choice system as opposed to the British system where they made the multiple choice more difficult by adding filling-out fields and publishing new questions very often: none of that in Brussels. Having said that, I do not believe that there are people who manage to learn all 15’000 questions by heart in order to pass: you do gather a deep understanding of the topic, even if you concentrate on the QDB!

The 14 topics and their exams

Let’s go through the details of each topic now. I kept some statistics on the days of study, repetition, classroom and exam. I also added the number of AVEX questions in their database as well as my perceived level of difficulty and quantity. On the bottom of this page, you can find my total overview.


This block is the more theory-oriented block of the two, but due to the fact that VFR and IFR comms really don’t count, it is also the smaller portion in terms of volume, but not in terms of questions. I did spend 43 days total onto it to cover 8600 questions, which is considerable more time than on Block A (29 days) which has 5600 questions, but I had to warm up to the study.


Meteo was one of the most interesting topics and I did learn a lot. The more I studied and went through the questions, the better I grasped the complexity of weather. It was my first topic and I enjoyed studying it thoroughly. It is also very diverse covering things such as forecasts, cloud formation, theory, worldwide weather phenomena and some specific calculations.

I spent 4 days of study, 2 days of repetitions to cover all 2000 questions: the largest number of questions of all… but they go rather fast. We had a good professor at BAFA who had a background in meteorology.

There were  high number of similar questions but not a lot of nasty ones, fortunately. In this topic I learned altimetry and gas laws thoroughly for the first time, and it serves you on many other topics to come.

IFR communications & VFR communications

Truely two super-easy low effort topics. They are designed to give you the impression that life is easy for an ATPL student…. so don’t be mislead: the other topics are way, way more difficult.

On top, they almost cover the same opics so they overlap for 80%. Both are only about 300 questions each so … easy easy easy.

Nevertheless, in my IFR comms exam I came across a couple of new questions which I could not answer.

The classroom session was super-interesting as the professor basically explained what ATC expects from pilots and vice-versa as he is working Antwerpen Tower as a day job.

Operational Procedures

Not my favourite topic because I was constantly annoyed that you have to learn stupid things by heart amongst more interesting things. Things like how many fire extinguishers does an airplane need to have on board etc … Some items were interesting like how to fly the North Atlantic Track system.

Still about 900 questions that I covered in 1.5 days of study and 1 day of repetition.

Aircraft General Knowledge

This is a very bulky yet hugely interesting topic! Lots of details, but all useful and good to know. Here my engineering background really helped and I was able to cut through a lot of items with high speed. There are quite a number of questions to: about 1400 so I spend 4 days study and 2 days repetition as my initial scores were lower than 75%.

I liked to learn about jet engines. I appreciated the deep understanding of propeller and carburators etc….


This was rather easy for me because of my electronic engineering and avionics background. Yet I learned a couple of new things, and some of them will be useful in the cockpit. One of the more interesting topics nevertheless!

About 1500 questions, studied in three days awith one day repetition. I didn’t enjoy learning the 5 GPWS modes by heart …. oh well …


Oh god, I hated this topic: it is small of unrelated pieces of knowledge that you have to learn by heart. I really had to drag myself through the 4 days of study and I had to use 2 repetition days because I had forgotten half. Then I had to spend a lot of time in learning stupid things by heart…. this is not my cup of tea !

In my despair I even started to watch Airlaw Youtube movies … how low can you go !?

Wasted 7 days of my life in total on this topic. Separation minima by time and distance … ICAO annexes, runway markers …. brrrrr

Exams Block B

I had submitted my request for examination to the Belgian CAA and I had indicated my preferred dates. I called them well in advance to ask if these dates were still available, and they confirmed that they would keep them provided I submitted the certificate of my ATO in time. BAFA had to certify that I was ready to sit the exam based on passing the Avex progress check and having sat the required classroom sessions.

I must say that the exams in Brussels are very well organised! They basically only do exams on Mondays and Tuesdays, and it’s usually a mix of 10 PPL and ATPL students. It’s not only Belgians as quite a lot of students are sent from the Netherlands as those exams are cheaper in Brussels and better organised (they told me).

I was assigned 3 to 4 exams on one day, so I had two days (Monday & Tuesday) for the seven Block A exams. During the exam you cannot take watch, electronic calculator or paper with you and they do check if you cheat (quod non). You can take your own CRP5 and writing utensils though.

Because all Block B topics are based around knowledge (or memory), my exams went faster than the allotted time, even when I reread my responses. During reread, I did find some errors still, so it id definitely important to reread. This is how it went:

Topic Exam questions Exam time Exam Result
050 – Meteorology 84 2:00 95,6%
070 – Operational Procedures 45 1:15 88,9%
021 – Airframe, Systems, Engines & Electrics 80 2:00 93,8%
061 – General Navigation 60 2:00 88,5%
022 – Instrumentation 60 1:30 96,7%
062 – Radio Navigation 66 1:30 92,6%
010 – Aviation Law 44 1:00 94,0%

I had passed and I cracked the system by brute force! Block B done…


Once I had passed Block B, I relaxed somewhat as I knew I could crack the system. However, as my methodology worked, I did discipline myself to follow the same methodology for Block A. I had less time to do it, but I had more experience and less questions.

Block A turned out to be very different than Block B: the topics involved far more calculations and tabulations and less learning by heart. This was good and bad: I don’t like learning by heart, but those calculations took a lot more time per question !

Flight Planning

Flight Planning is easy but it takes a lot of time to go through the questions: either it is a calculation question, or it is a map question. For the map question, you have a training binder full of old charts: you need to pick the right chart, find some co-ordinates on the chart, and carefully answer the questions. Quite a lot of tricky questions!

This was the first of calculation & tabulation related topics.

As it was so easy, I decided to do every night one or two question rounds just to relax after a more difficult topic. Nevertheless, it still took me 4 days of study and 0.5 day of repetition.


Performance was for me the most difficult topic of all. It’s not inherently impossible but you do need a higher level of abstract thinking, and you must understand how certain parameters are influencing one-another. My lack of jet aeroplace experience was not helpful.

