Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
iairallie
Topic Author
Posts: 2326
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 5:42 am

What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:31 am

My flight instructor told me I just about ready for my PPL practical. I know what the testing standards are and all but I'm interested in hearing from those who've been there what to expect and any advice. Thanks!
Enough about flying lets talk about me!
 
njxc500
Posts: 219
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:47 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:40 pm

First off, know the area airports, maybe even have them marked, he may ask you to go to an airport and perform a crosswind landing. You may be landing somewhere new, and treat it as if he's not there to help. Use all information at your disposal.

You will get a simulated engine out. Know where you are at all times, and where the closest airports are, and have the information on hand.

If you are borderline, he may ask you to do something weird like say on final " make the first taxiway and you pass!" So make the first taxiway.

He will also run you through some FAR's, like is smoking allowed(I had a retarded answer for this one), airspace questions and such. I had a hard time with these. The flying is the easy part for me. Airspace rules are still confusing but I'm learning.

Do what he asks, keep your cool, and show him that you are learning even from him.

Nick
 
FighterPilot
Posts: 1296
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:27 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:45 pm

There are usually reference guides to what is all on the PPL test. Things like stalls, slow flight, two types of landings, two emergencys etc. If you could get a hold of that then you can know what to expect and prepare.

Cal   

[Edited 2008-07-22 08:50:15]
*Insert Sound Of GE90 Spooling Up Here*
 
Ralgha
Posts: 1589
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 1999 6:20 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:32 pm



Quoting Njxc500 (Reply 1):
If you are borderline, he may ask you to do something weird like say on final " make the first taxiway and you pass!" So make the first taxiway.

I'd say something just to mess with you. "Land so you can't make the first or second taxiway, but can and do make the third."  bigthumbsup 
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
 
Goldenshield
Posts: 5031
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 3:45 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:37 pm



Quoting Ralgha (Reply 3):
I'd say something just to mess with you. "Land so you can't make the first or second taxiway, but can and do make the third."

Do a soft field landing and then hold short of taxiway Bravo.

-or-

Do a flaps up landing, and hold short of taxiway Alpha.  Wink
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
 
KELPkid
Posts: 5247
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:33 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:45 pm

Be prepared for the unexpected Big grin (this is, in many respects, what the DFE really wants to see from you, how you handle unexpected occurrences...)

Brush up on pattern entry techniques at unfamiliar airports, as the examiner is likely to start you out on a cross-country, then have you divert to an unfamiliar field. On mine, I "accidentally" entered the clouds (okay, he had me put the hood on) and did a few unusual attitude recoveries under the hood, then had to divert to Searchlight, Nevada.

Also, brush up on pilotage. I had to navigate by it on my PPL checkride...(GPS switch moved to OFF). Yeah, he made me find those landmarks on the sectional on the ground  Smile

Congrats in advance!
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
2H4
Posts: 7960
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:11 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:55 pm

Remember that you can say "unable" if ATC requests something that approaches or exceeds your personal abilities.

Be sure to check that your examiner is wearing his/her seat belt before takeoff, and again before landing.

Don't be afraid to ask your examiner to help keep an eye out for traffic, hold a checklist, etc. In terms of safety, he/she is a resource that should be used.

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
Gofly
Posts: 1578
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2005 4:12 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:33 pm

Here in the United Kingdom, the CAA publishes a document of what you can be asked to do in your PPL Skills Test - the tick sheet of exercises that the examiner uses is also widely available. I presume that the FAA publishes similar documents somewhere?

Obviously I can't comment on your FAA test; however, the advice that 2H4 gives is spot on. The examiner is not looking for perfection; he's looking for that, above all, you're a safe and competent pilot. The test starts on the ground - if you're unhappy with the weather, a common problem in the UK, don't be afraid to tell the examiner that you're not happy to take the aircraft - this can earn you extra brownie points before you even start.

During the navigation leg, under CAA rules, you have to demonstrate that you can perform an unexpected diversion. Pretty much everything you've covered in your lessons will be tested in general handling. Also make sure that you know your aircraft inside out; if you get asked questions that you don't know the answer to, don't worry - make sure you tell them where you would find the answers - i.e. the POH - and that you'll look them up straight away. As a PPL, they're not looking for omniscience and omnipotence, they're looking for somebody who knows their limits and can keep a cool head.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 6):
Don't be afraid to ask your examiner to help keep an eye out for traffic, hold a checklist, etc. In terms of safety, he/she is a resource that should be used.

