Private Pilot Test Prep

What is ACS?

Find the latest ACS on FAA website:

Where to get AC?

The FAA Advisory Circulars that are for sale can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office. Free ACs can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Many are available on the Internet.

In the advisory circular system

  • the information covering airmen is issued under the subject number 60.
  • the information covering airspace is issued under the subject number 70.
  • he information covering air traffic control and general operations is issued under the subject number 90.

What are Categories and Classes?


  • Category of aircraft: Normal, utility, acrobatic.
  • Category of airmen certificates: Airplane, rotorcraft, glider, etc.


  • Class of aircraft: airplane; rotorcraft; glider; balloon; landplane; and seaplane.
  • Class of airmen certificate: single engine; multiengine; land; water; gyroplane; helicopter; airship; and free balloon.

Does student pilot certificate expire?

A student pilot certificate issued after April 1, 2016 under part 61.19 is issued without a specific expiration date.

When to report a deviation?

91.3: If the PIC deviates from a rule he shall, upon the request of the Administrator, send a written report of that deviation to the Administrator.

What are certification and recency requirements?

PA.I.A.K1 Certification requirements, recent flight experience, and recordkeeping.

(FAR 61.57a) To act as PIC with passengers, the pilot needs to have made 3 takeoffs and landings in the preceding 90 days in the category, class, and type of aircraft, if a type rating is required.

Flight review (FAR 61.56): every 24 months; e.g. flight review on Aug 10, it is valid until Aug 31, 2 years later.

Night flight (FAR 61.57): For the purposes of recent experience, night flight begins one hour after sunset. E.g. if recency of experience requirements for night flight are not met and official sunset is 1830, the latest time passengers may be carried is 19:29.

Towing a glider (FAR 61.69)

  • To act as PIC of an aircraft towing a glider, a pilot must have 100 hours of PIC time in the aircraft category, class, and type, if a type rating is required.

  • To act as PIC of an aircraft towing a glider, a pilot must have made at least three actual or simulated glider tows while accompanied by a qualified pilot who meets the requirements of this section.

    61.57 Tailwheel: Landings for recency of experience must be to a full stop, if the pilot is carrying passengers in a tailwheel airplane.

What are private pilot privileges and limitations?

PA.I.A.K2 Privileges and limitations.

61.113 - Private pilot privileges and limitations

PPL: not for compensation or hire, with exceptions listed in 61.113 (b) through (h)

A private pilot may act as pilot in command of an aircraft used in a passenger-carrying airlift sponsored by a charitable organization, for which the passengers make a donation to the organization.

Address change (FAR 61.60): A pilot must notify the FAA within 30 days of a permanent change of mailing address or he cannot exercise the privilege of his certificate.

How are 3 classes of medical certificate different?

PA.I.A.K3 Medical certificates: class, expiration, privileges, temporary disqualifications.


  • Class I:
    • as an ATP: 6 months if age 40 or older; 12 months if under age 40
    • as a commercial pilot: 12 months
    • as a private pilot: 2 years if age 40 or older; 5 years if less than 40
  • Class II: 12 months
  • Class III: 2 years if age 40 or older; 5 years if less than 40 at exam

What are the required documents?

PA.I.A.K4 Documents required to exercise private pilot privileges.

Required docs (FAR 61.3):

  • Government issued photo ID
  • Pilot Certificate (student pilot certificate if on solo)
  • Medical Certificate
  • If on a solo, must have logbook with all solo endorsements

Proof of a flight review does NOT need to be in ones personal possession.

What to know about BasicMed?

PA.I.A.K5 Part 68 BasicMed privileges and limitations.

  • 68: requirements for education course, medical exam.
  • 61.113 (i) privileges and limitations: <5 pax, <6000 lbs, < 18,000 MSL, < 250kt;medical exam checklist and certificate of course in logbook.
  • 61.23 (c)(3) medical certificate requirement and duration: medical education course 24 months; medical examiniation 48 months.

Part 68: one can operate under BasicMed (without an FAA medical certificate): possess a U.S. driver's license, have held a medical

Get a physical exam with a state-licensed physician, using the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist

Flight not operated for compensation or hire

To fly with BasicMed, you will need an exam with completed FAA 8700-2 form every 4 years. You will need to retake the online BasicMed course and pass the quiz every 2 years.

