Tag: student pilot

Checkride Preps to steer clear of Private Pilot practical test interrogation.

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checkride preps to steer clear of private pilot practical test interrogation - Checkride Preps to steer clear of Private Pilot practical test interrogation.

To pass your checkride confidently and avoid facing the check pilot multiple times for the private pilot license, you need a comprehensive checkride prep.

Read this post to find out the most suitable PPL checkride prep for you.

I describe how each checkride prep differs from the other and, most importantly, how each prep course can prepare you to meet DPE’s expectations.

Additionally, I answered some common questions to avoid people’s skepticism about these kinds of courses:

  • Do you need a checkride prep course to pass your private pilot checkride?;
  • How to utilize a PPL checkride prep course and get the most out of your investment?;
  • Are these online flight instructors credible enough to teach you essential materials?;
  • What new facts and ideas can you grasp from a checkride course?;
  • How a checkride prep course differs from a private pilot online ground school course?
  • Can an online system alone guarantee that you will pass your checkride?

I sorted Top Four online courses from the most pricey one to the most inexpensive one:

  1. King School’s Checkride prep; 199, 6.5hrs Money back guarantee if you cannot pass on the first attempt. Available on iPhone/iPad/Android.
  2. FLY8MA;
  3. The Angle of Attack Checkride prep; 99, Includes Checklist PDF and downloadable mp3s, Available for any device with an internet connection, Money-Back Guarantee.
  4. Part-Time Pilot Checkride prep; 79.99

For me, the mentioned courses are the most up-to-date, informative, and have better audio and video quality than all other checkride prep courses online.

However, let’s start by removing student pilots’ doubts about buying a checkride prep course.

Do you need a checkride prep course to pass your private pilot checkride?

The straightforward answer to this question is NO.

It’s not essential to complete an online checkride prep course for passing the private pilot checkride.

Student pilots are knowledgeable to pass a checkride.

However, many students are fearful of checkride because they don’t know what questions might DPE ask. Not only the questions for an oral exam, but student pilots also fret over the maneuvers an examiner wants an examinee to demonstrate.

Most of the time, student pilots fail the exam because they are not confident enough.

However, they know the answers to questions but lack confidence.

Thus student pilots can use Airman Certification Standards (ACS) by FAA as an outline to understand beforehand what to expect from the DPE.

A can prepare for the private pilot practical test using the ACS and the PPL oral exam guide.

RELATED: How to prepare and pass the private pilot checkride?

Regardless there are student pilots that require a structured course. Without a structured approach, many students don’t understand where to begin preparing.

That’s when a PPL checkride prep can make a significant difference in preparation.

Students that are not fond of studying books and require visual explanation to comprehend must purchase a course. Most checkride prep courses’ sole purpose is to boost students’ knowledge and prepare for the type of questions check pilot prefers to ask.

The structure of a course is not only to answer the examiner’s questions but to explain the examiner:

  • Why something happens;
  • How can a pilot tackle the situation?

After you complete a course, you will likely become better at risk management using appropriate resources.

How to utilize a PPL checkride prep course and get the most out of your investment?

The best way to utilize a checkride prep course is by buying it at an early stage of flight training. After completing the course, you can ask your flight instructor to practice what you learned from the study.

The courses include the maneuvers and essential topics from the Airman Certification Standards (ACS).

  1. Thus to become a competent pilot, form a habit of learning maneuvers that the course mentioned.
  2. Ask yourself the questions you encountered in the online class, and see if you are doing the right thing during the actual flight.

Practicing the items from the course will form a habit of doing the right thing in flight, and you will become a safer pilot.

If you did not buy the course yet and checkride day is nearing, you can still purchase an online prep course and use it as a refresher for your PPL checkride.

Are these online flight instructors credible enough to teach you essential materials?

All the creators of online prep classes are flight instructors in the USA. They are FAA licensed and have experience teaching pilots in multiple stages of pilot licensing. All the flight instructors are instructors at physical locations in the USA.

Apart from that, they have credibility as online ground classes creator to reach more student pilots globally at students’ convenience.

What new facts and ideas can you grasp from a checkride course?

I already mentioned that the purpose of the PPL checkride prep course is to prepare students to answer questions that a DPE will ask. An examiner will not ask any question or request a demonstration for a commercial pilot license during private pilot checkride.

A student will learn techniques from a checkride prep course to answer the examiner’s question quickly and guide the examiner to ask questions you want them to ask.

Similarly, a student can refer to the Airman Certification Standards to prepare what to anticipate.

You will not learn anything outside your PPL stage, but you will understand more ways of cockpit resource management and be aware of any complicated situation.

How a checkride prep course differs from a private pilot online ground school course?

A PPL online ground school prepares a for the PPL written test. The purpose of the checkride prep course is to help students pass their private pilot practical test with ease.

There is no limit to what you can learn in Aviation.

You might think you already know everything to pass your PPL practical test, but you will be amazed to see how much more you missed.

Indeed, you have learned a lot during your private pilot online ground school, yet the checkride prep will teach you the execution of aeronautical knowledge in real life.

Can an online system alone guarantee that you will pass your checkride?

No, an online checkride prep alone cannot guarantee that a student will pass the checkride.

To pass your checkride, individuals must have adequate aeronautical knowledge from private pilot ground classes. The ground classes can be online or in a physical location.

Let me clarify:

  1. To get an endorsement for your private pilot checkride, you must pass the FAA PPL knowledge test.
  2. To pass the FAA theory test, you need to know aeronautical topics relevant to private pilots.

After your flight instructor endorses you for a checkride, you must ace the checkride to obtain your private pilot license. To ace your checkride, you need to understand what is a checkride all about.

Prepare for the unknown by purchasing any of the checkride prep courses I mentioned in this article.

The course instructors also promise that if you take the Checkride prep courses, you will pass your checkride on your first attempt. If you fail your checkride the first time, you can claim a refund because there is a money-back guarantee.

Now that we have discussed the checkride prep courses and their benefits, I will give you a list of checkride prep courses.

I won’t tell you these courses are the best course to pass your private pilot practical test because the best method for you is the one that helps you to ace your checkride.

These courses are best in my opinion, and your opinion might differ from mine.

Every instructor has a unique way of teaching. Hence, you must purchase a course that is easily graspable for you. Check the videos included in the course’s websites to see if the language is understandable and transparent for you.

I listed the courses from the priciest one to the least pricey one:

King School’s Checkride Prep.

King School is a pioneer in the aviation industry for teaching and training pilots. John King is an experienced flight instructor and has trained thousands of pilots.

John king himself created this course with a designated pilot examiner. In the course, John King is taking a practical test. So it’s a way for a student pilot to see what goes on during the oral exam and practical test.

John King can teach complicated subjects in a technical way for students to remember.

Thus purchasing this course, you will learn a great deal about what to expect on your checkride and how to prove that you are ready to get a private pilot license.

John King is so confident in this course that he guarantees a full refund if a student pilot can’t pass their PPL practical test on their first attempt.

The course is available for Apple and Android devices.

FLY8MA Checkride prep crash course.

FLY8MA is famous for its free youtube content. FLY8MA founder is a former airline pilot and quit his airline job to have his flight school.

Jonathan Kotwicki spends a lot of time in the aircraft to create amazing instruction videos.

It’s easy to understand Jon’s videos as he explains and demonstrates them inside an aircraft. He describes a subject on the ground, and if necessary, he proves the topic in the air while flying a plane.

His checkride prep is not different from his other courses and free videos. However, as his focus is to prepare students for the checkride in this course, you will particularly learn how to answer your DPE’s questions.

You will learn to answer the examiner’s question and simultaneously demonstrate the check pilot’s maneuver requests.

Jon is an experienced pilot and flight instructor for both offline and online ground school. His friendly and fun way of teaching interests many student pilots.

So if you already know Jon from his youtube videos and like his teaching style, then FLY8MA’s PPL Checkride prep course is the best option for you.

At a lesser price tag of 149 USD, this course might be a better option for many compare to King School’s checkride prep. The downside of King School’s checkride prep is that the video quality looks outdated, whereas FLY8MA’s videos are in 4k.

Checkride Ace by Angle of Attack.

The angle of attack founder Chris Palmer is famous for his podcasts. I learned about him the first time from a podcast. It was a Q&A podcast session where Chris palmer answered the student pilot’s questions.

He is a knowledgeable pilot and has 13 years of experience in teaching pilots in Alaska.

I find Chris Palmer’s Checkride Ace online course excellent because he has a talent for explaining aeronautical subjects in an easy, transparent language.

Another benefit of purchasing the Checkride Ace course is getting two different PDF files included in the study.

