Guidance for Private Pilots

 

Contents



Student Pilots - The Requirements


Course Information

There are some hoops you need to jump through in order to complete the necessary requirements for your licence and in addition to your flying training.

These relate to the study for and taking of the necessary official theoretical knowledge exams, and are explained as concisely as we can below.

You will need to study for, and pass a total of nine official exams. The subjects are as follows (click to get more information):

In addition, you will also need to pass the following practical (oral) test:

  • Communications (Radio Telephony) for which we have this course.
Pass Mark

The pass mark for each exam is 75%. This is also the pass mark for our own on-line exams associated with these courses.

Failures & Resits

You are allowed FOUR attempts at the official exam for a given subject.

If you fail to pass the exam for a subject FOUR times, you will need to undergo further training, and you will need to enter a 3 month cooling off period. All previous exam passes in all subjects will be declared null and void. In other words, you will have to start the whole exam process all over again for all nine subjects.

Timescales

All of the exams must be passed within a period of 18 months counted from the end of the calendar month when you first attempted an exam.

For example:
If you sit your first exam on the 2nd June 2016, you would have until 31st December 2017 to pass all exams.

If you fail to pass all exams within the 18-month period, you will need to enter a 3 month cooling off period, and all previous exam passes in all subjects will be declared null and void. In other words, you will have to start the exam process all over again.

At the successful completion of all exams, all exam passes will remain valid for a period of 24 months dated from the last exam pass date.

Exam Locations

You may only sit exams at a location registered with the CAA.

These locations will also have approved Ground Examiners who will act as invigilator.

The exam location will normally be the same as your flight training organisation.

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Student Pilots - How to Study

As is often the case, you can make life easy, or you can make life difficult for yourself.

We have an in-depth understanding of the level and type of knowledge required for each of the subjects you need to study for your goal.

The amount of knowledge you need to assimilate is dependent upon the subject in question. Some subjects also complement each other, so studying them in a certain order can be beneficial from both a learning convenience and understanding perspective.

Taking all these factors into account, along with our knowledge of training and learning abilities, we highly recommend you take note of our suggested study guide and exam order strategy below to assure yourself every chance of success.


Study Order Course
1 Air Law & ATC Procedures More Information
2 Operational Procedures More Information
3 Aircraft General Knowledge More Information
4 Principles of Flight More Information
5 Meteorology More Information
6 Human Performance & Limitations More Information
7 Navigation More Information
8 Communications * More Information
9 Flight Performance & Planning More Information

* There is also a Communications Practical (Oral) Exam with a Radiotelephony Examiner. You will need to have a separate revision/preparation session for this exam. We have put together our own (and highly successful) RT Practical Exam Preparation package for you! We regularly get feedback from RT examiners and students alike on how well this prepares pilots for this particular examination. You can find out more about our one-to-one tuition package on our RT Practical Examination Preparation page.

Visit the Private Pilot Courses page for further information about all relevant courses.

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Official Exams Pre-requisites

Before you are allowed to sit an official exam, you will need to be in possession of an Exam Readiness Certificate. To find out more about this first, click here.

You will be required to sit our on-line exam for the course in order to obtain your Exam Readiness Certificate. By doing this exam, you will stand absolutely every chance of passing the official exams for that subject.

Rule number one: Don't Panic.

The CAA OFFICIAL THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE EXAMS ARE NOW TAKEN ON-LINE.

The official exam is now a CAA on-line exam, but this HAS to be sat at your Training Organisation. Before you can do this, you will need to follow the steps below (you only have to do this once) to register on the CAA Portal as a Student, and also register for the PPL E-Examinations before your training organisation can arrange for you to take an exam.

The new format exams include over 1000 new questions compared to written exam papers - so those training aids that you may have used in the past may well be out of date and may well not cover the material in sufficient detail to be as useful as they used to be!

However - rest assured WE are keeping our course material and progress and exam questions right up to date with feedback we are receiving from those student pilots who are taking the new exams! You won't do any better than using us to study for your theoretical knowledge exams!

During registration on the CAA Portal the process will also ask for you to submit official photo ID which will take up to 5 days for the CAA to verify. The following links may be useful:

Once registered on the CAA portal, you must request access to the "Private Pilot Theoretical Knowledge e-Exams Service". Within the PPL E-Exams Service, you will need to provide extra information, which will include selecting your Training Organisation. For more information on the E-Exams service:

If it all sounds a bit daunting then don't worry, it's actually a lot easier than you think!

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Number of Questions & Duration

The number of questions and the time you have available to answer them depends on the subject of the exam. Generally speaking, if you know your subject, you will not be time constrained. We've listed the information below for reference. The pass mark for each exam is 75%.

Subject No. of Questions Duration
Air Law & ATC Procedures 16 35 minutes
Operational Procedures 12 30 minutes
Aircraft General Knowledge 16 35 minutes
Principles of Flight 12 35 minutes
Meteorology 16 50 minutes
Human Performance & Limitations 12 25 minutes
Navigation 12 45 minutes
Communications (Radio Telephony) 12 20 minutes
Flight Performance & Planning 12 45 minutes
IMC-IR(R) Rating
(still a written paper at the moment)
25 120 minutes

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R/T Practical Exam

In addition, you will also need to pass the following practical (oral) exam:

Subject Duration
Communications (Radio Telephony) Approx. 30 minutes

This is an oral test with a Radiotelephony Examiner. You will need to have a separate revision/preparation session with us for this exam. We have put together our own (and highly successful) RT Practical Exam Preparation package for you! We regularly get feedback from RT examiners and students alike on how well this prepares pilots for this particular examination. You can find out more about our one-to-one tuition package on our RT Practical Examination Preparation page.

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Top Tips

You will do well to read these tips before undertaking any of the official exams.

  • Read the question carefully. Note in particular what actually requires answering.
  • Make sure you read all the answers before selecting. Remember you need to select the most correct answer.
  • If you have difficulty with a question, leave it, and come back to it at the end.
  • If unsure of the correct answer, try to definitely decide which of the choices are wrong. This then gives you better odds at guessing from what's left!
  • Remember that an exam with less questions means each question is worth more percentage mark, so you must answer more questions correctly to pass. In other words, you must know all of the subject material to be able to answer questions in any area.

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Licensed Pilots - More Information

Often, once a person gains their Pilots Licence, they might think that the goal has been achieved.

Well, actually, it's only the FIRST goal!

Once a licence has been obtained, it is imperative that a pilot keeps their knowledge of rules, regulations and procedures, and their skill-set up to date.

Many more ratings are available, plus many more highly recommended courses available (from both a theoretical knowledge and a flying training perspective)!

We have put together a collection of courses for the Licensed Pilot to highlight the courses that we HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Visit the Private Pilot Courses page for further information.

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