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10 Regulations To Know Before Your Private Pilot Checkride

This story was made in partnership with AOPA. Ready to join the largest aviation community in the world? Sign up and become an AOPA Member today.

As a student pilot preparing for your first check-ride, one of the most intimidating things can be trying to memorize regulations.

To help you out, we've grouped some essential regulations together with the information you'll need for your checkride.

1) Requirements for certificates, ratings, and authorizations (FAR 61.3)

In order to execute the privileges of a private pilot, you'll need to carry:

  • Your pilot certificate
  • Government-issued photo ID card
  • Medical certificate

2) Medical certificates (FAR 61.23)

This section outlines what type of medical certificate is needed for certain operations, and the duration depending on your age.

3) Flight review and experience (FAR 61.56 & 61.57)

As a private pilot, you'll need a flight review every 24 calendar months consisting of at least 1 hour of ground training and 1 hour of flight training (FAR 61.56). One of the greatest joys of getting your private pilot certificate is being able to share your passion with others, so if you plan on taking passengers you'll need to fly and log the takeoff and landing requirements listed in FAR 61.57

4) Aeronautical experience (FAR 61.109)

Ready for your big day? Make sure you have all the requirements listed under "Subpart A" to make sure you are ready to take your checkride.

5) Private pilot limitations (FAR 61.113)

FAR 61.113 deals with the limitations set by the FAA on your certificate, such as compensation for direct flight costs. This regulation is where you are told that you aren't allowed to be reimbursed more than the pro-rata (proportional) share of flight costs, except in some very specific situations.

6) Responsibility as PIC (FAR 91.3)

Being the pilot in command is a big deal. Look at this regulation for guidance on your authority as pilot in command.

7) Preflight actions (FAR 91.103)

As the pilot in command, you are responsible for making sure "you are familiar with all available information concerning that flight."

8) VFR weather minimums (FAR 91.155)

As a private pilot, you'll be required to keep a clearance from clouds and be limited to certain visibility requirements depending on the airspace you plan to fly through.

9) Aircraft documents & inspections (FAR 91.9, 91.203, 91.409, 91.411, & 91.413)

A lot of oral exams start with an examiner asking "how do we know the plane is legal to fly?" A good starting point is to go through the documents required to be in your plane, and then the inspections required to be airworthy.

10) Required equipment for VFR flight (91.205)

If you're planning on operating your plane under VFR flight conditions and your aircraft doesn't have an MEL, you'll need to make sure you meet the required equipment list under FAR 91.205.

Ready to join the largest aviation community in the world? Sign up and become an AOPA Member today.

Nicolas Shelton

Nicolas is a flight instructor from Southern California. He is currently studying aviation at Purdue University. He's worked on projects surrounding aviation safety and marketing. You can reach him at

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