This is second topic that involves calculation and tabulation.

After a one day of study, I became frustrated by my lack of understanding, so I restarted completely: I decided to restudy the Jeppesen book and make a good summary. 11 summary pages later, I finally grasped the topic and the rest was downhill from there. Nevertheless, this topic became quite a drag for me.

3 days of study but two days of repetition. Plus I was nervous for this exam !

Mass & Balance

This again is an easy topic, but I overlooked the time it takes per question to answer them: lots of small easy calculations which take time. After a while you start to pre-empt the answers.

This is the third topic involving lots of calculation and tabulation.

In all honesty, I did over-learn this topic: 3 days of study, 1/2 day of repetition.

Principles of Flight

I was dreading this topic as it is known to be one of the difficult ones. But I admit, I enjoyed studying every minute of it! It is the core of flying and after a while you start to deeply understand the laws of aerodynamics.

Also the teacher at BAFA did a good job to explain some particular details: clearly a guy who is passionate about his job.

It took me 6 days to study and cover 1800 questions (second largest after meteo) and 1 day to repeat: hard but do-able.

General Navigation

General Navigation is a beautiful topic: you learn a lot of new stuff and it is useful. Now I understand what the curvature of the earth does to co-ordinates. I also appreciate different projections on a map and I can seamlessly calculate time differences over the globe. During study I used my fourty year old lighted plastic globe to understand those concepts.

The professor at BAFA was really helpful in re-explaining some concepts. Liked it!

The tests and the exam are very practical: a lot of small calculations in limited time and that makes it fun. Took me 4,5 days of study and 0.5 of repetition for 900 questions.

Radio Navigation

RadioNav was also one of my favourites because I just like the radio stuff. I learned a lot of extra things particularly on Mode A/C/S SSR, DME, and quite some new items were added like GPS, Glonass, and yes Galileo. In the Avex database there were a number of questions on Performance Based Navigation (PBN) but none of them came up during the exam in Brussels.

We had an interesting classroom day at BAFA and we ended that day with one particularly difficult question o a VOR. The professor had it wrong initially, but than we understood and agreed on the correct answer. Surprise … during the official exam, I had that very question …. and of course it was easy for me then: you follow the 70° radial to the VOR …

This was the last real topic I studied and it was all downhill from Principles of Flight: 3.5 day of study, 0.5 day of repetition for its 1000 questions.

Human Performance

To be honest: I did not study a lot for this topic as the questions were intuitively easy. So I decided to study the questions when I had some free time, or when I was bored with other topics. It became like a point of relaxation: to do another round of 48 Human Perfomance questions. I did them for breakfast, lunch and dinner !

All concepts remain easy but here and there you find some nasty questions. Too many questions on hypoxia, carbon monoxide and hyperventilation : it was ridiculous.

The BAFA teacher was interesting and when he covered the syllabus, a lot already stuck in my memory, making the questions even more easy.

1.5 days nett of study (mainly after hours) and 1/2 day repetition.

Exams Block A

After 37 days of intense study of the Block A topics and passing the progess checks, I was ready for the  second round of exams in Brussels. Again, I went by train both days.

All exams went well except I did not have time left to reread all questions for Performance … my dreaded topic.

This is how it went:

Topic Exam questions Exam time Exam Result
033 – Flight Planning & Monitoring 44 1:00 87,7%
032 – Performance 35 1:00 91,1%
031 – Mass & Balance 25 1:00 100,0%
081 – Principles of Flight 44 1:00 88,6%
061 – General Navigation 60 2:00 88,5%
062 – Radio Navigation 66 1:30 92,6%
040 – Human Performance & Limitations 48 1:00 97,9%

I passed !!! What a relief ! What a satisfaction !

Overall I scored 92.7%, which considering my limited time of 72 days study, makes me happy.

Conclusion, thanks & next steps

So it is possible to study and pass your ATPL exams in 72 days… even if it took you 9 years since you first started. I learned a lot and was able to deepen my aeronautical knowledge a lot. Most topics are hugely interesting and it is immensely satisfying to be able to solve difficult questions.

I don’t think I would have been able to garther the necessary continous motivation if I would have studied this monster after working hours and in weekend: I believe my motivation would have run out because in the evening you are basically tired from work. I’d advise all modular distance learning students to find long stretches of free time to deeply focus on a topic.

You also need a community of fellow students around you to avoid to start feeling lonely. The AviationExam tool offers this virtually in the comments section.

I want to thank:

  • Family, friends, ex-colleagues for their support and their patience with my aviation obsession
  • My new employer for their patience
  • AviationExam for their excellent tool and community building effort. But now I am glad I am done with their questions …
  • Rob Groothuis (unknowingly) for his ATPL summary
  • My fellow students Bart & Joachim for their support
  • Marina and Charis from BAFA, as well as their professors
  • The Belgian CAA for their impeccable exam organisation
  • Some Facebook & Youtube ATPL communities for their support

Next steps: doing my Commercial Pilot License and associated Multi Engine Piston class rating on my way to Flight Instructor.

Total overview:

212 Replies to “EASA ATPL Theory Knowledge in 72 days … and 9 years”

  1. Lewis


    I have just taken a read of the article about the ATPL theory and I am in the same position as yourself I went to Oxford when I was 18 and did not finish the 14 exams now 21 I want to go back and re do them with a different school here in the UK.

    I never thought about taking 3 months and finish them, To be honest I think after work hours I would lose any motivation so maybe this is a good idea I had never thought of.

    Many thanks for this article, best of luck in stage 2

  2. Julien

    Hi Steven, thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I also tried studying for the ATPL theory 5 years ago but never signed up for exams as I never felt 100% ready. Eventually I stopped studying. 2 months ago, I finally decided to restart studying and my first step was to sign up for exams. I don’t have the luxury to stop working for a couple months, but your story shows that it is not impossible to do.
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Steven Post author

      Hey Julien, trust me: I know the feeling! It is not impossible. In fact, you could do it with less effort by focussing on obtaining 80% on Avex and going like that to the exams…. Good luck !!

