What Happens If I Fail My Private Pilot Written Exam?

When studying to become a pilot, you will need to carry out a number of pilot exams. The FAA Private Pilot written test is a total of 60 multiple choice questions with three possible answers for each. You’ll have 2.5 hours to complete the questions and you’ll need a result of 70% or over to pass the exam. 

If you have failed one of your written exams you will need to retake it to move onto the next section of learning. You will book in to retake the test after 30 days, in which you’ll need to continue your learning to prevent another failed result. 

Before you can take the test again, you might need to get endorsed by an authorized instructor to ensure that you are serious about retaking the test. This can come in the form of a written statement, signed logbook notation, or a completed Authorized Instructor’s Statement that can be found in the failed test. 

How long does a private pilot checkride last?

The FFA checkride is a more common name for the practical test, in which you are tested on your knowledge of being a private pilot before you are allowed to be in control of an aircraft without supervision. 

From the moment you enter the examination center to the time that you leave it, it should take on average four hours. The first 30 minutes will be taken for the pre-checkride paperwork, which won’t really be in an exam setting. 

The next hour and a half will be taken by the oral portion of the exam before a 15-minute break to prepare for the practical position of the test. After your break, you will spend another hour and a half on the flight position of the test, with a 15 minute debrief and paperwork section at the end. 

Of course, these are average times and your checkride might take longer or shorter than these times. You might also have had your oral exam on another date which will significantly reduce the time you’re in the test center. 

You might also speed up the process by being a fast tester. For example, if you complete all of the oral questions in half the time allotted to you, you’ll be able to get to your checkride much faster.

How many times can you fail the FAA written test?

There is no limit to how many times you can fail the FAA written test. You can retake the test as much as you want as long as you have waited for a minimum of 30 days between each one. It would be wise to continue your learning during these 30 days to avoid failing again. 

The only issue with repeating your FFA is that you might have to ask your instructor to sign off on multiple attempts. The first shouldn’t be an issue, although it is down to their discretion whether they sign off on your third or fourth attempt. 

Putting in the work to prevent failing again will make your instructor more likely to sign off on multiple attempts. If they don’t think that you are likely to pass within 30 days, they might hold off on signing your documents to prolong your learning. 

An incentive to pass your written test as quickly as possible might be the fee that you’ll have to pay every time you take it. The FAA written test will range in price depending on your location, although they generally range from $140 to $165. 

What happens if you fail your Checkride?

If you fail your checkride, your instructor will inform you that you have failed a maneuver. You then have the option to continue your checkride and finish, even though you know you have failed, or return to the ground straight away. 

Many people choose to continue the checkride to get the most out of their session. However, if you would simply prefer to end the session early you can do so. The instructor might also decide to cut the session early if they do not feel comfortable continuing. 

Once you’re back on the ground, you and your instructor will go through the maneuvers that you failed. You will then need to work with them until they are happy that you can pass the retest. They will give you an endorsement which allows you to schedule another appointment. 

As long as the test has been completed within 60 days of failing the initial session, your examiner will complete a form that states you will receive credit from the original areas that you passed in the initial test. 

You will retake the part of the checkride that you failed. This might take as little as half an hour if it was only one or two maneuvers. Your instructor will then tell you whether you passed or failed your second attempt at the checkride.