VOLUME 5 AIRMAN CERTIFICATION
CHAPTER 1 DIRECTION, GUIDANCE, AND PROCEDURES FOR TITLE 14 CFR PARTS
Section 4 Considerations for the Practical Test
5-76 GENERAL. Although the practical test for each type of certificate or rating is discussed in other sections within Volume 5,
there is general information an evaluator should know.
NOTE: As implementation of the
Airman Certification Standards (ACS) expands,
the term “certification test” may be used in certain situations because it more fully aligns with the integrated
to training and testing for airman certification purposes. The terms “practical test” and “certification test” are synonymous for the
purposes of this guidance.
A. Conduct of Practical Tests. All practical tests should be conducted in accordance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR),
practical test standards (PTS),
as appropriate, operating limitations of the aircraft, and procedures prescribed in the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) or Rotorcraft Flight Manual (RFM), as
applicable. Efforts to standardize testing procedures should not result in procedures contrary to those specified by the AFM or RFM. If an inspector becomes
aware of a procedure in any AFM or RFM that is potentially hazardous or contrary to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policies, the procedure should be
brought to the attention of the appropriate Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) through regional channels.
B. When Tests May Be Given. An inspector may administer airman certification practical tests only while on duty, within
the scope of the job description, and while being compensated by the FAA. Unless the approval of a supervisor is obtained, inspectors should not administer
tests while on other-than-normal duty.
C. Airman Knowledge Test Reports (AKTR). An inspector conducting a practical test should note the failed areas coded on the
applicant’s AKTR to identify possible deficiencies that may affect the applicant’s flight performance. Authorized instructors may endorse the AKTR
form, attesting that an applicant has received instruction in areas missed on the test.
D. Compliance with FAA Aviation English Language Proficiency (AELP) Standard for 14 CFR Part
61 Pilot Certification.
1) Before accepting a person’s application for certification, the evaluator must determine whether the applicant can read,
speak, write, and understand the English language. Advisory Circular (AC)
FAA English Language Standard for an FAA Certificate Issued Under 14 CFR Parts
provides expanded guidance of how to determine English language abilities and skills required for pilot certification. If the applicant cannot read, speak, write,
or understand the English language, then the practical test may not begin, unless the reason is because of a medical disability. As appropriate, refer the applicant
to the jurisdictional Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) for further evaluation. FAA aviation safety inspectors (ASI) (Operations) should refer to Volume 5,
Chapter 14 and AC
additional guidance. If an applicant does not meet the FAA AELP standards, the evaluator may suggest the applicant take an International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) AELP course. A course can be found at
2) If the reason for the applicant not being able to read, speak, write, and understand English is because of a medical disability
(meaning a hearing impairment or speech impairment that is medically substantiated by a certified medical physician), then an operating limitation may be placed on
the person’s pilot/instructor certificate. A medical disability of this kind may require an operating limitation to be placed on the person’s pilot
certificate that prohibits the pilot from operating in airspace that requires the use of communication radios. However, as a matter of clarification, this limitation
would not necessarily prohibit a pilot from operating in airspace that requires the use of communication radios if the pilot has received prior authorization from the
jurisdictional air traffic facility where the flight is being conducted, and the pilot is able to receive instructions from that air traffic facility via light
signals or some other form of electronic means of communication.
5-77 PRACTICAL TEST PREFLIGHT BRIEFING.
A. Preflight Briefings. To ensure the highest degree of safety during practical tests, the inspector must conduct a preflight briefing
on safety procedures, duties, and responsibilities before each practical test. The plan of action prepared for the practical test may be used as the briefing checklist.
The briefing checklist must include a preflight briefing.
1) This briefing must be given regardless of the abilities of the crewmembers and their previous experience flying together.
2) The briefing must inform all participants of their respective duties during the flight. This is particularly important in situations
when many individuals are involved. For example, during a practical test in a turbojet aircraft requiring two pilots (when the practical test also involves an examiner
candidate) up to four people may have responsibilities. The applicant for the certificate or rating and a qualified industry pilot may occupy the two pilot seats.
In this case, the qualified industry pilot would function as safety pilot. The test would be administered by an examiner candidate, while a qualified inspector observes
both the examiner candidate and the applicant.
3) The preflight briefing must inform the participants in the practical test of the guidelines and standards the evaluator intends to
use to determine if the applicant has passed or failed the maneuver. This would include a discussion of the appropriate
the circumstances under which maneuvers could be repeated (see paragraph 5-91), and other similar issues.
B. Safety Pilot. One person must be designated as safety pilot for the practical test, and must occupy a pilot station during the
practical test. When an inspector occupies one of the pilot stations, the inspector may perform the role of safety pilot and must do so in certain circumstances (e.g.,
applicant under the hood). In cases when the inspector does not occupy a pilot station, then a qualified industry pilot must be designated safety pilot.
C. Safety Pilot Duties. The safety pilot must be briefed on his or her duties prior to the practical test. These duties include
1) Physically intervening on the controls before a maneuver or procedure deteriorates to an unsafe level,
2) Ensuring overall safety of the flight to whatever extent necessary, and
3) Ensuring safety in whatever manner would be effective if a particular maneuver cannot be executed safely.
