Ground School, Exams and Flight Test

There are 9 ground exams to be taken altogether and details of these are given below. It may seem a lot but these can be spread out throughout the course. Finally, there is a flight test taken with an examiner called a "Skills Test" which is the practical exam at the end of all your training. You will have to demonstrate your ability to navigate, general flying techniques, emergency procedures and, of course, your take-off and landings!

As part of the new European Aviation Safety Agency Private Pilots licence syllabus a much greater emphasis has been placed on the Core learning subjects to make sure applicants have gained sufficient theoretical knowledge as more aviation related accidents and incidents are put down to pilot error. In addition to the ground exams there is a requirement for 100 hours ground school to be completed as part of the course.

Air Law

Aviation law is normally the first written exam to be taken. We like you to have this exam out of the way prior to your first solo flight, because air law is like the highway code of the air and although your first flight will usually be one solo cicuit, it is important that you know how to read ground signals and know who has right of way as well as being aware of airspace restrictions etc.

Human Performance and Limitation

This multiple choice exam was introduced in 1992 in recognition that pilot error is the main cause of incidents and accidents. Deteriorating decision making due to stress accumulation or ill health can lead to the development of dangerous situations. The ability to interpret the signs at an early stage makes accidents less likely to happen and therefore human performance and limitations is a vital part of your exam syllabus.

Meteorology

Weather patterns and their interpretation are of great importance to PPL's and students alike - you will learn how to understand what is happening in the atmosphere and what sort of conditions to avoid flying in (or into). You will learn to read aerodrome weather reports and forecasts and how to apply them to your intended flight to ensure that at all times you remain safe and legal. The exam is multiple choice format with the accent very much on your awareness of flying in bad weather.

Communications

Your Radio Telephony RT Licence will allow you to fly, for example, through certain categories of airspace and into aerodromes with higher levels of radio work. We run a complete R.T. course which you can start anytime during your flying training. The course comprises four sessions of practical instruction, written exam and practical oral test.

Aircraft General Knowledge

The Technical paper is also a multiple choice exam which covers the theory of aeroplane systems - engine, fuel, oil and electrical. It gives you a good background knowledge to how an aircraft works and is therefore an exam to sit as soon as possible.

Flight Performance and Planning

This exam was introduced in 1999 as part of the new JAR FCL PPL syllabus. Similar to the Technical exam, Flight Performance and Planning concentrates on how well the aeroplane performs in differing situations, but with an emphasis on the practical aspects of flying. You will learn, amongst other things, the safest way to load your aeroplane and how to get the best range and endurance out of it.

Navigation

One of the joys of having a PPL is the ease with which you can get from A to B - if all goes to plan! If you are not well organised and prepared you will find that your workload will be increased to a nerve-racking and possibly dangerous level. However, if you learn how to map-read and use your navigation computer to complete an orderly flight plan, including radio frequencies, alternate aerodromes and a fuel plan, you will find that everything will be safer and smoother, and if anything unforeseen should happen, for example, Air Traffic Control non-compliance or bad weather, then you will be well prepared and able to cope with it. The exam ensures you have covered all of the necessary reading, and by studying the ground exam whilst carrying out the air exercises you will find that Navigation will fall easily into place.

Operational Procedures

This exam was introduced in 2013 as part of the new EASA PPL syllabus. This exam has extracts from some of the afore mentioned exams, but with an emphasis on the Operating rules and safety aspects of flying.

Principles of Flight

This exam was introduced in 2013 as part of the new EASA PPL syllabus. It breaks down the original former Technical exam, now aircraft general knowledge into more bite sized chunks so you are able to concentrate your study into key areas. You will learn, amongst other things, the theory of flight and aerodynamics.

The Skills Test

The Skills Test is the culmination of all your flying training. The examiner wants to assess your ability to navigate accurately form A to B and to see that if you are off-track, you can regain track, and if you need to change frequency you have that frequency to hand on your flight plan. Once the examiner is confident that you are aware of your surroundings and can cope with unplanned diversions from your intended route and replan your flight swiftly and safely, you'll move on to the general handling part of the test.

The examiner will want to see a safe and competent level of airmanship, with a demonstration of upper-air work (slow flight, stalling, turning, practice forced landings, etc.).