    2. Johannes

      Working full-time and doing EASA isn’t the single most fun thing to, but it’s not impossible.
      If I can do it (and I will), you can.
      Hopefully I’ll finish by the end of the year after about 15 months.
      Good luck!

  3. Niek

    What an impressive feat! And what a beautiful account of how you went about studying. Well done for passing and well done with the story!

    As a fellow former engineering student in Ghent, I wonder: how do you compare this endeavor to what we did at the Plateau?

    As you may know, we live in Ottawa, Canada, nowadays, on a lake with a waterdome and many of the neighbours have planes. So next time your in Eastern Canada, drop by!


    1. Steven Post author

      Hey Niek: nice to hear from you and thanks.
      It turned out that I was far more concentrated and motivated as compared to the Plateau: I only had 3 months and I had to squeeze everything into it and that did wonders for my motivation.
      I didn’t know about your move: you picked a nice spot. You should pick up (water)flying ! I’ll let you know when I am in the neighbourhood.
      Thank you for your reaction & lets stay in touch…


  4. Patrick Berger

    Hey Steven

    Really impressive and congrats. Aviationexam.com is actually the one who sended me the link to your story. My plan is similar like yours. I have about 4 months time to get it done, however i have to work part time (no way around) I have a flight Instructor licence with IFR under FAA so i hope it will help me a little. Wish you always safe flight and that you always have as many landings as takeoffs.

    Cheers from Switzerland


    1. Steven Post author

      Thank Patrick. Good luck to you too. It is more feasible than people think or say as long as you can fight the demotivation devil! Success

    2. Satyajit Shouche

      Amazing,I’m planning on doing the same, quit my airline job and go for my easa licence, your story is inspiring , makes me believe I can do it in 3 months . Thanks

  5. Luys Maurice

    Als fiere ouders kunnen we enkel u van harte feliciteren met het topresultaat dat je behaald hebt .
    Pa & Moe

  6. Gamze

    Hello Steven , it is Gamze ,female pilot from Turkey:) I have a Faa licence but I will take atpl too to work in Turkey but my question is beside of studying from aviation exam lots of people advised studying from pilot training.com but I didn’t find this web site coz I will take exams in Austria so do u know where I can find it ?

    1. Steven Post author

      Hello Gamze, thanks for contacting me. I dont know that website but I’d recommend aviationexam.com to train for the ATPL questions. Good luck! Steven

  7. Jonas

    Hello Steven,

    Thank you for sharing your story, it’s a real source of motivation for distance learning ATPL students. Can you please tell us how many hours per day you spent on ATPL ?

    Good job man 🙂

  8. Johannes

    Impressive! 72 days… Wow…
    I took off in September last year (2017) and in December I passed my first 4 exams in the UK.
    In June this year (2018) I sat another 6 in Scotland (I had to go there to have the mandatory hours with the school, which is great by the way, Caledonian Advanced Pilot Training http://www.capt.gs) and passed them too.
    Now onto the final 4… Let’s see how that goes. Hopefully done by the end of the year.
    Since I’m European, and living in Brazil, working full time and traveling a lot with the job, it’s a bit of a mess to plan the sittings in Europe… And the fact that UK already implement the multiple answer-questions, and many that you have to write the answer in a textbox (the latter are always calculation questions), makes the sittings a bit harder I believe, but not impossible. My scores are way way lower than yours, about 86 as an average…but none failed so far (even though I got just 75% in one of exam).
    Hoping also to be able to do get the medical class 1, which I must go to Europe to do (regulations… ) and the flying (probably by an EASA approved school in Florida, since by doing that, and just sitting one exam, I can get the FAA CPL as well) by the end of the year to get my EASA CPL(H) with ATPL/IR theory certificate issued before next Carnaval.
    Working full time and doing this is requires that you’re prepared to give up stuff that you would normally do after work and during the weekends.
    You do have to study! It’s often not so easy to keep the motivation up, so you really have to want to do it. It’s not hard in the “Einstein kind of way”, but it’s a lot. Really a lot. Often stupid things that you have to memorize, like the bones in the human inner ear, or where the temperature sensor in a turbine-engine is located (I personally would find it a bit tricky to locate and repair a faulty temperature sensor while flying. But maybe that’s just me?).
    Now, why I’m I doing this?
    I’m 45 already and I’m working in a totally different branch, but…
    I’ve always wanted to become a pilot (I went for helicopters, started the PPL course 4 years ago and then got my Brazilian CPL in 2016) so I just decided to do it, and when doing it I wanted it all, so why not go for the EASA CPL with ATPL/IR, and a FAA CPL as a bonus?
    Thanks for sharing your impressive and motivating story!
    By the way, I’m also using Aviation Exam, in combination with the material from capt.gs, and find it very very useful. Without a question bank to practice on, I don’t think I would be able to do it.
    Up and forward, and happy landings!

  9. Martina

    thanks for sharing, very impressive and inspiring!
    I am only starting now and it will probably take me much longer but success stories like yours always give you hope, don’t they 🙂
    One question though – how did you deal with obviously erroneous questions? I’ve stumbled upon quite and not sure what to do? Did you just memorize the answer they considered “correct”?

    1. Steven Post author

      Thank you Martina.
      Yes there are a few doubtful question and a few doubtful answers. However: this study is all the matter of statistics: in order to reach 75% with certainty, you need to make sure you can answer about 90% answers correctly. This accounts for new surprise questions, exam stress stupidity, bad questions, bad answers, and plain difficult questions, …
      So yes, although I did memorized most of these bad ones by hearth, I didnt worry about them too much: statistics would help me in the end…
      Good luck !

  10. Pablo Martinez

    Hi there
    Could you confirm you achieved to complete 500 questions a day for MET?

    There seems to be consensus that 150 questions a day is what people thinks is reasonable not to burn your brain. I have 6 months for the 14. How it was doing 500 a day, did you ended with headache?

    Thanks in advance for your time and congratulations for a neat and elegant blog.

    1. Steven Post author

      Hey Pablo,

      I studied 6 days for 2000 questions on MET. As it was my first topic, I was extremely motivated and made longer hours during these days than later in the study. Also, there are a lot of similar questions in MET…
      No, no headache, only a few depressions and some sunshine 🙂

      Success with your study!

