For pilot candidates, the road to a private pilot certificate will require them to pass three
examinations (four if you count the medical)
The first examination is the FAA written exam. This is a multiple choice computer exams given by
private testing providers with a passing grade of 70. To take the exam, a signoff from a flight or
ground instructor is required. Upon successful completion of the sequence of classes, the Gotham
Ground Training instructor will provide graduating student with a signoff.
The second and third examinations, the oral and flight tests ("checkrides"), are usually taken on
the same day. This exam is given either by a designated pilot examiner (a non-FAA employee
approved to give flight tests) or by an FAA inspector, depending on the workload and procedures
at the particular FAA office. The oral exam will usually consist of a comprehensive review of pilot
knowledge as well as a planned flight. The flight portion usually starts as the beginning of the
cross-country flight, but quickly departs from the plan with an emergency diversion, some
airwork and a few landings. The specific tasks and standards you will be expected to meet are
contained in the practical test standards. Once you pass the flight test, your examiner will give
you a temporary airman certificate, a.k.a., a license to learn.
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Did you know?...
With the exception of the Flight
Instructor certificate, currently issued
pilot certificates do not expire—they
last forever. In order to use them,
however, you generally need two
• A current medical certificate
• A recent flight review by an instructor
or a recent additional license or rating.