Private Pilot Airplane Lesson Plans


Private Pilot Airplane Practical Test Prerequisites:1

  • An applicant for the Private Pilot-Airplane Practical Test is required by 14 CFR part 61 to:
    1. Be at least 17 years of age;
    2. Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language
      • If there is a doubt, use AC 60-28, English Language Skill Standards;
    3. Have passed the appropriate private pilot knowledge test since the beginning of the 24th month before the month in which he or she takes the practical test;
    4. Have satisfactorily accomplished the required training and obtained the aeronautical experience prescribed;
    5. Possess at least a current third class medical certification or when a military pilot of the U.S. Armed Forces can show and present evidence of an up-to-date medical examination authorizing pilot status issued by the U.S. Armed Forces;
    6. Have an endorsement from an authorized instructor certifying that the applicant has received and logged training time within two (2) calendar months preceding the date of application in preparation for the practical test, and is prepared for the practical test;
    7. Receive and log ground training from an authorized instructor or complete a home-study course on the aeronautical knowledge areas of 14 CFR part 61.105 paragraph (b) that apply to the aircraft category and class rating sought; and
    8. Also have an endorsement certifying that the applicant has demonstrated satisfactory knowledge of the subject areas in which the applicant was deficient on the airman knowledge test (not required for power aircraft to non-power aircraft or power aircraft to power aircraft for additional category or class rating)

Aircraft and Equipment Required for the Practical Test:

  • The private pilot-airplane applicant is required by 14 CFR section 61.45 to provide an airworthy, certificated aircraft for use during the practical test. This section further requires that the aircraft must:
    1. Be of U.S., foreign, or military registry of the same category, class, and type, if applicable, for the certificate and/or rating for which the applicant is applying;
    2. Have fully functioning dual controls, except as provided for in 14 CFR section 61.45(c) and (e); and
    3. Be capable of performing all Areas of Operation appropriate to the rating sought and have no operating limitations, which prohibit its use in any of the Areas of Operation, required for the practical test

Flight Instructor Responsibility:

  • An appropriately rated flight instructor is responsible for training the private pilot applicant to acceptable standards in ALL subject matter areas, procedures, and maneuvers included in the Tasks within each Area of Operation in the appropriate private pilot practical test standard, even if the applicant is adding a category or class rating
  • Because of the impact of their teaching activities in developing safe, proficient pilots, flight instructors should exhibit a high level of knowledge, skill, and the ability to impart that knowledge and skill to students
  • Throughout the applicant's training, the flight instructor is responsible for emphasizing the performance of effective visual scanning, collision avoidance procedures, the manufacturer's recommended procedures for the airplane flown, and other areas deemed appropriate to the practical test

Evaluator Responsibilities:

  • An evaluator is:
    • Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI);
    • Pilot examiner (other than administrative pilot examiners);
    • Training center evaluator (TCE);
    • Chief instructor, assistant chief instructor or check instructor of pilot school holding examining authority; or
    • Instrument Flight Instructor (CFII) conducting an instrument proficiency check (IPC)
  • The evaluator who conducts the practical test is responsible for determining that the applicant meets the established standards of aeronautical knowledge, skills (flight proficiency), and risk management for the Tasks in the appropriate ACS. This responsibility also includes verifying the experience requirements specified for a certificate or rating
  • Prior to beginning the practical test, the evaluator must also determine that the applicant meets FAA Aviation English Language Proficiency Standard. An applicant for an FAA certificate or rating should be able to communicate in English in a discernible and understandable manner with ATC, pilots, and others involved in preparing an aircraft for flight and operating an aircraft in flight. This communication may or may not involve the use of the radio. An applicant for an FAA certificate issued in accordance with part 61, 63, 65, or 107 who cannot hear or speak due to a medical deficiency may be eligible for an FAA certificate with specific operational limitations. For additional guidance, reference AC 60-28, English Language Skill Standards required by 14 CFR parts 61, 63, 65, and 107, as amended
  • The evaluator must develop a Plan of Action (POA), written in English, to conduct the practical test, and it must include all of the required Areas of Operation and Tasks. The POA must include a scenario that evaluates as many of the required Areas of Operation and Tasks as possible. As the scenario unfolds during the test, the evaluator will introduce problems and emergencies that the applicant must manage. The evaluator has the discretion to modify the POA in order to accommodate unexpected situations as they arise. For example, the evaluator may elect to suspend and later resume a scenario in order to assess certain Tasks
  • In the integrated ACS framework, the Areas of Operation contain Tasks that include "knowledge" elements (such as K1), “risk management” elements (such as R1), and “skill” elements (such as S1). Knowledge and risk management elements are primarily evaluated during the knowledge testing phase of the airman certification process. The evaluator must assess the applicant on all skill elements for each Task included in each Area of Operation of the ACS, unless otherwise noted. The evaluator administering the practical test has the discretion to combine Tasks/elements as appropriate to testing scenarios
  • The required minimum elements to include in the POA, unless otherwise noted, from each applicable Task are as follows:
    • At least one knowledge element;
    • At least one risk management element;
    • All skill elements; and
    • Any Task elements in which the applicant was shown to be deficient on the knowledge test
  • Note: Task elements added to the POA on the basis of being listed on the AKTR may satisfy the other minimum Task element requirements. The missed items on the AKTR are not required to be added in addition to the minimum Task element requirements
  • There is no expectation for testing every knowledge and risk management element in a Task, but the evaluator has discretion to sample as needed to ensure the applicant’s mastery of that Task
  • Unless otherwise noted in the Task, the evaluator must test each item in the skills section by asking the applicant to perform each one. As safety of flight conditions permit, the evaluator should use questions during flight to test knowledge and risk management elements not evident in the demonstrated skills. To the greatest extent practicable, evaluators should test the applicant’s ability to apply and correlate information, and use rote questions only when they are appropriate for the material being tested. If the Task includes an element with subelements, the evaluator may choose the primary element and select at least one sub-element to satisfy the requirement that at least one knowledge element be selected. For example, if the evaluator chooses PA.I.H.K1, he or she must select a sub-element like PA.I.H.K1e to satisfy the requirement to select one knowledge element

