Instrumentation – About ATPL Subjects

Instrumentation is a crucial aspect of ATPL training, focusing on the instruments and systems that pilots use to navigate, control, and monitor an aircraft’s performance.

In an ATPL theory course, you delve into the intricacies of aircraft instrumentation, understanding how these systems contribute to safe and effective flight operations.

This is only meant as a guide to the Instrumentation subject as it applies to the Bristol Groundschool ATPL theory course.


Instrumentation Topics 

Let’s take a closer look at some topics covered in the Bristol Groundschool ATPL Instrumentation course and some of the things you’ll learn about in each topic.

How basic mechanical instruments, pre-glass cockpit, work including: 

  • Altimeters

  • Airspeed Indicators

  • Attitude indicators

  • Turn co-ordinators

  • Vertical speed indicators

  • Direction indicators and compasses

  • Engine instruments

And the possible errors associated with these instruments.

For more modern aircraft, the working principles of: 

  • Glass cockpits

  • Inertial reference systems

  • Flight management systems

  • Autopilots and autothrottles

  • Flight director systems

  • Head-up displays and synthetic vision systems

  • Datalink communications and ADS-B

Also, Instrumentation covers the principles of operation and the possible warnings associated with: 

  • Airborne collision avoidance systems (ACAS)

  • Stall protection systems

  • Ground proximity and terrain awareness warning systems (GPWS and TAWS)

Instrumentation Exams

The exam for Instrumentation lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.  You’ll have 60 multiple-choice questions to answer during this time, with the pass rate being 75%. 


An Example of an Instrumentation Exam Question

This is an example of the type of question you may have in an Instrumentation exam. For more questions like this one, visit the BGS Question Bank to start revising with over 15,000+ ATPL, CPL, IR and PPL questions.  


Question: On the ground, during a left turn, the rate of turn indicator indicates: 


A) Needle in the middle, ball to the left

B) Needle to the left, ball to the right

C) Needle in the middle, ball to the right

D) Needle to the left, ball to the left

Click to reveal the answer

The answer is B, Needle to the left, ball to the right


Need Help Revising for your ATPL or CPL Exams?

BGSonline question bank has you covered – it’s an excellent preparation tool.