Preparing Your Student

A resource for the CFI

This page is provided to assist the recommending instructor in preparing their student/applicant for the Practical Test.  It provides basic information relative to the test. The applicant has been provided with much of the same information. You may want to familiarize yourself with the rest of the information on this site in order to ensure that your students are well prepared.

  • Prepare your applicant using the appropriate ACS.

  • The use of IACRA is strongly encouraged for the application process. If IACRA will be used, make sure you prepare an 8710-1 form anyway, in case there are problems accessing or completing the IACRA application process. If you (or your student/applicant) elect not to use IACRA, ensure that the application (8710-1) is properly completed and signed.  In either case, the application must be typed or completed electronically. Also, be sure to personally review the application, and sign it AFTER the applicant has signed it. We recommend that you Sign using Blue Ink as this will make it easier for FAA personnel to determine that the document is original.

  • The examiner or his representative will be contacting your student to go over detailed preliminary information. Your student may need some help with this information and should refer to the Appointment Checklist. This is especially true for foreign students. The reason for reviewing this information prior to the check ride date is to(hopefully):
    • Prevent any unexpected surprises that may result in us having to reschedule the check.
    • Allow for ample time to resolve any issues that might be identified.


  • If possible, it’s suggested that you be available to clear up any paperwork or qualification issues that may arise.  The examiner also suggests that you (or another flight instructor) be available in the event a portion of the test is found unsatisfactory (failure).  If it’s just a matter of cleaning up a couple of things,  time and schedule permitting, you (or the other instructor)  could immediately provide the additional necessary training, prepare another application 8710-1, and the re-test could be completed that same day.

  • It’s recommended that you assist the applicant in a thorough preflight (and maybe even a flight test) of the airplane immediately before the schedule check so that you have time to resolve any mechanical issues or arrange for a backup airplane. If the FBO/flight school or the aircraft’s schedule does not allow for this, the airplane can be scheduled approximately 2 hours after the scheduled appointment starts.

  • For any flight test in which the aircraft is equipped with a GPS, ensure that the database is current. If the unit will be used on a check ride requiring an instrument approach, it must be IFR certified.  Note: Portable GPS devices will not be permitted on any flight test.

  • For Instrument Rating, Commercial, or ATP applicants: If a Flight Training Device is to be used, the examiner will need a copy of the Letter of Authorization for that device prior to the flight check.  Note that the number of tasks allowed to be performed in an FTD are very limited. Refer to the appropriate ACS.

  • A special note regarding the ground training requirements:  A blanket endorsement covering the ground training requirements is no longer acceptable. Each item must be logged. It's recommended that all such training be logged on one page so that its easily found.

  • Miscellaneous Issues for CFIs
    • Remember to include a return endorsement (sticker) if the applicant is not rated in the airplane, and the check ride is at a remote location (in case of failure).
    • For Private Pilot Applicants: Remember to verify the student pilot's solo endorsements on the back of the medical certificate, as well as a current solo endorsement for the make and model of aircraft.
    • For pilots already certficated.  Remember to verify that the applicant has a current BFR, and is night/instrument current (if applicable) so as to be able to act as PIC under the conditions of the check ride.


  • Please refer to the FAA Examiner Page, the appropriate ACS, and any applicable checklists to help ensure that your applicant meets the qualification process. It is important that the endorsements and training required be logged in the applicants log book or training record.

  • Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss any special needs, questions, or issues. I would also encourage and appreciate a heads-up on any issues relative to your student that may be of special consideration.