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michaelf
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 1:21 pm

Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:06 am

Hi. I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this question but I couldn't find a more relevent one so here it is.

I heard that the Private Pilot oral exam (USA) is open-book. Is this true, and if so, what "books" are allowed to be "open"?

My exam is on Thursday, BTW.

Thank you!
 
ShyFlyer
Posts: 4698
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:38 pm

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:13 am

Welcome! You've found the right place.  Big thumbs up

As far as I know, you are only allowed a pencil, plotter, E6B, and probably blank scratch paper. I have heard that some examiners allow you to referance certain books (POH, AIM, etc) during the Oral portion, but I have no definate info on that. Best advise is to study, but I'm sure you've already been told that.  Big grin

Have you used any of the practice tests available? Gliem has one (gotta buy it) and Sporty's has one online for free.
http://www.sportys.com/faatest/

Good Luck!
 
ThePinnacleKid
Posts: 542
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 9:47 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:28 am

Hey MichaelF...

First off, Good luck Thursday! Congrats at making that step into flyin!

As far as your exam, from my experience, No, it will most certainly Not be open book. Granted that is totally up the the D.E. that is going to admin the exam. The only checkride that was even Remotely somewhat open book was my initial instructor rating.

The view of the DE's I know is that the oral exam doesn't have to be perfect by any means.. But it must demonstrate a thorough overall knowledge of the materials expected of you at this point to operate an aircraft as PIC both Safely and Legally. You cast doubt about safety or legalities and you're gonna have a rough time with the ride (that goes for all the checkrides). A good oral is a surefire way to have an easier flight too, so invest in prepping for the oral! For my PPL Checkride, the DE actually used the ASA PPL Oral Exam book and flipped page by page through the whole thing asking questions. So, study a good oral prep guide, and have your instructor do a Practice Oral with you, At least once, if he doesnt already have that planned for you. It was one of the best preps I did for mine! It replicates the pure quiz anxiety that the actual oral could... Either way, study your stuff... know the charts, know the legal stuff (what you can, can't do), know physics of flyin, and also know the ins and outs of aircraft that you'll be flying!

Most importantly, Relax and, as best you can, Enjoy it!

-Chris
 
pilotpip
Posts: 2844
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Feb 23, 2005 12:13 pm

Pretty much anything from the FAA is fair game in my past experience. Also, the POH for your aircraft is good to have. Don't forget your PTS  Big grin

My tip to you, study hard. Also realize that you can't possibly know everything that can be asked. This is where those books come in. ASA FAR/AIM books have a study guide at the front for each rating. This is a great resource. If you don't know, be honest and say you don't it does help to have an idea where to look for it though and if you do this it will usually come out in your favor.

If you mess up on the practical, and know it, ask for a do-over. They will usually grant one or two because it shows that your recognize that you are making an error and they would rather certify a safe pilot than a pilot than just a pilot. Above all, as stated, relax. Make sure you're well prepared now and get a good night sleep the night before. Make sure you eat a few hours before you go. If this means getting up early, do so. Butterflies and a full stomach aren't a good combo. Good Luck!! Let us know that you are the newest pilot on the board  Big thumbs up
 
ordflyer
Posts: 498
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:08 pm

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Feb 23, 2005 12:57 pm

Agree with the others above, it really depends a lot on the DE. Try to get in contact with someone who has taken a checkride with that examiner recently(or have your flight instructor do this) and ask them how the oral was administered. In my experience it was definitely not completely open book, however I could reference the POH or FARs if it would help answer a question, and he said he'd give me two "freebies" that I could look up an answer if I didn't know. Luckily I didn't need to use them  Big grin
The ASA Oral Prep guide is definitely the big book to study...my examiner asked many questions verbatim from the book. I would advise to read through it thoroughly until you're sure you understand everything and you should do fine  Big thumbs up
 
undehoulli
Posts: 80
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RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:54 pm

When I did my PPL oral exam the instructor I did it with didn't allow me to look up any answers during the oral. He didn't even tell me if I was getting answers right or wrong. At the end he gave me a list of things that weren't quite right that he wanted me to look up, and then allowed me to use any available resource to find the answer. I looked a few of them up and asked another instructor about the other things. When I look back I feel kind of like an idiot ("ummmm...I don't think you need clearance into Class B, you just have to establish communication...ummmm...oh....wait....")