Q: When operating under BasicMed, where do you need to retain a copy of the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (CMEC)?s

A: In your logbook.

What are the airworthiness requirements?s

PA.I.B Airworthiness Requirements

If an alteration or repair substantially affects an aircraft's operation in flight, that aircraft must be test flown by an appropriately-rated pilot and approved for return to service prior to being operated with passengers aboard.

After purchasing an airplane from a dealer, is it legal to fly away using the dealer’s aircraft registration?

No, the airplane must be first registered to the new owner.

What are the basic VFR weather minimums?


VFR always below 18,000 feet.

  • Above 10,000: always 5111 (5 sm visibility, 1,000 feet below, 1,000 feet above, 1 sm horizontal)
  • Below 10,000: always 3152, except
    • Class B: clear of cloud
    • Class G:
      • day, <1200 AGL: 1 sm, clear of clouds.
      • day, >1200 AGL, <10,000 MSL: 1152.
      • night, <1200 AGL, 1 sm <= visibility < 3sm, in pattern < 0.5 miles of the runway: clear of clouds.

PA.I.B.K1 General airworthiness requirements and compliance for airplanes

FAR 91.403: The owner or operator of an aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an airworthy condition.


PA.I.B.K1a. Certificate location and expiration dates

91.9, 45.11, 47.4, 91.203

For Experimental or Special light-sport aircraft, the operating limitations are attached to the Special Airworthiness Certificate (Form 8130-7) for the aircraft.

PA.I.B.K1b. Required inspections and airplane logbook documentation


PA.I.B.K1c. Airworthiness Directives and Special Airworthiness Information Bulletins

Part 39

Airworthiness Directives (ADs) are legally enforceable regulations issued by the FAA in accordance with 14 CFR part 39 to correct an unsafe condition in a product.

SAIBs Special Airworthiness Information Bulletins contain non-regulatory information and guidance that does not meet the criteria for an Airworthiness Directive (AD).

PA.I.B.K1d. Purpose and procedure for obtaining a special flight permit

91.313, 21.197

  • airworhiness certificate: does not expire
  • aircraft registration: valid for seven years

A Special Flight Permit (SFP), commonly referred to as a Ferry Permit, may be issued to any U.S. registered aircraft that may not currently meet applicable Airworthiness Requirements but is capable of safe flight.

PA.I.B.K2 Pilot-performed preventive maintenance.

In addition to FAA-certificated repair stations, mechanics, and persons working under their supervision, owners and pilots are allowed to perform preventive maintenance according to 14 CFR 43.3(g).

When the work is completed satisfactorily, a logbook entry that includes the following information is required, per 14 CFR 43.9:

PA.I.B.K3 Equipment requirements for day and night VFR flight, to include:

  • a. Flying with inoperative equipment (91.213)

  • b. Using an approved Minimum Equipment List (MEL)

  • c. Kinds of Operation Equipment List (KOEL)

  • d. Required discrepancy records or placards

    91.205 lists required equipments; if there's inop equipments, check 91.213 on what to do.

“simple or minor preservation operations and the replacement of small standard parts not involving complex assembly operations.” The tasks meeting this definition are limited to a list of specific operations described in 14 CFR Part 43, Appendix A, Paragraph (c). Some of which include replacing fuel or oil strainers, cleaning and greasing landing gear wheel bearings, and replenishing hydraulic fluid. The list also includes operations you may not be aware of – replacing spark plugs, replacing fuel lines, or repairing landing gear tires.

FAA Advisory Circular 91–67 states a KOEL specifies the required equipment for aircraft airworthiness for the four flight conditions: VFR day, VFR night, IFR day and IFR night.

The PIC is obliged to follow the manufacturer’s operational guidelines in addition to FAR Part 91.205.

Many newer airplanes have a KOEL within the limitations section of the POH. Some examples are the Cessna 172S NAVIII, Cessna 182T NAV III, Cirrus SR20 and Cirrus SR22. Other older airplanes do not have a KOEL at all.