  11. Shaikha

    Hi Steve,

    My son is having exams coming nov in Athens , he passed 8 subjects now another six, he is planing to do 4 subjects in nov and in all that 4 he is much worried about Flight planning he says it takes lots time with map and all. I am trying to google to help him and i found your article thanks a lot. if you know any other websites or videos that helped you in flight planning please share.

    Thanks a lot

    1. Steven Post author

      Thanks. Flight Planning is not too hard. Just create yourself a discipline on how you handle the chart questions and how you solve the tables. Practise enough. Good luck! Steven

  12. Daniel

    Hello, Steven.

    I just read this and it gives me the motivation to continue studying for the ATPL exams. I planned how I would be studying the subjects in the same way as you did. I just finished PoF in 7 days and M&B in 3. I’ll be doing them with the Irish Aviation Authority and it seems the questions are really similar to the ones in Aviation Exam, so that’s good news for me! I can also arrange what exams to have in my sittings, so I can concentrate on those and pass them.

    I wish you success in your process!

  13. Collin

    Bro, you r my inspiration. My life is moving into a new direction. I’m 38 this year and aiming for my ppl in May 2019. I think I’ll need the entire second half to build my flying hours. How can I be an airline pilot from here ? Please assist . thank you .

  14. Jose CH

    Hello Steven. Congrats on your amazing ATPL endeavor. Email sent with a few questions. cheers

  15. Bruno MESQUITA

    Out standing ! Perhaps do you still have your notes, those might be helpful , you seem to have a very effective study method !

  16. Colin

    Inspirational journey Steven! Having obtained an ATPL in 3 administrative regions I’m about to go down the EASA path at 47 years old.
    I would love the opportunity to take a look at your study notes, if you are happy to share…

    Thank you

      1. Mónica Santos

        Hi steven .. First of all congratulations! Weel done you! it’s quite impressive doing this in only 3 months.

        I am in the same situation .. working and studying at the same time and doing my ATPL at my 40’s. It´s being tough I am not gonna tell you the opposite, plus that I am already mentally tired. My background is in graphic design and I am currently working as a flight attendant so you can imagine the time that I have left to study … It’s almost nothing! I am completely struggling with air law, principles of flight etc … can I ask you to share with me if possible as well your files? they might help me to my next exams which will be in two weeks :O I really appreciate. Manny thanks!

    1. AJ

      Hi Steven ,
      You are an inspiration. Also, you are a gentleman as you are sharing and responding to everyone.Many blessings upon you.

      I am 39 and have ATPL from 2 different admisnstrations , would like to go the EASA path .

      Do we have to sit for all block A exams in one sitting ? That’s 7 exams in A day?? & second sitting for block B ?? Also to enroll in an ground school is a must?? Even if you go the distance learning route?

      If I can be of any help to you do let me know 🙂

      1. Steven Post author

        Hello, Thanks.
        As far as I remember, you could take only a part of the exams in Brussels. Why don’t you call them. They are pretty responsive !
        Some groundschool is mandatory when you do distance learning …

  17. Zever Fernandes

    I’m planning to study in either in Hungary or Greece for my atpl studies including o-atpl, cpl, it etc. Please tell me which books should I choose. The ones from Bristol GS or CAPT.GS or Oxford to do my studies. Also besides aviation exam which other question bank should I go through. I’m new here hence this question.
    Thanks a lot

    1. Steven Post author

      Dear Fernandes,

      Thank you for contacting me.
      I have used the Bristol and the Jeppesen books. I like the Bristol books better as the Jepps were too dense, too bright and too German-focussed.
      On the question bank, I was very happy with AviationExam.

      Good luck with the studies!


  18. Joaquim Soares

    Proficiat Steven, Nice job and very inspiring! Should you still be willing to share your notes, those might be helpful, your study method definitely cracked the exams!

      1. Soares joaquim

        Thanks Steven, well recieved. Coffee or beer is on me if we cross each other at any belgian airfield!

  19. Dominik

    Hi Steven,

    this is a very good article sharing of your experience during the short time of learing to pass the ATPL theory. I am very interested in all the stuff around flying and I think about doing the ATPL theory to be prepared in the case I would like to get a flight instructor licence in the (late) future.
    Now I gather some informations that can help me to stay motivated to learn the stuff part time. It would be great if you can share your notes with me too.

    Thanks a lot!


  20. Thomas H

    Hi Steven,

    What a motivating account of your experience! I am myself a PPL on weekends next to my day job, wishing to become FI and just like you I’m thinking why not go ATPL rather than CPL?

    The PPL was a breeze thanks to evening courses thrice a week and the positive discussions after class. But when I tried the E-IR via distance-learning, even though the ATO gave me green light to do the exam (abroad because BCAA still doesn’t provide theoretical exams…), I didn’t feel I had retained as much as with actual classes and spoken conversation… so it doesn’t inspire me to do such massive subject matter as ATPL largely outside the classroom either. But… I can’t afford (literally, money wise) to stop working to do an integrated course.

    I can’t seem to find any (modular or not) evening classes for ATPL anywhere in Belgium (I live next to EBBR). I wonder if you have heard of any solution that might work for me? Short of doing the 72 day challenge! x-P
    Language is not an issue (EN/NL/FR/DE/IT/ES :-D)

    P.S. if you ever want to fly together you’ll find me at EBCI or EBLG.

    Met vriendelijke groeten,

    1. Steven Post author

      Hey Thomas, dag Thomas,

      I would strongly advise you to do the ATPL over the CPL exams!! The extra effort is small, and you keep your options open for other licenses such as the IR. CPL theory is a dead-end road. I studied this extensively: ATPL is teh way to go!
      For the ATPL, I did it in Distance Learning: there were 4 weekends of classes to attend, so this was combinable with work. Bafa offers this in Antwerp. Newcag offers similar in Charleroi. OAC in Ostend. Alfako in Kortrijk. Probably BFS in Charleroi or Liège. EPC, Skywings in Antwerp. There is plenty !
      Of course, if you do Dinstance Learning after hours, you will needs buckets of motivation, time and energy left after work.
      Contact me on email if you want to talk more.
      Good luck !


