Time: 2 weeks of studying 1 hour a day
The knowledge test is where we kick it into the next gear. Relax though, it’s not that hard – it’s the equivalent of the permit test you took when you learned to drive. According to the study book I used, 96% of people pass the Sport Pilot Knowledge Test on their first try, so you better pass otherwise you are in the 4% of dumbest people in the world (kidding… kinda). However even though it is easy, you should take preparations for the test very seriously for two reasons:
- Your score on this test travels with you throughout flight training to your Practical Test. If you ace the Knowledge Test, the Flight Instructors/Sport Pilot Examiners/Cute Girls you encounter are going to think: “Nice, this guy’s legit. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.” Whereas if you barely pass, those same people will think: “Hmmm, this guy is somewhat legit, but not really. I’m gonna keep an eye on him.”
- The knowledge base you are creating with your Knowledge Test studies are needed throughout your flight instruction and at your Practical Test. And, as a pilot, forever. Learn it well now so you’re not falling behind later.
For my test prep, I bought the Gleim Sport Pilot FAA Knowledge Test book off of Amazon for $20. You will also need a Flight Computer and Navigational Plotter, which combined are also around $20 on Amazon. Once you have these, go ahead and schedule your test, either through LaserGrade or CATS, for 2 weeks in away. We all work better with a deadline. You can shop around for prices if you like, but here in Utah the testing center prices all seemed to be fixed at $140.
If you can pound out an hour of studying a day, you’ll have no rush to be done in 2 weeks. The Gleim book is set up nicely; each chapter is a 5-10 page outline followed by around 50 questions – all taken from past FAA Knowledge Tests. Since the FAA recycles these questions, the real Knowledge Test will feel very familiar.
Since we are so smart and motivated (OK… frugal) that we are doing home studying instead of in-person ground school, there is one more thing we need to do before taking the test: get a CFI endorsement. I called the local municipal airport on this one and they had me come in, show the study book I used along with 2 practice tests I had taken and passed. Once there, a CFI asked me a few basic questions on the material for good measure. I left with this endorsement in my Log Book:
Once you’ve done this, you’re finally ready to take the test. Good work! If you did the same things I did, you will pass without a problem and be the proud owner of this sheet of paper:
You’ll need this paper along with your Student Pilot Certificate when you make your first solo flight. Your test is valid for 2 years.
Alright, enough with all these papers and books. Let’s fly!!!