Passing your Recreational Pilot Licence Flight Test

Every professional pilot once undertook and achieved their Recreational Pilot Licence flight test, at their own pace, and with patience and confidence. In general, students take from anywhere between 33 to 44 hours of training to receive their RPL.

It’s been six weeks since Learn to Fly student Carlos Oliveira’s first flight. After many flights out and about in our training base in Moorabbin Airport, Carlos is finally ready to have a crack at his RPL flight test. But what should he prepare for in order to pass his test with flying colours?

If you’re a beginner student and have found yourself in the same position as Carlos, you might want to listen closely!

So you’ve had your RPL theory exam and you’re ready for your flight test to be arranged? The CASA-approved testing officer will sit you in our office and run through how he’ll grade the test. It may seem daunting, but don’t stress, going for and passing your Recreational Pilot Licence flight test really isn’t as scary as you make it out to be.

In-flight, your testing officer simply wants to see how you can demonstrate the following.

1. STEEP TURN THROUGH 360 DEGREES AND BACK ONTO THE ORIGINAL HEADING.

The best way to do this is to make sure you give a thorough lookout to ensure you are in the clear before the turn. When you’re ready, hold the required amount of back pressure on the control stick so as to stay more or less the same altitude or level out in anticipation as you come back upon your original heading.

2. STALL RECOVERY

For this part of the test, your testing officer will want you to demonstrate stall in various configurations. Make sure you remember the HASELL checks—Height, Airframe, Security, Engine, Location, Lookout—and know how to identify the symptoms before entering a stall.

Your instructor may also ask you to demonstrate how to recover a stall with a wing drop. If you make sure to use rudder rather than the ailerons, in the opposite direction of the dropped wing, you’ll be great!

3. FORCED LANDING

An integral part of flying—and your responsibility—is to be prepared for anything. To make a forced landing successfully, maintain control of the aircraft and select the suitable field. It is important to carry out all emergency checks. Conduct the passenger brief and mayday call, and always make sure to reassure the passengers that you are a trusted pilot and have been trained to handle emergency situations.

4. INSTRUMENT FLYING

The testing officer will want to see your demonstrated ability to fly on instruments alone under the hood. To do so, ensure you stay within the +/- 100 of the requested altitude and +/- 10 of the requested heading.

5. CIRCUITS

The final part of passing your Recreational Pilot Licence flight test will have you demonstrate how to fly a squared circuit pattern and control your speed and altitude when doing so. Make sure you can also land the plane with different approach configurations, and manage engine failure after take-off and in the circuit. Remember your inbound radio calls as you return to Moorabbin Airport’s control zone, and congratulations, you’ve completed the test.

After passing the flight test, each student is qualified to fly within 25 nautical miles of the departure airport and carry passengers, including their family and friends. It’s a great opportunity to closely understand the operations of an aircraft cockpit.

The following breakdown of the RPL flight test table shows some of the key criteria students will be graded on during their flight test.

Remember that every professional pilot was once a student, itching to achieve their next milestone. Bombarding their flight instructors with questions about how many flying hours it would take for them to reach their First Solo, Training Area Solo, RPLPPL and finally, CPL.

However, we know that while flying does bring us that adrenaline rush, you need not be in a rush to attain each qualification. If you mess up any part of the Recreational Pilot License flight test up, remember that it won’t be the end of the world. You will always be able to have another crack!

For more information about attaining your Recreational Pilot Licence with Learn to Fly, visit the variety of beginner and recreational flight training courses on our website.

We’ll see you in the sky. Good luck!