Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS

Private Pilot Ground School

Note: This course is designed only for single-engine land aircraft so where you see a section in blue it applies to seaplanes or a section in light green it applies to multiengine aircraft so both may be disregarded for the purpose of obtaining the single-engine land certificate.

 

Updated as of June 2018

 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published the Private Pilot – Airplane Airman Certification Standards (ACS) document to communicate the aeronautical knowledge, risk management, and flight proficiency standards for the private pilot certification in the airplane category, single-engine land and sea; and multiengine land and sea classes.

This ACS incorporates and supersedes FAA-S-ACS-6A, Private Pilot-Airplane Airman Certification Standards, Change 1.

 

The FAA views the ACS as the foundation of its transition to a more integrated and systematic approach to airman certification. The ACS is part of the safety management system (SMS) framework that the FAA uses to mitigate risks associated with airman certification training and testing. Specifically, the ACS, associated guidance, and test question components of the airman certification system are constructed around the four functional components of an SMS:

  • Safety Policy that defines and describes aeronautical knowledge, flight proficiency, and risk management as integrated components of the airman certification system;
  • Safety Risk Management processes through which both internal and external stakeholders identify changes in regulations, safety recommendations, or other factors. These changes are then evaluated to determine whether they require modification of airman testing and training materials;
  • Safety Assurance processes to ensure the prompt and appropriate incorporation of changes arising from new regulations and safety recommendations; and
  • Safety Promotion in the form of ongoing engagement with both external stakeholders (e.g., the aviation training industry) and FAA policy divisions.

The FAA has developed this ACS and its associated guidance in collaboration with a diverse group of aviation training experts. The goal is to drive a systematic approach to all components of the airman certification system, including knowledge test question development and conduct of the practical test. The FAA acknowledges and appreciates the many hours that these aviation experts have contributed toward this goal. This level of collaboration, a hallmark of a robust safety culture, strengthens and enhances aviation safety at every level of the airman certification system.


John S. Duncan
Executive Director, Flight Standards Service 

 

Syllabus

 

Airman Certification Standards Concept

 

The goal of the airman certification process is to ensure the applicant possesses the knowledge, ability to manage risks, and skill consistent with the privileges of the certificate or rating being exercised, in order to act as Pilot-in-command (PIC).

 

In fulfilling its responsibilities for the airman certification process, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards Service (AFS) plans, develops, and maintains materials related to airman certification training and testing. These materials have included several components. The FAA knowledge test measures mastery of the aeronautical knowledge areas listed in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. Other materials, such as handbooks in the FAA-H-8083 series, provide guidance to applicants on aeronautical knowledge, risk management, and flight proficiency.

 

Safe operations in today’s National Airspace System (NAS) require integration of aeronautical knowledge, risk management, and flight proficiency standards. To accomplish these goals, the FAA drew upon the expertise of organizations and individuals across the aviation and training community to develop the Airman Certification Standards (ACS). The ACS integrates the elements of knowledge, risk management, and skill listed in 14 CFR part 61 for each airman certificate or rating. It thus forms a more comprehensive standard for what an applicant must know, consider, and do for the safe conduct and successful completion of each Task to be tested on both the qualifying FAA knowledge test and the oral and flight portions of the practical test.

 

During the ground and flight portion of the practical test, the FAA expects evaluators to assess the applicant's mastery of the topic in accordance with the level of learning most appropriate for the specified Task. The oral questioning will continue throughout the entire practical test. For some topics, the evaluator will ask the applicant to describe or explain. For other items, the evaluator will assess the applicant's understanding by providing a scenario that requires the applicant to appropriately apply and/or correlate knowledge, experience, and information to the circumstances of the given scenario. The flight portion of the practical test requires the applicant to demonstrate knowledge, risk management, flight proficiency, and operational skill in accordance with the ACS.

 

Note: As used in the ACS, an evaluator is any person authorized to conduct airman testing (e.g., an FAA Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI), Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE), or other individual authorized to conduct test for a certificate or rating). 

 

 

Using the ACS 

 

The ACS consists of Areas of Operation arranged in a logical sequence, beginning with Preflight Preparation and ending with Postflight Procedures.

Each Area of Operation includes Tasks appropriate to that Area of Operation.

Each Task begins with an Objective stating what the applicant should know, consider, and/or do.

The ACS then lists the aeronautical knowledge, risk management, and skill elements relevant to the specific Task, along with the conditions and standards for acceptable performance.