D. Evaluator’s Role. The evaluator, when not occupying a pilot station, must rely on the safety pilot to interfere and
override any decision by the evaluator, examiner candidate, applicant, or other person if safety requirements demand it.
5-78 DUAL CONTROLS IN A PRACTICAL TEST OR FLIGHT TESTING. This guidance concerns the intent of “dual controls” as it
applies to civil aircraft being used for either flight instruction or practical tests in accordance with 14 CFR part
A. Required Control. Neither previous nor current part
61.45 nor §
listed brakes as “required control” in a civil aircraft when used for either flight instruction or a practical test.
B. Airplanes Without Dual Brakes. The FAA has held that both flight instruction and practical tests may be conducted in an airplane
without dual brakes when the instructor/evaluator determines that the instruction or practical test, as applicable, can be conducted safely in the aircraft. Further,
numerous makes and models of both single-engine and multiengine civil aircraft not equipped with two sets of brakes or a central handbrake have been used to provide
flight instruction required for virtually all certificate and rating areas authorized under
C. Brake Requirements. The FAA has responded to a request for an interpretation of the requirement for brakes on the right side to
be equal to the brakes on the left. The policy is that the brakes on the right side do not have to be a duplicate or equal to the brakes on the left side.
in part, that no person may operate a civil aircraft that is being used for flight instruction unless that aircraft has fully functioning dual controls.
2) Title 14 CFR part
that each aircraft used inflight training must have at least two pilot stations with engine power controls that can be easily reached and operated in a normal
manner from both pilot stations.
that an aircraft used for a practical test must have the equipment for each Area of Operation (AOO) required for the practical test. For example, an evaluator may
conduct a flight instructor practical test with an applicant in the right seat without brakes on that side. If a task requires the applicant to use the brakes, he
or she may either switch seats with the evaluator to perform the task, or ask the evaluator to apply and release the brakes at the applicant’s request.
that an aircraft (other than lighter than air aircraft and gliders without an engine) used for a practical test must have engine power controls and flight controls
that are easily reached and operated in a conventional manner by both pilots, unless the evaluator determines that the practical test can be safely conducted in the
aircraft without the controls within easy reach.
5-79 STRUCTURE OF THE PRACTICAL TEST. The practical test consists of a demonstration of aeronautical knowledge, risk management
application and a demonstration of aeronautical skill or flight proficiency. These demonstrations are not intended to be separate tests; rather, they are intended
to be conducted concurrently. However, circumstances may occasionally exist in which separate knowledge, risk management, and skill demonstrations are more practical
and acceptable (see paragraph 5-83).
A. The Ground Portion. The demonstration of aeronautical knowledge consists of a question and answer exchange between the evaluator
and the applicant. The applicant’s AKTR identifies areas in which the application was found deficient. At a minimum, these areas should be tested to determine
the applicant adequately understands the subject matter being tested in accordance with the applicable
It is required that the ground portion of the practical test precede the flight/flight simulation training device (FSTD) portion of the practical test.
1) The questions asked of an applicant should be clearly stated and have only one correct response. The correct response to the
question should reflect that the applicant has a clear understanding of the subject. Trick questions should be avoided. The correct answers to all questions should be
available in the regulations, AFM, RFM, or other acceptable sources.
2) Maintaining an unintimidating atmosphere is important, since it allows the applicant to relax and ultimately improves performance.
Care should be taken, however, not to give the applicant “ground school.” If questions are consistently missed, or if the applicant gives confused or
unrelated answers, the examination must be ended and a notice of disapproval issued.
B. Group Testing. Except in the circumstances listed below, applicants must be tested individually and separately. The FAA has
determined this practice of restricting simultaneous testing ensures confidentiality and the quality of the test. Simultaneous testing may be approved only under the
1) Simultaneous testing must be limited to the ground portion of an aircraft type rating practical test.
2) No more than two applicants may be tested simultaneously, and only if they were trained in the same aircraft and training
course. If an applicant prefers to be tested separately, the evaluator must conduct the test individually.
3) Simultaneous testing may not be permitted for the original issuance of the grade of pilot certificate (i.e., Recreational Pilot
Certificate, Sport Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating Certification, Private Pilot Certificate, Commercial Pilot Certificate, or Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate).
4) An example in which simultaneous testing may be permitted is a practical test for aircraft type rating for a Learjet 35
(meaning an aircraft that requires two pilot crewmembers) that involves two applicants.
C. The Flight Portion. The demonstration of skill is the flight portion of the practical test, in which the applicant demonstrates
proficiency in the aircraft for which the certificate or rating is sought.
as appropriate, detail specific objectives, tasks, operations, and expected results for a certificate or rating. If the applicant does not meet the standards of
performance of any task performed, the associated AOO is failed, and the practical test is failed. The applicant is not eligible for the certificate or rating
until the failed AOO is passed on a subsequent test.
