Recreational Pilot and Private Pilot Practical Tests

Must I provide the aircraft for my practical test?

Yes. You must provide an airworthy aircraft with equipment relevant to the pilot operations required for the practical test.

What papers and documents must I present to the FAA inspector or FAA-designated pilot examiner prior to my practical test?

You must have the following items available for inspection:

  • The aircraft's registration certificate
  • The aircraft's airworthiness certificate
  • The aircraft's operating limitations or FAA-approved aircraft flight manual (if required)
  • The aircrafts equipment list
  • The aircraft and engine logbooks or other maintenance records
  • Any applicable airworthiness directives.

You must present the following items to the inspector:

  • Your FAA Form 8710-1, Application for an Airman Certificate and/or Rating, (with the flight instructor's recommendation)
  • Your satisfactory grade on an AC Form 8080-2, Airman Written Test Report or an airman computer test report (if the test was taken at an FAA-designated computer testing center)
  • Your medical certificate (when required) and student pilots certificate endorsed by a flight instructor for solo, solo cross-country (when appropriate), and for the make and model of airplane to be used for the practical test
  • Your pilots logbook;
  • Your graduation certificate from an FAA-approved school (if applicable)


What does the practical test consist of, and how will my performance be evaluated?

The test standards are described in the Recreational Pilot or Private Pilot Practical Test Standards. Your instructor should have a copy of the practical test standards and should review them with you prior to your practical test. If your instructor doesn't have them, you can buy them from the Superintendent of Documents or US Government Printing Office bookstores.

When can I take the recreational pilot or private pilot practical test?

You can take the test as soon as, in your instructors judgment, you are ready. By endorsing your test application, your flight instructor is making a written recommendation to this effect. Your flight instructor's written recommendation shows that you have met all the prerequisites for the practical test.

Where can I take the practical test?

FAA Flight Standards District Offices conduct practical tests for pilot certification either at the offices location or periodically in cities within the district. The offices are usually located on or adjacent to an airport. FAA has also designated many flight instructors as pilot examiners. You should make an appointment for your practical test to avoid wasted time.

Is there any charge for taking the practical test?

If you take the test from an FAA inspector, there is no charge. If you take the test from an FAA-designated pilot examiner, you will have to pay. This is because the pilot examiner conducts tests without pay from FAA.

May I exercise the privileges of my pilots certificate immediately after passing my practical test or must I wait until I receive the actual pilots certificate?

You don't have to wait. The FAA inspector or FAA-designated pilot examiner will issue a temporary pilots certificate effective for a specific time period. FAA will issue your permanent pilots certificate after we have reviewed your qualifications.

Is there a charge for issuing the pilots certificate?

No. We don't charge for issuing the original pilots certificate. However, we do charge to replace any pilots certificate or medical certificate. As noted already, you may have to pay for certain other services, such as a physical examination.

Last updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2024