The ACS uses Notes to emphasize special considerations.

The ACS uses the terms "will" and "must" to convey directive (mandatory) information. The term “may” denotes items that are recommended but not required.

The References for each Task indicate the source material for Task elements.

 

For example, in Tasks such as “Weather products required for preflight planning, current and forecast weather for departure, enroute, and arrival phases of flight.” (PA.I.C.K2), the applicant should be prepared for questions on any weather product presented in the references for that Task.

 

The abbreviation(s) within parentheses immediately following a Task refer to the category and/or class aircraft appropriate to that Task.

The meaning of each abbreviation is as follows:

ASEL: Airplane – Single-Engine Land (This course WILL INCLUDE this portion only)

ASES: Airplane – Single-Engine Sea (This course will NOT include this portion)

AMEL: Airplane – Multiengine Land (This course will NOT include this portion)

AMES: Airplane – Multiengine Sea (This course will NOT include this portion)

 

Note: When administering a test, the Tasks appropriate to the class airplane (ASEL, ASES, AMEL, or AMES) used for the test must be included in the plan of action. The absence of a class indicates the Task is for all classes.

 

Each Task in the ACS is coded according to a scheme that includes four elements. For example:

PA.XI.A.K1:

PA = Applicable ACS (Private Pilot ‒ Airplane)
XI = Area of Operation (Night Operations)
A = Task (Night Preparation)
K1 = Task element Knowledge 1 (Physiological aspects of night flying as it relates to vision.)

 

Knowledge test questions are linked to the ACS codes, which will ultimately replace the system of Learning Statement Codes (LSC). After this transition occurs, the Airman Knowledge Test Report (AKTR) will list an ACS code that correlates to a specific Task element for a given Area of Operation and Task. Remedial instruction and re-testing will be specific, targeted, and based on specified learning criteria. Similarly, a Notice of Disapproval for the practical test will use the ACS codes to identify the deficient Task elements.

 

The current knowledge test management system does not have the capability to print ACS codes. Until a new test management system is in place, the LSC (e.g., “PLT058”) code will continue to be displayed on the AKTR. The LSC codes are linked to references leading to broad subject areas. By contrast, each ACS code is tied to a unique Task element in the ACS itself. Because of this fundamental difference, there is no one-to-one correlation between LSC codes and ACS codes.

 

 

 

Because all active knowledge test questions for the Private Pilot Airplane (PAR) Knowledge Test have been aligned with the corresponding ACS, evaluators can continue to use LSC codes in conjunction with the ACS for the time being. The evaluator should look up the LSC code(s) on the applicant’s AKTR in the Learning Statement Reference Guide. After noting the subject area(s), the evaluator can use the corresponding Area(s) of Operation/Task(s) in the ACS to narrow the scope of material for retesting, and to evaluate the applicant’s understanding of that material in the context of the appropriate ACS Area(s) of Operation and Task(s).

 

Applicants for a combined Private Pilot Certificate with Instrument Rating, in accordance with 14 CFR part 61, section 61.65 (a) and (g), must pass all areas designated in the Private Pilot – Airplane ACS and the Instrument Rating – Airplane ACS.

Evaluators need not duplicate Tasks. For example, only one preflight demonstration would be required; however, the Preflight Task from the Instrument Rating – Airplane ACS would be more extensive than the Preflight Task from the Private Pilot – Airplane ACS to ensure readiness for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight.

 

A combined certificate and rating evaluation should be treated as one practical test, requiring only one application and resulting in only one temporary certificate, disapproval notice, or letter of discontinuance, as applicable. Failure of any Task will result in a failure of the entire test and application. Therefore, even if the deficient maneuver was instrument related and the performance of all visual flight rules (VFR) Tasks was determined to be satisfactory, the applicant will receive a notice of disapproval.

 

The applicant must pass the Private Pilot Airplane (PAR) Knowledge Test before taking the private pilot practical test. The practical test is conducted in accordance with the ACS and FAA regulations that are current as of the date of the test. Further, the applicant must pass the ground portion of the practical test before beginning the flight portion.

 

The ground portion of the practical test allows the evaluator to determine whether the applicant is sufficiently prepared to advance to the flight portion of the practical test. The oral questioning will continue throughout the entire practical test.

 

The FAA encourages applicants and instructors to use the ACS when preparing for knowledge tests and practical tests. The FAA will revise the ACS as circumstances require. 

