Sample pilot oral exam questions

While cleaning out his home office, one of the bloggers behind the AskaCFI blog stumbled upon an old copy of “Questions from an actual oral exam – Private Pilot.” He then noted that:

I sat in an oral exam for a private pilot checkrider on 11-24-98. The examiner asked the applicant the following questions.  Your questions may be much different.  Be aware that many of the questions asked were a result of the applicant’s answers to the previous questions.

Hence, we will repeat the questions again here and also note that there is a video of an actual pilot oral exam at the end of the original AskaCFI post:

Private Pilot Oral Exam Questions:


  1. Is the information on your 8710 form correct?
  2. Did your instructor review the areas that you were deficient on your written test?
  3. Explain which documents must be on board the aircraft.
  4. What invalidates the airworthiness certificate?
  5. Which of the required documents on board an aircraft has to be in view?
  6. What are the required inspections for your aircraft?
  7. What are your private pilot privileges and limitations?
  8. What is a flight review?
  9. Do you need to log flight time?
  10. What are the various v-speeds for your aircraft?
  11. What would you want to maintain a Vy climb for a while after takeoff?
  12. When might you need to slow down below maneuvering speed?
  13. What is the effect of high density altitude on aircraft performance, and what three things contribute to high density altitude?
  14. Have you ever had carb ice? When do you use carb heat?
  15. What is the spin recovery procedure for your aircraft?
  16. Can you intentionally spin your aircraft according to the manufacturer limitations?
  17. Explain what you would do if a large aircraft departed just as you were coming in to land?
  18. What is the maximum allowable baggage your can put in the baggage compartment of your airplane?
  19. What are the various anti- or de-icing components on your aircraft, and which one is each (anti-or de-icing?).
  20. When would you use pitot heat?
  21. What is the total fuel on your aircraft, and how much of that is usuable?
  22. How are the fuel tanks vented to allow for air to replace fuel that is used?
  23. What powers the flaps?
  24. Would the engine quit if you lost electrical power?
  25. How would you identify an electrical failure?
  26. What are the required instruments and equipment for day VFR flight?
  27. Could you fly the airplane if a piece of non-required equipment was not operational? If so, what would you need to do?
  28. Could you fly the airplane if a piece of required equipment was not operational? If so, what you would need to do?
  29. What are the night VFR equipment requirements?
  30. Explain hypoxia and its symptoms.
  31. Explain hyperventilation and its symptoms.
  32. Explain the supplemental oxygen requirements.
  33. What would you do if you smelled exhaust fumes in the cockpit?
  34. Why do you have to avoid alcohol and certain over-the-counter drugs with respect to flying, when you are allowed to drive with, for example, immediately after having a few drinks?
  35. Explain the effects of excessive nitrogen in the blood.  Why might this be significant for you as a pilot?
  36. Where do Class A, B, C, D, E and G airspaces exist and show me them on a chart (if possible).
  37. What do you need to get into Class A airspace?
  38. What do you need to do to get into Class B airspace?
  39. What do you need to get into Class C airspace? Class D?
  40. If you called Flint approach control facility to enter Class C airspace, and the controller responded with “Aircraft calling Flint, standby,” could you enter the airspace? Why or why not?
  41. What are maximum elevation figures (on a chart)?
  42. Explain Military Operations Areas…where can you find information about specific MOAs depicted on your chart?
  43. How did you get the weather for today’s flight?
  44. Can we make today’s flight safely?
  45. What were the winds aloft?
  46. Any NOTAMS?
  47. How can you get windshear reports?
  48. Explain airmets and sigmets.
  49. Would you consider a sigment dangerous?
  50. Why did you choose 4500 as a cruise altitude?
  51. Explain the hemispherical rule. (
  52. How would you activate your flight plan once airborne?
  53. Explain how your arrived at your computed heading and groundspeed for the first leg of the trip.
  54. Explain why you chose the checkpoints that you did.
  55. How will you determine the active runway at your destination (an uncontrolled airport)?
  56. What if you call the unicom and nobody answers?

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