Again, absolutely spot on - treat the examiner like you would treat a passenger. Asking him to hold charts for you might prove invaluable. And I can only echo the comment about learning for your examiner; acknowledge your mistakes and correct them, don't try to hide them, as they will be spotted. Fess-up, correct and move on - you won't be marked down, we're all human!

Above all, enjoy it! It's a flight and, as I'm sure you know, every flight should be enjoyed.

Good luck, I'm sure you'll do just fine!

Thanks,
-Gofly
Living the high life on my ex-Airliners.net Moderator pension...
 
N353SK
Posts: 1026
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 5:08 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:34 pm

Just remember your priorities, and you'll be fine

1. Aviate
2. Navigate
3. Communicate


The PTS state that the examiner is allowed to use distractions. If he/she asks you a question and you're on final, don't be afraid to say "hold on" and respond to the question at a safer time.

The best advice I can give you, though, is to take a deep breath every once in a while and don't let your nerves get the best of you.
 
alaska737
Posts: 867
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 11:19 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:16 pm



Quoting N353SK (Reply 7):
The PTS state that the examiner is allowed to use distractions. If he/she asks you a question and you're on final, don't be afraid to say "hold on" and respond to the question at a safer time.

he will do this and on mine I told him in preflight that when I am near an airport please dont talk unless your telling me to do something or if you see traffic. I had to remind him once.

It may also be a good idea to tell the tower that this is a checkride. they will give you more space and not give you any odd requests or clearences.
 
WESTERN737800
Posts: 385
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:06 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:44 pm

Our DFE is big on safety. Know what everything on the sectional chart means. Know how to communicate with all levels of ATC. Make sure to do clearing truns before starting manuvers. If you screw up something, state immediately that you screwed up and ask if you can redo the manever. If you screw someting up and dont acknowledge it, then the DFE will just assume that you just dont get it and thats all if could take to get a pinkslip. Good luck.
Bring back Western Airlines!
 
2H4
Posts: 7960
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:11 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:47 pm

Another thing....treat the airplane like you own it. Use smooth and careful technique.

- Taxi nice and slowly at low power settings without dragging the brakes.
- When reducing the power (in the air or after your runup), don't chop the power instantly like everyone else....instead, reduce it gradually and smoothly.
- Don't jerk the controls when a smooth, firm motion will suffice.
- Be smooth with the brakes. Be firm when necessary, but know that if you're throwing the examiner's head forward and back while braking, he/she probably isn't thinking very highly of you at the moment.

In short, pretend you've got paying passengers in back. Pretend they're all asleep, and try not to jolt them awake with erratic or (unnecessarily) abrupt actions. Be firm and quick when you need to, but be smooth whenever you can.

Quoting Alaska737 (Reply 9):
It may also be a good idea to tell the tower that this is a checkride. they will give you more space and not give you any odd requests or clearences.

A case of beer given to the controllers a week or so beforehand would, I'm sure, go a long way in securing their assistance in a successful checkride.

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
smeg
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:43 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:07 pm

Firstly - Good Luck!!!

I cannot comment too much on the FAA test, but make sure that you relax, and as hard as it is - ENJOY IT!

Use the checklist carefully, and tell the examiner what you are doing, and most importantly WHY you are doing it. Even if you are doing something that may not seem "normal" at the time, if you have a good reason for it, you will not be marked down.

When you first get in the aircraft, make sure that you treat the examiner as a non pilot and "brief" the examiner on basic emergency procedures, and make sure that you point out to him where the fire extinguisher and first aid kit is. Always earns points and get you in the correct frame of mind!

If you make a mistake, firstly, dont let it rattle you, secondly, he WILL have noticed. ie, if you forget to put one stage of flaps down on finals when you should, and then suddenly remember - put it down and tell him - otherwise he may think that you always fly that way.

If you feel that you are unable to do something when he asks you to - tell him. ie he may ask you to do a glide landing when there is traffic on long finals, and you are not sure if you will make it in time - TELL HIM, take your time and do it right. Dont just stuff it in there because he has asked you to, and then balls it up because you are rushing. Remember. if you were actually engine out, that plane on long finals would not be there!!!!