 

Knowledge Test Description

The knowledge test is an important part of the airman certification process. Applicants must pass the knowledge test before taking the practical test.

 

The knowledge test consists of objective, multiple-choice questions. There is a single correct response for each test question. Each test question is independent of other questions. A correct response to one question does not depend upon, or influence, the correct response to another. 

 

 

Knowledge Test Table

Test Code and Name

Number of Questions

Age

Allotted Time

Passing Score 

PAR Private Pilot Airplane

60

15

2.5

70

PAT Private Pilot Airplane/Recreational Pilot - Transition

30

15

1.5

70

PBG Private Pilot Balloon - Gas

60

14

2.5

70

PBH Private Pilot Balloon - Hot Air

60

14

2.5

70

PCH Private Pilot Helicopter Canadian Conversion

40

16

2.0

70

PCP Private Pilot – Airplane Canadian Conversion

40

16

2.0

70

PGL Private Pilot Glider

60

14

2.5

70

PGT Private Pilot Gyroplane/Recreational Pilot - Transition

30

15

1.5

70

PHT Private Pilot Helicopter/Recreational Pilot - Transition

30

15

1.5

70

PLA Private Pilot Airship

60

15

2.5

70

PPP Private Pilot Powered Parachute

60

15

2.5

70

PRG Private Pilot Gyroplane

60

15

2.5

70

PRH Private Pilot Helicopter

60

15

2.5

70

PWS Private Pilot Weight-Shift-Control

60

15

2.5

70

 

 

Knowledge Test Blueprint

 

PAR Knowledge Areas Required by 14 CFR 61.105 to be on Knowledge Test: % of Questions per test

 

Regulations 

5 – 15% 

Accident Reporting 

5 – 10% 

Performance Charts 

5 – 10% 

Radio Communications 

5 – 10% 

Weather 

5 – 10% 

Safe and Efficient Operations 

5 – 15% 

Density Altitude Performance 

5 – 10% 

Weight and Balance 

5 – 10% 

Aerodynamics, Powerplants, and Aircraft Systems 

5 – 10% 

Stalls and Spins 

5 – 10% 

Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM) 

5 – 10% 

Preflight actions 

5 – 10% 

Total Number of Questions 

60

 

 

 

English Language Standard

 

In accordance with the requirements of 14 CFR part 61, section 61.13(c) the applicant must demonstrate the ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language throughout the application and testing process. English language proficiency is required to communicate effectively with Air Traffic Control (ATC), to comply with ATC instructions, and to ensure clear and effective crew communication and coordination. Normal restatement of questions as would be done for a native English speaker is permitted, and does not constitute grounds for disqualification. The FAA Aviation English Language Standard (AELS) is the FAA evaluator’s benchmark. It requires the applicant to demonstrate at least the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) level 4 standard.

 

Knowledge Test Requirements

In order to take the Private Pilot Knowledge Test, you must provide proper identification. To verify your eligibility to take the test, you must also provide one of the following in accordance with the requirements of 14 CFR part 61:

14 CFR 61.35 lists the prerequisites for taking the knowledge test, to include the minimum age an applicant must be to sit for the test.

  Received an endorsement, if required by this part, from an authorized instructor certifying that the applicant accomplished the appropriate ground-training or a home-study course required by this part for the certificate or rating sought and is prepared for the knowledge test;

  Proper identification at the time of application that contains the applicant's—

(i) Photograph;
(ii) Signature;
(iii) Date of birth;
(iv) If the permanent mailing address is a post office box number, then the applicant must

provide a government-issued residential address
14 CFR 61.49 acceptable forms of retest authorization for all Private Pilot tests:

An applicant retesting after failure is required to submit the applicable test report indicating failure, along with an endorsement from an authorized instructor who gave the applicant the required additional training. The endorsement must certify that the applicant is competent to pass the test. 

The test proctor must retain the original failed test report presented as authorization and attach it to the applicable sign-in/out log.

Note: If the applicant no longer possesses the original test report, he or she may request a duplicate replacement issued by the Airman Certification Branch (AFS-760).

Acceptable forms of authorization for Private Pilot Canadian Conversion (PCP) only:

  Confirmation of Verification Letter issued by AFS-760 (Knowledge Testing Authorization Requirements Matrix).

  Requires no instructor endorsement or other form of written authorization.