2) The evaluator or applicant may discontinue the test at any time after the failure of an AOO makes the applicant ineligible for
the certificate or rating sought. If the test is discontinued, the applicant should receive credit only for those AOOs successfully performed. During the retest
and at the discretion of the evaluator, any task may be reevaluated, including those previously passed. However, evaluators testing applicants on all AOOs during
a retest is not appropriate.
D. Retest in the Event of Failure.
1) An applicant who fails the practical test may reapply for a retest after meeting the following conditions:
a) The applicant must receive the necessary training from an authorized instructor who has determined that the applicant is proficient
to pass the test; and
b) The applicant must receive an endorsement from an authorized instructor who gave the applicant the additional training.
2) An applicant for a flight instructor certificate with an airplane category rating (or for a flight instructor certificate with
a glider category rating) who has failed the practical test due to deficiencies in instructional proficiency on stall awareness, spin entry, spins, or spin
a) Comply with the requirements of subparagraph D1) above before being retested;
b) Bring an aircraft to the retest that is of the appropriate aircraft category for the rating sought and is certificated for spins; and
c) Demonstrate satisfactory instructional proficiency on stall awareness, spin entry, spins, and spin recovery to an examiner during
5-80 PREREQUISITES FOR PRACTICAL TESTS. To be eligible for a practical test, an applicant must meet the following prerequisites:
A. Knowledge Test Requirement. The applicant must have passed the required knowledge test (1) within the 24 calendar-months
preceding the practical test, if one is required, or (2) within the 60 calendar‑months preceding the practical test for an ATP Certificate with an
airplane category multiengine class rating, or an ATP Certificate obtained concurrently with an airplane type rating after having completed the ATP Certification
Training Program (CTP) in §
Extending the validity period for ATP knowledge tests may be permitted per §
and is discussed further in
Volume 5, Chapter 3, Section 1.
Refer to §
knowledge test prerequisites and passing grades.
NOTE: For an applicant applying for an ATP Certificate with an airplane category multiengine class rating or an ATP Certificate
obtained concurrently with an airplane type rating, an ATP knowledge test report certified July 31, 2014, or earlier is valid for 24 calendar-months.
A knowledge test report certified after July 31, 2014, is valid for 60 calendar-months.
B. Medical Certificate Requirements. An applicant for a practical test, except for practical tests involving a test for a
glider or a balloon rating that require no medical certificate, must have at least a third-class medical certificate.
NOTE: A third-class medical certificate is the only medical certificate required for the applicant to apply for a practical test.
However, to exercise the privileges of a Commercial Pilot Certificate or ATP Certificate, the person must have the appropriate class medical certificate per §
No medical certificate is required when an applicant is taking a test or check for a certificate, rating, or authorization in an FSTD.
C. Documentation. Documentation must be presented by the applicant verifying that all aeronautical experience prerequisites
are met. This includes endorsements, if required, and a written record of ground and flight time. The applicant must also present an appropriately completed FAA Form
Airman Certification and/or Rating Application.
NOTE: Refer to §
additional documents that may be required for those applicants for an ATP Certificate with an airplane category multiengine class rating or an ATP Certificate
obtained concurrently with an airplane type rating.
When administering a practical test based on an
the tasks appropriate to the class of airplane (Airplane Single-Engine Land (ASEL), Airplane Single-Engine Sea (ASES), Airplane Multiengine Land (AMEL), or Airplane
Multiengine Sea (AMES)) used for the practical test must be included in the plan of action. The absence of a class notation for a task listed in the
the task is for all classes.
A. Elements Evaluated. Each task in the
elements identified for knowledge, risk management, and skill. In contrast to testing based on a
which is primarily focused on the skill elements, a practical test that is administered based on an
not required to incorporate each element within a task. Instead, the emphasis is placed on elements that were missed by the applicant on the knowledge test
and the required skill elements within each task. The plan of action must include at least one knowledge element and at least one risk management element.
The evaluator must ensure that all skill elements have been evaluated, regardless of how many knowledge elements and risk management elements are tested.
Each knowledge element listed on the AKTR must be evaluated as part of evaluating the task containing those elements. For example, evaluating a knowledge
element for a particular task that is identified on the AKTR will satisfy the requirement to minimally test at least one knowledge element for a task. The
evaluator has discretion to evaluate additional elements, if needed, to determine the applicant adequately understands the subject matter.
B. ACS Codes.
The introduction to the
ACS explains the
For example, PA.I.B.K2:
• PA = Applicable
• I = Area of Operation (Preflight Preparation).
• B = Task (Airworthiness Requirements).
• K2 = Knowledge Task Element 2 (Individuals who can perform
maintenance on the aircraft, including Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) and Inspection Authorization (IA) roles in aircraft maintenance and inspections).
