Suppose you're on your private pilot checkride and the tower gives you a land and hold short clearance.

Are you able to accept that clearance? I know you're expected to fly as if you were a private pilot, and you're allowed to carry the examiner even though they're not providing you dual instruction...

Are you allowed to accept a clearance on your private pilot checkride that you couldn't accept as a student but could as a private pilot?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I would suggest editing your question to either ask specifically about LAHSO (like your title) or ask the more general question (like the bolded last sentence of your question) because the answer might not be the same! $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 1:39
  • $\begingroup$ What clearance, besides a LAHSO, can a private pilot accept that a student cannot? $\endgroup$
    – Jungroth
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ @jun Flight into class B, perhaps. $\endgroup$
    – Steve V.
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ @SteveV. Students can fly into class B with the proper endorsement, and it's common to get one if you train under/near such. I had one, and I actually flew in the local class B on my PPL checkride. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 13:54

3 Answers 3


First, let's see whether it's legal. FAA Order 7110.118 notes that:


The following changes apply to all LAHSO.

  • a. ...

  • b. Solo student pilots will not conduct LAHSO.

However, you could interpret that as not applicable to your situation, as you are not the sole occupant of the aircraft:

14 CFR §61.87

(a) General. ... The term "solo flight" as used in this subpart means that flight time during which a student pilot is the sole occupant of the aircraft...

Though it might be allowed, note it does not say must:

AIM 4-3-11(b)

  1. ...

  2. Student pilots or pilots not familiar with LAHSO should not participate in the program.

I'd recommend against doing so because LAHSO can add to your workload, especially if you're a bit nervous on your checkride. Also, the AIM note on discouraging LAHSO is rather valid and if done improperly, can affect safety. Having said that, the examiner is likely to ask questions on LAHSO during your practical examination, especially since LAHSO is a special emphasis area in the PTS. This may include:

  • Requirements to accept a LAHSO clearance
  • ATC pharseology for LAHSO
  • Pilot responsibilities while carrying out LAHSO

In any case, always remember that you do not need to accept a LAHSO clearance -- if you do not feel comfortable with doing so, ATC will provide arrangements to land full-length on the same runway or another one. You should not accept a LAHSO clearance if you believe doing so would compromise safety.

Note: this does not necessarily apply to all situations where a student pilot is prohibited from doing something that a private pilot would be able to do.

  • $\begingroup$ Everything that you quoted seems pretty clear that it would be permitted. Note however that the bolded part of his question is more generic than just LAHSO, and asks about the general case. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 1:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger: general case is less clear-cut, most likely since you aren't a private pilot yet and you're (usually) the PIC, then you wouldn't be able to do so. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 2:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I disagree with your comment, although I agree with your OP basically entirely. "The term solo flight as used in this subpart means that flight time during which a student pilot is the sole occupant of the aircraft" seems pretty clear-cut to me. Although the point you make about it being discouraged in the AIM is very valid. 61.47 Says that the examiner and anyone else he deems is not subject to the limitations of carriage of PAX but not that he is invisible or that it counts as a 'solo' flight. $\endgroup$
    – p1l0t
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 19:12

From my checkride, I can say that the examiner strongly discouraged LAHSO operations in general. That's not to say you can't do it perhaps, but you probably shouldn't do it (@Qantas 94 Heavy has a great analysis of the rules behind LAHSO, so no sense in repeating them). Things to consider include making sure you have enough available landing distance and check against conditions with your aircraft performance data. Remember, the examiner is testing, among other things, your decision making skills as a pilot. Your examiner would probably be more impressed by declining a LAHSO clearance and landing safely with full-length than trying to show off to the examiner. You already have to demonstrate a short and soft takeoff and landing -- probably not much sense in trying to go overboard.

Personally, as a recently-certificated pilot with only about 60 hours of experience, I'd still decline a LAHSO clearance if given one. There's nothing that says you need to take one, especially if you feel it may compromise your safety.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I think your general characterization of a LAHSO might be a little bit extreme. If a quick mental assessment concludes it might require short-field operations, then I would be unlikely to accept, but I've seen operations where the hold short distance is 5000 feet, which is longer than many full-length runways I land on. Accepting a clearance like that is not "showing off" in my mind. Showing off is always the wrong reason to accept a clearance. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, yes. You're right that you should be able to do a quick mental calculation to determine if you can land safely, but therein lies the point (you should have the runway data handy and be confident in your skills). I was also trying to emphasize some of the things my examiner in particular discussed (actually outright told me). His concern was more with knowing what it was and that you could decline it (basically said don't do it--there's no need, and why pressure yourself?). The one field here near me actually discontinued LAHSO. $\endgroup$
    – dougk_ff7
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 19:40
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ 90% of land and hold short clearances that I've seen or taken part in have been at airports with two runways that intersect at the end. They take 500 feet off a 6,000 foot runway. If you decline one of those clearances out of principle, you're doing virtually nothing to increase safety and just wasting everyone's time. If you don't know the LAHSO distance, just ask. Any tower controller will have it memorized. $\endgroup$
    – Jungroth
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 12:32

Strictly speaking you are technically flying as a private pilot and pilot in command on your check ride, you are not flying as a student pilot, the DPE doesn't even need to have a current medical certificate. It is a strange sounding thing but the check-flight is the one flight where you are not required to hold the certificate for that type of flight being conducted. The flight will be logged as a private pilot, it will not be logged as a student pilot.

To put it another way, you are essentially considered a qualified private pilot when your instructor endorses your for the check-ride. The check-ride is just a confirmation and it is as much about double checking your instructor's judgment as it is about your skills.

So yes, you can do anything a private pilot can do during your check ride. If you want a belt and suspenders answer then just ask the examiner during the question and answer portion before the exam officially starts, in the end it is their interpretation that counts.(unless they are way out of line and you need to appeal to the FAA) It will not count against you as it is something unique to the exam environment not to normal flying, and it is not a test item in the ACS.

  • $\begingroup$ This is absolutely false. You are not a private pilot when your instructor endorses you. The DPE will probably have a medical certificate. You do not log it "as a private pilot". You don't have the privileges of a PPL until the DPE signs at the end of your flight, until then, you are a student flying with a qualified instructor (the DPE). The DPE has authority to end the flight and take control if required. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 4:38
  • $\begingroup$ You are not a private pilot until you are issued a certificate saying so. Otherwise, carrying a DPE would not be an explicit exception to the rule against student pilots carrying passengers. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ A DPE is not an instructor and is not acting as an instructor in any capacity during a check flight. While it would be rare a DPE does not even need to be able to act as a pilot in command. The DPE is legally a passenger and the applicant is assuming all responsibilities of the private pilot certificate. I never said the endorsement awards privileges, I said you are considered qualified pending a final confirmation, comprehension of the detail is key. $\endgroup$
    – Max Power
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 8:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Ron I never said that you are a private pilot when an instructor endorses you, I said you have met all requirements of PP and the DPE is there to confirm this. The student is an acting private pilot during the check flight. You do log it as PIC, the DPE is acting as a passenger-observer not in anyway a flight instructor. The FAA explicitly and strongly discourages any instructor-like interactions during the exam. $\endgroup$
    – Max Power
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 22:18

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