Knowledge Test Prep

images_figures_10fig04You’ll soon have the knowledge of aviation to take your first pilot test; the Private-Pilot Knowledge Test. In fact, chances are excellent that you will take the test on a computer. So learning and practicing on a computer makes sense. Where do you start?

The first place to start is by going online to take a look at what the FAA is all about. Go to, and you will discover that the FAA really is set up to help people learn to fly. The site could seem intimidating at first because it serves not only new student pilots, but also private and commercial pilots, plus all those consumers who fly and travel on commercial airplanes. Spend some time poking around on site and you’ll see that it has lots of useful information for you.

Next, I recommend that you visit online sites set up by various flying organization. The largest is the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) with extensive resources for new and experienced pilots. Another resource for vintage, experimental and light-sport aircraft is the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). Membership in both groups is highly recommended.

Now, back to the knowledge test and how you can prepare for it using your computer. The knowledge test for private pilots is comprised of multiple-choice questions on regulations, aerodynamics, airspace, navigation, weather, aeromedical, and related topics. Passing score for the knowledge test is 70 percent. However, the real test is actually flying, when you need to remember and apply what you’ve learned. So don’t do the minimum — do the maximum. Study, restudy, review, take sample tests, and make sure you’re absolute ready for the knowledge test, the oral test, and the reality test; flying. Computers can help you do this.

King Schools, the largest aviation school in the United States, offers a course of instruction specifically developed for the private pilot certificate. It’s available on interactive DVD, CD, or video and includes printed material for supplementation and review. It goes beyond what you need to know for the test, covering things you should know to fly. John and Martha King have been training pilots for decades.

The interactive courses work like this: You watch a video presentation, then answer questions very similar to the ones that will appear on your knowledge test. You’re immediately graded on your answer and are told why the answer is correct or incorrect. Finally, you can take one or more practice tests just before you go for the FAA knowledge test. Those who use this training method often get passing scores of 90 percent or more and some get 100 percent!

Most test schools also offer a computerized course or component specifically on taking the practical test (the checkride), which is the test you take when you’re finished training and your instructor has signed you off. A typical course coaches you on what to expect and how to take the test. During the actual test, an FAA-designated pilot examiner (DPE) will ask you to plan a flight, will discuss the flight to verify your knowledge, and then take you flying. During the checkride you will be tested on your skills as a pilot.

As you can see, your computer can do more than help you practice your flying. It also can help you pass the required tests with “flying” colors!