C. PLT/ACS Code Usage.
1) The current knowledge test management system does not have the capability to print
Until a new test management system is in place, the Learning Statement Codes (LSC) (e.g., “PLT” codes) will continue to be displayed on the
AKTR. The PLT codes are linked to references leading to broad subject areas. By contrast, each
is tied to a unique task element in the
Because of this fundamental difference, there is no one-to-one correlation between LSC (PLT) codes and
2) Because all active knowledge test questions for the Private Pilot-Airplane (PAR) and the Instrument Rating Airplane
(IRA) knowledge tests have been aligned with the corresponding
evaluators can use PLT codes in conjunction with the
more targeted retesting of missed knowledge. The evaluator should look up the PLT code(s) on the applicant’s AKTR in the Learning Statement Reference
Guide. After noting the subject area(s), the evaluator can use the corresponding AOO(s)/task(s) in the
narrow the scope of material for retesting and to evaluate the applicant’s understanding of that material in the context of the appropriate
D. Individualization of Plan of Action. In order to develop a plan of action individualized to the particular practical
test, the evaluator must review a copy of the applicant’s AKTR prior to the test. In addition to the required elements, the
reflected on the AKTR, must be tested during the practical test. It is recommended that the evaluator request a copy of the AKTR when the applicant
calls to schedule the practical test. This may also be accomplished by obtaining the applicant’s FAA tracking number (FTN) and reviewing the
AKTR in the Integrated Airmen Certification and/or Rating Application (IACRA). The evaluator should allow for sufficient preparation time prior to the
practical test to thoughtfully tailor his or her plan of action to that individual’s test to determine the applicant adequately understands the
subject matter being tested. Additional information on plan of action development can be found in
Volume 5, Chapter 2, Section 1.
The regulations specify the areas in which knowledge and skill must be demonstrated by an applicant before a certificate can be issued. The
the specific tasks in which knowledge and competency must be demonstrated. When necessary, the FAA should add, delete, or revise these tasks to
enhance flight safety.
A. Practical Test Correlation to Part
The AOOs specified in part
each grade of certificate are contained in the
Specific procedures and maneuvers used to ensure competence within each AOO are addressed in the applicable
B. Public Availability. The public may purchase copies of the
the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO), Superintendent of Documents, Washington, DC 20401. FAA inspectors receive copies and revisions through regular
FAA distribution channels. Copies can also be found on the internet at
C. PTS Introduction.
The introductory section of the
detailed instructions on the use of the standards for conducting a practical test.
1) The standards are arranged into sections with “Areas of Operation.” AOOs are phases of flight in a logical
sequence, beginning with preflight preparation and ending with the flight’s conclusion.
2) Practical tests must be conducted according to the requirements of the applicable
3) The evaluator should not allow the conduct of practical tests to evolve into a predictable pattern that can or will
be recognized by students or instructors.
4) Evaluation of an applicant’s performance should be based on the applicant’s ability to satisfactorily
meet the objectives of each required task.
NOTE: At the time of this writing, the FAA is transitioning from the use of the
Because not all practical tests are based on the same reference document, determine which reference document is appropriate for the practical test being
conducted. Additional guidance on conducting a practical test can be found in
Volume 5, Chapter 2, Section 1.
5-83 SEGMENTED PRACTICAL TESTS (PLANNED).
A. Segmented/Normal Sequence.
1) A segmented practical test normally involves conducting a practical test when an aircraft and an FSTD are used. It is
required that the ground portion of the practical test precede the FSTD portion of the practical test. After the applicant has satisfactorily completed the
ground portion of the practical test, the applicant should be administered the FSTD portion of the practical test. After the applicant satisfactorily
completes the FSTD portion of the practical test, the applicant should be administered the flight/aircraft portion of the practical test. However, the FAA
recognizes that there may be times when inclement weather or aircraft maintenance discrepancies may cause the order of testing to be altered from the
recommended and preferred method.
2) The applicant has 60 days from the date the ground portion of the practical test was passed to satisfactorily accomplish
the FSTD and flight portions of the practical test. An evaluator may use oral questioning at any time during the practical test. The applicant is required
to present FAA Form
the appropriate endorsements as proof that portion of the test was satisfactory.
3) Evaluators may request that the applicant perform maneuvers in the aircraft that were completed satisfactorily
during the FSTD portion of the test if they desire or need to further test the applicant’s competency and proficiency on those maneuvers.
B. Nonsegmented Normal Sequence. Except for the ATP practical test, there is no formal division between the knowledge
portion and FSTD or actual flight portion of any pilot or flight instructor practical test. Oral questioning is conducted throughout the testing process.
However, there are numerous tasks that are only knowledge tasks, and are not normally tested during the flight portion. Additionally, there are skills
task(s) for which good judgment and safety of flight dictate that significant knowledge be determined before continuing to the actual flight portion
(e.g., stalls, steep turns, emergencies). Therefore, during the conduct of pilot/flight instructor practical testing, evaluators must conduct the ground,
FSTD (if applicable), and actual flight portions of the practical test, in that order. This does not mean that oral questioning cannot continue throughout
the flight and after the aircraft is shut down on the ramp. However, subjects that might normally be expected to require continued testing at this point
would be postflight and/or areas of knowledge incompletely tested in the latter stage of the flight portion.
