length of ppl practical exam

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by RRAT, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. RRAT

    RRAT Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm about to take my PPL practical exam, and having read a recent post regarding the time involved, I am worried about the length. I'm not sure I could pass an exam that turns into a stressful endurance test. How long do these things normally last?
     
  2. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    For me, the paperwork takes between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on how well organized your logbook is and if there's any maintenance issues with the airplane. ground portion ranges from 1:20 to 2:00 of actual questioning depending on how long you spend looking up answers, unsure you are, further questioning etc. Flight seems to average 1.5 hours depending on how much time is spent doing clearing turns and traffic etc.
     
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Mine was 1.5 oral, 1.5 flying. Dpe showed up at 0800 and left at 1200.
     
  4. Mxfarm

    Mxfarm Pre-takeoff checklist

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    rumor is, score low, or very high on the written - the oral could take awhile
     
  5. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    "depending on how long you spend looking up answers, unsure you are, further questioning etc"

    This, mostly how long does it take you to answer the questions.
    If you quickly and accurately answer his questions it will go pretty fast.
    If takes you 20 minutes to figure out why your GPS distance to your destination and your flight plan distance has a 14% difference (that is literally what hung up the last student I know my DPE did, he finally left the room and said call me when you figure it out) then it will take a while and if it takes to long on to many topics you won't be proceeding to the flying part. BTW that applicant did figure it out and passed his PPL checkride.

    Brian
    CFIIIG/ASEL
     
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  6. Ron Healy

    Ron Healy Filing Flight Plan

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    Passed my PPL three weeks ago. :)
    Oral exam was 3 hours from start (paperwork review, etc.) to finish, and the practical portion was 2.5 hours. Started at 9:00 am, broke for lunch at noon, and finished at 3:00. I scored 93% on my written, and both oral and practical went very well, but wow my DPE was thorough. I'm in Alaska and we spent a LONG time on weather. He had me interpret every available METAR, SIGMET, PIREP, etc. Very glad I spent all that time memorizing weather product abbreviations. BR means mist. Who knew? :D
    In the air we spent a long time on navigation, especially VOR work.
    Yes, I found it grueling, but despite being very anxious going into it, I quite enjoyed the challenge.
     
  7. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    That’s brutal. Mine couldn’t have been more than 3 hours total.
     
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  8. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Let’s apply some logic to this rumor.

    The applicants written test report will contain knowledge codes for the questions missed on the written test. Sometimes a missed question evolves more than one code. The examiner is required to ask questions for each of the missed knowledge codes from the written test report. If the applicant has 100%, there is nothing to cover. If the applicant has a 70%, there will be a lot to cover.
     
  9. Ron Healy

    Ron Healy Filing Flight Plan

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    Agreed, it seemed a bit over the top compared to what I've heard others describe. My DPE is a retired airline, commercial, and AK bush pilot. Seen it all, done it all, and knows way too many AK pilots who killed themselves in airplanes. I think that's why he is so thorough.
    My CFI prepared me well.
    @RRAT your instructor should be able to prep you on what to expect.
     
  10. Mxfarm

    Mxfarm Pre-takeoff checklist

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    having a 100% score, some would believe that there had to have been unscrupulous activity involved. hence, prove you’re really that smart.

    not certain applying logic here is, well, logical ;)



     
  11. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    So if you demonstrate a step turn with zero altitude and airspeed change the examiner should have the plane inspected for tampering?
     
  12. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    I think that's about what it took me. 40 minute flight to Rapid City. Did the oral and check ride about 3 hours. 40 minute flight home.

    I scored 100%, did not know the DPE had excess to my written. Of course that was back in 1996 so who knows.
     
  13. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    *in general* i see an almost direct correlation between knowledge test score and how well the test goes. This surprised me as when I was instructing full time I really didn't put a lot of stock into the score. I semi-joked that anything over 70 was just showing off.
     
  14. Mxfarm

    Mxfarm Pre-takeoff checklist

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    might as well :)

     
  15. rk911

    rk911 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Baby Rain is how I memorized it.
     
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  16. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    My PPL flight was only 1 hour. We didn’t spend much time on the XC / nav portion. I already had about 120 hours as a Sport Pilot so I don’t think he was too worried about whether I could navigate. Consequently we were still pretty close to the practice area and got through the maneuvers quickly.

    The oral was about three hours. Winds weren’t acceptable for the LSA I was flying that day, so the oral just kept going. It was thorough, but was mostly a conversation about flying and not just a string of questions. Lots of scenario discussions without a single “right” answer. He seemed more concerned with my judgement and decision making than whether I had memorized rules and acronyms.