 

Knowledge Test Centers

The FAA authorizes hundreds of knowledge testing center locations that offer a full range of airman knowledge tests. For information on authorized testing centers and to register for the knowledge test, contact one of the providers listed at www.faa.gov

 

Knowledge Test Registration

When you contact a knowledge testing center to register for a test, please be prepared to select a test date, choose a testing center, and make financial arrangements for test payment when you call. You may register for test(s) several weeks in advance, and you may cancel in accordance with the testing center’s cancellation policy. 

 

Knowledge Test Procedures and Tips

Before starting the actual test, the testing center will provide an opportunity to practice navigating through the test. This practice or tutorial session may include sample questions to familiarize the applicant with the look and feel of the software. (e.g., selecting an answer, marking a question for later review, monitoring time remaining for the test, and other features of the testing software.)

Acceptable Materials

The applicant may use the following aids, reference materials, and test materials, as long as the material does not include actual test questions or answers: 

Supplement book provided by proctor 

All models of aviation-oriented calculators or small electronic calculators that perform only arithmetic functions

Calculators with simple programmable memories, which allow addition to, subtraction from, or retrieval of one number from the memory; or simple functions, such as square root and percentages

- Scales, straightedges, protractors, plotters, navigation computers, blank log sheets, holding pattern entry aids, and electronic or mechanical calculators that are directly related to the test 

Manufacturer’s permanently inscribed instructions on the front and back of such aids, e.g., formulas, conversions, regulations, signals, weather data, holding pattern diagrams, frequencies, weight and balance formulas, and air traffic control procedures 

 

Unacceptable Materials

Written materials that are handwritten, printed, or electronic 

Electronic calculators incorporating permanent or continuous type memory circuits without erasure capability 

Magnetic Cards, magnetic tapes, modules, computer chips, or any other device upon which pre- written programs or information related to the test can be stored and retrieved 

Dictionaries 

Any booklet or manual containing instructions related to use of test aids 

 

Notes

Testing centers may provide calculators and/or deny the use of personal calculators 

Unit Member (proctor) may prohibit the use of your calculator if he or she is unable to determine the calculator’s erasure capability 

Printouts of data must be surrendered at the completion of the test if the calculator incorporates this design feature

Before, and upon completion of the test, while in the presence of the Unit Member, actuate the ON/OFF switch or RESET button, and perform any other function that ensures erasure of any data stored in memory circuits 

Unit Member makes the final determination regarding aids, reference materials, and test materials 

 

Test Tips

When taking a knowledge test, please keep the following points in mind:

- Carefully read the instructions provided with the test.

- Answer each question in accordance with the latest regulations and guidance publications.

- Read each question carefully before looking at the answer options. You should clearly understand the problem before trying to solve it.

- After formulating a response, determine which answer option corresponds with your answer. The answer you choose should completely solve the problem.

- Remember that only one answer is complete and correct. The other possible answers are either incomplete or erroneous. 

If a certain question is difficult for you, mark it for review and return to it after you have answered the less difficult questions. This procedure will enable you to use the available time to maximum advantage.

- When solving a calculation problem, be sure to read all the associated notes.

- For questions involving use of a graph, you may request a printed copy that you can mark in computing

your answer. This copy and all other notes and paperwork must be given to the testing center upon completion of the test. 

 

Cheating or Other Unauthorized Conduct

To avoid test compromise, computer testing centers must follow strict security procedures established by the FAA and described in FAA Order 8080.6 (as amended), Conduct of Airman Knowledge Tests. The FAA has directed testing centers to terminate a test at any time a test unit member suspects that a cheating incident has occurred.

The FAA will investigate and, if the agency determines that cheating or unauthorized conduct has occurred, any airman certificate or rating you hold may be revoked. You will also be prohibited from applying for or taking any test for a certificate or rating under 14 CFR part 61 for a period of 1 year. 

 

Testing Procedures for Applicants Requesting Special Accommodations

An applicant with learning or reading disability may request approval from the Airman Testing Standards Branch (AFS-630) through the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or International Field Office/International Field Unit (IFO/IFU) to take airman knowledge test using one of the three options listed below, in preferential order:

Option 1: Use current testing facilities and procedures whenever possible.
Option 2: Use a self-contained, electronic device which pronounces and displays typed-in words (e.g.,

the Franklin Speaking Wordmaster®) to facilitate the testing process.

Note: The device should consist of an electronic thesaurus that audibly pronounces typed- in words and presents them on a display screen. The device should also have a built-in headphone jack in order to avoid disturbing others during testing.