C. Unusual/Abnormal Sequence. In unusual circumstances, it may be more practical and/or desirable to conduct certification
testing over more than one day (e.g., balloon tests where late morning/afternoon winds may interfere with the normally planned testing timeframe, or
climates where early morning/afternoon/evening temperatures may make flight testing extremely uncomfortable or even unsafe). In these cases, the
inspector should issue a letter of discontinuance.
5-84 CARRIAGE OF PASSENGERS DURING PRACTICAL TESTS. The practice of carrying persons is limited only to individuals who
have a legitimate interest in the practical test.
A. Authorized Persons. These individuals may include the following:
• Persons preparing for a similar flight test;
• Flight instructors assigned to similar flight training activities;
• Designated Examiners (DE) who are authorized to conduct similar
flight tests or examiner candidates;
• Chief pilots or instructors for flight schools and executive operators;
• Owners/operators of the aircraft; and
• Other inspectors.
B. Unauthorized Persons. Examples of unauthorized persons are non-flying relatives, persons not involved in a flight
training program, non-flying employees, or friends of the owner or operator.
C. Consent for Passenger Carriage. The carriage of authorized persons must have the consent of the owner/operator, the
practical test applicant, and the evaluator.
D. Additional Crewmembers. In some large aircraft, practical tests may include operations (e.g., simulated equipment
failures or engine fires) that may divert the attention of both pilots. In such cases, the inspector should request the applicant to provide a qualified
observer on the flight deck to assist in maintaining a constant watch for other air traffic.
5-85 AIRCRAFT AND EQUIPMENT USED DURING PRACTICAL TESTS. Section
that an applicant for an Airman Certificate or added rating must furnish an Airworthy aircraft appropriate for the certificate or rating sought. This
includes military aircraft or properly certificated aircraft of foreign registry.
A. Aircraft Incapable of Performing Certain Tasks on a Practical Test. Per §
it is permissible to use a Cessna 336 or 337 for an AMEL rating. The Cessna 336 and 337 series airplanes do not have a published minimum controllable
airspeed with the critical engine inoperative (VMC) and thus cannot perform the VMC demonstration task. The Ercoupe 415 series does
not have published stall speeds and cannot perform the stall or spin task. Further examples are found in Figure 5-10, Examples of Certificate Limitations
for Aircraft That Are Incapable of Performing Certain Tasks on a Practical Test.
B. Aircraft Airworthiness Status Requirements for Airman Practical Tests.
1) Historically, applicants for addition of Airman Certificate or a rating to that certificate have been required to
furnish an aircraft in an Airworthy condition for each flight test that they are required to take. Title 14 CFR part
21 subpart H
prescribes appropriate requirements for the issuance of airworthiness certificates for aircraft of U.S. registry found to be Airworthy, and §
regulatory guidance concerning the acceptable airworthiness status for aircraft of U.S. registry and foreign registry. However, clarification is necessary
regarding the use of military and former military aircraft for practical tests under
A recent change to §
“at the discretion of the examiner who administers the practical test, the applicant may furnish a military aircraft of the same category, class, and
type, if aircraft class and type are appropriate, for which the applicant is applying for a certificate or rating.” The General Aviation and Commercial
Division is aware of the misunderstanding regarding the meaning of military aircraft as described in §
Therefore, the following policy is intended to clarify the airworthiness status necessary for these military aircraft.
2) Flight Standards ASIs should understand that for use in conducting airman certification practical tests (by either
inspectors or examiners), an acceptable military aircraft is one that is in operational status and under the direct operational control of the Armed
Forces (i.e., Active or Reserve component). An Airworthy former military aircraft is issued either a standard, limited, or other type of airworthiness
certificate by the FAA; is maintained in accordance with 14 CFR parts
continues to meet its original type design or approved altered condition; and is in condition for safe flight. Therefore, former military aircraft that do not
comply with the above requirements may not be used to administer airman certification practical tests since they are no longer in an operational status and
under operational control of the Armed Forces (regular, reserve, or guard). It should also be noted that former military aircraft used in public aircraft
operations (PAO) that do not hold an airworthiness certificate may not be used for airman certification practical tests.
NOTE: If the aircraft has a Special Airworthiness Certificate in the restricted category, an exemption to portions of §
be required in order to conduct practical tests.
C. Aircraft and Equipment for the Practical Test.
1) The FAA has become aware of a recreational pilot certificate that was erroneously issued for the ASEL rating because
the practical test was conducted in an experimental category amateur-built, flex-wing aircraft with weight-shift-controls.
a) The General Aviation and Commercial Division’s concern is that the requirements of
§ 61.45(b) and
not have been fulfilled by this unconventional aircraft (i.e., an experimental category amateur-built, flex-wing aircraft with weight-shift-controls)
presented for the practical test. This aircraft had both unconventional flight controls and/or operating characteristics, as described above. The use of this
and similar aircraft may prevent the applicant from performing all of the tasks required for the practical test, and any pilot certificate issued as a result
of that practical test would have to contain appropriate limitations when deemed appropriate (i.e., as required by §
In the subject case, no limitations were placed on the certificate nor were any deemed appropriate.