For airplanes without a KOEL, the PIC must abide by equipment requirements as stated in the following FARs: 91.205 (instruments required for VFR and IFR day and night flight); 91.207 (ELT operational requirements); 91.215 (airspace transponder requirements), 91.225 (ADS – B operations), any AD’s, and the manufacturer’s equipment list.

e.g. if the navigation lights are inoperative, The aircraft is still airworthy but not for night flight per the KOEL.

Specifically, for aircraft without an MEL (all CAP aircraft), 91.213(d) requires that the equipment must not be required by 91.205, an equipment list, an AD, or a KOEL. It must be either: removed, placarded, and the maintenance log updated; or it must be deactivated and placarded.


  • 91.213 - Inoperative instruments and equipment.

What is standby battery used for?

This battery is available to supply 30 minutes of power to the ESS BUS in the event that alternator and main battery power sources have both failed.

The Main Battery supplies electrical power to the Main and Essential Buses until M BUS VOLTS decreases below 20 volts. When M BUS VOLTS falls below 20 volts, the Standby Battery System will automatically supply electrical power to the Essential Bus for at least 30 minutes.

What can you fly?

Per 61.31 you can fly any ASEL plane 200 hp or under and not complex or tailwheel.

Is weather info in AGL or MSL?

METAR and TAF are in AGL; PIREP is in MSL.

Is wind direction true or magnetic?

ATIS is magnetic; METAR and TAF are true.

What is DVFR?

It refers to one type of flight plan that must be filed for operation within an Air Defense Identification Zone.

Flight rules under a DVFR plan are not substantially different from under a VFR plan, except that the pilot is required to notify Air Traffic Control prior to deviating from a DVFR plan while inside an ADIZ, and that two-way radio communication is required while inside the ADIZ.

What's the weather minimum for LAHSO?

Pilots should only receive a LAHSO clearance when there is a minimum ceiling of 1,000' and 3 statute miles visibility.

What are Special Use Airspace?

7 types:

  • Prohibited
  • Restricted
  • National Security Area (NSA)
  • Warning Areas
  • Military Operating Area (MOA)
  • Alert Areas
  • Controlled Firing Area (CFAs)


  • Prohibited: need clearance through but not going to get one unless police or miltary. The controlling agency is the U.S. government or military, so ATC cannot grant you access.
  • Restricted: while not wholly prohibited, is subject to restrictions. Penetration of restricted areas without authorization from the using or controlling agency may be extremely hazardous to the aircraft and its occupants.
  • Prohibited and restricted areas are regulatory, others are not.
  • MOA and Alert Area do not need permissions to enter for VFR.
  • Warning area: extending from 3 nautical miles outward from the coast of the United States, that contains activity that may be hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft. The purpose of such warning areas is to warn nonparticipating pilots of the potential danger.

What are the recommendations after scuba diving?

AIM ch 8:

The recommended wait time before going to flight altitudes up to 8,000 feet is at least 12 hours after diving that did not require a controlled ascent (i.e., non-decompression stop diving), and at least 24 hours after diving that required a controlled ascent (i.e., decompression stop diving). The recommended wait time before going to flight altitudes above 8,000 feet is at least 24 hours after any SCUBA dive. These recommended altitudes are actual flight altitudes above mean sea level (AMSL) and not pressurized cabin altitudes. This takes into consideration the risk of aircraft decompression during flight.

What are the restrictions on alcohol?

91.17: pilots cannot fly within 8 hours of consuming alcohol, or have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04% or higher.

(Comparing to driving: it is illegal for you to drive if you have a BAC of: 0.08% or higher if you are over 21 years old. 0.01% or higher if you are under 21 years old.)

91.17: The PIC may carry a person who is under the influence of drugs in an emergency, or as long as they are a medical patient under proper care.

Would CG shift fwd or aft after fuel burn?

Likely CG shifts fwd after fuel burn. But calculate your weight and balance with and without fuel to verify.

What's the difference between standard empty weight and basic empty weight?

  • Standard empty weight: aircraft weight that consists of the airframe, engines, and all items of operating equipment that have fixed locations and are permanently installed in the aircraft, including fixed ballast, hydraulic fluid, unusable fuel, and full engine oil.
  • Basic empty weight: the standard empty weight plus the weight of optional and special equipment that have been installed.
  • Basic empty weight + Useful load= gross weight

What are the speed limits?

