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Private Pilot Tests

Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:07 pm

I'm currently a student pilot with 39.6 hours, and just passed my written with a 90. I'm currently preparing for my private pilot checkride and oral exam, and was wondering how difficult each of the tests were for your PPL. I've been told the oral and checkride are harder than the written, is that true? Any tips for either of them?
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Re: Private Pilot Tests

Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:11 pm

Yes they are. Trust your CFI to know when you are ready. TRY to relax.
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Re: Private Pilot Tests

Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:55 pm

You passed your "written"? Seven written exams in the EU, pass mark 75%, bloody hard work too. I nearly cried during the nav exam.

That said, the skills test was the worst. Couple of things that might help. 1. Don't tell more people than you absolutely have to. Judging by the number of good luck texts I got that morning (September 1 2016), I must have taken out a full page ad in the Guardian. The added pressure was extremely unhelpful. 2. Go easy on fluids beforehand, you're up for 3h. I needed a piss for at least two of them. 3. Don't think of it as a whole, I think that's a bit intimidating. If you're worried beforehand, break it down into each part. Nav? I can do that. Practice forced landing? Done loads of really good Ines. Slow flight? Easy! Stalls and recovery? Great fun! Etc. Your instructor won't set you up for it til you're ready, so that should be a source of encouragement also. Good luck!
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
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Re: Private Pilot Tests

Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:04 pm

Use the PTS (practical test standards) for the Private. It will list all the subjects you will go trough during your exam (both oral and practical). You will be asked questions about applicable regulations, so make sure you know all the regulations that apply to private in the FAR/AIM (there should be an index which will tell all the regulations that apply to private).
If you haven´t already, read the Pilot´s Handbook of Aeronatical Knowledge, you can find on the FAAs webpage. (And also the Airplane Flying Handbook).
Also, make sure you your airplane (limitations, system knowledge, emergency procedures).

For the checkride, you will probably be asked to prepare a flight plan. Spend some time on it, and be prepared to answer questions about how to identify each waypoint you have selected, airspaces, how to find information about airports enroute and also what you would in case of an emergency enroute (engine failure, communication failure or bad weather).
Make sure all the paperwork is done correctly before meeting the examiner (your instructor will probably help you with that). Print out applicable weather and notams that you will need for the flight (and yes, the examiner will ask you about them, so be sure you know all the weather information you are using).

For the flight itself, be organised! Prepare all the relevant charts so that you know where to find them. Use caution while taxiing (write down all taxi instructions, and no checklist reading while you are moving). When flying, say everything you are doing aloud (try to think of the examiner as your student). This will make it easier for yourself, and also let the examiner know what you are thinking. Don´t be afraid to admit mistakes. For instance, if you loose to much altitude during a steep turn, tell the examiner and ask him/her to try it one more time. This will show that you know about what you did wrong, and it most cases they will let you try again.
For the landings, go around if it doesn't´t look right. It´s a lot better to go around and try again instead of doing a bad landing.
Show a good attitude throughout the flight and focus on safety (be aware of other traffic, make position reports on the radio and scan the area for traffic before starting with the manoeuvres.)

Other than that, get a good night of sleep before your checkride, eat a good breakfast and believe in yourself.

Good luck!
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Re: Private Pilot Tests

Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:13 pm

Not the worst... CPL is far more difficult. I would advise against a couple of "habits most prospective PPL pilots do in a flight test".

1. Don't ever use the line "my CFI taught me this or told me this" be your own person because they're testing you based on your own thinking and decision making skills.

2. Be careful in the ground portion before the flight... Keep your answers concise and if there isn't a requirement to give something by memory such as Va speeds or emergencies that have memory items. Have the sections of your POH labelled and ready as a reference. If you ramble, the examiner will start digging to see if you have a lapse in knowledge.

Overall, my flight test was about 1hr on the ground and 2.5 in the air. If you screw up something during the flight FORGET ABOUT IT!!!... I can't stress it enough, as much as you want to stew over it, don't because it'll throw you off your game for the next exercises.

Finally, I am not 100% which country your applying for your PPL in (I would guess Ireland based on your name). I know that Transport Canada has flight test guides that go over exactly what they're looking for in a flight test. If you can find something similar, it helps to know it before going into the flight test to limit any "surprises".
Flown: C172-M/N/P/R/S , P2006T, PA-34-200T, DH8A/C Been on: DH8A/C ERJ-145, CRJ-100/200, DH8D, CRJ-700/705/900, E-175/190, A319/320/321, 737-200/300/400/600/700/800/900ER, MD-82/83, 757-200, 767-300, 777-300ER, F28-4000.
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Re: Private Pilot Tests

Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:13 am

dakota558 wrote:
Don´t be afraid to admit mistakes. For instance, if you loose to much altitude during a steep turn, tell the examiner and ask him/her to try it one more time. This will show that you know about what you did wrong, and it most cases they will let you try again.!

Life got in the way of my PPL a decade ago but I recently resumed, so now I'm at over 100 hours and just a few away from my checkride. Thanks for the great tips!

I've heard conflicting advice on admitting mistakes. What you said makes the most sense to me, but my excellent/experienced CFI and a few others have said that I shouldn't do that unprompted, because "the examiner may let you get away with being just a little bit off, but if you say it out loud, they have to ding you for it."

This was in reference to a particular examiner, who is a DPE - not sure if that has anything to do with it.

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Re: Private Pilot Tests

Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:07 pm

Thanks guys that's great to know. I'm doing all of the in the US (but I'm an Irish citizen). Checkride and oral will probably be in a few weeks, I'll take all of that into account!
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Re: Private Pilot Tests

Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:09 am

I'll add to the excellent tips above.

1. If you don't know, fess up and move on. Say "I don't know", perhaps adding "but I think..." if you can or even "I know where to look it up..." if you can. Much better to move on to the next question you will hopefully know than sit and grovel while the examiner makes you dig a deeper hole.
2. Don't give massively detailed answers to simple questions. It opens you up to further questioning, quite likely about things you aren't as sure about. "What clouds are most dangerous?" "Cumulonimbus." Done. Don't start talking about shape or formation unless asked. Most likely the followup will be, "What do those look like?" "Vertically developed, dark." This also sneakily uses up time.
3. Practice briefing your flight plan, preferably with another student or a CFI you trust, so that they can poke holes in your plan before the examiner does.
4. Make your brief professional. Neat and organised.
5. If you make a mistake in the practical, don't try to hide it. The examiner sees all. Fess up and ask to try again.
6. While there is no need for a suit, look well groomed and dress smartly.
7. Don't cram the night before. If you don't know it by then it is too late. Go see a movie, have a nice dinner (sans alcohol) or whatever instead.
8. As mentioned above, break the task up into parts. Don't mentally see it as one massive exam. It is a series of steps that must be completed, and you've practiced all the steps loads of times.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
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Re: Private Pilot Tests

Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:39 pm

dakota558 wrote:
Use the PTS (practical test standards) for the Private. !

It is no longer the PTS, but ACS - Airman Certification Standards.

I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
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Re: Private Pilot Tests

Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:47 pm

My examiner threw trick questions at me during the oral just to watch me squirm :) But he taught me a few things too. I almost blew the forced landing but he let me off because I recognized it. He also knew I was a nervous wreck of a 17 year old and was sympathetic.

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