b) Evaluators are responsible for ensuring that an applicant adequately meets all the appropriate training and certification
requirements of part
issuing the pilot certificate. It is especially important that, before issuing a pilot certificate, applicants perform all required tasks outlined in the appropriate
the aircraft category and class rating and at the appropriate pilot certification level sought. If not, the pilot certificate must contain appropriate operating
limitations. In FAA Order
General Aviation Airman Designee Handbook, as well as in this order, guidance that is related to the scope of airman training or certification permitted or prohibited
in hang gliders, ultralights, and similar vehicles will be upgraded to reflect advances made in aircraft technology and their authorized use under part
2) Except as provided in §
an aircraft used on a practical test must be equipped for each AOO and task required by the appropriate
The equipment should have no operating limitations that would prohibit the aircraft’s use in any of the required AOOs and tasks. The aircraft must have at
least two pilot stations with adequate visibility for safe operation. When the evaluator is in a forward observer’s seat, the aircraft’s flight deck
and outside visibility must be adequate to permit the evaluator to evaluate the applicant’s performance.
D. View-Limiting Device. During the practical test for an instrument rating or other ratings requiring a demonstration of
instrument proficiency, the applicant must provide equipment, satisfactory to the inspector, which prevents flight by visual reference.
E. Single Controls. At the discretion of the inspector, an aircraft furnished by the applicant may have a single set of flight
controls. In this situation, the inspector observes the applicant from the ground or from another aircraft.
1) Tests for the addition of aircraft class or type ratings to Private and Commercial Pilot Certificates may be conducted in
single-control or single-place aircraft under §
2) Pilot certificates issued following successful completion of a flight check conducted in a single‑place gyroplane
in accordance with §
bear the following limitation: “PRIVATE PILOT, ROTORCRAFT SINGLE-PLACE GYROPLANE ONLY” or, for a certificate of a higher grade than private,
“ROTORCRAFT SINGLE-PLACE GYROPLANE, PRIVATE PILOT PRIVILEGES ONLY.”
F. Self-Launching Gliders. Aircraft certificated as gliders with self-launching capability cannot be used for any airplane
practical test, since there are no dual airplaneglider category designations. Inspectors can determine the category of an aircraft by examining the
5-86 PRACTICAL TEST DISCONTINUATION. Environmental, mechanical, or personal situations can occur that cause the practical
test to be discontinued. If these occur, the inspector should assure the applicant that he or she has not failed the practical test, and should attempt
to reschedule the test as soon as possible. The most frequent reasons for discontinuance of a practical test are weather, unforeseen mechanical problems,
and applicant incapacitation.
A. Weather. A test could be postponed by rapidly changing weather. For example, at the conclusion of the knowledge
demonstration portion of the practical test, the inspector and the applicant may discover that lowered ceilings or visibility would preclude a safely
B. Mechanical Problems. The applicant may discover, during preparation for the flight portion of the test, a mechanical
problem that would preclude safe conduct of the flight. For example, preflight examination could reveal that the wrong grade of fuel had been placed in
the aircraft. In this case, an appropriate inspector should issue an aircraft condition notice or a special flight permit (SFP) to the owner/operator
after inspection of the aircraft.
C. Medical Problems. The applicant or inspector could experience medical problems (e.g., severe headaches or sinusitis
because of pressure changes) after the test has begun. The test should be discontinued immediately at either the applicant’s or the
D. Letter of Discontinuance. When a practical test is discontinued for reasons other than unsatisfactory performance, FAA Form
the airman test results will be returned to the applicant. At that time, the inspector signs and issues a letter identifying the portions of the
practical test that were successfully completed (see Figure 5-9, Letter of Discontinuance).
1) A copy of the letter should be retained by the inspector for recording work accomplishment.
2) The applicant may use the letter to show an evaluator which portion of the practical test was successfully completed,
provided that another test is attempted within 60 days. When the test is resumed, the letter should be forwarded to the Airmen Certification Branch and made
a part of the airman’s certification file. Inspectors should reexamine the applicant on any area of the operation where the inspector doubts the
3) When more than 60 days have elapsed since the original practical test and issuance of a letter of discontinuance, the credit
conveyed by the letter of discontinuance is no longer valid and the inspector should examine all required AOOs.
5-87 IMPLEMENTATION OF SPECIAL FEDERAL AVIATION REGULATION (SFAR) 73: ASI RESPONSE TO AUTHORIZATION AND ENDORSEMENT REQUESTS.
SFAR 73 establishes special training and experience requirements for pilots operating the Robinson model R-22 or R-44 helicopters. The FAA has determined
that this SFAR is needed to respond to a number of accidents involving the Robinson model R-22 and R-44 helicopters. The intended effect of this action is
to increase awareness of the potential hazards of particular flight operations in the Robinson helicopters. Many of these accidents are attributed to
pilot performance or experience leading to low rotor revolutions per minute (rpm) or low-g conditions that resulted in mast bumping or rotor/airframe
contact accidents. Its small size and relatively low operating costs result in its use as a training or small utility aircraft and operation by a
significant population of relatively inexperienced helicopter pilots.