Option 3: Request the proctor's assistance in reading specific words or terms from the test questions and/or supplement book. To prevent compromising the testing process, the proctor must be an individual with no aviation background or expertise. The proctor may provide reading assistance only (i.e., no explanation of words or terms). When an applicant requests this option, the FSDO or IFO/IFU inspector must contact AFS-630 for assistance in selecting the test site and assisting the proctor. Before approving any option, the FSDO or IFO/IFU inspector must advise the applicant of the regulatory certification requirement to be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language. 

 

 

Airman Knowledge Test Report

Immediately upon completion of the knowledge test, the applicant receives a printed Airman Knowledge Test Report (AKTR) documenting the score with the testing center's raised, embossed seal. The applicant must retain the original AKTR. The instructor must provide instruction in each area of deficiency and provide a logbook endorsement certifying that the applicant has demonstrated satisfactory knowledge in each area. When taking the practical test, the applicant must present the original AKTR to the evaluator, who is required to assess the noted areas of deficiency during the ground portion of the practical test.

An AKTR expires 24 calendar months after the month the applicant completes the knowledge test. If the AKTR expires before completion of the practical test, the applicant must retake the knowledge test.

To obtain a duplicate AKTR due to loss or destruction of the original, the applicant can send a signed request accompanied by a check or money order for $12.00 (U.S. funds), payable to the FAA to:

Federal Aviation Administration Airmen Certification Branch, AFS-760 P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125

To obtain a copy of the application form or a list of the information required, please see the Airman Certification Branch (AFS-760) web page.

FAA Knowledge Test Question Coding

Each Task in the ACS includes an ACS code. This ACS code will soon be displayed on the AKTR to indicate what Task element was proven deficient on the knowledge test. Instructors can then provide remedial training in the deficient areas, and evaluators can re-test this element during the practical test.

The ACS coding consists of four elements. For example, this code is interpreted as follows: PA.XI.A.K1:

PA Applicable ACS (Private Pilot ‒ Airplane)
XI Area of Operation (Night Operations)
Task (Night Preparation)
K1 Task element Knowledge 1 (Physiological aspects of night flying as it relates to vision.)

 

Knowledge test questions are linked to the ACS codes, which will soon replace the system of Learning Statement Codes (LSC). After this transition occurs, the Airman Knowledge Test Report (AKTR) will list an ACS code that correlates to a specific Task element for a given Area of Operation and Task. Remedial instruction and re-testing will be specific, targeted, and based on specified learning criteria. Similarly, a Notice of Disapproval for the practical test will use the ACS codes to identify the deficient Task elements.

The current knowledge test management system does not have the capability to print ACS codes. Until a new test management system is in place, the LSC (e.g., “PLT058”) code will continue to be displayed on the AKTR. The LSC codes are linked to references leading to broad subject areas. By contrast, each ACS code is tied to a unique Task element in the ACS itself. Because of this fundamental difference, there is no one-to-one correlation between LSC codes and ACS codes.

Because all active knowledge test questions for the Private Pilot Airplane Knowledge Test (PAR) have been aligned with the corresponding ACS, evaluators can continue to use LSC codes in conjunction with the ACS for the time being. The evaluator should look up the LSC code(s) on the applicant’s AKTR in the Learning Statement Reference Guide. After noting the subject area(s), the evaluator can use the corresponding Area(s) of Operation/Task(s) in the ACS to narrow the scope of material for retesting, and to evaluate the applicant’s understanding of that material in the context of the appropriate ACS Area(s) of Operation and Task(s). 

 

The Applicant Name Considerations for the Airman Knowledge Test Report (AKTR) and the Practical Test Application Form 

The applicant uses his or her full legal name on the Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, FAA Form 8710-1, using up to 50 characters (including spaces). The applicant may exclude some middle names as necessary to meet the 50-character limit. The AKTR may not reflect the applicant’s full legal name and may differ slightly from the name presented for the practical test. 

If the 8710-1 shows a middle name, the AKTR may show that middle name, the correct middle initial, or no entry. The application will process correctly using the Integrated Airman Certificate and Rating Application (IACRA) system, and the Airmen Certification Branch will accept it. If an incorrect middle initial, spelling variant or different middle name is on the AKTR, or if the AKTR has a first name variation of any kind, the evaluator must attach an explanation and a scan or copy of the applicant’s photo identification and attach it to the IACRA or paper application. If the last name on the AKTR has a different spelling or suffix, an IACRA application is not possible. The applicant must use a paper application, and the evaluator must include an explanation and copy of the applicant’s photo identification to avoid a correction notice.