  21. Saguem iheb

    Very inspiring story! You did really good! I wish i get access to your notes as well! Very thankful in advance

    1. HY Nam

      Hello Steven, I admire your perserverance a lot! May I know what you brought to the exam room? Do they provide the charts or calculators for the exams in block A where calculations are needed? Also, is it possible to do those tests by memorizing the answers?

      1. Steven Post author

        I could only bring pens, and analog calculator. Digital calculator and paper was provided. Charts come with every question.
        No, you cannot memeorize 15000 answers 🙂
        Study and make sure you understand the theory! You need it as a pilot !

  22. Halldor

    Hi Steven.

    Very impressive. Doing my ATPL now in Iceland and it is tough to not just read the books but do extensive work in the question banks as well. It seems like no one passes the CAA exams without doing the bank.
    I was wondering if I could take a look at your notes as well? Hoping they will help and also your method is highly motivating.
    Best regards

  23. Michele Gennari

    Hi Steven,

    You really did an admirable job! Amazing!
    I just turned 33 and with a part-time job in aviation, being in the ATPL’s infernal loop since March and still 9 left (I’ll do Gnav & Rnav in October, then hopefully 7 left!).
    I do really need to shift up a gear and I hope I could apply your method for the rest of my path, even using the double of your time for the half of subjects would be great for me!
    Any chance I can take a look at the notes, in order to start speeding up from tomorrow?
    Thank you very much, congratulations and best of luck in your walk!

    1. Steven Post author

      Dear Michele,

      Thanks. Well, you already did 5, so you are progressing !!
      Keep up the courage and indeed, cut some corners and speed up.
      I sent you a dropbox link.

      Good luck,


  24. Sergio

    Hey man! I went through your blog, very nice really. You did a great job, congratulations! 🙂

    I enrolled also at Hub’air in 2010 but lack of time due to my work, so lack of motivation… how many times did you say “i will do it.. later…” and then you close the books and just keep the dream in mind.

    I am 53 now but my dream is still to go through the ATPL, and i will, i know it. By the end of the year i will start studying again, this time will be the right one 🙂

  25. Rémi

    Hello Steven,
    Big thanks for your precise feedback (and congrats for the performance !)
    Your project, background and constraints, are similar to mine*, so your experience is very valuable for me
    My challenge is to go through ATPL as quickly as possible, because family and job won’t let me that much of time.
    I will appreciated your written, and more of that, your total stat table which will help me a lot organizing my studies.
    First exam : february 2020 ! Let’s go.

    * 45 years old, already IR and instructor rated, with 2000 hours. And a big need to learn new things. That’s part of the reason why I enjoy aviation : you can learn all your life ! No room to get 72 days in a row, but possibly in 3 or 4 times…

    1. Steven Post author

      Hello Rémi,

      It is actually doable. With your experience it is very doable … you will just need time and concentration.
      Good luck !
      I sent you some dropbox links.


  26. Rémi

    I forgot to ask you, in my previous post :
    Have you done your “Next steps: doing my Commercial Pilot License and associated Multi Engine Piston class rating on my way to Flight Instructor.” ?
    Hope so 😉

    1. Steven Post author

      Since my ATPL I have added: ME, CPL, ME-IR. This year I start my FI(A) course. I have never flown so much as now 😉
      I just didn’t document it on this blog yet …

  27. Markus

    Thanks for the detailed article on your journey. Very well done!
    Very inspiring. I am 48 and about to start my theory self study for my CPL(A).
    I have a full time job, thinking of 15-20h study per week. Was told it will take me about 6 months.
    Aim is to be through with it in Spring 2020, so I can focus on my practical next year to get my CPL.
    Would be great to get access to your notes and any other tips you might have, that get me mentally in to the right space. Slightly worried about studying.

    1. Steven Post author

      Hello Markus,

      Nice decision ! It’s doable, trust me. The study is not that hard, it just requires discipline and time and I advise you to force yourself into a discipline that you can sustain.
      I sent you the notes via a Dropbox link.



  28. Greg Edwards

    Hi Steven,

    I got sent this website link by a friend advising me on how to tackle the ATPLs which I have just started. Thank you so very much for taking the time to help many other aspiring pilots.

    Please may you send me your notes? I would find them extremely helpful.

    Thank you very much in advance and all the best with your future.


          1. AntonioPiloto

            Hi Steven.

            I am halfway through my ATPL and my next and final sitting includes:

            Radio Nav
            Flight Planning

            May I ask you for some notes you have for these subjects?

            Best regards, and congratulations (see you in the sky)

      1. Alex Stathopoulos

        Hey Steven,
        Thanks for sharing your experience
        I am currently trying to complete my theory at the moment in Greece, however, the ministry has shut down examination centres for the next couple of months! I plan to start my flight training, what are your thoughts?

        Could I please also have the link to your EASA ATPL Notes?

        Thanks in Advance

          1. Alex Stathopoulos

            I have considered it, but as I have already registered in Greece, it makes it super complicated with my school…

            Just trying to make the most of it a crap situation!

  29. Dion

    Very nice! Lovely to read this article. I will have 5 subjects end of next month. Pretty nervous but I am studying hard. Your notes would probably really help, so If you want to send them to me as well i would really appreciate it!!

  30. tsiasilabo

    Hi, Steven I just discover your post. It give me motivation. As i’m Studying ATPL If it’s ok, please send me your note. It will be very helpful.
    With regard


    Hello Steven !
    Impressive and inspiring.
    I am trying to complete this during present 2020.

    May I ask you again for a link to your EASA ATPL Notes ?

    Thanks again !

      1. Guillosson

        Hello Steven, I’m a PP Studying ATPL from home in the carribbean, your feedbacks are crazy, It could be very helpful to see your notes if you agree.
        Best regards.

  32. Michelle

    Good afternoon Steven,

    I hope all is well. Your journey has been extremely inspiring and motivational.

    May I have a link to your EASA ATPL Notes?

