General Information, Policies and Procedures for FAA Practical Tests

If you’re reading this document, it means that you’re either ready or are very close to being ready to taking a check ride for a new pilot certificate or rating.  I’d like to offer my congratulations because I know how much time and effort you’ve put in so far in order to get to this point.  I also know that taking a check ride can be a cause of anxiety for most pilots.  Because of that, I wanted to compile some information to help both you and your flight instructor in preparing you for the practical test.  As a long time CFI, I thoroughly enjoy helping

people achieve their goals as aviators, and that remains the same as a Designated Pilot Examiner.  I want your check ride experience to be a positive one; however, that does require you to be prepared.  

If you follow the guidance contained in this briefing in addition to the instruction from your CFI, you should be well prepared for your test.  Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.




To schedule a check ride for a certificate or rating, an applicants CFI should make the initial contact in order to set up an appointment.  Although I encourage applicants to meet or speak with me prior to a check ride, the CFI knows best when an applicant is ready for the practical test.  This policy is in place to ensure that an applicant is not scheduling an appointment without their CFI’s knowledge.  It also helps prevent an applicant from showing up for a check ride unprepared or without all the required prerequisites met.  To schedule a check ride appointment, CFI’s can call 610-228-0315, or email me at




When it comes time to complete your application for your airman certificate or rating, you should use the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA).  When scheduling an appointment, please have ready the applicants FTN number available.  It shall be noted that if an applicant uses the paper form, an administrative fee will be added to the check ride cost.  This fee will not apply in the event IACRA is unavailable on the day of the test for reasons beyond our control.  Should an applicant use the paper 8710-1 instead of IACRA, the form shall be completed online and printed.  Please do not fill out this form in ink.  You can find a fillable PDF 8710-1 on the FAA website found here (current version 10-17):

I strongly suggest that you or your CFI save this completed form digitally after you complete it so it will save time in making any changes should an error be found.  Additionally, please read all pages of Form 8710-1 carefully, and understand that signing Form 8710-1 serves as an acknowledgment that you’ve received the Pilot’s Bill of Rights Written Notification of Investigation.  You will be asked to sign another acknowledgement at the time of the check ride either on a form or via IACRA.



Ensure you bring along a government issued photo ID to your appointment.  Please keep in mind when filling out any paperwork for the FAA, that you must use your full legal name.  Your name ideally should match on all of your documents, such as student pilot certificate / medical and any other ID.  Ensure that the name on the written test report exactly matches the name used on the 8710, such as using a full middle name vs. a middle initial.  Should your name change prior to a check ride, you must contact the local FSDO office.  A DPE may not make any change in your name.  Any questions should be forwarded to the Allentown FSDO.


In addition to the government issued identification previously mentioned, an applicant will be expected to bring along the following items:  (This list is not all inclusive and is subject to change.  See the Applicant’s Practical Test Check List for more information.)

Pilot Certificate / Medical:

Ensure that you have your pilot certificate and medical, and that they are current.

Required CFI Endorsements / Sign Offs: 

Ensure that you have all the required CFI endorsements for the applicable certificate or rating sought.  This includes appropriate aircraft and operational endorsements.  If you  are flying into an airport for your check ride as a student pilot, ensure that you have a cross country sign off both to and from the check ride in the event that the check ride is un-successful.  Ensure that you have a sign off for your written test, if applicable, a sign off indicating that you’ve received the required training within two calendar months, and a sign off indicating that your CFI has reviewed any deficient areas on the written test if applicable.  Please don’t hesitate to check with me prior to the check ride appointment if you have any questions regarding appropriate logbook endorsements.  Also note that a Letter of Discontinuance or Notice of Disapproval does not extend the expiration date of any sign off or endorsement.  Please take a picture or scan of your endorsements and email them to me at so I can review them for any issues prior to the day of the check ride.  To expedite the review process, it is highly recommended that you tab all required training requirements and applicable endorsements for the check ride appointment.

Record of Ground and Flight Training:

Ensure that you have logged all applicable ground and flight training required for your certificate or rating in your logbook or appropriate training record.  Using a home study course does not eliminate the requirement for certain ground training from your instructor.  For Part 141 course graduates, ensure that you bring all of your training records with you.

Part 141 Graduation Certificate: (If applicable)

If you are a graduate of a Part 141 approved training course, ensure that you have your Graduation Certificate.  Also ensure that you’ve completed all of Block A and C on Part II of the Form 8710-1 with the appropriate aircraft and approved school information.  It is important to note that a Part 141 Graduation Certificate is only valid for 60 days, and that a Letter of Discontinuance does not extend this 60 day expiration date.

Airman Certification Standards  (ACS) / Practical Test Standards (PTS):

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure they have and bring a current copy of the appropriate ACS or PTS as applicable.  This can be in print form or as a download on an electronic flight bag.  The most current versions of the ACS / PTS can be found and saved from the FAA website, found here:

View Limiting Device:

Ensure you bring along a view limiting device.  Please note that the examiner has the final decision as to whether a particular view limiting device is adequate for the test.

Aircraft Documents / Logbooks:

Please bring all required aircraft documents such as Airworthiness Certificate and Registration, as well as the aircraft maintenance logs.  This will be discussed as a part of the ground portion, and you will be expected to find all required inspections and prove the aircraft is in safe and legal condition to fly.  Please take time to familiarize yourself with the aircraft logbooks.  Please ensure that there is a current Airworthiness Directives (AD) compliance list and that the applicable AD statuses are easy to determine.


The iPad and other similar devices have revolutionized the way many pilots plan and conduct their flights.  The use of an iPad or similar device is approved on a check ride with some exceptions.  The applicant will be expected to ensure and prove that the data on the device is current.  The applicant is also expected to be able to show proficiency in using such a device during flight operations.  Considerations should be taken to how the device will be stowed or secured, if the device causes any interference with any aircraft systems, as well as how the applicant integrates the device and its information in regards to single pilot resource management.  For any certificate or rating requiring demonstration of Pilotage and or Dead Reckoning, you will be expected to show proficiency in these tasks without the gps features of the tablet.  While it is acceptable to use the tablet as your applicable aeronautical chart, the geo-referencing or “own ship position” feature must be disabled.  It is also important to still have a flight log or some other means to keep track of time and fuel in place of the iPad.  For applicants taking a check ride that involves the demonstration of Instrument Approach Procedures or Holding, you must disable the “own ship position” or geo-referencing capability.  It is also advisable to have some means of a back up for the EFB / iPad in the event the device malfunctions or the battery is depleted.  Contingencies will be discussed during the oral examination.



Please note that this briefing is intended to help you prepare for your practical test, and is not intended to replace any other required document or regulations.  This document is not all inclusive, and is subject to change at any time.  It is imperative that an applicant be familiar with the applicable ACS or PTS for the certificate or rating sought. 

Please don’t ever hesitate to contact me should you have any questions regarding a check ride or other flight training issue.  My goal is to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.


Good Luck!