 

The Practical Test – Eligibility and Prerequisites

The prerequisite requirements and general eligibility for a practical test and the specific requirements for the original issuance of a Private Pilot Certificate in the airplane category can be found in 14 CFR part 61, sections 61.39(a)(1) through (7) and 61.103, respectively. 

 

Practical Test Roles, Responsibilities, and Outcomes Applicant Responsibilities

The applicant is responsible for mastering the established standards for knowledge, skill, and risk management elements in all Tasks appropriate to the certificate and rating sought. The applicant should use this ACS, its references, and the Practical Test Checklist in this Appendix in preparation to take the practical test.

 

Instructor Responsibilities

The instructor is responsible for training the applicant to meet the established standards for knowledge, skill, and risk management elements in all Tasks appropriate to the certificate and rating sought. The instructor should use this ACS and its references as part of preparing the applicant to take the practical test and, if necessary, in retraining the applicant to proficiency in all subject(s) missed on the knowledge test.

 

Evaluator Responsibilities

An evaluator is:

- Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI);

- Pilot examiner (other than administrative pilot examiners);

- Training center evaluator (TCE);

- Chief instructor, assistant chief instructor or check instructor of pilot school holding examining authority; or

- Instrument Flight Instructor (CFII) conducting instrument proficiency check (IPC).

 

The evaluator who conducts the practical test is responsible for determining that the applicant meets the established standards of aeronautical knowledge, skills (flight proficiency), and risk management for the Tasks in the appropriate ACS. This responsibility also includes verifying the experience requirements specified for a certificate or rating.

 

Prior to beginning the practical test, the evaluator must also determine that the applicant meets FAA Aviation English Language Proficiency Standard by verifying that he or she can understand ATC instructions and communicate in English at a level that is understandable to ATC and other pilots. The evaluator should use the procedures outlined in the AC 60-28, English Language Skill Standards required by 14 CFR parts 61, 63, and 65 (current version) when evaluating the applicant’s ability to meet the standard.

 

The evaluator must develop a Plan of Action (POA), written in English, to conduct the practical test, and it must include all of the required Areas of Operation and Tasks. The POA must include a scenario that evaluates as many of the required Areas of Operation and Tasks as possible. As the scenario unfolds during the test, the evaluator will introduce problems and emergencies that the applicant must manage. The evaluator has the discretion to modify the POA in order to accommodate unexpected situations as they arise. For example, the evaluator may elect to suspend and later resume a scenario in order to assess certain Tasks.

 

In the integrated ACS framework, the Areas of Operation contain Tasks that include “knowledge” elements (such as K1), “risk management” elements (such as R1), and “skill” elements (such as S1). Knowledge and risk management elements are primarily evaluated during the knowledge testing phase of the airman certification process. The evaluator must assess the applicant on all skill elements for each Task included in each Area of Operation of the ACS, unless otherwise noted. The evaluator administering the practical test has the discretion to combine Tasks/elements as appropriate to testing scenarios.

 

The required minimum elements to include in the POA, unless otherwise noted, from each applicable Task are as follows:

- at least one knowledge element;

- at least one risk management element;

- all skill elements; and

- any Task elements in which the applicant was shown to be deficient on the knowledge test. 

 

Note: Task elements added to the POA on the basis of being listed on the AKTR may satisfy the other minimum Task element requirements. The missed items on the AKTR are not required to be added in addition to the minimum Task element requirements.

 

There is no expectation for testing every knowledge and risk management element in a Task, but the evaluator has discretion to sample as needed to ensure the applicant’s mastery of that Task.

 

Unless otherwise noted in the Task, the evaluator must test each item in the skills section by asking the applicant to perform each one. As safety of flight conditions permit, the evaluator should use questions during flight to test knowledge and risk management elements not evident in the demonstrated skills. To the greatest extent practicable, evaluators should test the applicant’s ability to apply and correlate information, and use rote questions only when they are appropriate for the material being tested. If the Task includes an element with sub- elements, the evaluator may choose the primary element and select at least one sub-element to satisfy the requirement that at least one knowledge element be selected. For example, if the evaluator chooses PA.I.H.K1, he or she must select a sub-element like PA.I.H.K1e to satisfy the requirement to select one knowledge element.

