Catch-Up post #5 August 18th, 2016

Down the road after completion of inflight training, you must successfully complete a Practical Test consisting of an oral exam immediately followed by a check ride administered by an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner DPE. The applicant makes the appointment with the DPE at least a week in advance and the DPE will assign the route to be flown. On the day of the appointment the applicant must show up with all the route planning and associated paperwork completed as well as a whole list of documents and stuff to show that he/she knows what they are doing and can properly determine if the aircraft is airworthy and complies with the regulations. The DFE goes over a variety of topics covered in the Airmen Certification Standards ACS (Prior to June 13th the Practical Test Standards PTS) and questions the applicant. By regulation the DPE is required to thoroughly examine the applicant on any areas where they missed questions on the Knowledge Exam. That is why you are required to give the DPE a copy of your exam results at the time of the practical test. If you do well on the knowledge exam you can spare yourself some grief. Hopefully.

FAA Practical Test

I began Ground School in the middle of March and it’s now May 10th. I’ve had flight lessons scheduled twice a week for the past 8 weeks while also completing Ground School; however, half have been cancelled due to the rainy wet weather. Becoming a bit frustrated with my progress I decide to take my FAA Knowledge Exam after yet another weeks lessons are cancelled due to low clouds, rain, and wind. So I spend my first day off work going over my study materials and then schedule my exam for the next day.

The testing center at the flight school was booked full so I drove 2 hours to the next nearest one, pay my testing fee, and take a deep breath.

I walk in with my allowed items: basic calculator, mechanical pencil, eraser, protector, and E6B Flight computer. The stress is numbing and after a couple of questions I begin in feel the walls closing in….. take a deep breath and execute the testing plan like you did on all those practice tests. The plan I learned from the testing books is to answer all the questions you immediately know and mark & skip the ones you really have to think about or the ones that require a lot of reference to diagrams, charts, and calculations. Then come back to those questions because you will likely only have 6-10 of them and plenty of time to manage. I do this and settle into a rhythm. At the end I have 4 questions that I have answered but still have them marked because I am unsure of my answer. I change of one my answers and leave the rest as is; they say to never change an answer and doing so burns me! I get 4 wrong, the one I changed was initially answered correctly 😦

My incorrect answers (my answer !!!, correct answer *)

This questions refers to a gauge you use to track a radio signal for navigation.

Q See fig 29, #8; OBS is set to 210 degrees with a TO indication and a Centered Needle. You are crossing what radial?
A 030 *
B 210
C 300 !!!

Q When would your altimeter indicate lower than true altitude?
A lower than standard temperature !!!
B lower than standard pressure *
C some way out there wrong answer

This is the answer I changed!
Q In reference to certification of Airman, a class of aircraft is?
A airplane, rotorcraft, lighter than air !!!
B single-engine land and sea, multiengine land and sea *
C some way out there wrong answer

Q What is the maximum speed limit below (2500 MSL) in Class B Airspace?
A 250 kts !!!
B 200 kts *
C 230 kts

So all in all I’m happy with 93% though still bummed I didn’t manage 95-98% that I was averaging in my practice tests. Though with the pressure of my first time taking an FAA Exam and the first time taking any such exam in many years I am pleased with the outcome.

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