Possible Test Outcomes:

  • There are three possible outcomes of the practical test:
    1. Temporary Airman Certificate (satisfactory);
    2. Notice of Disapproval (unsatisfactory), or;
    3. Letter of Discontinuance
  • If the evaluator determines that a Task is incomplete, or the outcome is uncertain, the evaluator must require the applicant to repeat that Task, or portions of that Task
    • This provision does not mean that instruction, practice, or the repetition of an unsatisfactory Task is permitted during the practical test
  • If the outcome is unsatisfactory, the evaluator must issue a Notice of Disapproval
  • Satisfactory Performance:

    • Per 14 CFR part 61, section 61.43, satisfactory performance requires that the applicant:
      • Demonstrate the Tasks specified in the Areas of Operation for the certificate or rating sought within the established standards;
      • Demonstrate mastery of the aircraft by performing each Task successfully;
      • Demonstrate proficiency and competency in accordance with the approved standards;
      • Demonstrate sound judgment and exercise aeronautical decision-making/risk management; and
      • The applicant is expected to demonstrate competence in resource management (CRM/SRM) appropriate to the aircraft and Tasks
    • Satisfactory performance will result in the issuance of a temporary certificate
  • Unsatisfactory Performance:

    • Typical areas of unsatisfactory performance and grounds for disqualification include:
      1. Any action or lack of action by the applicant that requires corrective intervention by the evaluator to maintain safe flight
      2. Failure to use proper and effective visual scanning techniques to clear the area before and while performing maneuvers
      3. Consistently exceeding tolerances stated in the skill elements of the Task
      4. Failure to take prompt corrective action when tolerances are exceeded
      5. Failure to exercise risk management
    • If, in the judgment of the evaluator, the applicant does not meet the standards for any Task, the applicant fails the Task and associated Area of Operation
      • The test is unsatisfactory, and the evaluator issues a Notice of Disapproval
      • The evaluator lists the Area(s) of Operation in which the applicant did not meet the standard, any Area(s) of Operation not tested, and the number of practical test failures
      • The evaluator should also list the Tasks failed or Tasks not tested within any unsatisfactory or partially completed Area(s) of Operation
      • If the applicant's inability to meet English language requirements contributed to the failure of a Task, the evaluator must note "English Proficiency" on the Notice of Disapproval
    • The evaluator or the applicant may end the test if the applicant fails a Task
      • The evaluator may continue the test only with the consent of the applicant
      • The applicant is entitled to credit only for those Areas of Operation and the associated Tasks performed satisfactorily
  • Letter of Discontinuance:

    • When a practical test is discontinued for reasons other than unsatisfactory performance (i.e., equipment failure, weather, illness), the evaluator must return all test paperwork to the applicant
    • The examiner then must prepare, sign, and issue a Letter of Discontinuance to the applicant that lists those Areas of Operation the applicant successfully completed and the time period remaining to complete the test
    • The evaluator should advise the applicant to present the Letter of Discontinuance to the evaluator when the practical test resumes in order to receive credit for the items successfully completed
    • The Letter of Discontinuance becomes part of the applicant's certification file

Private Pilot Airplane Airman Certification Standards/Lesson Plans:

  1. Preflight Preparation:

  2. Preflight Procedures:

  3. Airport and Seaplane Base Operations:

  4. Takeoffs, Landing and Go-Arounds:

  5. Performance and Ground Reference Maneuvers:

  6. Slow Flight and Stalls:

  7. Basic Instrument Maneuvers:

  8. Emergency Operations:

  9. Multiengine Operations:

  10. Night Operations:

  11. Postflight Procedures:


  • To learn more about earning your airplane single engine land private pilot test, visit the checkride page