91.117 aircraft speed

  • 250 kt:
    • below 10,000 MSL;
    • if on BasicMed, <= 250 kts, <=18,000 ft MSL.
  • 200 kt:
    • 2,500 AGL, within 4 nm of the primary airport of Class C or D; under class B; through a VFR corridor

What affects Maneuvering Speed?

Increase weight => Increase AOA => Smaller diff between AOA and critical AOA => Increase V a V_a .

Assuming you are at or below your V a V_a your aircraft will stall as you reach its' maximum structural load (g-limit). As your plane stalls, it unloads the g's, eliminating the risk of bending metal.

Below V a V_a , you'll stall before you break, but only if you msove a single flight control, in one direction only, in smooth air.

What affects stall speed?

Turns, turbulence, and extra weight increases stall speed.

  • Weight: higher weight => higher stall speed.
V S t a l l H e a v y = V S t a l l L i g h t × H e a v y W e i g h t L i g h t W e i g h t V_{StallHeavy} = V_{StallLight} \times \sqrt{HeavyWeight \over LightWeight}
  • Bank angle: increase bank angle => increase load factor => higher stall speed
  • Flaps: extend flap => increase lift => lower stall speed
  • Center of Gravity: forward CG => higher stall speed
  • Power: higher power => lower stall speed
  • Altitude: higher altitude => lower density => true airspeed increase => indicated stall speed remain the same, but true airspeed will be higher.

How does CG affect stability?

You will require a larger elevator input to change the pitch of an aircraft with a forward CG – making it more stable and less maneuverable. In other words, the longitudinal (pitch) stability is increased.

When is a go-around appropriate? Explain what is meant by the term “stabilized approach”. Give examples.

Go‐arounds are typically initiated if a pilot or controller is not completely satisfied that the requirements for a safe landing are in place.

A stabilized approach is one in which the pilot establishes and maintains a constant angle glidepath towards a predetermined point on the landing runway.

Who has the right of way?

91.113 right of way

  • An aircraft in distress has the right-of-way over all other air traffic.
  • same category: the aircraft to the other's right has the right-of-way
  • diff category: balloon > glider > airship > powered parachute > airplane/rotocraft
  • an aircraft towing or refueling other aircraft has the right-of-way over all other engine-driven aircraft.
  • overtaking: Each aircraft that is being overtaken has the right-of-way
  • both landing: the aircraft at the lower altitude has the right-of-way

What is that chart symbol?

Check the latest Aeronautical Chart Users' Guide

What are restrictions on parachute?

61.101: An emergency parachute must have been packed by a certificated and appropriately rated parachute rigger within the preceding 180 days.

What are restrictions on formation?

Fly in formation: Each PIC must have conferred with the other pilots as to what they would do in flight.

What's the weather minimum of Special VFR?

1 mile visibility and clear of clouds.

What's the restriction on Special VFR at night?

91.157: To fly an aircraft special VFR at night in Class D airspace, the pilot AND aircraft must be certified for instrument flight.

When are the lights required?

  • Nav lights are required for night flights.
  • Landing lights:
    • required after sunset.
    • Pilots are encouraged to turn on their landing lights when operating below 10,000 feet, day or night, especially when operating within 10 miles of any airport.

What are requirements on Oxygen?

  • 12,500 to 14,000: flight time in excess of 30 minutes.
  • above 14,000: The crew must use supplemental oxygen above this altitude.
  • above 15,000: each occupant of the aircraft is provided with supplemental oxygen (passengers may not use it, but it must be available).


