Bronze Endorsement Theoretical Knowledge Syllabus and Examination

Student pilots are tested on theoretical knowledge ahead of completing the Bronze endorsement. Relevant rules of the air and local airspace knowledge is assessed prior to first solo. Theoretical knowledge should be referred to throughout the student pilots flight training.

To qualify for the Bronze endorsement, an appropriate level of theoretical knowledge must be demonstrated in at least the following subjects:

Air Law and ATC

  • International law: conventions, agreements and organisations
  • Airworthiness of aircraft
  • Aircraft nationality and registration marks
  • Personnel licensing
  • Rules of the air
  • Procedures for air navigation: aircraft operations
  • Air traffic regulations: airspace structure
  • Air traffic service (ATS) and air traffic management (ATM)
  • Aeronautical information services (AIS)
  • Aerodromes, external take-off site
  • Search and rescue
  • Security
  • Accident reporting
  • National law

Human performance and limitations

  • Human factors: basic concepts
  • Basic aviation physiology and health maintenance
  • Use of oxygen


  • The atmosphere
  • Wind
  • Thermodynamics
  • Clouds and fog
  • Precipitation
  • Air masses and fronts
  • Pressure systems
  • Climatology
  • Flight hazards
  • Meteorological information


  • Definitions
  • Communication at uncontrolled airfields
  • Communication at controlled airfields
  • Communication with ATC en-route
  • General operating procedures
  • Relevant weather information terms
  • Action required to be taken in case of communication failure
  • Distress and urgency procedures
  • General principles of VHF and allocation of frequencies

Principles of Flight

  • Aerodynamics (airflow)
  • Flight mechanics
  • Stability
  • Control
  • Limitations (load factor and manoeuvres)
  • Stalling and spinning
  • Spiral dive

Operational procedures

  • General requirements
  • Launch methods
  • Soaring techniques
  • Circuits and landing
  • Out-landing/field landing
  • Special operational procedures and hazards
  • Emergency procedures
  • Emergency parachute operation and landing

Flight performance and planning

  • Mass and balance
  • Speed polar of sailplanes or cruising speed
  • Flight planning and task setting
  • ICAO flight plan (ATS flight plan)
  • Flight monitoring and in-flight re-planning

Aircraft general knowledge including emergency equipment

  • Mass and balance
  • Flight controls
  • Instruments
  • Rigging of aircraft, connection of control surfaces
  • Manuals and documents
  • Airworthiness and maintenance
  • Airframe, engines and propellers
  • Water ballast systems
  • Batteries (performance and operational limitations)
  • Emergency parachutes
  • Emergency bail-out aid


  • Magnetism and compasses
  • Charts
  • Dead reckoning navigation
  • In-flight navigation
  • Use of GNSS
  • Use of ATS

Bronze Endorsement theory resources

The following publications are helpful:

Student Pilot Manual, available from the BGA.

Bronze and Beyond, which is periodically updated by the experienced gliding instructor author.

The Bronze written exam course – a video series produced by Andrew Watson


Human Factors Study Guidance – guidance published by Gliding NZ

Soaring Weather, a free FAA publication.

The Soaring Engine volume one – which covers theory and practical safety aspects of ridge, wave and thermal soaring, published by a highly experienced gliding instructor and coach.

Laws and Rules

The Skyway Code

Air Law

Navigation and field landing courses – videos produced by Paul Ruskin

Bronze Endorsement examination notes

The Bronze Endorsement theoretical knowledge test includes all syllabus topics (above). Navigation is split into two parts:  A. Part A Knowledge of charts. B. Part B Flight preparation and planning.

‘Sailplane’ means a heavier-than-air aircraft that is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its fixed lifting surfaces, the free flight of which does not depend on an engine.
‘Powered sailplane’ means an aircraft, equipped with one or more engines having, with engine(s) inoperative, the characteristics of a sailplane. These can be self-launching or self- sustaining.

Secure online access to Bronze Endorsement theoretical knowledge examinations is supplied to Chief Flying Instructors (CFIs) at BGA member clubs. The CFI may appoint suitable instructors as examiners to supervise and mark the papers.

Pilots who have undergone an approved course of training may be recommended to sit the examination.

General conditions applicable to the Bronze Endorsement theoretical knowledge examination requirements:
• Questions have four possible multi-choice answers. All questions should be attempted. No credit or penalty is given for unanswered questions or incorrect answers.
• Candidates should indicate their answer on the grid provided by putting a cross in the appropriate box. No papers other than those provided by the invigilator should be on the table.
• Where rough work is required, it should be carried out on rough paper provided by the invigilator. Rough paper must be handed to the invigilator on completion of the examination.

In all questions assume 1 Nautical mile = 6000 feet. 1 hectopascal = 30 feet and variation = 5º W. When answering regulatory question assume gliders are Part 21 aircraft and all pilots are exercising the privileges of a BGA Gliding Certificate with Bronze and Cross Country endorsement or an SPL.

The Navigation Section requires candidates to be in possession of a maker pen, rule, protractor and a recent 1.500,000 ICAO chart, normally covering the area around your home club (Scotland, North, or Southern CAA charts).
The pass mark is 75% (9/12) for all subjects.If one section of the exam is failed, only the section(s) failed need be retaken. If a candidate fails a section 3 times, a fourth attempt is not allowed. In this case, the candidate and examiner must refer to the Training Standards Manager for advice.

Note for instructors

Instructors will need to satisfy themselves that a candidate is prepared to sit the examination. The following syllabus has been prepared for the information of both student glider pilots and instructors.