  1. P.A.V.E. Study guide: A fill-in-the-gaps style study guide to refresh your knowledge from PPL ground classes. This study guide aligns very well with the oral exam part of the practical test.;
  2. Checkride Checklist: The checkride checklist allows student pilots to better cockpit resource management. One crucial part of checkride is to demonstrate your resource management. This checkride checklist aids student pilots to do that flawlessly.

Checkride Ace can be an excellent resource for student pilots to prepare for the private pilot checkride. Lastly, if you fail to pass your private pilot checkride on your first attempt, there is a money-back guarantee from Angle of Attack.

The course is one the least expensive for 99 USD, and you have a money-back guarantee too.

Part-Time Pilot Checkride Prep.

On your checkride, your DPE will mostly ask you scenario-based questions. During your oral exam of your checkride, your flight instructor will ask questions based on the cross-country flight plan. Likewise, during your practical test, the examiner may continue to ask questions based on the scenario.

The Part-Time Pilot did a good job designing this checkride prep course for student pilots to plan a cross-country flight and show you scenario-based questions along the flight route.

  1. Another cool thing in this checkride prep is that the instructor added notes from student pilots after passing their checkride. He asked student pilots to write essential practical test tips for other students and what to expect from your check pilot.
  2. Part-time Pilot included tests and quizzes in this prep course for student pilots to test their knowledge.

The founder of Part-Time pilot Nick Smith, is relatively a new FAA-certified ground instructor. Regardless he has almost a decade of experience in the aviation industry.

I trust his course because he has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Aerospace engineering.

In his lecture, he emphasizes the safety of operating flight, probably because he is an Aerospace engineer. One crucial aspect of checkride is the DPE wants to see how safely a student pilot can operate flights.

So if you learn from Nick Smith about the safety of flying an airplane, you will likely impress your check pilot with the knowledge you have by demonstrating good risk management.

With all this essential information, Nick’s Part-Time Pilot Checkride prep course is yet the least expensive for only 79.99 USD. The best part is you have lifetime access to the study and 24/7 customer instructor access.

Aircraft landing procedure.

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aircraft landing procedure - Aircraft landing procedure.

Get a refresher on aircraft landing procedure. If you are a private pilot going back to flying after some time, you must read this article.

You will never forget how to land an airplane, but your feelings might get rusty. Regardless, the set of rules in this post will allow you to make smooth landings.

If you find your landing skills are soft, then always remind yourself of this one thing:

The combination of airspeed and altitude will determine your perfect landing.

Similarly, the phase for a smooth touchdown begins from the moment you enter the downwind leg.

If you are confused in your downwind and caught up on what to do next, you will be lucky not to crash land your airplane on the runway.

Now you can only imagine if you fail to have smooth landings during VFR flights, what will you face during your IFR flight?

The aircraft landing procedure begins by descending to the traffic pattern altitude.

What is descending to traffic pattern altitude?

The procedure for aircraft entering the traffic pattern can’t be over 1,000 feet AGL. I believe you know that already; thus, I will explain it briefly.

If your destination airport elevates 500 feet above MSL, your traffic pattern altitude would be 1500 feet MSL.

That’s because your traffic pattern altitude has to be 1,000 feet AGL.

Therefore, 500 feet MSL elevation + 1,000 feet AGL = 1,500 feet MSL altitude for the traffic pattern.

So let me ask you now, what would be your traffic pattern altitude if the airport elevation is 300 feet MSL?

You must enter the downwind leg maintaining a traffic pattern and at a 45-degree angle.

The Downwind leg.

Like I mentioned, you enter the downwind leg at a 45-degree angle and maintain an altitude of 1,000 feet AGL.

I am writing this article in contradiction to training aircraft that is below 200 horsepower. Thus let’s take Cessna 172 for our example.

Let’s suppose you are on the right downwind of Runway 09 and flying a Cessna 172.

Before entering the leg downwind, finish your landing checklist for your particular aircraft.

Now reduce power between 1800 RPM to 1900 RPM.

Once you reduce power, the airspeed will reduce. At this point, maintain an airspeed of 85 knots.

That’s the ideal airspeed for a downwind leg. If you find it challenging to maintain airspeed to 85 knots, apply flaps and trim your aircraft.

Remember maintaining airspeed is a key to smooth landing. Always ask yourself whether you are too fast for the leg or not.

 If you are too fast for an approach leg, you will likely fall behind the airplane and mess up your landing.

Abeam Threshold.

Abeam threshold, you are still on your right downwind of Runway 09. 

When you are abeam threshold, you can reduce power to 1600 to 1700 RPM.

Reducing power will allow the aircraft to descend and reduce airspeed. Here you can apply Flaps 2 of your Cessna 172 to keep your aircraft stable.

Maintain airspeed between 75 knots to 80 knots.

You can turn base when you are at a 45-degree angle from the threshold of Runway 09. Expect to have an altitude of 800 feet AGL while turning base.

Also, please communicate with the traffic advisory and tell them about your location.

Base leg.

While you are on base, you are very close to make a landing. There is no room for mistakes.

Quickly ask yourself:

  1. Are you too fast or too slow for the leg?;
  2. Are you too low or too high for the portion?;
  3. Are you too far from the runway or too close?;
  4. Are you aware of the traffic in the vicinity?

If anything seems odd to you, you must adjust to make your landing smooth.

If your aircraft is too fast for the leg, you might end up being short on the Final and high on the final.

So it would be best if you made corrections on the base leg.

Maintaining airspeed is crucial for smooth landings. Maintain 75 Knots on the base leg, and as you enter Final, reduce airspeed between 65 knots to 75 knots.

The Final leg of approach.

Now you are on the final leg of your approach. It is best to enter the final at an altitude of 500 feet AGL to make a smooth landing.

A balance between airspeed and descent rate of the aircraft plays a significant role for perfect landings.

  • Airspeed on final has to be between 65 Knots to 75 Knots;
  • Maintain a steady descent rate of 500 to 600 FPM;
  • Use flaps three if you think necessary;
  • Trim your aircraft to stabilize the controls.

Don’t chase the airspeed, instead use trim to maintain a steady airspeed.

At 65 t 75 knots, you can feel the aircraft is flying slow.

Look at the runway and observe the PAPI or VASI lights if the runway has any. To maintain the glideslope, you can follow the glideslope.

Maintaining the glideslope will allow you to land exactly on the runway.

Typically the glideslopes have an angle of three degrees from the runway.

However, when flying a Cessna 172, a smaller aircraft, you can break the glideslope earlier than an airliner.

The airliners are significant and need to follow a glideslope until they make a touchdown.

Once you follow the glideslope with a smaller aircraft, you will likely land farther on the runway.

That is not a bad thing, but if you are an expert, you can break the glideslope and visually land the aircraft.

Once you are over the threshold.

Typically, you are supposed to be at an altitude of 50 feet when you are over the threshold. That’s when you can level off the aircraft.

The reason for the aircraft level is to reduce the descent rate and allow the plane to sink.

Also, keep an eye on your airspeed. Don’t allow the airspeed to be less than 60 knots here.

Because if your airspeed is too low, you might stall at 50 feet. We don’t want to slow our airplane at 50 feet.

We want to flare our aircraft at 10 feet above the ground.


Flaring is the most confusing phase for student pilots or less experienced private pilots.

Pilots often can’t time their flare right. Many low hour pilots either flare the airplane too early or too late.

What happens when you pull the yoke too early?

If you pull the yoke too early, you will cause the airplane to drop quickly and might as well have a tail strike.

If you flare too late, you will end up having bounce landing due to high indicated airspeed.

So how to time your flare for a smooth landing?

It’s best to flare when you are ten feet above the ground.

It isn’t easy to notice when you are ten feet above the ground. So what you do, you have to realize that when you are above ten feet off the ground, you will see the runway quickly feels up the windshield of your aircraft.

The moment you notice the runway seems to be the fills your windshield, you must flare.

But don’t pull the yoke too much. It’s a common problem for inexperienced pilots that they often pull the yoke too far and lose visibility of the runway due to the airplane’s high pitch, and they abruptly touch the ground and bounce.

Remember this whenever you are flaring pull to the point that you lost visibility of the runway.

Always have the runway on sight and slowly allow the aircraft to sink.

That way, you will make an excellent touchdown. Flaring too far will lower the airspeed quickly.


I guess there is a lot to remember for aircraft landing procedure, and it might be hard to apply all these during the actual flight.

In real flight, you have less time to think act quickly, especially during landing.

You don’t have to remember what I said in this article word by word but use it as a guideline for your next landing.

Be assured if you use this as a guideline, your landings.

PPL checkride prep.

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ppl checkride prep - PPL checkride prep.

Follow the techniques and study materials in this post to pass your PPL checkride with confidence.

Many student pilots struggle during their checkride. Knowing what and how to study for the oral and practical exam can pass the checkride with ease.

In this post, I shared the useful ppl checkride preps and methods to utilize the preps.

