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PPL Skills test!

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PPL Skills test!

Old 7th Aug 2015, 12:43
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PPL Skills test!

Hi,


I just wondered as I am nearing the end of my PPL course; how long does it take to 'book' a date for your skills test, do you have to have completed all exams before you can take your skills test and lastly any tips & advice for the day?


Kind Regards
Pilot CR
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Old 7th Aug 2015, 12:55
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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I'm not 100% sure on this because it was a while ago when I did mine and rules change, but I think you used to be able to do the test with all exams completed except the RT practical. But regardless I would say it's much better to have them all done beforehand anyway.

How long it takes top book will depend on the aircraft and examiner availability at the club or school where you are doing it, for me it was about a week.

As far as tips go, probably nothing that you haven't heard before. Try to relax, don't stress about things, and if you make a mistake don't dwell on it because everyone makes mistakes and you are allowed to make some. A lot of people find it helpful to think of it in this way; You have already passed the test at the beginning of the day, the examiner wants you to pass and your job is just to make sure you don't change his mind!
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Old 7th Aug 2015, 21:36
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One thing I was advised to do when I did my skills test was, when talking to ATC, to start each initial contact with: "G-XXXX, Student pilot on skills test". I do think it helped.

Best of luck!
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Old 7th Aug 2015, 23:50
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No one may take a (EASA) Skills Test without having first completed all required course elements and having a Course Completion Certificate from their school (which the Examiner will want to see) to prove it. For PPL that means you must have been trained on all parts of the PPL syllabus, must have met all minimum flight time requirements (45 total, 25 Dual, 10 PIC, etc) and have passed all written exams.

For the Skills Test itself, remember that the test is for you to demonstrate your ability to act as PIC on a private VFR flight whilst carrying a passenger.

So don't be shy: Act as a Captain and treat your Examiner as a passenger and tell them what you want them to do: ie Do you know how to fasten this seat belt? Let me show you. Please keep it fastened throughout the flight. The emergency exists are the doors, this is how you open them, please don't unless I tell you to.

Extra emphasis on Lookout and Checks - Just so the Examiner is sure you are doing them.

As OhNoCB says no one expects perfection and everyone makes some mistakes. Just try and relax and manage the flight (including any mistakes or perceived mistakes) as you would any other.

One thing I was advised to do when I did my skills test was, when talking to ATC, to start each initial contact with: "G-XXXX, Student pilot on skills test". I do think it helped.
I would not recommend this.

If you do I would expect an Examiner to tell you to stop and include it in their debrief. "G-XXXX Student Pilot" is reserved for use by solo Students. You are not solo and, if you pass, you will be recording PICUS (not DUAL) in your Log Book. Therefore it is incorrect RT and technically you could be failed on that one item (though it would be a monstrous Examiner who did so - and Examiners are not monstrous, just more experienced pilots than you).

Good Luck and, above all, enjoy.

PS: Remember one Section of the Test will be for the SEP Rating which is Oral questioning. Know the aircraft you will be taking the test in (Learn the POH), this also applies to some of the planning.
Q: You have planned for a 2 hour flight. How much fuel do we need to carry?
A: The aircraft burns 25 Litres per Hour so to allow for Taxi and Contingencies we should carry a minimum of 75 Litres.
Q: Good. Why are you using the figure of 25 Litres/hour.
A: Because that is what my Instructor has told me to use.

Your Instructor is not on Test. You are!
Know why things are done, not just that they should be done.

Last edited by Level Attitude; 8th Aug 2015 at 00:05. Reason: Added in a PS
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Old 8th Aug 2015, 00:02
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Join Date: May 2005
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Hi CR.

how long does it take to 'book' a date for your skills test?
Skill Tests have to be notified to the CAA, and approved by them in advance, so a couple of days may be required for that. Otherwise, it only depends on how busy your chosen Examiner is. Some Examiners are particularly popular with candidates.

Do you have to have completed all exams before you can take your skills test?
Yes. Except for the RT Practical Test, which can be done afterwards.

...and lastly any tips & advice for the day?
All examiners like candidates who look the part, and demonstrate that they can organise their time well, so don't keep him/her waiting, or show up dressed in shorts and flip flops, because that gives the impression that you are not taking the event seriously.

Arrive with as much as you can pre-prepared, and with lots of time to spare. There will always be things you have forgotten.

Show the examiner that you are well organised, by offering him the weather, mass/balance, takeoff/landing performance, and applicable Notams you have already prepared.

Know your way around the aircraft documents. Be able to demonstrate how you have determined, from the Documents Folder and the Tec Log, that the aircraft is legal to fly.

Make your Nav planning neat and tidy. This gives that essential 'organised' impression, with the added advantage that it is easier to use in the air.

Ask all your questions in the briefing. It's too late at the end to say that you didn't understand something at the start!

During the Nav section, don't tell the Examiner anything he doesn't need to know. Especially don't unnecessarily point to a landmark and identify it. It might not be the place you think it is, but he need never know!

At the beginning of each leg, the Examiner will ask you for a heading/level for the leg, and an estimate for the next turning point. Do not change heading or level, without telling him first!

When telling him of changes to heading, level, or estimate, don't attempt to explain why you are changing them. This will waste your concentration, and you might be doing the right thing for the wrong reason!