5-88 ENGINE SHUTDOWN ON MULTIENGINE AIRPLANES DURING THE PRACTICAL TEST.
A. Preflight Discussion Item. Evaluators who conduct practical tests in a multiengine airplane must discuss methods of
simulating engine failure with the applicant during the required preflight briefing to ensure an understanding of expectations. The evaluator and the
applicant must discuss and follow the aircraft manufacturer’s recommended procedures.
B. Feathering Propellers. An appropriately equipped airplane must be provided by the applicant.
1) The feathering of one propeller must be demonstrated in flight in multiengine airplanes equipped with propellers
which can be feathered and unfeathered. However, as is the case for all practical tests, the certification standards require that the applicant bring
an aircraft that is “capable of performing all appropriate tasks for the certificate or rating and have no operating limitations that prohibit
the performance of those tasks.”
2) If, due to environmental considerations, the feathering demonstration cannot be safely performed, a letter of
discontinuance must be issued.
3) A propeller that cannot be unfeathered during the practical test must be treated as an emergency.
4) Feathering and engine shutdown must be performed at altitudes, in areas, and from positions where safe landings
on established airports can be readily accomplished.
C. Simulated Engine Failure. At altitudes lower than 3,000 feet above the surface, simulated engine failure must
be performed by adjusting the throttle to simulate zero thrust. This safety provision does not negate the
as appropriate, requires testing of the task “Maneuvering with One Engine Inoperative” 3,000 feet above the surface.
5-89 PRACTICAL TESTS IN MILITARY AIRCRAFT. Inspectors are occasionally required to administer practical tests in
military aircraft. The aircraft provided by the applicant must be equipped to perform all maneuvers required on the test.
A. Aircraft Authorization. After a request for a practical test is received, an appointment for the test is arranged
between the inspector and applicant. At the time of the request, the applicant should be informed that he or she will be required to present a letter
from the commanding officer or the operations officer of the military organization, stating that the applicant is authorized to use the aircraft for a
practical test from the FAA, and that all maneuvers required for the test are authorized to be conducted in the aircraft. Without the official, original
letter accompanying the application, no part of the test (e.g., ground, FSTD check, or preflight operations) should be given.
B. Delineation of Responsibility. A clear understanding of responsibility among the inspector, district office
manager, and military organization must be maintained, so that no question of accident or injury claim liability exists. The Federal Employees Compensation
Act requires managers to certify whether an employee was on official government duty whenever a claim for an injury or death is submitted. Employee
official travel must be identified by the date and time of its beginning and end. An FAA inspector must be on “official FAA duty” while
conducting such practical tests.
C. ATP Practical Tests. An area of concern is the administration of an ATP certification practical test in a large aircraft
for which there is no civil counterpart. Current policy provides for inspectors to give such tests with an appropriate class rating, even though an aircraft
type rating is not concurrently issued. Emphasis is placed on ensuring that the aircraft is properly equipped to perform all flight maneuvers and that all
equipment is functional before flight. Additionally, the aircraft must be properly equipped for the inspector (e.g., forward observer’s seat,
communications panel, oxygen provisions). At the conclusion of the flight test, the inspector should enter the appropriate category or class rating on the
certificate with any appropriate limitation, such as visual flight rules (VFR) only, etc.
D. Evaluators. Evaluators who are asked to conduct tests in military aircraft should follow the above guidelines.
5-90 REMOVAL OF LIMITED TO CENTER THRUST LIMITATION. The “Limited to Center Thrust” limitation is issued
to applicants who complete a practical test for the AMEL or AMES rating in an aircraft that does not have a manufacturer’s published VMC.
To remove the “Limited to Center Thrust” limitation, the applicant must complete a practical test composed of certain specific multiengine
tasks. Those tasks are identified for the removal of “Limited to Center Thrust” in the current edition of the
to the certificate level sought. An applicant may use an FSTD that is representative of a multiengine airplane that has a manufacturer’s published
VMC and used in accordance with a program approved for a 14 CFR part
142 certificate holder.
5-91 REPEATING MANEUVERS ON PRACTICAL TESTS. A maneuver that is not performed to the required standard during a practical
test may not be repeated unless one of the following conditions applies:
A. Discontinuance. Discontinuance of a maneuver for valid safety reasons (e.g., a go-around or other procedure necessary
to modify the originally planned maneuver).
B. Collision Avoidance. Inspector intervention on the flight controls to avoid another aircraft the applicant could not
have seen due to position or other factors.
C. Misunderstood Requests. Legitimate instances when applicants do not understand an inspector’s request to perform
a specific maneuver. An applicant’s failure to understand the nature of a specified maneuver being requested is not grounds for repeating a maneuver.
D. Other Factors. Any condition under which the inspector was distracted to the point that he or she could not adequately
observe applicant performance of the maneuver (e.g., radio calls, traffic).
5-92 ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS DURING PRACTICAL TESTS.
A. Inspector’s Responsibilities. In the event that an accident or incident should occur during a practical test,
the inspector must follow the prescribed procedures in
Volume 7, Chapter 1, Section 1.
