Private Pilot Checkride Nov 2015 KGAI

The PPL check ride is divided to two parts- Oral exam and Practical one.

First – the Oral Exam:

Go deeply into the same material on the written exam. Make sure you have a good understanding of “why” doing any step! I used a lot of good short videos on YouTube to understand better any problematic issue.

Sit down with your charts, look for any unfamiliar symbol, look over the times table by the sides of the chart, practice by yourself to find any towers/restricted areas operational times by the tables.

Go over the plane with the A&P. Ask him to explain some of the aircraft systems.  For example, how does the fuel get to the engine from the fuel tank?  Have him/her explain the basic operation of the engine.  Know how the yoke is connected to the elevator. Be able to locate required inspections in the aircraft maintenance records – log books.

Be very familiar with the POH. This contains operational limits for your aircraft as it also has the performance tables. Make sure you are able to locate most anything in the POH.

Be very familiar with all airport signage. There are several online training aids to assist you in learning these.  In the WFIA forum found by going to, click on the WIFA logo upper right corner, click on WIFA forum, and under WIFA ground school view the slides for ground lesson 4 (Harry has all of the airport signage in this presentation).

We started the Exam by going over all of my documents. He will review your log book to verify that you have the proper experience. He will review your medical certificate and other FAA documents.

Be sure to bring with you the following:

* IACRA Documents

* ID

* Logbook

* Medical Certificate

* Your Charts

* Airport Facility Directory


* Your aircraft maintenance records

* Plotter & Flight Computer

He started the exam portion with cards showing airport signage. I was asked to identified each one by its formal name and classified it to “Sign” next to the pavement or a “Mark” on the pavement. We continued on by limits questions: Weather, Airplane, Inspections. Next I was asked question that needed an explanation, for example:

  1. What happens if a fuel tank vent becomes clogged?
  2. I was asked to explain how the stall horn works?


Next we moved on to the navigation part of the test. We opened the sectional and then started going over different scenarios for some flights:

  1. Flying to Tangier Island (eastern Washington D.C.), what would your steps be to land there?
  2. You are flying 2000 feet along the coast north of Atlantic City (next Philadelphia) and would like to land in Millville, explain your options.
  3. You plan to land in Sky Bryce (about 60NM west of Dulles), what are the different airspace classes during your approach into Sky Bryce?
  4. Which airspace class is Webster Naval Outlying Field (KNUI)?
  5. Explain the P-40 Area, how can you look for the current status?
  6. Go over the Washington SFRA and rules.

The oral exam was about 2 hours, the atmosphere was “Educational”, instead of “Testing”.

The Practical Exam Part:

The airborne exam is mostly a safety check of your flying skills. It is better for you to show good control during all the landings than lose 150 foot by steep turn maneuvering.

First part was the pre-flight checklist. This examiner showed me the elevator balance weight located inside the elevator. Be sure to keep your checklist out during the flight and use it.  Nobody rush you.  Do not forget to set your timer for the cross country portion.  I climbed to my cruise altitude, and then turned to my heading towards my first check point.  After reaching my second point I was asked to calculate my current GS and my planed flight time to the final destination.  We deviated from the cross country to the practice area. First I went under the hood and did a climb, decent, and turn by the instruments.

We did the following maneuvers:

* Slow Flight Clean configuration.

* Power off Stall

* Power on Stall

* Lost procedures using the VOR.

* Engine out over an open field

We went to Carroll County Airport. I got the weather there. We did a short field landing at KDMW. I did a short field takeoff and then a soft field landing. All landings were full stop.

Leaving KDMW I did a soft field takeoff then turn and intercepted the 218 radial from EMI to KGAI. Once established on the radial he told me that I had a broken throttle cable or stuck throttle – fixed at 2300 RPM. Questions were: How should I decent? How should I land?

Should I keep to the same destination? Should I inform ATC? I descended with the yoke using flaps to reduce my speed or to keep my speed low.  I could use the mixture to control engine RPM.  Landed back at KGAI!


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