Let us begin with preps for the Private pilot checkride:

  1. PPL oral exam guide;
  2. ACS (Airmen Certification Standards);
  3. FAR/AIM;
  4. Pilots Operating Handbook for your aircraft type;
  5. Chcekride Ready (Optional).

As a bonus, I also included some tips for your practical exam day at the end of this article.

How do student pilots prepare for the checkride?

Preparing and passing a checkride is nothing complicated. I want to say this first if your Flight instructor believes you are ready to go for a checkride means you will pass the checkride.

Regardless, on rare occasions, student pilots fail the checkride, which only delays obtaining a private pilot license.

If you don’t follow or bring along with you in your check ride, your DPE might decide you are not ready to get your private pilot license.

The checkride is all about your decision-making and how organized you are to conduct safe flights.

Thus it is crucial before the day of your checkride to go to the hangar and collect some items.

Studying these items will allow you to be more confident in your checkride.

  • Collect engine, airframe, and propeller maintenance logs. Recognize what each information indicates about the airplane’s airworthiness;
  • Speak to your flight instructor and verify whether you have required logbook signoffs and endorsements or not;
  • Complete the integrated airman certification and rating application;
  • Prepare the flight plan for a cross country flight where your DPE often goes and including the alternatives;
  • Find out the METAR and forecast weather reports for your cross country flight the next day;

The last two points, you don’t need to go to the hangar to do it, but doing it with your Flight instructor will eliminate any chance of failing the checkride.

But at this stage, you are supposed to do forecast weather and plan cross country flight all by yourself correctly.

Now let’s discuss why do you need the materials I mentioned in this article.

PPL oral exam guide.

The Private Pilot oral exam guide is an excellent book to prepare for all the questions you may face during your oral test on checkride day.

The checkride has two parts:

  1. The oral exam in the ground;
  2. Practical exam to test flying skills.

For the oral exam part, you don’t know what type of questions your DPE may ask. But if you study the book, you will have a clear idea of the problems you will face during your oral exam.

Not just that, the oral exam guide will teach you the answers to those questions.

Thoroughly reading this book will prepare you for all the relevant questions your DPE may ask. The DPE won’t ask you anything that is not relevant to the private pilot licensing stage.

During your Oral exam, your DPE may ask you many questions to which you already know the answers. But it is only to verify how safe of a pilot you are.

YouDPE will ask you scenario-based questions, and what will you do in that situation. Reading the oral exam guide, you will exactly learn how to use your existing knowledge to come out from a difficult situation in flight.

The flight instructor will also ask everyday calculations acronyms, policies, and procedures to conduct safe flights.

Thus remember this oral exam’s purpose is to verify how safe and competent you are to have a private pilot license.

Airman Certification Standards (ACS)

Airman certification standards have everything a check pilot will possibly ask you to do on your practical exam on checkride.

You can get ACS PDF online and read through it.

Studying through this book will give you an idea of what maneuvers you should practice before the check ride and tasks you have to accomplish on the practical checkride.

The DPE will not expect you anything more than what is in the Airman certification standard for your PPL checkride.

As a student pilot, you learned most things based on the ACS.

Thus it is likely you have learned everything you need to know for your private pilot checkride.

Use ACS to verify if you have missed something or not. If you see something you are unfamiliar with, discuss it with your flight instructor and request him to explain that to you.

Knowing the materials in ACS will ready you for the practical exam on checkride.

If your DPE asks you anything out of the ordinary and is not in the ACS, don’t hesitate but try to complete that task if you can.

That would mean that your DPE is satisfied with your practical exam and trying to see if you know something more.

However, it is unlikely the DPE will want you to perform more in-flight than necessary at this PPL stage.

If you feel your DPE is asking you more than what you learned from your ACS, you can tell him that you did not see such maneuvers or tasks in the ACS.


Get yourself the latest copy of FAR/AIM. Keep it with you on your checkride day. You DPE would not prefer you to have an outdated FAR/AIM.

You can use this book to learn about the latest airport regulations and air traffic control procedures in your area.

On checkride day, the FAR/AIM can help you in many ways.

Before your exam day, go through the book and have an idea of informations on the book. Especially keep note of things your DPE would want to know on your check ride.

If your DPE asks you something that you can’t remember, you will have the chance to check through FAR/AIM and find the exact information.

If you point out the most relevant information on that book and by any chance you forget something about an airport procedure, go to the exact page of the book quickly and find the correct answer.

The check pilot won’t fail if you need to go through the FAR/AIm and find the correct answer instantly.

Checkride Ready.

The checkride ready is a popular online course available by Dauntless Aviation. Taking these courses is optional.

But if you want to go that extra mile to pass your checkride, then you can take this course.

Checkride ready is a course that emphasizes on necessary materials for the checkride.

Most materials in this course are familiar for any pilot who is ready to take their checkride.

Nevertheless, as a pilot, it is always good to learn more.

If you take the course, you will learn new ways to accomplish tasks that will wow your designated pilot examiner.

This course emphasizes on how to do things and tasks to satisfy DPE exactly. Sometimes you may do something right during your checkride, but your DPE is not fully satisfied with how you have performed the task. The checkride ready will train you exact techniques to satisfy your DPE’s expectations.

Likewise, you will see numerous questions and how to answer them in this course.

If you have the chance and money, so spend a little more to buy this course instead of failing your checkride.

Failing your checkride means you have to retake the check ride and spend some more money.

One last tip.

Lastly, I was hoping you could talk to your flight instructor about your DPE.

Each area or flight school has one DPE. So your flight instructor has a perfect idea of what kind of questions a DPE may ask. Your flight instructor is familiar with the airport a DPE prefers to fly to, the questions he asks, and the maneuvers he wants to examine during a checkride.

Typically, each DPE has their way of examining a checkride. They ask the student pilots to do the same tasks and, if not the same, similar tasks.

What does the check pilot prefer, electronic charts or paper charts?

There must be an emergency procedure that a particular DPE often wants student pilots to demonstrate.

Does the DPE wants to know about the aircraft logs?

Knowing about what you may get on your check ride is a pretty good idea of lowering your chances of failing the checkride.

If you know what you may face on your checkride day and prepare beforehand, that will boost your confidence.

Prepare well and go for your checkride with confidence.

Being confident will help you to perform better on your checkride.

If you have already studied adequately and prepare using the books I mentioned, there is nothing to fear.

How difficult is the private pilot checkride?

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how difficult is the private pilot checkride - How difficult is the private pilot checkride?

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.

RELATED: A guide to achieve

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.

Private pilot checkride requirements.

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private pilot checkride requirements - Private pilot checkride requirements.

Fulfill all the requirements before you schedule your private pilot check-ride.

The last thing you want is to fail your private pilot practical test because you were not ready.

You must be aware of multiple private pilot check-ride requirements before scheduling a flight with DPE.

Figure out if you are eligible for a check-ride or not.

Don’t let this happen that you are in the airport for your check-ride to find out that you lack a few hours of solo cross-country flight requirements.

The scenario is uncommon, but it doesn’t mean it will not happen to you.

Check each of the following questions with a “Yes” answer means you meet the private pilot check-ride requirements.

  • Do you have adequate flying hours?;
  • Are you done with the FAA knowledge test?;
  • Have you mastered the essential flying skills and the complicated ones?;
  • Does your flight instructor think you are ready for a check-ride? Do you have an endorsement from your flight instructor?;
  • Go on a cross-country flight using VFR charts and a bit of radio navigation;
  • Did you have a mock check-ride with your CFI?;
  • Can you answer any question the DPE asks you during your practical exam? Learn to ask why something happens and what is the correct answer with an explanation to the why.

These bullet points are by no means a must for all student pilots. Instead, use these points as a checklist to determine whether you are ready to pass your private pilot checkride or not.

You can use the above list to identify your flaws in PPL flight training and boost your oral exam confidence.

Let’s discuss elaborately further in this article. I broke down the checklist in two sections.

SECTION 1: Standard check-ride requirements you must satisfy to schedule a flight with DPE.

SECTION 2: Checkride requirements to ensure you don’t fail your oral exam.

Standard private pilot checkride requirements.

The basic requirements for a private pilot license are to be at least 17 years old and speak, write, and read English fluently.

It is essential to have a third-class medical certificate and student pilot license.

Apart from these basic requirements, individuals must meet the flight hour requirements.

Do you have adequate flying hours?

The FAA requires a student pilot to log at least 40 hours of flying time before applying for a private pilot license. However, the national average in the United States is between 60 to 65 hours for a stu3dent pilot to obtain a private pilot license.

I believe not just in the USA, likely anywhere in the world, a student pilot needs somewhere between 50 hours to 70 hours to apply for a private pilot license.

Initially, student pilots don’t recognize the cross country flight requirements or solo requirements.

The forty hours requirement won’t make you eligible.