Use the examiner as a resource. As others have said, get him to look out of the window for traffic - but dont rely on him. Get him to hold charts if you need him to. Chances are he will ask you to do a diversion. If you have the heading and time right, but cannot see the div airfield, get him to look outside of his side of the plane, to see if it is in the blind spot. (or if the diversion is not a long one, I flew one degree off my planned route to make sure that it was on the left side of the a/c so that I could see it) - remember it may also be right under your nose, so be sure to have a really good look before you ask him. But if you are dead sure that you are in the right spot, do ask him to look on his side of the a/c.

Remember he is there to pass you if you are a competent and safe pilot, not to fail you if you are not perfect!

They will take nerves into account - I would never have passed me on my skills test, but amazingly I passed. (and I flew like a drunken albatross!!)

Above all - take your time, relax and do not think about any mistakes you "think" that you have made. Concentrate on not making any more!

oooh - most important - if he offers you a mint - take it!

When you pass -
 cloudnine 

Good luck
 
smeg
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:43 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:21 pm

One more thing - If you can find out who your examiner is, ask those who have already been tested by him/her what he/she is like, and whether they have any likes/dislikes.

Ask as many people as possible. - I did this and they all told me that my examiner always used the same diversion route. - he always asked at roughly the same point and went to the same dest. - I therefore flew it a couple of times before hand so that I knew what to look out for!

They also said that he never did up his seatbelt properly - sure enough he didnt. When I asked him to, sure he moaned a little, but he also wrote something down immediately afterwards! Always check!

forewarned is forearmed!!!
 
Mir
Posts: 19491
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:01 am



Quoting Smeg (Reply 12):
If you feel that you are unable to do something when he asks you to - tell him.

 checkmark  Don't let the examiner pressure you into doing something you don't feel comfortable with. Granted, there are some things that you can be failed for refusing to do (the required maneuvers), but you should be comfortable enough doing those if your instructor feels you're ready for the test.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:12 am



Quoting FighterPilot (Reply 2):
There are usually reference guides to what is all on the PPL test.

Yes there is. It is called

Quoting N353SK (Reply 7):
The PTS

... or "practical test standards"

What is asked of you WILL fall within those guidelines. It isn't about tricking you, or tripping you up. It is about the examiner feeling confident that you are ready to go out and continue your learning safely and he is not going to have to sit on the lonesome side of the long mahogany table and explain how some nincompoop got a private license from him. It is your job to fly the school figures, so to speak, and not get in the way of the examiner concluding that you are okay.

Enjoy it. Oh, I got a second forced landing while climbing out after the first. He just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to try to do a 180 and use the same field.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
iairallie
Topic Author
Posts: 2326
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 5:42 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:47 am

Thanks these are all wonderful pointers! If anyone has more to add I am eager to hear your perspectives.  Big grin
Enough about flying lets talk about me!
 
Fly2HMO
Posts: 7184
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:14 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:32 am

All the advice here is excellent and I've actually put it all to the test. And thanks to that I've never failed a checkride.

I can't stress the following enough though:

Study as hard and as much as you want, but the day before, and the day of the actual examination, TAKE IT EASY. Really. There's no point studying more by then. It's more beneficial to be relaxed,rested and having a clear mind on your examination than being all freaked out and crapping your pants.

I'm not saying you'll be like that, but you have no idea how many people I've seen taking the studying/practicing part waaaaaay too seriously and ended up failing, every time. Trust me on this one.

I've been approached several times by people asking how the hell I never failed a checkride (which is a huge rarity, in my school at least) asking for advice. Many were of the type that did suicidal study sessions up to minutes before the check ride and no rest or sleep whatsoever. And of course, they all bitched and moaned on how they rarely passed on the first try. Once I told them to not take it so seriously, and to just "chillax" the day of or a bit before, they started doing better.

At any rate, good luck, and let us know how it went.
 
2H4
Posts: 7960
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:11 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:44 am



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 17):
no rest or sleep whatsoever.

Excellent point. On days where I must be well-rested (for whatever reason), I've actually gone so far as to deprive myself of sleep two nights beforehand so I'll sleep well on the night before the big event.

Also, eat well and stay hydrated. This will keep your energy levels and blood sugar high, and tends to prevent headaches and fatigue.

For me, basic oatmeal works really well in the morning, and smart, healthy foods like a sandwich on wheat work great for lunch. I like Gatorade for hydration, but water is fine, too.

The key is to avoid fried foods with empty calories as well as sugary, carbonated drinks and Snickers bars. I know, I know, all of these are key dietary staples for any CFI, but they're really bad choices if you want to feel good and be alert through your day.

