Practical Test Outcomes – Every practical exam will conclude in one of three ways:
- Completion of Exam – Congratulations! You’ll receive a temporary certificate, valid for 120 days, and your plastic, permanent certificate will be mailed from Oklahoma City in a few weeks. You can check to see how long certificate processing will take on this FAA web site.
- Notice of Disapproval – One or more tasks was not accomplished to the required standards. The good news is that you’ll only need to retest on tasks for which you did not meet the performance standard, and any tasks that were not completed. You’ll have 60 days to make up these tasks; otherwise you will need to complete the entire exam. Take note of the conditions below that can lead to a disapproval below; the PTS statements are in bold, my comments in italics
- Any action or lack of action by the applicant that requires corrective intervention by the examiner to maintain safe flight. If the examiner touches the controls, the ride is over. Why would the examiner need to do this? Possibilities include poor risk assessment or decision making. For instance, don’t let the examiner push you into doing something beyond your experience and personal limits. If the examiner suggests trying to land on a runway that has a crosswind component that exceeds your personal limits, he’s not egging you on. He’s trying to see if you will demonstrate PIC responsibility and make the better decision of selecting a different runway, or even a different airport, where the wind is aligned with the runway. Another example might be if during a stall recovery you do not use rudder to keep the airplane from yawing and the airplane starts to enter an incipient spin.
- Failure to use proper and effective visual scanning techniques to clear the area before and while performing maneuvers. If you are not clearing wings every time you turn, performing clearing turns before each maneuvers, looking inside instead of outside, the ride is over.
- Consistently exceeding tolerances stated in the Objectives. Take note of this; this doesn’t indicate that if you bust one tolerance, the ride is over. Let’s use the scenario in which on a steep turn you lose 120 feet on the left steep turn. If you take prompt, correction action, using the appropriate technique (reduce bank angle, then increase angle of attack and power, then roll back into steep turn) the examiner is likely to note that while you exceeded the tolerance, you corrected it, and the ride continues.
- Failure to take prompt corrective action when tolerances are exceeded. If you don’t notice that you are exceeding a tolerance, the ride is over.
- Notice of Discontinuance – If the test cannot be completed because of applicant or examiner illness, weather does not permit all tasks to be evaluated, or the aircraft suffers mechanical issue, the test will be discontinued. You will receive credit for all tasks completed and will have 60 days to complete the remaining tasks.