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The Written Exam: What Is It and Why Do I Need It?

Pilot Resources
WED JAN 24 2024
Published by Blake Murphy

The process of becoming a private pilot is an exciting venture filled with challenges and milestones. One significant checkpoint in this process is the Private Pilot License (PPL) written exam.


We at Simplifly understand the stress an exam might place on our potential students, so we created this article to guide you through the various aspects of this crucial examination, providing insights into its purpose, evolution, and the strategies needed to succeed.


What is the PPL Written Exam?


A written exam?” You might wonder. “I thought I was just flying planes?


The FAA Private Pilot Airman Knowledge Exam (casually known as “the written exam”) sets the stage for aspiring pilots. It was created by the FAA to ensure that all future pilots have a firm understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and procedures for safe flying in the United States.


The written exam focuses on assessing your understanding of vital aviation concepts such as navigation, weather dynamics, and regulations. This test becomes pertinent after completing a solo cross-country flight at a Simplifly Flight School or any other FAA-approved flight school. However, Simplifly prefers that you knock the exam out before enrollment. The objective here is to ensure a comprehensive mastery of the fundamentals necessary for safe and competent flying before even getting into the air.


Student pilot from Simplifly Flight School flying through the clouds in Mesa, AZ

Understanding safety and flight procedure from a conceptual

perspective is key to eventually deploying them as a pilot


Strategic preparation is vital, involving the study of recommended materials or opting for a structured home-study course. Simplifly is proud to supply our students with the necessary resources to succeed on this front. On test day, proper identification is essential, and aiming for a score of 70% or higher is the target. Leveraging home-study courses is also a recommended efficiency tip for optimal scores and a deeper understanding of the material.


Before your hands-on flight training, we want you to understand all realms of the flying world from a wide scope like aircraft systems, regulations, and more. The outcome of this exam determines your readiness for flight training, and eventually your first solo.


Why Do I Need to Take It?


Understanding the significance of the PPL written exam is crucial for every aspiring pilot. It serves as a gateway, ensuring you possess the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the skies safely. Beyond a regulatory requirement, this exam acts as a comprehensive assessment of your aeronautical understanding, preparing you for the practical challenges that lie ahead.


Many online forums emphasize the importance of studying "in context” for the written exam too. Simplifly has a full-motion Redbird flight simulator on-campus to enrich the knowledge acquired from study to place the concepts into that “context”.


Ready? Let’s Go.


Mastering the PPL written exam demands a direct, strategic, and confident mindset. As you navigate through these assessments, Simplifly Flight School is ready to guide you into the skies, equipped with the knowledge and skills for a successful takeoff into your aviation journey.


Smiley face through the fog on the window of a Simplifly plane over the Phoenix Valley

Happy flying!


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