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What to Focus on Before your Private Pilot Checkride

Written by Cecilia Otero


Aviation school students know better than anyone how important their private pilot checkride is. This exam could be one of the last things standing between you and your pilot certificate, so listen up! Here’s a short list of subjects to focus on while you study.

Systems

One of the most crucial parts of becoming a private pilot is being well-acquainted with each mechanical component that you’re using, so make sure you get to know your aircraft very well. The examiner will want to know that you fully understand how it works. Study your oil, vacuum, fuel, and electrical systems.


Regulations

As you’ll know from aviation school, there are a lot of rules and regulations that go into flying a plane. They may seem like a dull jumble of words on paper, but they exist for good reason. Instead of trying to memorize the entire FAR/AIM, study the regulations enough to understand how they can be applied practically to real situations.


Safety

In the end, the main point of your private pilot checkride is to determine that you are a safe, competent pilot. Examiners want to see firsthand that you are taking every precaution possible to keep yourself and your passengers out of danger. Demonstrate your familiarity with the subject by briefing the examiner on safety risks such as obstacles, airspace, and density ahead of time.


Decision Making

This is the type of skill you’ll end up developing as you practice, rather than in class at aviation school. Before certifying you, examiners need to know that you can make rational, well-calculated decisions in any scenario. Develop a solid analysis of possible risks and consequences, and what actions you would take to deal with them.


Emergency Scenarios

During your checkride, the examiner will propose a handful of possible emergencies to test your knowledge of systems and regulations, as well as your safety and decision-making skills. During this portion of the exam, it is imperative that your answers are deliberate, levelheaded, and confident.

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