I won't go through all the GH exercises, as you can either do them competently, or not. If you demonstrate something that turned out well below your usual standard though, ask for another go. The Examiner may not give you another attempt, but this is no indication of a failure, as he may have assessed your first attempt as adequate.

Remember that the Examiner isn't there to trick you into making a mistake, but he's not there to help you either. For Instance, if he asks you to show him a stall, he won't remind you to do the HASELL checks first.

Generally treat the Examiner as an interested passenger, who will need a pre-flight briefing on the safety procedures, and can help you keep a lookout if you ask, or hold your map, or clipboard for a few seconds. Don't expect a lot of chit-chat from him though, as he will be careful not to distract you.

From time to time, during the test, the Examiner will write things down on his pad. Don't try to see what he has written, or imagine that it's a list of mistakes you have made. He is just keeping notes of the flight, so that he can reconstruct it afterwards, and he will write down things like times, headings, changes of estimate, etc, so that he can keep track of what you are doing, and refer to it afterwards in the debrief, without making a mistake.

At the end of the test, you will be tired, but don't let your guard drop. 'It's not over until the fat lady sings', as they say, and the test isn't over until he says that he's pleased to tell you that you have passed the test, and shakes your hand, so dont screw up right at the end, and forget to turn off the mags, because you didn't follow the checklist!

Finally, Examiners are human too, and they really want to pass you, if only because the CAA paperwork for a fail, or partial pass, is way more difficult than a pass!

Good luck.


MJ

Last edited by Mach Jump; 8th Aug 2015 at 00:14.
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Old 8th Aug 2015, 16:27
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Skill tests do not have to be booked in advance. I notify all of mine at the end of the month. CPL and IR are the only exception as they are done through flight test bookings.

I am generally booked one or two days in advance of the test.

Just relax, as an examiner I am taking a snapshot of what your Instructor has taught you and no Instructor puts forward a candidate they think is not ready.

You are taking me along as an observer, fly the aircraft as you have been taught and you won't have an issue.

It is very rare to have to fail a candidate although we get the occasional partial if they have a brain fart.

As I said, just relax, don't overthink it and prepare properly. We are not there to fail you or catch you out.

Enjoy the test, it will be a memory that stays with you through your flying career as a major landmark.
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Old 8th Aug 2015, 18:37
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Join Date: May 2005
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Skill tests do not have to be booked in advance. I notify all of mine at the end of the month.
http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/Informa...ice2014110.pdf

I assume that you are following para. 4.1, whereas most Flying Schools in the UK are still RFs, rather than ATOs, and are following para.4.2


MJ
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Old 8th Aug 2015, 23:21
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I'm waiting for my skills test and while I thought I was definetly ready and clearly my instructor does too. As time goes by I am getting completely stressed out and anxious thinking there are many things I don't know ! I hope the instructors appreciate anxious students !
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Old 9th Aug 2015, 02:00
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Hi Ian.

I know it's easy for me to say, but try not to get stressed about the Test while you wait.

I think that most experienced pilots will admit that the more they learn about aviation, the more they realise how much they don't know!

If there's anything mentioned above that you don't know, then use the time before your test to fill in the gaps with your Instructor.

In the end though, only he/she can advise you if you are ready for the Test.

It's not in Instructors' interest to recommend people for Test who are not ready, as having their students fail tests reflects badly on them.

Examiners have to do tests themselves regularly, so they understand that it is a stressful time for the candidate, and your Examiner will do his/her best to put you at your ease.

Once again, I know it's easy for me to say, but just chill out, and give it your best!


MJ

Last edited by Mach Jump; 9th Aug 2015 at 02:16. Reason: Punctuation.
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Old 9th Aug 2015, 12:30
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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Quote:
Skill tests do not have to be booked in advance. I notify all of mine at the end of the month.
http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/Informa...ice2014110.pdf

I assume that you are following para. 4.1, whereas most Flying Schools in the UK are still RFs, rather than ATOs, and are following para.4.2


MJ
Yes, we are an ATO.
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Old 9th Aug 2015, 19:17
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RFs can also prenotify Examiners, I am notified by by 3 RFs so there is no need to seek the CAAs permission which in my experience only takes hours on a week day.
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Old 9th Aug 2015, 19:39
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What MJ says is absolutely right, Ian. I had a bit of a 'mare on the day of my test for a number of reasons. I had got myself into a real tizzy, convinced I wasn't ready.

I was. I passed. I even cocked a few things up, but fixed them immediately. The examiner really isn't looking to catch you out, if you make a mistake then say so and fix it. Unless you've really scared them, you'll be fine!

Good luck!
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 18:42
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Join Date: Aug 2014
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Hi all, thank you for you info and advice... just another quick question, on the skills test, do you have a certain amount of say minor faults allowed like in your driving test?


Regards
Pilot CR
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Old 10th Aug 2015, 19:14
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There is no hard and fast rule for this. If the Examiner discovers any major deficiencies in you knowledge and/or skills, that will lead to failure of that Section of the Test. Failure of more than one section requires the whole Test to be repeated.

Minor deficiencies are entirely down to the discretion of the Examiner.

A read through the Guidance for Candidates, here:

https://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/srg_lt..._V7_Sept12.pdf

might be worthwhile.

Although it does give a very formal and rigid impression of the Test, Examiners try their best, whilst remaining within the spirit and rules of the Test, to make it as stress free as they can.


MJ

Last edited by Mach Jump; 10th Aug 2015 at 19:30. Reason: Clarification
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