8 Top Tips for Acing your PPL Flight Test
Nerves are great before the flight test, but uncertainty isn’t. Remember, your instructor would not have scheduled you and let you go unless he or she was damned sure that you had a high probability of passing.
Your flight test will typically take half a day to complete. You will initially spend some time on ground going through the KDRs (Knowledge Deficiency Report -Explained Later in this blog) followed by the flight on your planned route.
Here are a few tips to getting it right, first time!
Tip #1: Read the Flight Test form
A great way to start your preparation for the flight test is by downloading the PPL test form from CASA website. Go through it front to back, top to bottom. This is the test form your examiner will be using during your test.
The test form will tell you what you are required to demonstrate in order to pass the test. Make sure you are thorough with the ground components and flight components that are mentioned in the back of the form.
Tip #2: Ground Studies
In the case that you don’t get 100% in your PPL Theory Test, you will be required to go through a knowledge deficiency report (KDR) outlining the answers you missed, this comes with the exam results. You will need to show that you know the “deficient items” well enough. Get into the books, google and know everything relating to the topic.
Examiner may choose to test your knowledge outside the KDR within the syllabus. Be prepared and don’t bullshit to an examiner!
Remember, it’s not about just knowing the theory, it’s about understanding what, how and why and being able to put it in practical sense.
Tip #3: Don’t Fear Your Examiner
Examiners are all too familiar with student’s nerves on the day of the test, and they try to put you at ease as much as possible, remember they were once sitting in your seat. This does not mean that they will let you get away with a friendly chat and a joy flight but remember the confidence your instructor has in your ability and take your exam as an opportunity to do your best. The examiner is well experienced and most of them will know your abilities on your very first take-off. “Don’t Take-off with balance ball way out!!!”
Maintain a calm and attentive mind throughout the test and you’ll be half way there.
Tip #4: Pre-Licence
Most of the flying schools do a pre-licence with a Senior Instructor before the test. Take this flight seriously and as a chance to find room for improvement from an outside source.
Pre-licence will be a simulated flight test, most times tougher and with higher standards to make sure you can breeze through the flight test. Typically it will be organised with an unfamiliar instructor, to replicate your flight test.
Tip #5: Have Your Paperwork in Order
On the day of your test, don’t come on time! Be there a few hours early, if you can. Check the weather, check your plan, weight and balance, call up aerodromes that need prior permission to fly into them, do a full pre-flight inspection of the aircraft, fill up fuel if you need to, carry refuelling card if you need to refuel, make sure the aircraft is clean from outside and inside!
Carry a folder and arrange systematically weather, weight and balance, take-off and landing charts, notams, maps, ruler, flight computer. Last thing you want in your test is losing one of them in the cockpit, in flight ! Always carry spare pencils and rulers.
Bring your Licence and medical, logbook for the test. Preparation is key!
Tip #6: Talk Yourself Through
Talk to yourself about the flight, literally. Visualise where, what and how are you going to climb, descend, join, see a feature in relation to your aircraft, change radio and talk to the controller if you have to. Talk to yourself on lost procedure, diversion procedure, and CLEAROFF check. Take advantage or your friends and family, anyone who will listen. Talk them step by step through your procedures.
This will help boost your confidence on the day of the flight-test.
Tip #7: Don’t Worry About Being Perfect
Last thing you want is to do is make a small mistake at the beginning. Don’t fly yourself to a fail. If you have done something wrong, fix it and move on. Don’t be stuck there, the plane isn’t!
Practically it is impossible to be perfect. If you look at the required competency for PPL, you will notice that they don’t ask you to be spot on with height hold, heading hold, estimate etc… there are tolerances. So relax and have a good feeling about the flight, think about what all things that can go right rather than what things might go wrong.
#8: Take Care of Yourself and Relax
As I said before, relax! It’s a flight to check on what you already know! Be confident in what you know.
Remember the best way to make decisions in flight is by thinking as if you are taking your parents or, partner, children on the flight. Would you push yourself to endanger their lives? If the answer is no, then it is a NO to whatever you are doing during the test.
Carry a positive atmosphere into the test and the chances are high that you will walk out of it happy with your Private Pilot Licence.