Are there any tests required to become a student pilot?
No. To obtain a student pilot certificate you must pass the medical exam discussed earlier. (Before the first solo, you must pass a written exam administered by your flight instructor (14 CFR section 61.87). To obtain a higher certificate you must pass a knowledge and practical test. The knowledge test is administered by computer and is good for a period of two years. The practical test examines your flying skills and ability against a published standard during an examination flight with a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) in the category and class of aircraft in which you are getting your pilot certificate. Part of the practical test is an oral examination administered by the DPE.
Do I need an interpreter for the computer based knowledge exam?
No, it is simply a multiple choice exam administered by computer.
How do I prepare for the knowledge exam?
An instructional kit is available at most flight schools to help prepare the knowledge exam. Video tapes are also available (with closed captioning) to assist student pilots studying for the exam. Many flight schools also conduct ground instruction in a regular classroom scenario, but you would have to advise the flight school that it would have to locate and arrange for interpreters under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The IDPA or local deaf advocate organizations would be able to assist the flight school in locating interpreters. Again, check with your local FSDO for flight schools in your area.
How does a deaf pilot complete the practical test's oral and flight portions?
The practical test is completed using a detailed written "plan of action" as described in the appropriate Practical Test Standards (PTS). This plan of action will include all required Tasks in each Area of Operation and should not differ significantly from the process followed by the instructor and the applicant in preparing for the practical test.
Where are the knowledge exams given?
Computer testing centers are located in most major metropolitan areas. For a current listing of those in your area, contact your local FSDO. The exams are given at your convenience.