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In the US, what are the requirements that a student pilot must demonstrate to their examiner before they can take a checkride for their private pilot airplane certificate?

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Private Pilot Airplane Single-Engine Checkride Requirements

Eligibility Requirements (14 CFR 61.103)

  • Be at least 17 years of age for a rating in other than a glider or balloon
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language
  • Instructor logbook endorsement certifying your aeronautical knowledge (14 CFR 61.105) and that you are prepared for the written test
  • Passed the written test and can present your original embossed Airman Knowledge Test Report
  • Instructor logbook endorsement certifying your flight proficiency (14 CFR 61.107)and that you are ready for the flight test
  • Log all required aeronautical experience (below)

Aeronautical Experience (14 CFR 61.109):

  • 40 hours of flight time (35 for 141 schools) that includes:
    • 20 hours of dual instruction
    • 10 hours of solo flight training
  • 3 hours of cross-country dual
  • 3 hours of night dual (to get an unrestricted license) that includes:
    • 1 cross-country flight of over 100 nautical miles total distance
    • 10 takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport
  • 3 hours of instrument dual
  • 3 hours of dual in preparation for the practical test within 2 calendar months
  • 10 hours of solo including
    • 5 hours of cross-country time
    • 1 150 NM solo cross country flight, with full-stop landings at three points and one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of more than 50 NM between the takeoff and landing locations
    • 3 takeoffs and 3 landings to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower
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I'm sure someone will post the exact regs, but as a stop-gap, from memory:

  • 40 hours (35 if the school is part 141) minimum total time
  • 20 hours dual instruction
  • 3 hours flight "by reference to instruments" (under the hood)
  • 5 hours solo cross country (50nm minimum between two points along each trip)
  • One solo 150nm XC flight with at least 3 airports (two of which must be at least 50nm apart)
  • 3 hours night flight (dual instruction)
  • One night XC (dual)
  • 10 night landings (full stop)
  • 3 hours of dual instruction explicitly for check ride prep, within 90 days of the check ride
  • Endorsements for the items above needing endorsements
  • An endorsement from a CFI stating the candidate is prepared for the check ride.

Additionally, mine has a statement that my (part 61) CFI had seen my US passport (and its number) establishing proof that I am a US citizen, in accordance with 49 CFR 1552.3(A).

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    $\begingroup$ This was pretty close for being from memory! $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 3:16
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Mah explained everything very well.

The non-flying requirements are:

  • Be at least 17 years old (14 years old for glider or balloon rating)
  • Be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language
  • Obtain at least a third class medical certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner
  • Pass a paper/computerized aeronautical knowledge test
  • Pass an oral test and flight test administered by an FAA inspector, FAA-designated examiner, or authorized check instructor

Source: Wikipedia

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Regulations are somewhat different for different aircraft (airplane, helicopter, glider, etc). I'll assume the question asks about private pilot for single-engine land-based aircraft (SEL).

For the United States, answer can be found in FAR §61 subpart E. Applicable sections are: 103(a),(c)-(j), 105, 107(a),(b)(1), 109(a).

Reference: FAR §61, Subpart E

Disclaimer: not a lawyer, just a humble student pilot navigating this gauntlet himself :-).

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  • $\begingroup$ You may want to include the relevant requirements in your answer. As it stands currently this would be considered a link only answer, because in the (unlikely) event ECFR's link layout changes folks would have to go Google the FARs rather than having the information available to them here. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 22:15

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