Understand these:

  • A student pilot must have 20 hours of dual flight or receive instruction from a CFI;
  • These 20 hours include:
  • 3 hours cross country flight;
  • Three hours of night flight that include one cross country flight of 100 nautical miles total distance. Also, ten takeoffs and ten landings with full stop at an airport;
  • 3 hours of flight training using instruments;
  • Have three hours of dual flight within 60 days of the private pilot checkride.
  • Fly ten hours solo that includes 5 hours of solo cross-country flight.
  • A cross country flight that is over 150 nautical miles and landing at three different airports. Each airport must have a distance of at least 50 nautical miles.
  • Perform three solo takeoffs and landings at an airport with an operating control tower.

By looking at the requirements, you can realize why the national average hours for student pilots is high.

It takes a while for the student pilots to combine and satisfy all the requirements, and not fulfilling the requirements means you are not eligible to apply for a private pilot license.

Therefore, before contacting a DPE for a practical exam, ensure you meet each requirement.

Are you done with the FAA knowledge test?

You can’t take the PPL checkride without passing the FAA private pilot knowledge test.

PPL knowledge test or written exam should be the first step for any student pilot. I recommend before you start your flight training, it is best to complete an online ground school and take the ppl written test.

With the written test out of the way, complete your flight training. That way, you will also have aeronautical knowledge to ease your flight training.

Have you mastered the essential flying skills and the complicated ones?

To become a pilot, you need to master essential flying skills.

But to become a better pilot, you also must learn complicated flying skills.

Usually, your flight instructor will teach you all the essential flying skills during the pre-solo stage. Regardless knowing the complicated flying maneuvers can aid in your flight in numerous ways.

Ask your flight instructors to teach you more challenging flight skills.

Do you have an endorsement from your flight instructor?

At this stage, ask your flight instructor if you are ready to schedule a practical exam date or not.

You have passed the knowledge test and have adequate hours, but why do you need your CFI’s approval?

It’s your flight instructor who ensures safety and can verify whether you are ready to pass the oral test or not.

Once your performance is satisfactory for your flight instructor, he will endorse you for taking the practical exam.

Without an endorsement, you can’t take the oral exam.

So it is also essential to prove your flight performance to the CFI so that he completely trusts you with safe aircraft operations. Show satisfactory flight performance, and you will get your endorsement for the private pilot checkride.

SECTION 2: Checkride requirements to ensure you don’t fail your oral exam.

Now that you have your flight instructor’s endorsement to take the private pilot checkride, you must ask yourself are confident enough to pass the exam.

Many student pilots lack confidence on the check-ride day. It is common for most pilots.

Although they are experts in flying a single-engine prop, they doubt themselves and think they might fail the exam.

But going through the following checklist to ensure you know everything to pass the private pilot chek-ride.

Typically you will do all these during your private pilot flight training. However, sharpening your skills before the exam will indeed increase your confidence.

Go on a cross-country flight using VFR charts and a bit of radio navigation.

To improve the chances of passing your private pilot checkride, be ready to use ready navigation.

You don’t know what question your DPE may ask. Thus knowing how to use radio navigation, especially VOR, to navigate a flight will certainly help.

Although going to VFR cross country flights using VFR sectional charts is the norm, knowing navigating using VOR will help.

Likewise, many pilots know how to use a VFR chart but don’t know what each sign and symbol means on a VFR chart.

So ensure you learn a bit about the sectional charts so that you can answer a question in case your DPE asks you any question about the symbol and signs on your sectional map.

Have a mock checkride with your CFI.

Many student pilots don’t understand the importance of a mock checkride.

But it helps massively to gain confidence for your actual oral exam.

Talk to your flight instructor and go on a mock checkride.

Most flight instructors have an idea about the DPE in your area. Flight instructors can demonstrate what kind of questions a particular DPE prefers to ask during oral exam maneuvers the DPE wants to see.

Next, you can have a flight where you will simulate an oral exam.

This simulated oral exam will give you an idea of what to expect during a private pilot checkride. After a mock check-ride, you will know how to answer your DPE while flying the airplane and pass the oral exam to obtain a private pilot license.

Be ready for any question that your DPE may ask.

Lastly, I believe the most critical requirement for a private pilot checkride is to prepare for any question the DPE may ask.

Your DPE will not ask any questions out of the ordinary. Everything he will want to know is relevant to a private pilot license.

So don’t fear and read thoroughly any good book for the private pilot license.

After you read a book, often question yourself in flight, why something happens, and the correct answer to that question. That way, you will remember what you read in a textbook.

You DPE will not ask you any advance question during your private pilot checkride. So if you know what you need to know for the private pilot stage, you will undoubtedly pass. 

If you fail to answer any advance question your DPE asks, don’t think you failed the exam. Think it like this: the DPE is satisfied with your performance and wants to know how much more you know.

Are you eligible for a private pilot checkride?

Student pilot solo requirements.

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student pilot solo requirements - Student pilot solo requirements.

Longing for your first solo flight? Know the student pilot solo requirements first and act accordingly.

Make a plan and talk to your flight instructor that you want to get a solo flight endorsement as quickly as possible.

Here I discussed the standard requirements for student pilots and how you can meet your flight instructor’s expectations as a pilot.

A veteran flight instructor will train you adequately and release for your solo flight quickly. But first, you have to grasp aircraft controls.

Keep note of these:

  • Master the flying skills as required by FAR/AIM Section 61.87;
  • Meet your CFI’s expectations;
  • Pass a pre-solo knowledge test administered by your CFI;
  • Always remember the student pilot solo limitations.

The sooner you fulfill the requirements, the quicker your CFI will entrust you with the aircraft.

Let’s begin with the standard requirements for solo flying first.

Standard student pilot solo requirements.

There are some minimum requirements before one can get their first solo flight. The requirement includes:

  • A student pilot must be at least 16 years old before flying solo;
  • Be able to speak, read, write and communicate in English;
  • Hold at least a Third Cless Medical certificate.

Thus if you are 16 years old and want to begin your flight training, you can do that.

Once you get your Third class medical certificate, you can fly an aircraft but with a flight instructor.

Next comes the pre-solo exam or knowledge test.

Pass the pre-solo exam administered by a certified flight instructor.

The pre-solo exam is a requirement by the FAA. A CFI must conduct a pre-solo exam to determine whether a student is known to operate solo flights.

If the student fails the pre-solo exam, the flight instructor must re-take the exam until they pass.

But before re-taking the exam, the flight instructor should discuss all the incorrect answers. Here the flight instructor must explain the subjects again to clarify the confusion of a student pilot.

The pre-solo exam will be on these subjects:

  • Part 61 and Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations;
  • Airspace rules and airport operational procedures for the airport where the student will perform first solo flight;
  • Characteristics and functional limitations of the aircraft student pilot will use for solo flight.

How to prepare for the pre-solo exam? <3>

Buy a FAR/AIM and study PART 61 and PART 91. You don’t have to memorize everything but read thoroughly to have a basic understanding of the rules and regulations.

Next, read the aeronautical informational manual part of the book thoroughly.

Third, get the Pilot Operating Handbook for the aircraft you fly. Memorize the limitations of your aircraft and remember the critical information from that book.

The best practice is to memorize emergency procedures that will help you for your actual flight; likewise, it will help you pass the pre-solo knowledge test.

It is typical to see many questions in the pre-solo exam related to the aircraft you will fly.

To get your first solo, you must master the essential flying skills.

Your flight instructor will release you for a solo flight once he ultimately believes in you. You have to prove yourself to your flight instructor that you can safely take off and land the aircraft.

It’s the fight instructor’s responsibility to train you to become proficient in flying to reach that position.

However, to become proficient in flying takes a while.

Typically, student pilots get their first solo flight between 10 to 30 hours.

You may wonder why one takes a lot fewer flight hours than the other.

That’s because some people can grasp the flight controls quicker than others.

It all depends on you.

Prove yourself you are proficient in flying, and your flight instructor will release you for solo.

A student pilot must show that they have grasped the following abilities:

  • Understand flight preparation procedures, including preflight planning;
  • Ground operations, including runups;
  • Standard and crosswind takeoffs and landings;
  • Straight and level flight, and level turns;
  • Climbing and Descending;
  • Climbing turns and descending turns;
  • Ability to make traffic patterns, including entry and departure procedures;
  • Avoiding collision course, wind-shear, and wake turbulence;
  • Regular descending and descending turns, using flaps;
  • Maneuvering at cruise speed and slow flights;
  • Stall entries and recovery from a stall at different attitudes and power combinations;
  • Simulate in-flight emergency procedures and approaches to a landing area with simulated engine malfunctions;
  • Maneuvering using ground reference;
  • Slips to a landing; and
  • Missed approach and go-arounds.