 

Possible Outcomes of the Test

There are three possible outcomes of the practical test:

(1) Temporary Airman Certificate (satisfactory),

(2) Notice of Disapproval (unsatisfactory), or

(3) Letter of Discontinuance.

 

If the evaluator determines that a Task is incomplete, or the outcome is uncertain, the evaluator must require the applicant to repeat that Task, or portions of that Task. This provision does not mean that instruction, practice, or the repetition of an unsatisfactory Task is permitted during the practical test.

If the evaluator determines the applicant’s skill and abilities are in doubt, the outcome is unsatisfactory and the evaluator must issue a Notice of Disapproval.

 

Satisfactory Performance

Satisfactory performance requires that the applicant:

- demonstrate the Tasks specified in the Areas of Operation for the certificate or rating sought within the established standards;

- demonstrate mastery of the aircraft by performing each Task successfully;

- demonstrate proficiency and competency in accordance with the approved standards;

- demonstrate sound judgment and exercise aeronautical decision-making/risk management; and

- demonstrate competence in crew resource management in aircraft certificated for more than one required

pilot crew member, or single-pilot competence in an airplane that is certificated for single-pilot operations. Satisfactory performance will result in the issuance of a temporary certificate.

 

Unsatisfactory Performance

Typical areas of unsatisfactory performance and grounds for disqualification include:

Any action or lack of action by the applicant that requires corrective intervention by the evaluator to maintain safe flight. 

Failure to use proper and effective visual scanning techniques to clear the area before and while performing maneuvers.

- Consistently exceeding tolerances stated in the skill elements of the Task.

- Failure to take prompt corrective action when tolerances are exceeded.

- Failure to exercise risk management.

 

If, in the judgment of the evaluator, the applicant does not meet the standards for any Task, the applicant fails the Task and associated Area of Operation. The test is unsatisfactory, and the evaluator issues a Notice of Disapproval.

When the evaluator issues a Notice of Disapproval, he or she must list the Area of Operation in which the applicant did not meet the standard. The Notice of Disapproval must also list the Area(s) of Operation not tested, and the number of practical test failures. If the applicant’s inability to meet English language requirements contributed to the failure of a Task, the evaluator should note “English Proficiency” on the Notice of Disapproval.

 

The evaluator or the applicant must end the test if the applicant fails a Task. The evaluator may continue the test only with the consent of the applicant, and the applicant is entitled to credit only for those Areas of Operation and the associated Tasks satisfactorily performed. Though not required, the evaluator has discretion to reevaluate any Task, including those previously passed, during the retest.

 

 

Discontinuance

When it is necessary to discontinue a practical test for reasons other than unsatisfactory performance (e.g., equipment failure, weather, illness), the evaluator must return all test paperwork to the applicant. The evaluator must prepare, sign, and issue a Letter of Discontinuance that lists those Areas of Operation the applicant successfully completed and the time period remaining to complete the test. The evaluator should advise the applicant to present the Letter of Discontinuance to the evaluator when the practical test resumes in order to receive credit for the items successfully completed. The Letter of Discontinuance becomes part of the applicant's certification file. 

 

 

Testing after Discontinuance or Unsatisfactory Performance

To avoid having to retake the entire practical test, an applicant has 60 days from the date of a first failure or Letter of Discontinuance to pass the practical test. The evaluator’s POA must include any unsatisfactory or untested Area(s) of Operation and Task(s) as indicated on the current Notice of Disapproval or Letter of Discontinuance. While an applicant may receive credit for any Task(s) successfully completed within a failed or partially tested Area of Operation, the evaluator has discretion to reevaluate any Task(s). 

 

 

All the materials you will need to prepare for the written, oral and checkride exams are listed below - please download as necessary 

 

 

 

Some people elect to buy the paper copy - beware - this is updated weekly so you may not get the latest information

 

My preference is to get the FARs - also knows as 14 CFR - directly from

eCFR.gov so I know I have the latest version

 

And the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) electronically from the FAA

 

 

 

 

 

FAA-H-8083-3B

 

Airplane Flying Handbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAA-H-8083-6

 

Advanced Avionics Handbook

 

 

 

 

Contact Me

Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS

 

602 561 8665

 

sarah@sarahnilsson.org

 

You can also fill out my online form.

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Legal disclaimer 

The information on this website is for educational purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice. While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not your attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.

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