Really, just like everyone said, it's up to the DE. There are only about 6,000,000 possible questions and there's no way you can be prepared for everyone. They'll test the limits of your knowledge and probably see exactly how much you know. Regardless of how you answer, just keep going. My experience has been that they don't usually tell you how you're doing until it's over. Stay calm, keep studying (not too much though, or you'll end up confusing yourself like I've done before), and rest up the night before. Are you doing the flight portion after the oral? If so, good luck, and welcome to the world of being a non-student pilot!!!!!! (Not that being a student pilot is a bad thing)
 
flyer737sw
Posts: 146
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:58 pm

Congrats Mike on your next huge step to getting your rating...
The oral part of your exam varies from one student to the other...From past experience and talking to others, it really boils down to how well you know your stuff...I have heard oral exams to go on for 90 minutes while mine only took 30 mintues...Pretty much know your airspace very well, airplane systems and failures, FAR's, Aircraft checks, hypoxia, hyperventilation, supplamental oxygen, and there are a lot more but those seem to come up a lot...
As for the written, well just know every damn answer in the 700 some odd question word bank...As mentioned earlier the Gleim CD is awesome...It has the same exact format and everything...You should do very well...

Good luck...Let us know the outcome... Smile

Kevin
 
saintsman
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RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Feb 23, 2005 6:37 pm

Your examiner is going to know just about everything there is to know so number one is don't bullshit. If you don't know, say so but its best to have an idea where you can find the info. You aren't expected to know everything. Digging yourself a hole by making out you do know will not help your cause at all.

My oral was very much a learning experience. I picked up several things I didn't know. Impress him with what you do know and with what you want to know. I got lots of points by telling him that I still had lots to learn if I was going to become a really safe pilot.

He is not there to catch you out. He's going to fly with you so he wants a warm feeling before he goes. He loves flying and so do you, so treat it as an enjoyable experience and you will more than likely get the result you are looking for.
 
schooner
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2001 10:29 pm

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Feb 23, 2005 7:39 pm

I`m confused. What has the quality of your teeth and gums got to do with whether or not you can be a pilot  Confused ? Must be an FAA thing....

Cheers.
 
USAFHummer
Posts: 10261
Joined: Thu May 18, 2000 12:22 pm

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:53 am

Quoting Saintsman (reply 7):
Your examiner is going to know just about everything there is to know so number one is don't bullshit. If you don't know, say so but its best to have an idea where you can find the info. You aren't expected to know everything. Digging yourself a hole by making out you do know will not help your cause at all.

My oral was very much a learning experience. I picked up several things I didn't know. Impress him with what you do know and with what you want to know. I got lots of points by telling him that I still had lots to learn if I was going to become a really safe pilot.


Excellent advice...my PPL oral was sort of open-book, in that my DE would allow me to quickly look something up if I didn't know it off the top of my head...if I didn't know something, he'd be like "well, you've got resources in front of you; use them!"...fortunately I didnt have to use them too much but it was extremely helpful and calming to know that I could, if needed...

Greg
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:30 am

As has been said, they have test standards for the oral and you should not feel that you have to do 100%

For a checkride the standard given is: the applicant is the obvious master of the aircraft and the successful outcome of the maneuver is never seriously in doubt. Think of it that way. There is some room for error. It may even be that the correct answer is "I don't know." (I wouldn't use that too often.) They are just checking to see if you know what you should know - they are not trying to eliminate you.

The worst thing I've ever seen a student do was try to BS the examiner. Just think of it this way; when the examiner asks you a question it is because:

A. He does not actually know the answer and is hoping you can tell him.

B. He has the answer right in front of him and wants to see if you know.

I prepared many students for their dispatcher orals. Most of the examiners would "test them to destruction" in just about every area. That is, they would ask them weather questions getting crisp accurate answers to begin with, then ever more difficult until the student was obviously having trouble with the question. Somewhere along the way the examiner had made up his mind - this student knows his weather okay.

I always knew when the student had passed because most of the examiners would drag out a question that not one in ten thousand could answer, like what is an "isopleth?"

(Line connecting points of equal dewpoint.)

As for open book - I think other than some emergency items, and maybe some limitations, the pilot handbook for the airplane to be used will probably be open book. No one is expected to memorize it. How to look things up quickly and understand the answer is good knowledge for a pilot.

Last, about the butterflies. They are not necessarily a bad thing. Don't dwell on your apprehensions, but use it to get yourself up and ready for this. I've taken hundreds of checkrides in the last forty years and I got a little nervous on my last-ever checkride. It was a LOFT and I was retiring in another month so talk about a no-jeopardy checkride, and I still got that nervous feeling. So relax and have some fun with this.

Good luck to you.
 
