I recently attempted to take my Commercial/ME/Instrument checkride. I passed the oral exam portion, but shortly after the engine started running rough. After making it through about 3-4 maneuvers and tasks, the DPE and myself called safety of flight and brought the plane back in. He did a discontinuance on my app for a new rating, but did check me off on the tasks performed. He stated that the tasks performed have a two month shelf life.

My question is, does the oral exam have the same shelf life since I passed it?

The reason this is a concern is that I have a deployment with the Guard in about two weeks. If the plane doesn't get back up and running, I'm hosed. My shelf life on the checkride stuff expires on 5/31 and I won't be back home from my deployment until early to mid-June.

  • $\begingroup$ As long as you know your stuff you're not "hosed" -- if you can pass it once you can pass it again! Try to go up with the same examiner - they still have to give you the whole test again, but if they remember you you'll probably get a modified oral that blows through the stuff they know you know quickly & focuses more on the stuff you didn't dig in to the first time as opposed to having to grind through the same questions all over again :) $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Mar 16, 2014 at 2:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If the plane isn't up in a week, talk to your instructor about finding another plane, possibly with another FBO. You'll probably have to take a check out flight with them, but that sure beats waiting until mid-June. $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2014 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, yes. It is part of the checkride and if you don't finish it within the required time you will need to take the entire checkride again.

The commercial PTS shows the areas of operations that are included in the checkride, and the oral itself is given throughout the entire process. What most people consider "the oral" is the examiner asking questions during the "preflight preparation" portion of the checkride. This is where they ask the most questions because in all reality, this is where you as a pilot should be asking the most questions.

There is a note in the beginning of the PTS which talks about this:

Examiner Responsibility

The examiner conducting the practical test is responsible for determining that the applicant meets the acceptable standards of knowledge and skill of each Task within the appropriate practical test standard. Since there is no formal division between the “oral” and “skill” portions of the practical test, this becomes an ongoing process throughout the test. Oral questioning, to determine the applicant’s knowledge of Tasks and related safety factors, should be used judiciously at all times, especially during the flight portion of the practical test. Examiners shall test to the greatest extent practicable the applicant’s correlative abilities rather than mere rote enumeration of facts throughout the practical test.


As a small aside, you don't really get two months, but rather 60 days. This is covered in 14 CFR 61.43:

§61.43 Practical tests: General procedures.


(f) If a practical test is discontinued, the applicant is entitled credit for those areas of operation that were passed, but only if the applicant:

(1) Passes the remainder of the practical test within the 60-day period after the date the practical test was discontinued;

(2) Presents to the examiner for the retest the original notice of disapproval form or the letter of discontinuance form, as appropriate;

(3) Satisfactorily accomplishes any additional training needed and obtains the appropriate instructor endorsements, if additional training is required; and

(4) Presents to the examiner for the retest a properly completed and signed application.


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