How difficult is the private pilot checkride?

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The private pilot checkride is nothing more than a regular cross country flight.

A good student pilot knows everything and can easily pass the private pilot checkride.

The private pilot checkride is difficult for those with poor aeronautical knowledge.

I assume you are a student pilot and passed your ppl knowledge test by now. Thus you are concerned about the difficulties in checkride.

Follow this article, and you will know why there are no reasons for you to fear ppl oral exams.

I shared some techniques to ease your mind and avoid complications in a private pilot checkride.

  • If you passed the knowledge test, you could pass the checkride;
  • Your instructor endorsed you for a checkride means you instructors believes you are ready for the checkride;
  • You finished a mock checkride;
  • Read the ACS thoroughly;
  • How long does a private pilot checkride take? (BONUS).

If you passed the FAA PPL knowledge test, you could pass the checkride.

Probably you are about to take your PPL checkride next week. If you have come this far, it means you have already passed your FAA private pilot knowledge test.

Without passing FAA knowledge, you will not have an endorsement for your checkride.

Passing the knowledge test already proves you are ready for the private pilot oral exam.

The check pilot will not ask anything out of the ordinary for your stage of pilot license. The check pilot will only ask questions that are relevant for the private pilot licensing phase.

If you studied adequately and aced your private pilot knowledge test, you can answer all the questions during the oral exam straightforwardly.

So, stop worrying about what the check pilot may ask and if you cannot answer.

Just be confident that you know enough flying theory, and you can answer any relevant questions to become a safer private pilot.

It is also prevalent for Designated pilot examiners to not ask too many questions if a student pilot scored high marks on their private pilot knowledge test.

If you scored over 90% marks, then the chek-pilot will automatically trust your knowledge of operating an airplane.

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That does not mean he will not ask you questions. It may not be the same for you, and he might ask you many to verify your understanding.

Your flight instructor endorsed you for a checkride because he trusts your ability.

Without the endorsement from your flight instructor, you cannot take a ppl checkride.

Your flight instructor will endorse you for a checkride if he firmly believes that you can pass the checkride.

Yet some student pilots fail their ppl checkride. But that is a rare case.

Typically flight instructors will not endorse you if they think you are not ready for a checkride. One reason for that is if a student pilot fails the private pilot checkride, it will directly reflect on a flight instructor’s ability.

A student pilot’s failure means the flight instructor failed to teach the student pilot properly. Similarly, the flight instructor doesn’t understand the student pilot’s ability to safe flight operations.

So trust your flight instructor when he endorses. Use the endorsement as a confidence booster for yourself.

Have a mock checkride with your flight instructor.

Did you take a mock checkride? If no, then you should take a mock checkride.

Ask your flight instructor and schedule a mock checkride. Taking a mock checkride will help you understand the differences of training flights then from a checkride.

The Designated Pilot Examiner at your location will ask similar questions during the oral exam.

The flight instructor in your location understands what kind of questions and what tasks the DPE will during the actual checkride.

So you can request your CFI to ask questions similar to the DPE in your area. That’s how you can get a heads up on your actual checkride with a check pilot.

After you take the checkride and your flight instructor is satisfied with your flight performance, you can believe that your check ride will be simple for you.

However, if you have already passed your mock checkride, you must not worry about the oral exam. You already know what is essential to pass your checkride and get your private pilot license.

Read the Airman Certification Standards thoroughly.

If you are still not satisfied or are confused, you may fail the exam, and I suggest you one last thing. Study the Airman Certification Standards (ACS).

You can find this online for free on the FAA website. Read that book thoroughly, and you will know what a private pilot needs to know for operating an aircraft safely.

The DPE will likely ask you questions that are relevant from the ACS. Any question outside the ACS is not necessary to get a private pilot license.

So read the ACS, and you will have an idea of the private pilot oral exam.

How long does a private pilot checkride take?

Many student pilots fear the length of their checkride before the examination date.

Let’s put it like this:

The private pilot checkride consists of an oral exam and a theory exam. The oral exam takes around 1.5 hours, and the practical exam takes about another 1.5 hours. In total, the exam will be for 3 hours.

So what is the oral exam?

The oral exam is the ground part of your checkride. During this time, the DPE will ask several questions regarding aeronautical theory knowledge. Similarly, the DPE may want to know about flight operations. If you have passed your FAA knowledge test, this part of your exam will not be difficult.

Then comes the actual part of the practical flying exam. It will be a short, cross country flight.

You will need to prepare a flight plan within 1.5 hours. This part of the private pilot checkride will not be difficult at all. Just fly safely to your destination and return to base.

During the checkride, your Designated pilot examiner may ask a few questions relevant to flight or the airspace. Still, if you have studied as I suggested, you will pass your private pilot checkride with confidence.

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