PPGMD
Posts: 2398
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2001 5:39 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:37 am

Well this entirely depends on the DE. Some DEs are dicks are expect you to have almost all the questions on the top of your head, luckily these DEs are few and far between, and most flight schools steer their students away from them.

Most DEs see the oral, as an in-depth way to understand how much you know, and how well you know where to find the answers. That being said it's almost always open book, but he doesn't want to see you using the book to look up basic answers like stall speeds, and such.

Now most DEs only want to see official FAA documents like Pilot's Flying Handbook, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, FAR/AIM, POH for your aircraft, and your checklists.

One area I would bone up on, would be anything you missed on your written, I know many DEs like to see if you actually spent time after the written and studied up on those topics.
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:26 am

Quoting PPGMD (reply 11):
One area I would bone up on, would be anything you missed on your written, I know many DEs like to see if you actually spent time after the written and studied up on those topics.


Excellent suggestion!

When sending my students up for practicals that is one point I'd make. The examiner can read your test results. Do you care about increasing your knowledge? It is a question they should ask as it indicates what kind of pilot you will likely become.
 
ThePinnacleKid
Posts: 542
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 9:47 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:38 am

I know on my initial instructor rating... My examiner did exactly what ya'll are talking about... He whipped out my Written exam and looked it over.. and started the oral right with that stuff, anything I missed he asked questions in that relevant subject area...

Great suggestion PPGMD.
 
N766UA
Posts: 8400
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 1999 3:50 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Fri Feb 25, 2005 4:07 am

The examiner around here will not allow anyone to use a POH or any other reference book. That'd be flat out cheating, really. I suggest definately studying hard in the areas you messed up on with the written and then taking your E6B, plotter, etc. just in case you need them. Sometimes you won't.
 
stealthpilot
Posts: 502
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 4:28 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Sat Feb 26, 2005 7:12 am

Yea im doing my writen exam on monday, and its definately not open book. if you dont like studying (like me  Smile) then do a couple practice tests...
-Nikhil
 
PPGMD
Posts: 2398
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2001 5:39 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Sat Feb 26, 2005 10:47 am

The written has never been open book, and the only allowed items are a plotter, whiz wheel (E6B), and a writing tool.
 
User avatar
GuitrThree
Posts: 1941
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:54 pm

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Mon Mar 07, 2005 9:44 am

Almost a year ago, last March, I took my oral and flight examination in the same day with the same examiner.. He did want to see my written results, a 93, and then first gave me the oral examine first. My CFI instructor certainly did say it was an open book. He told me it was always better to tell the tester "I don't know exactly, let me look it up," then to tell him some story about what you think is right.
During the test, I had to use it once, on a question that was about some type of military designation on the sectional map that only 9 or so appear in the entire US... As soon as I told him I needed to look it up he said "don't bother, I know you can find it, its a military such and such..."

Anyway... at least my tester (private, not FAA) allowed me to use what I brought...like they say.. it's all about the tester...

I hope you had good luck. Both of my test's weren't to bad. My nerves were the worst part. I was so nervous upon arrival (I flew to his airport, about 40 miles away, good warm up, however) that I first forgot to close my flight plan upon arrival. Very shortly after sitting down and right before I started the oral, I told him that "now that I got to know you I need to take a few minutes to close my flight plan." That at least got me away from the flight plan questions!

Again, hope you got the ticket!

[Edited 2005-03-07 01:45:37]
 
soaringadi
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Mon Mar 07, 2005 2:59 pm

Now if you really want to be a pilot.... you shouldn't even give a sh*t if it is an open book or not. You should already know all ur stuff by now.... I mean c'mon its a checkride not some kind of a joke.

G luck for ur exams  Smile
 
PPGMD
Posts: 2398
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2001 5:39 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Tue Mar 08, 2005 4:32 am

you shouldn't even give a sh*t if it is an open book or not. You should already know all ur stuff by now

"I want you to explain the electrical system of the PA-32 in detail, please draw diagrams where appropriate."

An actual questions a friend of mine got on his commercial oral. The DE was a real pain in the air too.

He's not going to know every question that a DE is going to throw at him, sometimes the DE throws a curve ball on purpose to see whether or not he is willing to pullout the book. They do this on purpose because there are going to be situations where it's better, to say "Hold it!" and look it up to do it by the numbers, rather than do it by memory, and possible be doing the wrong thing.

It's the checklist mentality that the DEs are trying to foster, at least within power flight. Soaring has always been a little lax, at least that was the feel I got from my training and check rides. Then again I saw the DE just about everyday on the field, and knew him, so it may be different from the commercial glider ports.
 
