I can't find a strong number for this and I would like to know. I'm compiling a list of total cost for each part of getting a private license (training, study material, headset, medical exam, etc), but I can't find how much the checkride will cost.
There's no standard fee for the checkride because each Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) is free to set his or her own price. I've seen numbers for a private checkride in the \$400-600 range depending on the location, but your instructor should know the local examiners and what they charge. Or just ask the DPE directly, of course. Bear in mind that you might have to pay extra if you have specific requirements like needing a checkride at short notice, on an awkward date, or at a particular location.
I spoke to multiple DPEs in my area. You can find the list on faa.gov. One asked for USD 600. Another one asked for USD 400. The cost is not really the problem. The problem is finding a DPE who can administer the test at a reasonable date. The first DPE which my flight school recommended didn't have any dates available for 6 weeks. The second DPE didn't have any dates available for 3 weeks. Normally you don't want to wait that long when you have done checkride preparation with your CFI. You really want to get it done and over with and get your shiny new license :) Also as pondlife mentioned, you can use an FAA examiner who is free but they are booked 2-3 months in advance. Before you select a DPE, I would also recommend looking at this resource. Not all DPEs are the same. You don't want someone like this to take your checkride. On the broader question of costs, you might have missed out the following:
- Landing Fee ( some airports charge a landing Fee and over the course of your training you will do at least a 150-200 landings
- Simulation equipment - I have a Saitek Yoke and Pedals and FSX on a PC. This will help you practice your lessons at home and will reduce your flight time and costs
- Recording equipment - tripod, cables to connect to your phone etc. This will allow you to record your lessons so that you can replay them and reduce mistakes in future.
- Insurance - the Flight School will have some insurance. But you might want to find out if this is enough for you and whether you want to purchase more
- Calculator - unless you think you can master the manual calculator, you will need to purchase an electronic one, at least for your exam
- Foggles for IFR Training required for private pilots
- Cross Country software : Your plane may or may not be equipped with a GPS. I tried to use Avare on Android but was not very successful. Some people suggest foreflight but it is very expensive. This is an optional expense and you can get by without it at least for your private pilot training.
- Last but not the least, once your CFI shows you how to checkout the plane, for all subsequent flights, make sure you get there 30 minutes before and checkout the plane by yourself so that you are not paying for CFI time.
Our local flight school maintains contact with an FAA examiner who was formerly associated with the school, and who charges a very reasonable $150 last I knew. Doesn't live that far away, so his drive up to the airport where the school isn't a big cost driver in the examiner's fee.