By reading the bullet points, the information may seem overwhelming to you. But the reality is these operational procedures are the minimum requirements by FAA.

As a student pilot, you will go through all the points during your flight training. These are part of the process.

During flight training, you may notice these are not difficult at all. AS you continue training, all these maneuvers and procedures will be your second nature as a pilot.

But like I mentioned, some student get their solo in lesser time than others. It is because some students grasp the knowledge quicker, and some prepare well for the flight training.

How can you prepare for actual flight training.

There is a book you can study to prepare for actual flight training. Many people think theory studies don’t help for real flight.

But remember these as well it’s not possible for a Flight Instructor to teach you every technique during your flight training. It will be difficult for you to grasp all the knowledge while learning to feel the aircraft control.

So it is best to study a book that teaches the technical skills of flying or, as the jargon goes, stick and rudder flying.

I did not believe books can help for actual flying. But the technical flying skills in the book can help you grasp flying maneuvers. You will learn particular things such as when to start descending, when to climb, how to trim correctly, how to smoothly transition from a turn to straight and level flight, where to look while you are on final, when exactly to flare and what to do if you encounter ground effect.

There are many more that you can find in a book to become better in actual flight.

I studied the How to fly an airplane handbook by Rod Machado to improve my flight skills.

This book is quite practical. How to use this book efficiently?

Before going to each flight, ask your flight instructor what maneuvers you will practice on your next flight.

Once you know about the next flight’s maneuvers, you can study how to fly an Airplane book referring to that specific chapter.

I can promise you that following the book’s techniques and implementing them in flight will meet your flight instructors’ expectations.

Thus your instructor will trust you with the aircraft and release you for a solo flight.

Finally, remember the student pilot solo limitations.

A student pilot should know what are his limitation for operating a flight without a flight instructor.

You got your first solo flight doesn’t mean you can operate solo flights at any condition.

The limitations are as follows:

  • Don’t take off at night without an endorsement from your flight instructor. You will get an endorsement once you receive proper training for night flight;
  • It would be best if you did not carry passengers until you get your private pilot license;
  • You can’t fly farther than 25 nautical miles from your base airport without endorsement;
  • Must not fly for compensation or hire;
  • Don’t operate flights if the visibility is less than three statute miles or in Marginal Visual Flight Rules (MVFR) conditions;
  • Lastly, don’t attempt to fly international routes even if it is close to your base airport.


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ifr vs vfr - IFR vs. VFR

This post will remove your confusion on the acronyms VFR vs. IFR. As a student pilot beginning your pilot training, you may doubt what kind of flight activity you will take. Is it VFR or IFR?

As a student pilot, you will learn to operate an airplane in VFR.

  • So what are the differences between VFR and IFR?
  • Why can’t pilots fly IFR from the beginning?

VFR and IFR are two set of rules determined by the FAA for airplane operations. A pilot must conduct flights following either of the set rules.

Pilots can’t choose which set of rules to use for flying as they wish.

Sounds confusing, right?

As the pilot in command of an aircraft, you will decide when to take off and where to fly. However, the weather will impact your decision on which set of rules to pick for flying on any particular day.

  • On a windy day with thunderstorms, you cannot fly VFR no matter how urgently you need to go somewhere.
  • If you don’t know how to operate an IFR plane, you can cancel your flight for that day.
  • To ensure safety during adverse weather conditions, you need to fly following IFR.

To understand IFR vs. VFR elaborately, continue reading.

What is VFR?

VFR means Visual Flight Rules. Operating an airplane in VFR means the pilot of the aircraft has excellent visibility outside the plane. The pilot has a clear view of the ground from the flight.

Thus, the pilot is navigating the airplane with visual references outside the aircraft.

Likewise, the pilot is staying out of the clouds and bad weather, possibly bad weather en-route.

Such an excellent condition for flying is known as VMC, Visual meteorological condition.

So what are the VFR minimums?

There are some set conditions by FAA for conducting a VFR flight. If one intends to fly VFR, then they must consider this:

  • Visibility in the departure airports vicinity should be more than 5 statute miles.
  • The ceiling of the cloud in the area should be 3000 feet.

When I say in the vicinity of the departure airport, I meant the conditions are applicable within five nautical miles radius of the airport.

If within the five nautical miles radius of the airport, the ceiling is lower than 3000 feet, then you will not be allowed to fly VFR because the condition is below minimum.

This kind of condition in an airport is always depicted on the aeronautical chart using the color green.

How to recognize the VFR variations?

MVFR – Marginal Visual Flight Rules.

Once the weather is slightly below the VFR minimums in the vicinity of your departure airport, the tower may grant your request for flying MVFR.

Regardless it is always better not to fly in MVFR conditions. Because of three reasons:

  • The weather may get worse once you takeoff;
  • You don’t know how the weather might be en-route;
  • Risking your flight’s safety is not wise flying MVFR if you don’t have an instrument rating.

What are the MVFR minimums?

MVFR weather condition is slightly better than IFR flying conditions.

You can request to fly VFR in MVFR condition, meaning:

  • The ceiling of the cloud is between 1000 feet to 3000 feet;
  • The visibility must be between 3 statute miles to 5 statute miles.

These conditions are set by the FAA for ATC to grant VFR flight in MVFR.

Typically, in this condition, if a pilot request for takeoff, the tower may ask you what your intentions are to take off in this adverse weather.

As a pilot, if you have an urgency to go somewhere and have no alternative option, then the twoer will grant your takeoff request.

Nevertheless, it is wiser to get an instrument rating before flying in condition below VFR minimums.

MVFR condition is depicted on aeronautical charts using color Blue.

MVFR is an advisory term that refers to weather conditions better than Instrument Meteorological Conditions but lower than Visual Meteorological Conditions.

What are the responsibility of a pilot operating a VFR flight?

Flight VFR means a pilot is navigating the airplane relying on outside references.

The outside references are mostly on the surface, and a pilot flying at 2500 feet above ground level (AGL) in Visual Meteorological conditions can see the surface.

During a VFR flight, the pilot is responsible for staying away from the clouds and preventing traffic collisions. Likewise, Flight navigation is solely the pilot’s responsibility.

The pilot doesn’t have to follow a designated flight path suggested by the air traffic controller once you are clear of the airspace.

Thus in VFR flight, the pilot has to communicate to be aware of any airspace traffic.

What is IFR?

IFR stands for instrument flight rules. When the weather is adverse and visibility is low, the condition is called Instrument meteorological condition (IMC).

According to IFR, pilots don’t have permission to fly VFR and file a flight plan in such weather. If you intend to depart from an airport with low visibility, you must be an IFR-rated pilot.

An IFR rated pilot can conduct a safe flight solely relying on the instrument and without any visual reference outside the aircraft or on the surface.

Unlike a VFR pilot, an IFR pilot has the privilege of flying in Instrument meteorological condition (IMC).

The FAA sets instrument flight rules:

  • The pilot needs to be IFR rated; and
  • The aircraft must have IFR instruments to fly safely in and out of airspaces.

It may sound scary to think of flying without any visual reference outside. Hence, a pilot acquires instrument rating is like leveling up their flying skills and becoming a more competent pilot.

All airlines operate their flight merely using the aircraft’s instruments unless it is indispensable to fly using visual flight rules.

Airlines operate many flights at night and in adverse weather conditions, meaning they must operate those flights according to Instrument flight rules.

What are the IFR minimums?

There are conditions set by the FAA to consider when an airport is IFR.

Weather condition on the surface and within five nautical miles of the airport has to meet these conditions:

  • Visibility must be between 1 to 3 statute miles;
  • The cloud ceiling must be between 500 to 1000 feet.

You can certainly understand why it is impossible to operate an airplane using visual references outside.

The visibility is low, and the cloud ceiling is below 1000 feet.

Conduct a VFR flight even at 2500 feet in such a condition is risky. Hence, one must know how to maneuver and use navigation instruments to complete a flight leg without looking outside.

IFR condition in an airspace is depicted on charts using color Red.

What are the IFR variations?

The only IFR variation is LIFR, and flying in such conditions can be challenging for even most expert IFR pilots.

What is LIFR?

LIFR stands for Low Instrument Flight Rules. An airport states LIFR if the meteorological condition in the airport surface is poor and deteriorating.

Usually, when an airport has advised LIFR, the cloud coverage ceiling in the area is shallow. LIFR conditions states that the airport surface has:

  • Visibility is less than one statute mile;
  • The ceiling of the cloud is less than 500 feet.

In this condition, operating an airplane with no instrument rating is out of the question. If a pilot approaches the LIFR airport, the pilot won’t see the runway until they are very close to the runway.

Perhaps the pilot will notice the runway while he is at 200 feet.

Therefore, in LIFR, the pilot must navigate and commence approach relying on the airplane instruments and air traffic controller instructions.