    I thought it was a pretty good exam.
     
  17. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Oral exams for my past two students was a bit under 2 hours. And the reports I get as they exit the room was they were well prepared and the style of the examiner put them at ease and the flow was more a conversation about different scenarios than a 1st degree interrogation.

    The secret to their being prepared was me making them understand what the ACS is asking for and creating their own study guide using the ACS and FAA materials.

    It also helps that I know the examiner and how he does the exam. So we have done at least one mock oral to dig out any weaknesses in recall and practice how to answer questions without rabbit trailing
     
  18. Lachlan

    Lachlan En-Route

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    Broken rain. (Rain drops broken up into mist.)
     
  19. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Cleared for Takeoff

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    I scored 100% on the written. My oral was normal-ish. Nothing really stands out in my memory, maybe 1.5 hours.
     
  20. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Floats might not be leaking like they’re supposed to?

    That’s interesting…I wouldn’t think there would be much correlation, either, but I suppose a motivated applicant would also be motivated to get the most out of whatever process they use for the knowledge test.
     
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  21. flyingpreacher

    flyingpreacher Pre-Flight

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    Mine was 1.4 on the Hobbs. I wasn't mentally exhausted, but definitely a little stressed...until he said, "Congratulations, you're a private pilot." He said it with such a "meh, whatever" attitude, it was like he knew I was going to pass all along. That made one of us!
     
  22. Gary Ward

    Gary Ward Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My oral lasted 1.5 hrs. 45 minutes of that was the DPE showing me how ForeFlight worked on my Ipad. He asked to see my sectionals/flight plan and I pulled out my I pad and from there the subject switched to FF.

    We flew about an hour and it was over. I passed. He asked me how I thought I flew? I told him I didn't think I did very well flying. He said you did nothing unsafe and you passed!! I was a relieved happy guy.

    Good luck

    Happy Thanksgiving.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
  23. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I hate it when they do that. ;)
     
  24. NHWannabe

    NHWannabe Line Up and Wait

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    After we did the paperwork and logbook review - the oral was slightly over an hour. The flight portion was exactly 1 hour on the Hobbs.
     
  25. Jim K

    Jim K Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    My guy didn't say a word, just told me to park and got out. He never said I failed, which I was pretty sure meant I passed, but he never said it. By the time I got into the fbo, he had my temporary certificate printed and handed it to me unceremoniously. We had a very good debrief, took a picture, and that was that. I was expecting a little more enthusiasm, but getting to know him a little better later on, I think he just didn't get excited about anything.
     
  26. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    Who got the T-shirt ripped off their back? Sign and date of PPL? Then they pinned it on the wall at the FBO
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
  27. flyingpreacher

    flyingpreacher Pre-Flight

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    For us, they do the shirt-tail at first solo (maybe you do the water bucket?). I'm in the process of making a frame for my shirt tail and then making a floating frame for the coins from Aviation Soul. I plan to add almost all of them eventually, so I'm making plenty of slots for them! (No, I'm not affiliated, just think they are super cool!)
     
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  28. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Seems like the examiner here runs about a 4-5hr practical test on average. 1.5 oral and 1.5 flight but YMMV.
     
  29. kaiser

    kaiser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Interesting to see it’s really a mixed bag. My PPL was close to 3 hrs oral and very heavily safety oriented (also DPE loved to chat). I had a discontinuance after the oral due to weather, which was another reason I think my DPE stretched the oral. Remember, if there is doubt, there is no doubt.

    Flight portion was 1.7 Hobbs with an extremely short XC portion. She was quiet during the flight - even as I let the right wing drop on the power on stall demo :eek:
     
  30. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've conducted ground portions which lasted less than 1.5 hours... a well-prepared applicant who is efficient with answers and quick with the reference materials makes that possible. They've also pushed 3 hours for applicants who need more time.

    I like to target 5 hours as a nominal walk-in, walk-out timeframe but it has been a little less at times, as well as much more. I don't usually have a strong expectation. The applicant controls the timeline, not me.

    The above assumes the usual certificates and ratings -- private, instrument, commercial, multi-engine. Add-ons can come closer to the 4 to 4.5 hour mark. I can usually get CFI-IA and CFI-ME done in under six hours, sometimes 5. It really depends on how things go.
     
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  31. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    DE: You should go up solo and practice T&Gs some.
    ME: The school doesn't allow us to do T&Gs solo.
    DE: That's for the student pilots, you have a private now.

    That's when I realized I had passed. My instrument rating test was never in doubt. We landed popped out and the PIC instructor snapped a picture and I got my temporary.
     
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