  33. Anton

    Hey , Steven
    Hope you doing well
    Great and motivational story!
    Wouldn’t mine to get the link for your notes as well

  34. Jay Tran

    Hi Steven,

    I’m planning to study ATPL in April 2020 and have to finish before October 2020 when i’m ready to be round 2 of training session. I read 2 times about your blog and very appreciated your motivation and your discipline of training. I hope I can follow and try my best to finish ATPL. Thank you so very much for taking the time to help other aspiring pilots.
    Could you please send me your notes? I would find them extremely helpful.
    Thank you very much in advance and all the best with your future.

  35. Tom H

    hey, thanks for this really insightful information would it be possible if you could send me the link to the notes or tell me how to access them if possible?

    many thanks

  36. Paul Éric Guillosson

    Hi Steven, thank you a lot about sharing us your experience it’s so amazing that you succeed a 72days ATPL. I am planing a 6months ATPL, I will start by 6 or 7 exams because I live in the Caribbean and there are not so many exams by month. Even if you agree it will be very kind and helpful for me to have access to your notes please.
    Best regards

  37. roy ritter

    Hi Steve,

    Very inspiring …after reading your story I have decided to do the same in 4 months. Started a month ago.
    No exams now due to Covid19 so I have decided to go through all the material until exams starts and then practice for for the dates.


  38. Mark

    Hi Steven, Thanks for all the info and will done achieving great results. I just started studying for my ATPL and would very much appeciate the link to your note.

    Thanks alot.

  39. Mariana Santos

    Hey Steven,

    Great work!
    Can you send me your notes? I´m starting my ATPL in 6 months.

    Thank you

      1. Clara

        Hey Steven,

        Wow, great job! This helped me a lot!
        Can you please send me your notes?
        I started my ATPL last month ago and it is so hard for me to understand everything…

        Thank you very much!

  40. Fabiano

    Hi Steven,

    Really nice and well prepared article. Well done! I’m taking this as a reference to plan my studies as well. Due to this crisis, I kinda have the same situation as you. =)

    Best regards.

  41. angelos

    Hey steven loved your post!
    I was wondering what was your pattern for the day before them exams where you get to be tested on 7 lessons?

    Greetings from Greece,

      1. angel kontidis

        Alright that sounds better. So let me explain you my thoughts. Lets say your tests are one week away and you have already completed your study to all of the 7 lessons, how do you deal with the last days? Revising some difficult questions?

        I would love to listen your thoughts!

  42. angelos

    Hey steven loved your post!
    Im curious about how you organized the last days before the exams when you get to have 7 tests on a day!

    Greetings for Greece.

  43. Richard

    Dear Steven,

    Your very honest and frank views on how best to approach passsing these exams are very helpful.
    My son (22) who already has his PPL struggled to find a methodology to pass the exams whist training with an integrated flight school.
    18 months ago, despite getting 95%+ (average) in the first four mock exams he failed to achieve a pass rate over 65% (average) in the actual exams.
    This knocked his confidence completely and he consequently dropped off of the integrated course.
    He has now started back studying for the exams, but this time he’s using the Bristol school of distance learning. However, I can tell that he has very little confidence in his own ability, or settling on a study method he trusts, despite being easily competent and able enough to ‘ fly’ through these exams at a good pass level.
    For him to drop to dream of passing these exams and not take commercial piloting forwards would be such a waste of his obvious talent and ambition.
    I am going to show him your blog and I’m sure it will give him some tips, guidance and confidence.

    If you could send me through your notes I will send them on to him. I’m sure he will find them most useful and once he reads your blog I hope he will reach out and contact you direct.

    It’s a very admirable thing you are doing, offering to share your work and offering others help and advice.

    Thanks and regards

          1. Dhanura

            Hi Steve

            Being following and reading your blog for awhile now and would like to know when you used Aviation exam to study which mode did you use “ essential / standard / exhaustive “ ?



  44. Tobias

    Hi Steven

    Very impressive and helpful story on how you prepared for the ATPL exams. Well done I must say! Thanks for sharing your study methods – really helpful for when i start my ATPL in August.

    Could you please send me your notes? It will be much appreciated

    Thanks and regards

    1. Sam

      What an inspiration to read of your journey!!

      About to attempt same journey as you at age 47!!

      Would appreciate your notes taken for all the subject?.

      Kind regards

  45. Foxtrot

    Good Day Steve,

    Regarding AE questions, they’ve 3 types, Essential, Standard, Exhaustive. If I choose ‘Essential’ to practice the questions, is it enough to pass the exam?

  46. Nick

    Hi Steven! And congrats for these amazing results! You must be really happy.
    I have just started with all this study, do you think is it possible to send my the notes?

    And also, I got a little doubt about what can you bring the day of the exam, I mean, can I carry the plotter, E6B, pen, calculator? or It’s everything in front of a PC?

    Thank you so much in advance!

    1. Steven Post author

      In Brussels you could bring plotter, analog E6B and pen.
      Paper and electronic calculator was provided by the examinator. Everything in front of PC. They provide you with printouts of maps, charts, diagrams.
      I sent you a link.

      Succes !

  47. Kristinsson

    Excellent read Steven and very motivational for us old hawks dipping into the ATPL!

    I just started with BGS like you said you did yourself years ago. I might subscribe for the AE question bank since you recommend it and have that one on the site.

    I will be spending 3 times the time spent on the study (at least!) but I would appreciate a copy of your notes if you don´t mind. If not just for the confidence boost 😉


  48. Dilara

    Hello Steven,

    Gefeliciteerd met de resultaat! And thanks for the read, I really enjoyed reading the impressive story. Especially because I’m also studying for ATPL and it feels like a mountain of information to digest. I’m using the Nordian books. 🙂

    I was wondering, the first pic in the article looks like a book with summaries of every topic. Would you like to share those notes (any notes/summary books/files you have actually) with me?

    Hartelijke groeten uit Nederland,

  49. Ammad

    Hello there Steven.
    I’m currently studying for my exams and would greatly appreciate it if you could share your notes. Congratulations on finishing so early with great results. It really helped me find some motivation.