The LIFR condition is depicted with color Magenta on aeronautical charts.

What are the responsibilities of IFR pilots?

IFR pilots need to file a flight plan ahead of time to keep the route free of traffic. Therefore during an IFR flight, the pilot must follow air traffic controllers’ instructed course to conduct safe flights.

As the pilot operates without knowledge of traffic in the vicinity, following ATC instruction is crucial to avoid traffic.

The pilot uses instruments to maintain altitude, direction and navigate the airplane. On the contrary, the ATC will provide information to prevent a collision course with other aircraft.

Unlike VFR flight, you have minimum visibility outside, but the ATC can see the radar images of any inbound traffic, and ATC is aware of any inbound traffic as they have the flight plans.

When to get an IFR rating?

Once a student pilot acquires his private pilot license, you can immediately start your instrument rating training.

If you meet all the instrument rating requirements, apply for your instrument rating.

How tricky is IFR vs. VFR?

VFR flying is a lot simpler if you compare it to IFR flying. You have to understand these:

  • Operating a flight in zero visibility conditions requires skills and a lot more awareness of the pilot;
  • The communication is longer in IFR versus VFR flights.

In VFR flight, the pilot picks his course and stays away from a collision course.

Opposingly, in an IFR flight, the pilot listens to the ATC’s instructions carefully and follow. A miscommunication between the tower and the pilot in an IFR flight is unsafe.

Thus IFR flight operation is done sincerely. In IFR training, a pilot has to study subjects in detail to ensure flights’ safety.

Therefore IFR training is complex versus VFR training. However, obtaining an instrument rating also massively contributes to VFR flying proficiency.

Student pilot gear and essentials.

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student pilot gear and essentials - Student pilot gear and essentials.

Before you purchase a set of private pilot training kits from available pilot shops online, discover here the inexpensive and essential student pilot gear.

A set of gear that will actually aid you in your private training effectively and save you from wasting money.

The private pilot training kits sold in pilot shops online are not always the only option.

In this post, I discussed only about the student pilot essentials, and the most practical books to ace your private pilot check-ride and PPL written test.

I made a list of books and the student pilot gear, which is adequate to get your private pilot license.

I am a pilot, and this list is based on my experience.

Must-have books for student pilots.

Typically ground school comes before actual flight training, thus having the right books is essential to prepare for the actual flight.

A pilot always has to keep learning. So let’s start with the books I think is best for a kickstart of your private pilot training.

Jeppesen Private Pilot: Guided Flight Discovery.

Are you just starting your private pilot course ground schooling?

No wonder you need a book that is very well illustrated and has beautiful graphics.

Why is this important?

Because having a book using too complicated language and not clear graphics will cause difficulties to understand many topics for beginner pilot students.

Jeppesen Private Pilot Guided Flight Discovery is an excellent book. I like this book because it can catch the attention of the readers and keep them attached to studying.

When you are simply starting your private pilot ground schooling, initially you may find something hard to understand. The illustration will help you a lot to learn quicker.

However, there is another book for private pilots or any other pilots to review all the basics.

The book is by a veteran pilot Rod Machado. This private pilot handbook is another easy to understand book with lots of humor.

Either you choose Jeppesen Private Pilot Guided Flight Discovery or Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook, both these books will prepare you for your private pilot license course.

You can buy any of these two books even before starting your private pilot ground schooling and prepare by yourself.

Airplane Flying Handbook by ASA.

All the hours for your private pilot license, you have to fly following VFR.

In VFR flight you will use visual references outside to fly the aircraft and do perfect landings.

The vital thing to do is land the aircraft. You as a pilot your first priority will be to get your solo flight as early as possible.

To get your solo flight quicker and master all the basic maneuvers as a pilot for VFR flights, you must buy the Airplane Flying Handbook.

Though you have a flight instructor to explain and teach you all the maneuvers in flight. the airplane flying handbook will aid you massively.

This book is easy to read and has so many useful tips and techniques to improve your flight control.

Often the flight instructors forget to teach you or mention the techniques included in this flying handbook for a safe and comfortable flight.

To get your solo flight sooner and surprise your flight instructor with your improved performance, there is no other second best to this book.

Gleim Private Pilot FAA Knowledge Test.

Assuming now you have finished your private pilot ground schooling and have flown adequate hours to get your private pilot license.

It is time to take exams in civil aviation to obtain your private pilot license and you do not know what kind of questions you will have to answer.

That is when the Gleim Private Pilot FAA Knowledge Test is crucial.

This book is prepared from FAA reference materials. Everything you read in this book will prepare you for your private pilot test.

All the questions you will practice in Gleim Private Pilot are relevant to the FAA test papers.

Prepare yourself with this book and there will be no obstacles to stop you from passing your private pilot license exams.

The sooner you pass your exams the sooner you will get a private pilot license.


Having a good headset for flight training is a must. From my experience buying a cheap flight headset is not always the right choice.

You may buy a headset at a cheaper price which serves the purpose very well. But to save a few bucks now may result in an exhausted feeling during the flight.

Let’s think about the long run. If you intend to only get your private pilot license and fly only the desired hours, then a normal headset will do.

Thinking of getting your commercial pilot license in the future?

A regular headset will do the job fine too, however, you may face unnecessary hassles such as uncomfortable pressure on your ears during long flights.

Wearing the headset during long flights the pressure on your ears will get annoying at some point.

Cheaper headsets will show signs of problems quickly. You may have to replace it sooner than you expect.

That is why I am giving you two options for a good headset here.

The first is by David Clark H10-13.4 whick looks very cool. Most pilots prefer to buy David Clarks.

Perhaps because the headsets are very affordable and last for a long time without any issues.

The David Clark H10-13.4 is the best at the price they sell for. It is good enough to do the job.

Cancells sufficient background noise and creates less pressure on your ears during a long flight.

If you are planning for only acquiring a private pilot license and not further then David Clark H10-13.4 is the best option for you.

Get your own headset so that you do not have to face unexpected issues with the old rental headsets while you are flying in the airplane.


Let’s talk about the better option.

What if you intend to fly commercially? After you are done with your private pilot course you intend to get your commercial pilot license.

You need to invest money on a headset only once until you finish your commercial pilot course. Buy a good headset only once and you do not have to spend ever again.

There are many issues with cheap headsets. Sometimes cheaper headsets expire even if you are not using it for a long time.

That is why I say quality comes with a price.

So the better option is the BOSE A20 Aviation headset. This headset is a bit pricey.

A pricey headset is not necessary during the early stages of your flight. The David Clark Headset mentioned above will do the job right.

But when you pay a big price for a headset like these it is mainly because of the noise reduction technology used in the headset.

This BOSE A20 headset cancels noise a lot more compared to any other regular headsets.

It has a lot of lesser clamping force and creates lesser pressure on your ears than its other counterparts.

BOSE A20 headset also offers Bluetooth connectivity for more convenience of the pilot during flight.

It is really up to you which headset you choose but it will be wiser to choose BOSE A20 headset and the smarter option to choose is David Clark H10-13.4.


A student pilot will be taught in their ground class about cross country flying and making a navigational flight plan.

So without a map of the airport, you will fly from and fly into, it will be impossible to create your flight plan.

You have to check into your local pilot shop for the specific map. Ask your flight training school, they can suggest something too.

Having a map is not only crucial for flight training ground classes, but it can also be very helpful during your actual flight.

VFR Navigation Flight Planner.

It is a very important thing to plan your flight ahead of time.

Now I am not saying that you must buy it; because often times flight training schools will provide you that for free.

Although if you intend to have a bunch of flight planner to practice VFR flight planning at home, you can order here >>> VFR Flight Planner.

Rotating Flight Plotter.

Before you go for a cross country flight you must have a navigational flight plan.

Although you are a student pilot, it is your responsibility to ensure safety during flight.

You can’t be lost during your flight. So, to create a flight plan for navigation you need a map.

Similarly, you need a plotter to calculate distance on the map and your magnetic heading.

The rotating flight plotter is the best because it is easy and fun to use.

E6B Flight Computer.

Metal E6B flight computers are not really used during flight training nowadays.

However, it is rather a helpful gadget for pilot students. It can be useful during many incidents of actual flight.

Many students prefer to buy the electronic flight computer which is definitely the right thing to do in this modern-day.

But during flight training ground classes you will have to learn how to use a manual E6B flight computer.

So having a metal E6B flight computer is a must. It is also a lot cheaper than an electronic flight computer.

Pilots Logbook.

If you fly all these hours and do not log it in a logbook, how are you suppose to keep track of your hours flown?

Well, I guess that is the most nonsense thing I have ever told.

There are no pilots without a logbook.

Every pilot has at least one logbook to log all the hours they fly.

As you continue flying and build hundreds of hours you may need to add more logbooks in your flight kit list.

But first I can suggest you get one of your first flight logbooks here >>> ASA Standard pilot log.

There many choices for logbooks.

Choosing one of these standard logbooks by ASA is good enough for your private pilot training and adequate for logging your commercial pilot training hours.

I use this ASA logbook and I find it easy to log flight hours in this logbook compared to the more complicated logbooks.

Flight Bag.

Flight bag is essential for every student pilot. If you are starting your private pilot training, do not hesitate to get your flight bag.

A flight bag is made in a way to accommodate all the necessities for a student pilot.

You may think a regular briefcase will do the job but unfortunately, a regular briefcase is inconvenient for trainee pilots.

Therefore you need to buy a bag that is durable and accommodate your headset, iPad, books for ground classes, logbook, kneeboard and etc.

Apart from that, a flight bag is made in a way so that you as a pilot can have ease of access to anything from your bag at any time.

Most pilot students prefer to buy the Jeppesen Aviator bag. This Jeppesen aviator bag is a cool looking bag and comes with flaws.

The problem with this bag is it is overpriced and not very durable.

Hence I chose to buy another flight bag which is the Crosswind Bag by Flight Gear.

Now I must say that this bag is most suitable for student pilots. The fact this bag is inexpensive compared to a Jeppesen flight bag, similarly more durable.

If you are a trainee pilot and going for cross countries, you can fit some of your extra clothes in this bag alongside your flight gears.

I have used it and personally I found this bag by flight gear to be more convenient.

On the contrary, if you are a student pilot and want to purchase a briefcase other than a flight bag choose this multifunctional bag by Lifewit.

Nevertheless, a briefcase cannot fit all your flight gear.

It is best to choose a flight bag because a flight bag is made to serve the purpose of student pilots.

Flight Kneeboard.

Well, a flight kneeboard is not really essential but some students actually find it helpful having a flight kneeboard.

In real flight, you have to stay aware of so many things at the same time. You have to stay focused on several things while flying the airplane.

The flight kneeboard will slightly ease your multi-tasking capability.

Thinking of an inexpensive kneeboard?

I think the best option is the Trifold Kneeboard by ASA. It is the perfect size to use in all types of cockpits.

As well as has plenty of room for your charts and all other papers you need during your actual flight.

You may use it to hold your iPad mini during your flight training too.

Aircraft Fuel Strainer/Tester.

Every time before you begin your flight and it is the first flight of the day for that aircraft, you must test the fuel.

If you do not test the fuel you may put yourself into fatal danger.

So how do you test the fuel?

You need an aircraft fuel tester to do that. Fuel testers are available in any pilot shop but the price I found it on Amazon.

Just go check the current price here >>> Aircraft Fuel Tester.

It is best to test the fuel for contaminants, water and also the color of the fuel to ensure whether the right grade of fuel is being used.


I guess I do not have to say much about iPads. These days even kids have iPads to play games.

Well, I was not so fortunate when I was young.

However the trainee pilots today can buy an iPad mini to ease their hassle massively during their flight training.

iPads are a device that can come so handy during your private pilot ground training and your actual flight training in the sky.

Not just for your private pilot training an iPad will assist you all your life as long as you are pilot.

Even airline pilots prefer to use an iPad for several purposes. One of the main reasons is the iPad replaced so many paper documents inside the cockpit.

Especially with so many applications available in iStore to help student pilots as well as a commercial pilot, do not hesitate to invest in an iPad.

If you have the cash just go for it.

Aviator Sunglasses.

Now this one is not absolutely necessary but I can consider it a bonus choice for student pilots.

You are starting your flight training and about to get your first pilot license, it is the right time to invest in an aviator sunglass.

Aviator sunglasses were made for pilots hence the name is an aviator.

Now as you are already becoming a pilot there is no reason to stop yourself from having a good pair of sunglasses.

Aviator sunglasses will make you look stylish and you will be benefitted from your training.

What are the benefits?

  • Well during hot summer days it is absolutely necessary to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes inside the open airport.
  • A good pair of sunglasses will aid you to observe traffic clearly on sunny days.

So grab one for yourself before you start your flight training.

Private pilot practice test.

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private pilot practice test - Private pilot practice test.

Student pilots need to practice for private pilot knowledge tests.

With the availability of countless resources online, choosing the right one can be a dilemma.

I shared three private pilot practice tests, that you can use to familiarize yourself with the FAA knowledge test questions.

I listed the free resources and the paid courses. All of these courses will help you to assume:

  • The type of questions you will see in the actual test;
  • How to answer all the questions correctly within the time limit to pass the exam.

In short, paid courses are always the best to prepare for the exam, and I will tell you the reason at the end of this article.

But first, let’s see the free courses that you can find online.


Exams 4 Pilots is an online tool where you can choose the type of exam you will take.

Student pilots can choose the Private Pilot License exam and decide how many questions to generate questions and practice test duration accordingly.

Immediately, you will see multiple-choice questions with a time limit.

The time limit will be variable depending on the number of questions you choose.

Exams 4 Pilots‘ FREE practice exam is excellent for familiarizing yourself with the FAA knowledge test questions.

Similarly, you will be comfortable with completing an exam within the time boundary.

Nevertheless, merely taking the Exams 4 Pilots’ free practice test is not adequate to pass the FAA knowledge test.

FAA does not publish the questions of FAA knowledge tests like they did in the past. Thus free platforms like Exams 4 Pilots have limited questions for student pilots to practice for free.

FREE platforms have limited questions and they do not update the question bank as frequently as a paid tool. After you take the PPL practice exam in Exam 4 Pilots, you will see a repetition of the same questions, which is futile.

King School’s FREE FAA Private Pilot Practice test.

Like I mentioned:

Free courses are not adequate to pass the real FAA knowledge test.

Similar to Exams 4 Pilots, King School’s private pilot practice test is useful to get comfortable with perfecting the exam without exceeding the time limit.

In King School’s free mock examination, you can choose a maximum of 60 aeronautical questions at once.

King School designed it like an actual FAA knowledge test, unlike Exams 4 Pilots, where you can pick a lot more questions at once.

However, like all other free platforms, King School’s question bank has outdated questions.

Student pilots cannot memorize the free questions and expect to pass the private pilot FAA knowledge test.

These were common before decades:

  • Student pilots memorized the answer to the questions and pass the FAA knowledge test.
  • Students didn’t need to understand a subject clearly.

Hence, the FAA frequently adds new questions in the knowledge test and steers clear of publishing the questions for student pilots.

It is a superb technique to drive student pilots towards studying harder and progress toward being smarter and safer pilots.

Now, it is essential for student pilots that they:

  • Clearly understand aeronautical subjects, so they are ready to answer all types of questions;
  • Don’t rely on FREE tools for memorizing questions answers.

Kings School’s practice test page has a bold warning regarding this concern to prevent students from failing their FAA knowledge test.

Private Pilot Written Test Bootcamp by FLY8MA.

FLY8MA’s private pilot practice test is an excellent tool and it is not for FREE.

I mentioned two FREE training tests for student pilots. By now you may already know why the FREE resources are not enough to pass your actual exam.

FAA discourages student pilots to memorize the answers for the exam. FAA desires student pilots to learn a subject clearly so that they can answer any kind of question from their knowledge.

Paid private pilot practice tests like FLY8MA’s Bootcamp course will train you to answer unique questions.

In FLY8MA’s Bootcamp course:

  • The flight instructors work hard to prepare solid questions and add it to the question bank for the students to practice.
  • Experienced flight instructors add questions that are most relevant to the FAA’s recent questions.
  • FLY8MA’s flight instructors consistently update the questions database according to the FAA’s new regulations that keep student pilots up to date.
  • Instructors emphasize on brand new questions to prepare student pilots for unseen questions.

Pilots who did not take the exam for a long time.

Once a student pilot practice answering different questions from the paid version of FLY8MA’s Bootcamp, they will be able to answer all varieties of questions.

Paid practice test course train student pilots on how to manage time to answer unfamiliar questions without exceeding the time limit.

FLY8MA’s Bootcamp also helps student pilots to understand aeronautical information even more clearly.

It is so common that many private pilot trainees did not take any exam in over a decade.

For such student pilots, FLY8MA’s private pilot Bootcamp is a must.

Figuring out the answer to a unique question takes time and someone who did not take any exam in a long time will likely fail because of poor time management.

For those student pilots, using this FLY8MA’s private pilot practice test will help sharpen their aviation knowledge. Likewise, practicing different kinds of questions will ready them for the FAA knowledge test.

In the long run, a paid version is always beneficial for student pilots regardless of when you took an exam the last time. If you don’t want to take the private pilot knowledge test more then once, then paid tools are the way.

Knowing aeronautical subjects in-depth, and understanding precisely, will benefit you in several ways.

  • You will become a better pilot;
  • Can pass your private pilot exam with ease;
  • Students pilots will be ready for their check-ride.