The safeguarding of lives and property should be the highest priority following an accident or incident.
B. Additional Procedures. In addition to the procedures in
Volume 7, Chapter 1, Section 1,
the inspector must observe the following procedures in the event of an accident or incident during a practical test:
1) Do not make any statements to investigators, such as National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) representatives,
other inspectors, FAA attorneys, or reporters as to the course or circumstances of the accident/incident without clearance from the FAA Office of the
Chief Counsel for Litigation and General Law (AGC-400).
2) Refer reporters, if any, to the FAA Office of Public Affairs.
3) Call AGC-400 as soon as practical after involvement in an accident/incident.
4) Call the regional communications center as soon as practical after involvement in an accident or incident.
5-93 DOCUMENTATION PHASE. There are documentation requirements that must be completed after each phase of the testing
process. Documentation requirements are specified in the section applicable to each certificate and are listed on appropriate job aids. After completing
all phases of the testing process, the inspector or examiner should complete a Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS) entry. The evaluator
should collect the required documents and attach them to the completed application form. Inspectors should forward the certification paperwork through
their supervisors to the Airmen Certification Branch. Evaluators should forward the appropriate certification paperwork to the appropriate
certificate-holding district office (CHDO).
Figure 5-8. Reserved
Figure 5-9. Letter of Discontinuance
[Applicant’s Name and Address]
Dear [Applicant’s Name]:
On this date, you successfully completed the ground portion of the practical test for a [indicate grade] certificate with an [indicate category] and
[indicate class] class rating. The practical test was discontinued because of [indicate reason].
If application is made by [indicate date 60 days from date of letter], this letter may be used to show the following portions of the practical test
which have been completed satisfactorily:
[Indicate Areas of Operation (AOO) completed on the test.]
After [indicate expiration date], you must repeat the entire practical test. This letter does not extend the expiration date as shown on the
knowledge test results, your graduation certificate, medical certificate, or required endorsements.
[Signature of inspector or examiner conducting practical certification test of examiner candidate]
Figure 5-10. Examples of Certificate Limitations for
Aircraft That Are Incapable of Performing Certain Tasks on a Practical Test
A. The person is using a Cessna 336 to add an Airplane Multiengine Land (AMEL) rating onto a Commercial Pilot Certificate
for which the applicant already holds an Airplane Single-Engine Land (ASEL) rating. This airplane does not have a minimum controllable airspeed with the critical
engine inoperative (VMC) established by the manufacturer and thus cannot perform the VMC demonstration task. Specific guidance on
the limitations to place on the applicant’s pilot certificate is as follows:
ASEL and AMEL limited to center thrust
NOTE: When the applicant completes a commercial pilot practical test in a multiengine airplane that has a published
VMC, the limitation may be removed. The practical test is composed of certain specific multiengine tasks identified for the removal of
“Limited to Center Thrust” in the current edition of the Commercial Pilot
Airman Certification Standards (ACS).
B. The person is using a Cessna 336 to add an airplane multiengine rating onto a flight instructor certificate for
which the applicant already holds an Airplane Single Engine (ASE) rating. No limitations need to be placed on the applicant’s flight instructor
certificate since the person’s flight instructor certificate is limited by the privileges on his or her Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) or Commercial
Pilot Certificate (refer to §
Therefore, an applicant who applies for an airplane multiengine rating to be added on his or her flight instructor certificate and performs the
practical test in a Cessna Skymaster (336 or 337) and whose ATP or Commercial Pilot Certificate contains the “Limited to Center Thrust”
limitation would be also be held to that limitation when flight instructing.
NOTE: To flight-instruct in a multiengine airplane that has a VMC established by the manufacturer, the person would
merely need to complete training and certification at a pilot certificate level of at least the commercial pilot level in a multiengine airplane that
has a published VMC, and then the limitation would be removed from his or her pilot certificate.
C. The person is using a Cessna Skymaster (336 or 337) to qualify for an additional AMEL rating onto his or her
existing private pilot certificate and instrument privileges in a multiengine airplane for which the applicant already holds an ASE rating and
instrument airplane rating. This airplane does not have a VMC established by the manufacturer and thus cannot perform the tasks
“Engine failure during straight and level flights and turns” and “Instrument approach one engine inoperative.” Specific guidance
on the limitations to place on the applicant’s private pilot certificate is as follows:
ASEL and AMEL limited to center thrust
NOTE: When the applicant completes the training, endorsements, and the instrument tasks required by the appropriate Instrument
Rating Airplane (IRA)
a multiengine airplane that has a published VMC, the limitation may be removed.
D. The person is using an Ercoupe 415B for a private pilot certificate for an ASEL rating. This airplane does not have
published stall speeds and cannot perform the stall or spin task. Specific guidance on the limitations to place on the applicant’s private pilot
certificate is as follows:
ASEL limited to Ercoupe 415
NOTE: When the applicant completes a private pilot practical test in a single-engine airplane that has published stall speeds and
stalling capabilities, the limitation may be removed.
RESERVED. Paragraphs 5-94 through 5-110.