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7 Questions You Should Be Ready For On Your Checkride

This story was made in partnership with Envoy Air. Check out the full series here. Ready to apply? Submit your application here.

Taking your checkride soon? Make sure you're ready for these questions. If you can easily answer them, chances are you'll breeze through your oral exam.

1) If you take friends up for a flight and you're a private pilot, can they pay for the flight?

FAR: 61.113

Your friends can pitch in, but you need to pay at least the 'pro rata' share of flight expenses. For example, if your flight cost $100, and there were 4 of you, you need to pay at least $25.


2) You're flying into a Class D airport and the ceilings are coming down quickly. You pick up ATIS, and the weather is 7SM and 900' ceilings. You're a non-instrument rated private pilot. Can you land there?

FAR 91.155 (c)

According to the FARs, you can't operate VFR within the lateral boundaries of controlled airspace designated to the surface when the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet. What you can do is pick up a Special VFR clearance and land.


3) What are the night currency requirements to carry passengers at night?

FAR 61.57 (b)

You need to log at least 3 night takeoffs and landings to a full stop within the preceding 90 days. And, you need to log the landings between 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise.


4) The winds aloft are '9900'. What does that mean?

'9900' means the winds are light and variable. No headwind for you!

5) What happens to maneuvering speed (Va) as your plane gets heavier?

As weight goes up, Va goes up. That's because when your plane is heavier, it needs to fly at a higher AOA at a given airspeed to maintain altitude. And because it's at a higher AOA, it's closer to the critical AOA, which means a full control input will stall the plane before it exceeds the limit load factor.


6) When do you need to use position lights (nav lights)?

FAR 91.209 (a) (1)

You need to use position lights from sunset to sunrise.


7) You passed your private pilot checkride on August 4th, 2020. Assuming you don't take any more checkrides, when do you need to complete your next flight review?

FAR 61.56 (c)

You have until the end of the 24th calendar month to complete your flight review. In this example, you'll need to complete your flight review by August 31, 2022.


Need a little more help preparing for your checkride? Our online courses get you ready for all the tough questions your examiner will ask. Plus, get 20% off when you buy more than one of our airspace, weather and VFR charts courses. Just add them to your cart, there's no coupon needed.

Ready to launch your airline career? Get started by applying to Envoy Air today.

Corey Komarec

Corey is an Embraer 175 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at

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