  50. Ahmet

    Hey there Steven. Massive congrats on the achievement! Could you share your notes with me so that I can feel a little bit more prepared? Thanks!

  51. Jeff

    Hi Steven,

    thank you for your major explanation. It gives me a lot of motivation to finish my ATPL theory.

    is it possible to get your notes as well? thank you in advance


  52. Ferd

    Hi Steven!

    I appreciate a lot your explanation and your way of dealing with the Atpl. Next 26 I will start, is it possible get your notes? I think I will go more confidence


  53. Amp

    Hi Steven!

    Im just finishing my ATPL in Madrid, Spain and I hope do it as well as you did,
    congratulations for your ATPL and for your explanation, its amazing!
    Could you send me the link of your notes? Please!

    Thanks for everything!

  54. Tim

    Hi Steven,

    this report is amazing! I started studying a year ago and need to pass the modules within the next 5 months (did nothing due to family issues). I finished the first six modules in the past 4 weeks and am motivated to get it done right in time. I absolutely honor your effort and success. I think the hardest part in ATPL theory is keep focused and motivated as the EASA questions try to trick you a lot.
    May I ask you to send me your notes, so I can take a look what mine may be missing? Thanks in advance and thanks for your motivational and inspriring words!


  55. lim

    Hello 🙂 Steven!
    And congrats for these results! You must be really happy.

    I feel that it is too difficult to study this study because of my lack of English, but I was motivated by your blog. Thanks a lot.

    I have passed 4 subjects now and I want to pass the remaining 10 subjects in a year. If you don’t mind, Could you send me the link of your notes?

    thanks :))

  56. Nicolas

    Hi Steven,

    truly impressive how you achieved this in such little time!

    I am currently studying for the exams next to my job and I would like to ask if you could also share your notes with me?

    Kind regards,

  57. martin

    Congrats Steven!
    Great report and impressive motivation !
    Please, share your notes, i’m stuck at M&B calculations 🙂

  58. Vj

    Hi Steven,

    Congrats on your success. It’s really wonderful and motivating to read your Journey.

    I am preparing for the exams, Please do shear your notes.

    Best of luck in your future endeavors .

  59. Vrishab Kandral

    Hey Steven,

    Loved the detailed and elaborate explanation you’ve provided for your experience in tackling the ATPL’s in such a short amount of time.
    I am aiming for the same but with a span of 3 months! I am hoping to be done with them in under 90 days and wanted to ask if you recommend BGS Question Bank or the one from Aviation Exam. Asking since the difference in the number of questions in each subject vary significantly. E.g. POF in BGS has 1723 Questions where as AvExam has 2467 Questions and Flight Planning in BGS has 895Q and AvExam has 1249Q. What do you recommend I use as I can not afford paying for the subscription of both of them combined.
    Wishing you great success!


  60. Michael

    Hi Steven,

    really impressive performance to do the exams in 72 days! I have 6 months and I’m totally scared about it.

    Did you use the “exhaustive” mode in aviation exam?

    It would be nice and helpful to me, if you could send me the link to your notes.

    Thank you very much and many happy landings!


  61. Nicolas Guillen

    Hi Steven, I have read your article several times. I am in Uk trying to get started with my ATPL. I have finished studying two modules but I have not yet gone to take the exams, the path is slow but persistent. I will appreciate if you can send me the notes that can help me understand a little more. I will really appreciate it.

  62. Nicolás Jesús Bertolotto

    Hi Steve! your story very inspiring! Could you send me elenlase to your notes? I am from Argentina and I plan to travel to Europe to take my exam, but first I want to study more !! hahah Thanks!!!

  63. Alex barns

    Hi steeve.

    Congratulations. As it said above by everyone you are a very inspired personn.
    Passing through my 39s i d try now to fulfill my dream to be a commercial pilot. I have used AvEx for my first certif 10 and 70 that I passed. But I can’t do like you and I have to work only nights and we.
    Could you please send me your very helpful notes for the 12 certif. Thanks.

  64. Palaiar

    Good morning, a great story, congratulations.
    Can I ask you for your notes? I am now starting my journey.
    Thank you very much.

  65. German Mejia

    Hi I am taking the 14 exams in August and found your story which is mazing! I was wondering if I could bother you with the link to your notes? I would highly appreciate it!


  66. German

    Hi Steven,

    Amazing story and it is great that you can provide this help for others! I am undergoing this process as well and would be really thankful if you could help me with your notes!


  67. Marina

    Hi Steven,
    Your story is truly inspiring!
    I started last year and then stoped due to lake of motivation. Aerobatics are more fun even if there is no question I want to pass the theory and then at least IR. I am also using the BGS books and will definitely follow your tips.
    Thank you very much. I am pretty curious to see you notes as well.
    Would it be possible to send me the link?
    Thank you once again

  68. Carlos

    Congratulations for passing the exam but overall for the effort you did to accomplish, Steve! That’s what I cal perseverance every day counts every hour every time! I’ve been in quite a similar situation for over the past 6 years and still struggling with the official examination but now I’m more motivated than ever after all efforts, since I’ve been working and studying and flying at the same time in order to afford the financial costs but I know now it will be possible considering your inspirational story.
    Contratulations again and I wish I could succeed as you did.
    And I wondered, Could I please ask for the link of your atpl resume files in order to complement my knowledge? I would really be grateful for it!
    Thank you very much in advance!!

    Blessings and Regards!


  69. Emre

    Hi Steven,
    I am working for meteorology atpl … could you please send me your notes? It will be much appreciated. I would love to see all of your notes for all subjects 🙂 and could you tell me which book you have for meteorology (this on your post)

    Best Regards,

  70. Tyrell

    Well done Steven!
    I am doing the exactly the same thing and also did my initial ATPL over 10 years ago. Now it’s time for EASA.
    You mentioned you pre-read all the study material and then did the questions. My apologies if it has been answered already, but how long did your pre-reading take? I can clearly see your method to the QDB process but not the pre-studying.
    Thank you.