49 CFR 830

  • Within 48 hours if requested by ATC: If a pilot is given priority by ATC in an emergency, he must submit a detailed report within 48 hours if requested by ATC.
  • The operator of a civil aircraft must file a report within 10 days after an accident.
  • The operator of a civil aircraft must file a report after 7 days if an overdue aircraft is still missing.
  • The operator of a civil aircraft must immediately notify the nearest NTSB field office when
    • an accident occurs resulting in substantial damage.
    • an in-flight fire incident occurs.
    • A near midair collision (NMAC) is defined as an incident associated with the operation of an aircraft in which a possibility of collision occurs due to its proximity of less than 500 feet to another aircraft. Pilots and/or flight crew members involved in NMAC occurrences are urged to report each incident immediately to the nearest FAA ATC facility or by writing to the nearest FAA FSDO office.
  • Serious injury means any injury which requires hospitalization for more than 48 hours, commencing within 7 days from the date the injury was received.
  • 830.2 Substantial damage means damage or failure which adversely affects the structural strength, performance, or flight characteristics of the aircraft, and which would normally require major repair or replacement of the affected component.
  • The operator of a civil aircraft must immediately notify the nearest NTSB field office when a flight control system malfunction or failure incident occurs.
  • FAR 61.15: A pilot convicted of operating a motor vehicle while either intoxicated by, impaired by, or under the influence of alcohol or a drug must provide a written report of the motor vehicle actions to the FAA Civil Aviation Security Division within 60 days.

For example:

While taxiing at the parking ramp, the nose gear, wheel, and tire are damaged by striking ground equipment. No need to report.

What's the purpose of CRM?

To help crews recognize hazards and provided tools for them to eliminate the hazard or minimize its impact.

Which initial action should a pilot take prior to entering Class C airspace?

  • Well before entering Class C airspace, the pilot must contact approach control not the tower personnel.
  • Contact the tower and request permission to enter.

What's the callsign of FSS?

"radio" as in "New York Radio" (NOT "station").

How should eyes move for collision avoidance?

  • day: not exceed 10 degrees and view each sector at least 1 second.
  • night: use peripheral vision by scanning small sectors and utilizing off-center viewing.

How would haze affect pilots?

When a pilot is flying in haze and certain other view limiting situations, objects may appear farther away than they actually are.

What is Aeronautical Decision Making

Judgment: The mental process of analyzing all information in a particular situation and making a timely decision on what action to take.

Risk management, as part of the aeronautical decision making (ADM) process, relies on situational awareness, problem recognition, and good judgment to reduce risks associated with each flight.

The DECIDE model includes:

  1. Detect. The decision maker detects the fact that change has occurred.
  2. Estimate. The decision maker estimates the need to counter or react to the change.
  3. Choose. The decision maker chooses a desirable outcome (in terms of success) for the flight.
  4. Identify. The decision maker identifies actions which could successfully control the change.
  5. Do. The decision maker takes the necessary action.
  6. Evaluate. The decision maker evaluates the effect(s) of his/her action countering the change.

What are Aeromedical Factors?

  • hyperventilation: As hyperventilation “blows off” excessive carbon dioxide from the body, a pilot can experience symptoms of lightheadedness, suffocation, drowsiness, tingling in the extremities, and coolness and react to them with even greater hyperventilation.
  • As altitude increases, the oxygen pressure decreases. Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry. The effect of these conditions is cumulative and will reduce the amount of oxygen to the pilot's brain.
  • Hypoxia means “reduced oxygen” or “not enough oxygen.” Although any tissue will die if deprived of oxygen long enough, the greatest concern regarding hypoxia during flight is lack of oxygen to the brain, since it is particularly vulnerable to oxygen deprivation.

What is RAIM?

Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) is the capability of a GPS receiver to perform integrity monitoring on itself by ensuring available satellite signals meet the integrity requirements for a given phase of flight. Without RAIM, the pilot has no assurance of the GPS position integrity.

RAIM can alert the pilot if the GPS loses reception with the required number of satellites in view or if there is a position error. If RAIM is unavailable, the pilot should perform a systematic cross-check with other navigation techniques to help identify navigation errors and prevent a serious deviation.

When to change ETL batteries?

ELT batteries must be replaced, when the transmitter has been in use for more than 1 cumulative hour; or when 50% of their useful life has expired. FAR 91.207

Note that non-rechargeable batteries need only to be replaced if 50% of their useful life has expired or the ELT has been in use for more than one cumulative hour. Batteries do not need to be replaced every 24 months.

Is ATC communication required to fly in a TRSA?


What is dihedral?

The upward angle formed by the wings is called dihedral. Dihedral contributes to roll stability.

