Once you've watched all the video segments and used the FAA Knowledge Test prep tools in Sporty's Learn to Fly or Instrument Rating course, there's just one step left: the checkride. Officially called the Practical Test, this involves an in-person interview and flight with a Designated Pilot Examiner. But don't worry - Sporty's courses have all the tools you need to impress the examiner. Here's how to use them.
This post is written for the most recent update to Sporty's courses, the 2021 edition. If you've bought the Learn To Fly Course or the Instrument Rating Course, you have lifetime updates so this can apply to you too! Sportys.com/mycourses updates automatically but if you're using the app version, you may need to open the App Store and check for updates.
Study Checkride Prep Flashcards
You won't have to learn any new material for the oral exam, but it's important to review some common topics before you arrive on checkride day. This has more to do with understanding aircraft systems and regulations than memorizing answers, so we created our flashcard tool to help you test your knowledge. Click on the Checkride Prep menu at the left of the Pilot Training online portal, then choose Checkride Prep Flashcards.
You can study specific categories to focus on your weakest areas, or study random questions as a final prep for the checkride. The questions, written by our team of flight instructors based on their experience with oral exams, will be presented without answers, so you have to answer the question out loud or in your head. Then click the Show Answer button to read the correct answer and a link to the reference document. Finally, mark each question correct or incorrect.
Watch the FAA Checkride Tips & Tricks Video
The same Checkride Prep menu has a link to a webinar recording from Jason Blair, one of the most active pilot examiners in the US. Watch this video for an honest opinion about what pilots should do to be successful on a checkride, plus answers to commonly asked questions. As you'll see from Jason's relaxed manner, examiners really aren't out to get you, and if you know what to expect you will perform much better. This is great information to review approximately one week before your practical test.
Review the Interactive Airman Certification Standards
The Airman Certification Standards (ACS) are your guide to the checkride. This document, published by the FAA, sets out every task and knowledge area you'll be tested on. You can use this as a supplement to your in-airplane training to make sure you and your instructor cover every topic, but it's also ideal for last minute checkride prep. Go through each of the tasks in the ACS and make sure you understand the key concepts and the completion standards - "chair flying" the maneuvers is encouraged! Also, note the buttons associated with every task; these offer direct links to video segments in the course that cover that topic. We suggest reviewing this document the night before your test.
Complete the Checkride Applicant Checklist
There's a lot of paperwork to complete before you can start your checkride, and having it all in order is an easy way to make a good first impression with the examiner. Use our Checkride Applicant Checklist to verify that all your information is ready, from the required documents to your log-in credentials. This tool walks you through each of the entries, then allows you to download a PDF of the checklist - ideal for sharing with the examiner or your CFI to show you are ready. Complete this checklist at least a day or two before the checkride, so there's time to resolve any discrepancies.
The FAA Practical Test can be stressful, but if you're well prepared it is nothing more than a chance to show what you know. Spend some time with these tools in the weeks leading up to your checkride and you'll arrive for the big day ready to excel. Good luck!