      1. Kia

        Dear Steven,
        What else than Aviation Exam would you recommend learning?, recently I had exam in Germany %70 of questions wasn’t from aviation exam, I asked myself where’s the source of questions which will be asked by German aviation authority?
        I am looking to your answer,Thank you

        1. Steven Post author


          Well my study dates back from 2018. I have not kept up with the latest evolutions so I suggest you speak with people who recently did the exams in Germany rather than using my outdated adviose.

          Good luck!


  71. Daniel

    Hi there,
    Inspiring story!
    What is the update on your situation now in 2022 in terms of your flying?
    Also can I please get the link to your ATPL study notes?
    Thank you in advance!

  72. Daniel

    Hi Steven,
    Great story and a great read.
    How is your flying progressing? What do you do in regards to flying these days?
    Could you please be so kind to email me your notes please?

  73. Nicolas Desimpel

    Hi Steven,

    Really a motivating story for someone like me that is also studying while working. I’d really appreciate if I could have a look at your notes ? Thanks in advance

  74. Pingback: Commercial Pilot License (EASA CPL(A)) – Abeam

  75. Michael Appenzeller

    HI Steven,

    I am done with 11 out of 14 exams in the new syllabus. Planning to sprint my last 3 exams in April (M&B. Ops, RNAV). Now I found your hugely motivational site (am 45, entrepreneur, doing it all in the early morning hours and on weekends).

    I was wondering about your days&questions. For example in M&B you said 118 questions per day is what you did. But you only studied it for 3 days. Did your question bank really have only 354 questions by then? Today there are 523 in AVEX.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Steven Post author

      Hi Michael,

      Nice work so far !
      I just checked it: I had 413 M&B questions in 2018. Probably I did some rounding …

      Good luck & courage … you are almost there!


  76. Adrien

    Hey Steven,

    I’m doing my ATPL too.

    Would you mind sending the link to your notes please. I would really appreciate.

    Best regards

  77. Donald

    Hey Steven, Can I please get the link to your ATPL study exams? Your story is very inspiring and motivating. Thank you for sharing.

  78. Farayi Darlington Chaparadza

    Hi Steven. Thanks for posting your interesting journey. Could I also have a link to your notes. Thanks

  79. Erick

    Hello Steven,

    I hope you will very well, thank you to shears your experience with the ATP exams, would you send me all your information please? I will appreciate

    I am learning to take the exams soon, with your experience I can do a real plan to take the exams. I am in Austria so I hope do very well.

    Best wishes

  80. Agustin Boehler

    Hi Steven,

    Thank you for your motivational and inspirational story. I will try to apply a systematic approach like yours. Could you please send me the notes? Thank you!

  81. Alex

    Hi Steven,

    what a story. I’ve never been so motivated to get it done now.

    I would also highly appreciate the note 🙂


  82. Filip De Tandt

    Dag Steven,
    ik heb een PPL sinds juni 2022 en overweeg om FI alsook TKI te worden (om de hobby enigszins betaalbaar te houden). Aangezien ik geen klasse 1 medical kan krijgen (audiogram is een probleem op 1 frequentie voor mijn linkeroor en BCAA is niet echt pragmatisch in het toepassen vd regels …) kan ik dus niet via CPL gaan maar moet ik wel de CPL theorie doen. Ik zit net als jij in 2019 tussen twee jobs en heb nu tijd om me hierop te concentreren. Ik twijfel nu of ik CPL of ATPL theorie zou doen. Jij vermeldt dat ATPL veel voordelen heeft tov CPL theorie maar ik ben niet zeker of dit in mijn geval van toepassing is vermits ik toch geen CPL/IR edm kan doen. Of zie ik iets over het hoofd ?
    Ik ben aan het kijken om theorie te doen via Bristol Ground School , ziet er goed uit maar toch wel vrij duur. BAFA heb ik ook geprobeerd maar krijg daar geen antwoord via telefoon en mails beantwoorden doen ze ook niet snel. OAC biedt geen theorie via distance learning (heb geen zin meer om in een klaslookaal te gaan zitten) aan dus ben ik nu ook in contact met EuroPilot Center. Als jij nog ideeën hebt, hoor ik het graag. Probleem is dat je altijd een ATO nodig hebt die dat papiertje invult om je nog maar toe te laten om het examen te doen … .
    Alvast bedankt voor je feedback.
    PS : net als jij heb ik een achtergrond als ir , afgestudeerd aan de UGent in 1995, richting scheikunde.

    1. Steven Post author

      Dag Filip,

      Sorry voor mijn late reply.
      Dan moeten wij samen gestudeerd hebben ! Ik ben ook in 95 afgestudeerd in Gent (zwakstroom).
      Ik kan eigenlijk enkel maar BGS aanraden.
      Als je geen waarde ziet in de ATPL, dan is de CPL wellicht iets makkelijker en goedkoper … echter als je je volledige ATPL doet, dan kan je ook TKI gewijs lesgeven aan ATPL / MPL studenten. Er is altijd vraag naar deze lesgevers. Daarnaast is het ook gewoonweg interessant.

      Hopelijk helpt dit


  83. Charlie

    Hi Steven!

    You got my blood pumping like an OEI ILS down to minimums. Congratulations!

    I’ve been avoiding doing the EASA ATPL conversion from FAA because I thought I got old brain. I got commercial pilot syndrome and avoided putting myself through the tough course. Flown in many other countries to avoid it, but you got me! How you did it is fantastic.

    I’m registered and ready to go. I’m glad you have gotten your CFI and flying as you dreamed of. You’re living proof that great things don’t come easy.

    (PS: I hope it’s not a bother to join the Steven club: Would it be possible to get some of your notes as well? I’m sure they will help in many, many ways!)

    1. Steven Post author

      Hello Charlie,

      The ATPL course is not that hard, but it is a lot and intense 🙂
      Good decision: you will be so happy afterwards and you will actually learn a lot.

      Success! I sent the link.


  84. Sina Roudbari

    Congratulations Steve
    Well done and inspiring story I read your story before I start my exams so I decided to make a new recoed !
    I passed all 13 EASA ATPL modules in only 5 consecutive days 🙂 with an average of about 90%

    Hope others get inspired and motivated as they can see that it’s possible
    Wish everyone to succeed and get best results in the exams


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