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
WESTERN737800
Posts: 385
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:06 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:43 am



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 17):
Study as hard and as much as you want, but the day before, and the day of the actual examination, TAKE IT EASY. Really. There's no point studying more by then. It's more beneficial to be relaxed,rested and having a clear mind on your examination than being all freaked out and crapping your pants.

Good point. Having a clear mind is priceless, and many times the difference between a pass/fail.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 18):
Excellent point. On days where I must be well-rested (for whatever reason), I've actually gone so far as to deprive myself of sleep two nights beforehand so I'll sleep well on the night before the big event.

Agreed. Our former chief pilot tought me how to do this. Sometimes I'll work 3 different shifts over 3 days and I do it all the time.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 18):
Also, eat well and stay hydrated. This will keep your energy levels and blood sugar high, and tends to prevent headaches and fatigue.

Very important. I was kinda dehydrated the day of my instrument checkride. It was a rough 95 degree day, I passed but I should've failed.
Bring back Western Airlines!
 
iairallie
Topic Author
Posts: 2326
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 5:42 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:14 pm

WOOT! It was windy and gusty and everything I hate weather wise but I still passed wooooooo hoo! Thanks for all the advice and encouragement. Funny story. On the final landing I touched down just right on the mains and then slowly brought the nose down. There was a mighty shimmy and I pulled back to relive any pressure on the nose but even with full back pressure the shimmy did not stop. I turned to the inspector and said I think that is a more than a shimmy I think we have a flat. I pulled off the first taxiway and stopped the aircraft we got out and it was completely flat. Fortunately, I have the FAA inspector as back up that it wasn't my landing.
Enough about flying lets talk about me!
 
2H4
Posts: 7960
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:11 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:55 pm



Quoting IAirAllie (Reply 20):
I still passed

Congratulations, and well done! Way to go on diagnosing and correctly dealing with the flat, too.

Now that you've got your certificate, be sure to (safely) start snapping some photos for us.  yes 

Once again, congrats!

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
KELPkid
Posts: 5247
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:33 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:16 pm



Quoting IAirAllie (Reply 20):
WOOT! It was windy and gusty and everything I hate weather wise but I still passed wooooooo hoo! Thanks for all the advice and encouragement. Funny story. On the final landing I touched down just right on the mains and then slowly brought the nose down. There was a mighty shimmy and I pulled back to relive any pressure on the nose but even with full back pressure the shimmy did not stop. I turned to the inspector and said I think that is a more than a shimmy I think we have a flat. I pulled off the first taxiway and stopped the aircraft we got out and it was completely flat. Fortunately, I have the FAA inspector as back up that it wasn't my landing.

Congrats to the world's newest pilot on earning your license to learn  bigthumbsup 
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
Fly2HMO
Posts: 7184
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:14 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:01 pm

Awesomeness! Congrats.   

Now just you wait till you got to do partial panel, single engine approaches under the hood har har har!    devil 

[Edited 2008-08-19 16:01:54]
 
WESTERN737800
Posts: 385
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:06 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:14 am

Congrats. It takes a lot of time and energy. I always tell people after they pass the private liscense that they now have a liscense to learn. Do you plan on getting additional ratings? Good luck and enjoy your flying.
Bring back Western Airlines!
 
iairallie
Topic Author
Posts: 2326
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 5:42 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:06 pm

Not sure if I will pursue additional ratings. Part of me wants to but part of me is just glad to be done and wants to take a break.
Enough about flying lets talk about me!
 
9VSIO
Posts: 654
Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:00 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:22 am

I just passed mine on Weds - I had obtained a partial pass the week before but failed the nav section. Moral of the story for all students: pay bloody close attention during the debrief and take it to heart! Also, annunciate every check that you do to the examiner...no point keeping your trap shut during a FREDA check as he won't realise you're doing one!

Next stop for me is hours build and IMC rating  Smile
Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
 
2H4
Posts: 7960
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:11 pm

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:37 am



Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 26):
I just passed mine on Weds

Congrats!

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: What To Expect On The PPL Practical?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:00 pm



Quoting IAirAllie (Reply 20):
I still passed

Congratulations! That is so cool.

Nice job with the nose wheel, by the way. If he'd had any doubts about any part of the ride you probably convinced him that you are going to be okay. Many of us believe that you'll never see how good a pilot is when things are going right. It is how they deal with things like that which are the measure.

Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 26):
I just passed mine on Weds -

Congratulations! Another pilot in command amongst us.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: djpearman, flipdewaf, majano and 22 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos