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Feature Article: Overview of the PTS

75% of Applicant failures are due to instructor failure. The Applicant must know that he is pilot in command as well as in compliance with the eligibility rules. The DPE, Designated Pilot Examiner is supposed to ask questions in such a way at to avoid rote answers in preference for his correlative abilities. The instructor must certify that the Applicant is ready for and capable of passing the test. The CFI is responsible for everything, the application, the logbook, and the flight performance

The PTS is a sampling process of performance. The performance sample must be done within the performance limits of the test aircraft. Smoothness, accuracy, and judgment are the test criteria. The DPE Designated Pilot Examiner is looking for the pilot to demonstrate aircraft mastery in the performance of maneuvers as specified in FAR 61.43. Failure in any one PO (Pilot operation) fails only that PO. At any point either the DPE or applicant can end the test. Only items failed or not tested need to be completed when the test is resumed.

Any PO that requires DPE intervention or includes failure to use proper and effective clearing or scanning is a failure of that PO. Repeated exceeding of performance tolerance and failure to initiate corrections promptly are failures as well. The applicant should never stop a maneuver that is out of tolerance. Correcting any out of tolerance situation immediately is not a failure unless the DPE calls it a failure.

The latest series of FAA question banks were established February 16, 1999. Do not use any earlier test bank since the ORDER of the answers have been changed as well as some of the questions. Private pilot has 915 questions and 13 different tests. Instrument Rating has 942 questions with latest update in terminology. Commercial has 963 questions with some changes in order and wording. 100 questions to be completed in three hours.

Instructor's endorsement is a professional approval of an applicantís ability to fly safely over the full gamut of required performance. The actual checkride is but a series of snapshots to affirm the instructorís judgment. To make the checkride valid the examiner begins with his plan of what will be done. Expect to be asked to do something that you have never done before. This is an important element of the test that tests your ability to adapt to the unexpected.

The instructor wonít sign your certificate unless he is reasonably certain that you will pass the test. The test, oral and flight, is divided into areas of operation and tasks. All operations and tasks must be tested. The examiner may vary the order of the test to promote efficiency and validity. The reference for each area is listed in the PTS.

If a student fails to learn, someone has failed to teach. It the instructor's fault that an area of knowledge is weak or a flight skill is deficient. An instructor must demand the study time needed to detect and correct any weakness. The checkride is more of a test of the instructorís training program than of student performance.

The practical test is the last hurdle to certification. The test is to determine if you have the training and proficiency required. The test is a presentation of tasks to be evaluated by oral questioning, observation or in combination. Only question/answer references are those listed in the PTS. Seldom used material is to be found by use of reference to POH, AIM or A/F Directory, etc. The FAA highest priority is that the test be fair. I have always found it so for the past twenty-five years.

I have never known a DE not to give a student a fair shake on the flight test. Often they will give a second chance if performance does not meet PTS requirements. Two-time-Tommys donít get many applicants. If, after going over the PTS you find an area where your procedure is different talk it over with your instructor and again with the DE before flying. There are often several interpretations of just what is wanted during the flight test. By the time you take the test you should be able to perform to the DEís expectations what ever they may be.

The applicant must be free of distractions that will affect flying. Use mnemonics to reduce distractions and facilitate use of checklists. Expect the examiner to review knowledge of FARs, POH, V-speeds and planning. Expect questions on aircraft systems, engine operations and aircraft performance.

Last Modified March 29, ©2020 TAGE.COM

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