Practical & Proficiency Exams
What is a Practical Examination?
What is a Proficiency Exam?
The Proficiency Exam is given to those who already have a FAA pilot license (Private, Commercial, etc.).  It is the same as the Practical Exam, except since the applicant is presumed to have the necessary aeronautical knowledge, less time is spent on that portion of the exam. Upon the successful completion of the exam, the individual will have added the Powered Parachute rating at the Sport Pilot level to his/her existing pilot's license.  A DPE acting in the capacity of a CFI, or CFI may administer a Proficiency Exam.
Practical Test Standards (PTS)
The PTS is a document issued by the FAA by which all license or rating issuing exams are conducted.  This is done to ensure that all DPE-s follow the same set of of standards, therefore ensuring that anyone who received a license or a rating has the necessary skills. The PTS for Powered Parachute rating at the Sport Pilot level consists of the following 9  sections:

1.  PREFLIGHT PREPARATION
2.  PREFLIGHT PROCEDURES
3.  AIRPORT AND SEAPLANE BASE OPERATIONS
4. TAKEOFFS, LANDINGS, AND GO-AROUNDS
5.  PERFORMANCE MANEUVER
6.  GROUND REFERENCE MANEUVERS
7.  NAVIGATION
8.  EMERGENCY OPERATIONS
9.  POSTFLIGHT PROCEDURES

Before you take the Practical or the Proficiency exams, make sure you read the entire PTS.  You will then know exactly what will be on the test, and how the DPE will be conducting the exams.  Here is the link:


The Practical Exam is the final step before you receive your Sport Pilot license.  It is conducted by a DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner), who is authorized by the FAA to perform a thorough review of you aeronautical knowledge and flying skills, and if these are satisfactory according to the standards established for Sport Pilot qualifications, then issue you the FAA Sport Pilot Certificate. The DPE will follow the guidelines specified by the FAA's PTS (Practical Test Standards) - see below for more on that.
What are the outcomes of the Exam?
After the Practical or Proficiency exam, oneof three things will happen.

*  You meet all the requirements of the PTS, and will be issued the Sport Pilot certificate (or the additional rating if it's a Proficiency Exam).

* You fail one or more parts of the PTS, and will have failed the exam.  At that point, your CFI must provide additional training in the areas you failed, and endorse your log book again.  You may then take the exam again.  You can do this as many times as needed, with no time limits between exams.

* For safety, equipment, or weather related reasons, the Exam may be discontinued.  In that case, a Letter of Discontinuance is issued, and you may take the Exam again at a later time.

Requirements to take the Practical or Proficiency Exam
For the Practical or Proficiency Exam, a the CFI who trained you (or provided the last part of your training) must endorse your log book, certifying that you have had all the necessary training and that you are ready to take the exam.  That CFI must be someone other than the one who will be providing the actual exam.

For the Practical, the DPE will examine all your records, verify that all endorsements are correct, and will administer the test.  For the Proficiency, the second CFI (or DPE acting in the capacity of a CFI) will do the same.