Ground Training


There is a wealth of information that must be mastered to properly prepare for an FAA Private Pilot Practical Test. Subjects include aerodynamics, engine mechanics and navigation, like you would expect. But there are other less obvious subjects like optics, law, health factors, weather, and even etiquette. To master these subjects, many of which may be entirely new to most people, takes an educational commitment. But most people welcome the educational challenge.


There are two tests that must be passed to get a Private Pilot Certificate. The first is what the FAA calls a Knowledge Test. It is called a Knowledge Test rather than a written test because it is given on a computer at a licensed testing site. You can take such a test about anytime you want in many locations around the country. And you get the results immediately. The FAA selects questions from a bank of questions for each test and you may get any question in the question bank.


The second test is called a Practical Test and is actually a two part test conducted by an FAA Examiner or an FAA Designee. The first part is an oral test lasting several hours. This assures that a student actually understands the subject matter and the safety concerns involved. The second part of the test is a demonstration of flying abilities, or what we generally think of as a flight test.


There are many ways to "do" the Ground School. That is, there are many ways to absorb the knowledge necessary to pass both the FAA Knowledge Test and the oral portion of the FAA Practical Test. Which method a person uses is largely a function of the best way a person learns. Some of these was are as follows:


1) Formal Ground Schools-There are within most communities, schools like Community Colleges, Adult Education Programs, Four Year Colleges, and others who at a reasonable price sponsor organized classes which meet weekly or more often. Graduation Certificates are frequently given and successful completion usually ends with the administration of the FAA Knowledge Test. These courses usually impart the knowledge necessary to pass both the FAA Knowledge Test and the oral part of the FAA Practical Test and they are excellent.


2) Private Lessons by a Student's Flight Instructor-This produces the best results in passing the tests, but is very expensive as compared to the alternatives.


3) Home Study Courses-This alternative has many interesting options and is suited to a large number of students. But these options have the a big drawback. People tend not to manage their time well enough to timely finish the subject matter, and as a result the student's Flight Instructor's help is often relied upon to prepare the student well enough to pass the FAA Knowledge Test and oral portion of the FAA Practical Test. Some of the alternatives are as follows:


• Books

• Audio Tapes

• Video Tapes

• Interactive CD ROMs

• Interactive Online Courses

• Interactive “Apps”


These last methods of preparing for the FAA Knowledge Test and oral portion of the FAA Practical Test are excellent, especially the Video tapes and Interactive options. But they are not to be taken lightly. If a student is unable to devote the necessary time to timely complete these courses of study, a change of course is necessary.


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