727EMflyer
Posts: 538
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:22 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:38 am

If I read the dates right, you should have had it by now, but if not, Good Luck!
I passed my checkride about a month ago, although I walked in sure I would be failed on the oral (I misplaced my sectional and pre-assigned flight plan and didn't realize until about an hour before! No time to make it up).
Thankfully my examiner was very forgiving. Like others have said, honesty is the best policy. If you don't know an answer just say so. You can't know everything, but you MUST know where to find info when you need it. One point my examiner made is that pilots are dumb. The FAA knows that, so they put as much info on your sectional as they could... since that is probably the most accessible document a pilot will have inflight.
As for open book or closed book, like others have said its up to the examiner. Bring all your books, so if he lets you look something up you can. Make sure what you bring is current though... You probably own a 2004 far/aim and it is nearly identical to a 2005 version. Buy the 2005 and leave the 2004 at home. Be doubly certain your sectional and A/FD are current also.

Just for the fun of it, here's a link to a story about one student's checkride here in Hawaii
< www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Paradise/2763/flight/checkride.html >
Again, Good luck!
 
N5176Y
Posts: 309
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 10:39 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:40 am

I had an intersting experience with my PPL Oral. I got to listen to the examiner talk about himself for 1 hour. The guy sure was cocky, he had like 60,000 hours Total Time. He never asked me a single question.  Smile
 
727EMflyer
Posts: 538
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:22 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:25 pm

76Y, I thought I was lucky! I gotta respect that... as soon as I spout off enough to have a respected users list.

Since were talking checkrides... both myself and the author of link in my last post had unusual interferring traffic during our flight. The examiner waved at another pilot getting ready to fly while on taxi for take-off, so I am suspicios. Does the FAA arrange for traffic for you to avoid? Anyone else have similar experiences?
 
Corsair2
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2001 11:02 pm

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:33 pm

I passed my private pilot checkride yesterday! I found the oral portion of the exam to be the easier of the two parts. One good tip - organize all the materials for the checkride into a binder to bring to the test. That would include the route planning for the cross country, w/bal, perf data. Spend time really understanding material rather than rote memorization. Rather than the question of what are the VFR weather minimums at a point on the section chart, instead the question would be posed as what would you do if the visibility dropped to 2mi and ceiling down to 1000 ft AGL along the route of flight. Best of luck with the test. Relax and go in there with a cool head!
 
SSTjumbo
Posts: 2579
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 3:29 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:30 am

My simple philosophy when it comes to checkrides, as a general rule the DE isn't looking for a complete whizball who can answer absolutely everything absolutely perfectly without looking anything up, they're looking from a pre-flight perspective that you constitute a safe pilot. If you don't know what something is on a sectional, tell the DE you don't know but that you can look it up on the key. If you don't know what something means in the A/FD, tell the DE that you don't know but that you can look it up in the front. When planning your flight from one spot to another, if the airport is along a major freeway that you can follow there, don't plot a straight line if fuel will allow it. Plot a direct course to the freeway via another prominent road if there is one and follow the roads out. Thus, you can accurately ensure you will get to your destination without a great probability of getting lost.

Also, I found my checkride to involve quite a few judgement calls and hypothetical scenarios. Don't try to tell the DE what you think he or she wants to hear, they want to hear what you would do, otherwise they'd flat out tell you. If you get lost at such and such point, what would you do, who would you call? Would you declare an emergency or not? If asked what judgement call you'd make, tell the DE not only what you'd do but why you'd do it, but keep it as simple and retarted as possible so you don't BS yourself into a hole.
 
pilotaydin
Posts: 2100
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:30 am

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:41 am

1. dont say ummmm i think it's.........

2. Never say you thought it was like this...or thought it was like that.....

3. Get some friends/family to ask you random questions about charts and the a/c you are flying

4. Make sure you know all the sections of your POH! Important figures, max weights etc

5. Read the VFR sectional Legend and try to point at parts of a map you dont know and write down what the airspace is and all the specific features

6. SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY!!! everything in THEORY is oriented around safety, so if you get a situation question, remember your answer should try not to break FARS......unless u need to pee and that's 91.15 i think...throwing things out of the plane!!

enjoy, and welcome to your new home, the sky
 
AdamWright
Posts: 602
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 2:58 pm

RE: Private Pilot Oral Exam

Wed Mar 23, 2005 8:44 am

Take everything you would on a flight with you to the Oral. Since you are going to be breifing the examiner on the flight that you've planned.

I take all my stuff; FARAIM, PIM, Sectionals, AF/D, e6b, plotter, Jepp Book, aircraft checklists, ERAU SOPs, the works.

Good luck!

-Adam

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