View Full Version : History of the ATPL

14th Dec 2006, 14:00
I was wondering whilst taking a break from my ATPL studies. How long has the ATPL existed in its current CAA/JAA form...and what was the qualification process in general to fly large transport airliners of days gone by (i.e the 50s?).

What has been the progression from post-war to the existing licensing process?

Anyone know?

14th Dec 2006, 15:14
If I remember correctly the new JAR syllabus started in 2000, a bit more tricky back then with no direct feedback questions to look at.

PPRuNe Towers
14th Dec 2006, 15:36
Rough chronology from the fifties went:

Essay Questions - 7 to be answered if I remember correctly. You can still find sample books in UK reference libraries.

Early/Mid 70's Multiple choice - main difference being penalty marking. Marks taken off for guesses/mistakes.

Next up penalty marking removed countered with a 5% change in the pass mark IIRC

Final trauma was the switch to the JAA multiple choice exams which had a very anxious birth - our archives cover that period as the schools tried to get the syllabus, feel and feedback for the new exams nailed. All of which seemed a moving target for a while.

There are some experts ground school types around who can expand, correct and fill in details to the above.


14th Dec 2006, 15:56
Interesting. Do I get the correct impression that, in terms of the theory, its got harder? (inevitable with increasing complicated harware I summise).

14th Dec 2006, 19:03
No, you don't get the correct impression! Penalty marking made the old CAA ATPL exams very hard, together with an even more idiosyncratic approach from the CAA to marking and setting questions for the theory subjects than is displayed these days. The quantity of knowledge required to pass the exams has probably remained more or less constant, and the proportion of that knowledge that is apparently of obsolete topics is still considerable!

The number and proportion of examinees who pass these days is far greater than it used to be.


14th Dec 2006, 19:25
Can anyone tell me why they scrapped the BCPL route of self improovement????? Were BCPL holders falling out of the sky in droves thus necessitating a different approach to proffessional pilot training?

14th Dec 2006, 21:36
Its the natural product of management by committee.

The CAA joined JAA and the rest as they say is history. It was a nice idea in theory but inevitably each member state thinks they know best. Everything gets watered down after much discussion and argument in lovely committee speak. Then put to a vote and hey presto we have the system as it stands.

14th Dec 2006, 23:06
The number and proportion of examinees who pass these days is far greater than it used to be.


Bit like 'A' levels then. Interesting. Cheers.

17th Dec 2006, 04:20
I think that the change to multiple choice came later than the mid 70s. I did my ATPL writtens in 1985 and they were still essay type answers then, although I believe the change came not long after that. As for whether or not they are harder now, they must have been easy in those days because I managed to pass.


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