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

Examiner Responsibility:

  • The examiner conducting the practical test is responsible for determining that the applicant meets the acceptable standards of knowledge and skill of each Task within the appropriate practical test standard
  • Since there is no formal division between the “oral” and “skill” portions of the practical test, this becomes an ongoing process throughout the test. Oral questioning, to determine the applicant's knowledge of Tasks and related safety factors, should be used judiciously at all times, especially during the flight portion of the practical test
  • Examiners shall test to the greatest extent practicable the applicant's correlative abilities rather than mere rote enumeration of facts throughout the practical test
  • If the examiner determines that a Task is incomplete, or the outcome uncertain, the examiner may require the applicant to repeat that Task, or portions of that Task
  • This provision has been made in the interest of fairness and does not mean that instruction, practice, or the repeating of an unsatisfactory task is permitted during the certification process. When practical, the remaining Tasks of the practical test phase should be completed before repeating the questionable Task
  • On multiengine practical tests, where the failure of the most critical engine after liftoff is required, the examiner must give consideration to local atmospheric conditions, terrain, and type of aircraft used
  • However, the failure of an engine shall not be simulated until attaining at least VSSE/VXSE/VYSE and at an altitude not lower than 400 feet AGL
  • During simulated engine failures on multiengine practical tests, the examiner shall set zero thrust after the applicant has simulated feathering the propeller
  • The examiner shall require the applicant to demonstrate at least one landing with a simulated-feathered propeller with the engine set to zero thrust
  • The feathering of one propeller shall be demonstrated in flight, unless the manufacturer prohibits the intentional feathering of the propellers during flight
  • Throughout the flight portion of the practical test, the examiner shall evaluate the applicant's use of visual scanning and collision avoidance procedures

Satisfactory Performance:

  • Satisfactory performance to meet the requirements for certification is based on the applicant's ability to safely:
    1. Perform the Tasks specified in the Areas of Operation for the certificate or rating sought within the approved standards;
    2. Demonstrate mastery of the aircraft by performing each Task successfully;
    3. Demonstrate satisfactory proficiency and competency within the approved standards;
    4. Demonstrate sound judgment and exercises aeronautical decision-making/risk management; and
    5. Demonstrate single-pilot competence if the aircraft is type certificated for single-pilot operations

Unsatisfactory Performance:

  • The tolerances represent the performance expected in good flying conditions. If, in the judgment of the examiner, the applicant does not meet the standards of performance of any Task performed, the associated Area of Operation is failed and therefore, the practical test is failed
  • The examiner or applicant may discontinue the test at any time when the failure of an Area of Operation makes the applicant ineligible for the certificate or rating sought
  • The test may be continued ONLY with the consent of the applicant
  • If the test is discontinued, the applicant is entitled credit for only those Areas of Operation and their associated Tasks satisfactorily performed
  • However, during the retest, and at the discretion of the examiner, any Task may be reevaluated, including those previously passed
  • Typical areas of unsatisfactory performance and grounds for disqualification are:
    1. Any action or lack of action by the applicant that requires corrective intervention by the examiner 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 Objectives
    4. Failure to take prompt corrective action when tolerances are exceeded
  • When a notice of disapproval is issued, the examiner shall record the applicant's unsatisfactory performance in terms of the Area of Operation and specific Task(s) not meeting the standard appropriate to the practical test conducted. The Area(s) of Operation/Task(s) not tested and the number of practical test failures shall also be recorded
  • If the applicant fails the practical test because of a special emphasis area, the Notice of Disapproval shall indicate the associated Task (i. e., Area of Operation VIII, Maneuvering During Slow Flight, failure to use proper collision avoidance procedures)

Letter of Discontinuance:

  • When a practical test is discontinued for reasons other than unsatisfactory performance (i.e., equipment failure, weather, illness), the FAA Form 8710-1, Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, and, if applicable, the Airman Knowledge Test Report, is returned to the applicant
  • The examiner then must prepare, sign, and issue a Letter of Discontinuance to the applicant
  • The Letter of Discontinuance must identify the Areas of Operation and their associated Tasks of the practical test that were successfully completed
  • The applicant will be advised that the Letter of Discontinuance must be presented to the examiner, to receive credit for the items successfully completed, when the practical test is resumed, and made part of the certification file

Private Pilot Airplane Airman Certification Standards:

  1. Preflight Preparation:

  2. Preflight Procedures:

  3. Airport and Seaplane Base Operations:

    • Task A. Communications and Light Gun Signals
    • Task B. Traffic Patterns
  4. Takeoffs, Landing and Go-Arounds:

    • Task A. Normal Takeoff and Climb
    • Task B. Normal Approach and Landing
    • Task C. Soft-Field Takeoff and Climb (ASEL)
    • Task D. Soft-Field Approach and Landing (ASEL)
    • Task E. Short-Field Takeoff and Maximum Performance Climb (ASEL, AMEL)
    • Task F. Short-Field Approach and Landing (ASEL, AMEL)
    • Task G. Confined Area Takeoff and Maximum Performance Climb (ASES, AMES)
    • Task H. Confined Area Approach and Landing (ASES, AMES)
    • Task I. Glassy Water Takeoff and Climb (ASES, AMES)
    • Task J. Glassy Water Approach and Landing (ASES, AMES)
    • Task K. Rough Water Takeoff and Climb (ASES, AMES)
    • Task L. Rough Water Approach and Landing (ASES, AMES)
    • Task M. Forward Slip to a Landing (ASEL, ASES)
    • Task N. Go-Around/Rejected Landing
  5. Performance Maneuvers:

    • Task A. Steep Turns
    • Task B. Ground Reference Maneuvers
  6. Slow Flight and Stalls:

    • Task A. Maneuvering During Slow Flight
    • Task B. Power-Off Stalls
    • Task C. Power-On Stalls
    • Task D. Spin Awareness
  7. Basic Instrument Maneuvers:

    • Task A. Straight-and-Level Flight
    • Task B. Constant Airspeed Climbs
    • Task C. Constant Airspeed Descents
    • Task D. Turns to Headings
    • Task E. Recovery from Unusual Flight Attitudes
    • Task F. Radio Communications, Navigation Systems/Facilities, and Radar Services
  8. Emergency Operations:

    • Task A. Emergency Descent
    • Task B. Emergency Approach and Landing (Simulated) (ASEL, ASES)
    • Task C. Systems and Equipment Malfunction
    • Task D. Emergency Equipment and Survival Gear
    • Task E. Engine Failure During Takeoff Before VMC (Simulated) (AMEL, AMES)
    • Task F. Engine Failure After Lift-Off (Simulated) (AMEL, AMES)
    • Task G. Approach and Landing with an Inoperative Engine (Simulated) (AMEL, AMES)
  9. Multiengine Operations:

    • Task A. Maneuvering with One Engine Inoperative (AMEL, AMES)
    • Task B. VMC Demonstration (AMEL, AMES)
    • Task C. Engine Failure During Flight (by reference to instruments) (AMEL, AMES)
    • Task D. Instrument Approach and Landing with an Inoperative Engine (Simulated) (by reference to instruments) (AMEL, AMES)
  10. Night Operations:

    • Task A. Night Preparation
  11. Postflight Procedures:

    • Task A. After Landing, Parking and Securing (ASEL, AMEL)
    • Task B. Seaplane Post-Landing Procedures (ASES, AMES)


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