Where is ADS-B required?

  • Bbove the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport.
  • Under the shelf of Class C airspace does not require that an airplane be equipped with ADS-B.

What are Detonation and Preignition?

Detonation is a sudden explosion or shock to a small area of the piston top. Detonation may occur at high-power settings when the fuel mixture ignites instantaneously instead of burning progressively and evenly.

Preignition occurs when the fuel/air mixture ignites prior to the engine's normal ignition event.

What is RCO?

Remote Communications Outlet (RCO); can be used to communicate with FSS; no station colocated.

What is wingtip vortex?

The vortex circulation is outward, upward, and around the wingtips when viewed from either ahead or behind the aircraft.

Wingtip vortices created by large aircraft tend to sink below the aircraft generating turbulence.

Under which condition will pressure altitude be equal to true altitude?

When standard atmospheric conditions exist.

In what flight condition is torque effect the greatest in a single-engine airplane?

In a single-propeller plane, the torque effect causes the plane to turn upwards and left in response to the propeller turning the plane in the opposite direction of the propeller's clockwise spin.

Low airspeed, high power, high angle of attack.

In a prop driven airplane, a decrease in pitch attitude results in?

A yawing moment to the left around the vertical axis.

What's the initial corrective action to take in case of engine detonation.

If a pilot suspects that the engine (with a fixed-pitch propeller) is detonating during climb-out after takeoff, the initial corrective action to take would be to lower the nose slightly to increase airspeed.

Engine detonation results in an overheated engine. Engine temperature can be reduced by lowering the nose of the aircraft to increase the flow of air over the cylinders and reduce engine strain.

During takeoff, which main landing gear will be put on more weight?

Left. From a pilot's view, propeller turn clockwise, the torque effect cause the plane to roll left, putting more weight on the left main landing gear.

Which stalls first? Wing root or wing tip?

In most straight-wing aircraft, the wing is designed to stall the wing root first. The wing root reaches its critical AOA first, making the stall progress outward toward the wingtip. Having the wing root stall first ensures aileron effectiveness at the wingtips, maintaining the aircraft's controllability. This is achieved by designing the wing with a “twist” to have a higher AOA at the wing root and a lower AOA at the wing tip.

Which weighs more? Moist air or dry air?

A molecule of water vapor weighs less than a molecule of dry air. For a given volume of air, moist air weighs less, is less dense, than dry air. Lower air density decreases performance.

High temp results in higher or lower oil pressure?

High temperatures may lead to lower oil pressure as the oil loses viscosity with heat.

What is load factor?

n = L / W n= L/W

where L=lift generated by the wing, W= gross weight of the aircraft.

At a constant altitude, during a coordinated turn in any aircraft, the load factor is the result of two forces: centrifugal force and weight caused by the degree of bank.

n = 1 / cos θ n= 1/ \cos θ

At 45°, the load factor increases to 1.4G. At a 60° bank angle, the load factor further increases to a value of 2.

Limits by categories:

  • Transport Category -1.0 to +2.5 Gs
  • Normal Category -1.52 to +3.8 Gs
  • Utility Category -1.76 to +4.4 Gs
  • Acrobatic Category -3.0 to +6.0 Gs

Six pack

  • Which instruments depend engine driven vacuum? Attitude Indicator and Heading Indicator.
  • Which instruments depend static ports? Altimeter, Airspeed Indicator, and Vertical Speed Indicator.
  • Which instruments depend pitot tube? Airspeed Indicator.
  • Which instruments are electrically driven? Turn Coordinator (TC).

What are different types of drags?

  • induced drag: the consequence of lift.
  • parasite drag: aused by the aircraft's shape, construction-type, and material.

What to do with a flooded engine?

Flooded engine = over priming.

Consequence: engine cannot start, or may cause engine fire during startup.

How to fix: mixture cutoff + throttle full open; the idea is to get let excess fuel out of the engine. Or let the engine sit for a while.

If magneto switch is changed from BOTH to RIGHT, and there's no RPM drop, what happened?

2 possibilities:

  • left magneto cannot be grounded;
  • left magneto is not working.

What are the 2 fundamental properties of a gyroscope?

  • rigidity in space
  • procession