To become a better pilot, and pass your FAA knowledge test, use an online pilot course together with FLY8MA’s private pilot practice test.

The only books that a beginner pilot needs.

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the only books that a beginner pilot needs - The only books that a beginner pilot needs.

Choosing the right book is a dilemma for a beginner pilot in flight training.

There are hundreds of books for student pilots. Only studying the appropriate book can build you as an excellent pilot. The books I mentioned in this article will aid in flight training, FAA knowledge test, and your check-ride.

I shared the top five beginner pilot books, and studying any one of them will take you close to getting your private pilot license.

I see many websites share a list of books for beginner pilots or student pilots, but they rarely say why a book is essential for student pilots, instead they talk about the book’s author and history.

Hence, I listed the books in this article, explaining:

  • How easily can a beginner pilot understand the book’s language.
  • Why a book is essential for student pilots to pass the PPL knowledge test and check-ride;
  • Is a particular book a must-buy for student pilots;
  • In which phase of flight training, a book will benefit the most;

So, the first book I want every beginner pilot to have on their shelf is by Rod Machado.

Private Pilot Handbook by Rod Machado.

Rod Machado is a veteran flight instructor and gained popularity for teaching in a clear, understandable language.

For beginner pilots, aeronautical knowledge is overwhelming, and remembering a wide variety of subjects can be challenging.

Thus, it is crucial for a student pilot to understand subjects apparently.

Similarly, ground school for student pilots is accelerated and it is better learning in technical methods.

Rod Machado’s private pilot handbook has at least two pictures or illustrations on each page to describe a topic transparently.

Apparently, the author took his time to write this book for beginner pilots.

And the author added unique techniques that allow student pilots to not forget a topic even if they want to.

Is this book essential for student pilots?

Aviation studies and aeronautical knowledge is complicated in the beginning. Thus many students lose interest in studying. Yet, Rod Machado keeps students engaged with his humor while preparing for their FAA knowledge test.

Typically, student pilots get the flying hours but they procrastinate to take the private pilot knowledge exam.

Why do they procrastinate?

Students fear they may fail the FAA knowledge test.

As a result, it takes almost a year for many student pilots merely to prepare for the FAA knowledge test and get their private pilot license.

RELATED: Is the private pilot written exam hard?

A good book can play an excellent role to boost your confidence.

Private Pilot Handbook by Rod Machado has more than what you require to pass the private pilot exam in FAA.

Why every beginner pilot needs this book?

This book is not only for beginner pilots but any pilot at any stage of their flight training can read this book.

This book has all the fundamentals of aeronautical knowledge, introduction to aviation, and an excellent refresher book for pilots at any stage.

But mostly this book is essential for beginner pilots. Student pilots preparing for the private pilot knowledge test only needs one book.

This book has everything you need to learn for the knowledge test in the shortest possible time.

Be ready for any kind of questions that might appear in the FAA knowledge test or by your check-pilot.

How to fly an airplane handbook by Rod Machado.

It may sound weird that I suggest the first two books by Rod Machado.

A beginner pilot willing to be good at flying an airplane, I suggest either of these two books:

The airplane flying handbook by ASA has always been my most favorite book for flight training. No doubt, this is an excellent book to learn basic maneuvers of airplane.

However, now I suggest student pilots to buy: How to fly an airplane handbook by Rod Machado.

As always, Rod Machado’s transparent language and explanation is on a different level. I believe Rod Machado’s flying Handbook is superior to the book by ASA in various ways.

Rod Machado explained all the maneuvers in detail:

  • What to do for a certain maneuver and why to do that;
  • How the airplane will react, when a student pilot does something wrong;
  • How a student must respond if his input was not correct.
  • Why an airplane reacts in different manners;
  • Which maneuver is right for complex situations.

Rod Machado went into deep details of the aircraft and how the airplane reacts and why it does like that, unlike ASA only explained what a student pilot needs to do to control the airplane.

Likewise, Rod Machado has tons of illustrations to explain beginner pilots how the airplane will behave and why it will behave like that.

This book is not essential for passing the FAA knowledge test. But with the details on how to fly an airplane, certainly, you will be ready for your FAA check-ride.

Student pilots repeat the same mistakes in their flight training.

Therefore, it takes longer for beginner pilots to be ready for their first solo.

Study this book, implement the techniques and trust me you ill learn to operate and control the airplane in no time.

Get your first solo flight quicker and improve your airplane flying skills.

This book will make a significant difference in your actual flight training.

Typically, it takes 30 hours for student pilots to get their first solo flight. As a result, student pilots fly more than the required 40 Hours for their private pilot license.

The national average for student pilots is to fly 50+ hours to get their private pilot license.

Therefore beginner pilots spend more money than they are supposed to.

Using this book, you will improve your flying skills, and get several private pilot training endorsements within lesser hours.

Using this book will help, so save your money plus time, and invest in a book like this before you begin flight training.

Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche.

People say this book is the Bible of airplanes flying. As the name suggests, this book teaches: The art of flying.

This book is not only meant for pilots but aviators. Can you see the difference?

Aviators are the ones who love going back to the sky again and again for experiencing new challenges because that’s what they love.

So as a beginner pilot, you will not lose anything by investing in this book. Buy this book once and keep it forever.

Although many things in the book seem irrelevant in this age, you will know nothing is irrelevant, while you are in control of the aircraft.

For student pilots, it’s a must-have.

It explains everything about flying an airplane and knowing how and why an airplane responds to your input. Rod Machado’s how to fly an airplane handbook is a lot similar to Stick and Rudder but Rod Machado wrote his book with his own twist and elaborately.

You will also learn what you must not dot while in control of the airplane and why it is best to avoid doing so.

Students pilots need this book to become better in flying.

Beginner pilots, regardless of their intentions:

  • Whether to start flight training,
  •  Learning to fly an airplane;
  • To improve their flying skills;

This book is something you can rely on.

This book can help beginner pilots of fixed-wing airplane or helicopter student pilots. Get this book at an early stage of your flight training and you will not regret it.

Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.

ASA is excellent in publishing books in straightforward language. When I was a student pilot I studied Jeppesen private pilot handbook.

No wonder the ASA’s handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge is a lot comprehensible than Jeppesen. ASA’s handbook of aeronautical knowledge is a good alternative for Rod Machado’s private pilot handbook.

Though it is not the best, it has all you need to know as a student pilot.

Similar to Rod Machado’s private pilot handbook, ASA’s handbook of aeronautical knowledge is in a straightforward language but it doesn’t cover topics elaborately.

ASA’s handbook is essential for beginner pilots, especially to study things that are essential to pass FAA private pilot knowledge test.

You can order online or download the PDF format from the FAA’s website.

After you get your private pilot license, you need to learn more advanced topics to become a better pilot regardless of your purpose of flying. Fly with your friends and family for recreation but always keep learning as a pilot to become a safer pilot.

Acquiring more knowledge is crucial to become competent in the industry.

For more advanced knowledge, you will have to buy another book together with the Pilot’s handbook of aeronautical knowledge.

I like books by ASA because they are easy to understand and always on point.

Get a copy of this book if you are a student pilot or before you start your flight training.

Weather Flying by Robert N. Buck.

As a pilot, you will encounter adverse weather and by studying this book you will know how to fly in bad weather.

This book may not be necessary as a student pilot but there is nothing wrong with being ready.

In this book, you will learn:

  • What kind of weather to avoid and what weather to expect en route.

For student pilots, reading this book can be boring. The book is difficult to read as there is no picture and illustrations. This book is like a novel, by two pilots where they share their experiences of weather flying.

Yet, take your time to read this book, you will be a better pilot in real life. This book has nothing much for passing your private pilot knowledge test.

This book is only about aviation weather. It is different from what you learn in other private pilot handbook meteorology chapter.

All aeronautical handbooks explain:

  • The weather;
  • Types of clouds;
  • What kind of weather to avoid;
  • Why adverse weather is dangerous, etc.

On the other hand, this book doesn’t talk about whether formation and other meteorological details, this book talks about how to fly through different kinds of weather.

Knowing how to fly through different weather and landing the airplane safely is a crucial part of becoming a safe pilot.

No one knows what you may encounter as a pilot. After you read this book you will know what to expect and what kind of weather to avoid.

Beginner pilots in their private pilot training stage can sharpen their skills as a pilot by reading this book.

This book tells you about the safe operations of an airplane in any kind of weather condition.

One last thing, this book is very relevant for weather flying in the USA, as the author of this book has experience in flying in the USA. As a beginner pilot in general aviation, you must get this book as it is crucial for safe flying. Regardless, any pilot can buy this book read this book several times during their flying career.

No matter at what stage of your flight training or your aviation career you are now, you can refer to this book over and over again.

The only books that beginner pilot needs.

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