Practical Testing


The practical tests required for the issuance of licences or ratings are conducted by Flight Operations Inspectors or Designated Flight Test Examiners (DFTEs).

The practical test consists of a demonstration of aeronautical knowledge, and a demonstration of aeronautical skill or flight proficiency. The two demonstrations are not intended to be separate tests; they should be conducted concurrently.

The Oral Portion

The demonstration of knowledge is referred to as the oral portion of the practical test and generally consists of a question and answer exchange between the Inspector/DFTE and the applicant prior to conducting the flight check.

The Flight Check

The flight check consists of a flight conducted by the applicant and observed by the Inspector/DFTE.

Prerequisites for Practical Tests

An applicant’s instructor is required to provide instruction on each of the knowledge areas listed on the Airman Test Report and to complete an endorsement of this instruction. The Airman Knowledge Test Report must be presented to the flight test examiner prior to taking the skill test. During the oral portion of the skill test, the examiner is required to evaluate the noted areas of deficiency.

To be eligible for a skill test, the applicant must meet all the applicable requirements for the licence or rating being sought and shall meet the following prerequisites (Appendix 1-8.110 of the 8th A Schedule of the CARs, as amended):

  • The applicant must have passed any required knowledge test within the 24 calendar months preceding the skill test. An Aviation Knowledge Test Report must be presented to the inspector or examiner at the time of the practical test.
  • A person applying for the original issuance of a pilot licence must present a medical certificate appropriate to the pilot privileges being sought. Pilot privileges require an appropriate medical certificate, while aircraft ratings and limitations do not.
  • Documentation must be presented by the applicant verifying that all aeronautical experience prerequisites have been met. This includes endorsements (if required) and a written record of ground and flight time, logbook endorsements from a certified instructor.

Practical Test Discontinuation

Environmental, mechanical, or personal situations can occur which can cause the skill test to be discontinued. In such an event, the Inspector/DFTE will assure the applicant that he or she has not failed the skill test and shall attempt to reschedule the test as soon as possible. The most frequent reasons for discontinuance of a skill test are weather, unforeseen mechanical problems, and applicant incapacitation.

  • A test could be postponed by rapidly changing weather. For example, at the conclusion of the knowledge demonstration portion of the skill test, the inspector and the applicant may discover that lowered ceilings or visibility would preclude a safely conducted flight.
  • Mechanical Problems. The applicant may discover, during preparation for the flight portion of the test, a mechanical problem that would preclude safe conduct of the flight. For example, pre-flight examination could reveal that the wrong grade of fuel had been placed in the aircraft.
  • Medical Problems. The applicant or the Inspector/DFTE could experience medical problems after the test has begun. The test should be discontinued immediately at either the applicant’s or the inspector’s suggestion.
  • Letter of Discontinuance. When a skill test is discontinued for reasons other than an unsatisfactory performance, a Letter of Discontinuance is given to the applicant. At that time, the Inspector/DFTE signs and issues a letter identifying the portions of the skill test that were successfully completed.
  • A copy of the letter is retained by the Inspector/DFTE for the purpose of recording work accomplishment.

The applicant may use the letter to show an inspector or examiner which portion of the skill test was successfully completed, provided that another test is attempted within 60 days (Appendix 1-8.110 (5), (i) of the 8th A Schedule of the CARs, as amended).  When the test is resumed, the letter shall be forwarded to the PEL Office and made a part of the airman’s certification file.

When more than 60 days have elapsed since the original skill test or if the Inspector/DFTE doubts the applicant’s competency in areas where the applicant received credit during a previous skill test, the Inspector/DFTE shall re-examine the applicant on any pilot operations required for that pilot licence or rating.

Unsatisfactory Performance

If, in the judgement of the inspector or examiner, the applicant does not meet the standards of performance of any Task performed, the associated Area of Operation is failed and therefore, the skill test is failed.

The inspector/examiner or the applicant may discontinue testing any time after the failure of a subject area. The applicant will receive a Notice of Denial and will be given full credit for those subject areas performed successfully.

When a Notice of Denial Form is issued, the examiner shall record the applicant’s unsatisfactory performance in terms of the Area of Operation and specific Task(s) not meeting the standard appropriate to the skill test conducted.  The Area(s) of Operation/Task(s) not tested, and the number of skill test failures shall also be recorded.  If the applicant fails the skill test because of special emphasis areas, the Notice of Denial shall indicate the associated task.

Typical areas of unsatisfactory performance and grounds for disqualifications are:

  • Any action or lack of action by the applicant that requires corrective intervention by the inspector or examiner to maintain safe flight.
  • Failure to use proper and effective visual scanning techniques to clear the area before and while performing manoeuvres.
  • Consistently exceeding tolerances stated in the Objectives.
  • Failure to take prompt corrective action when tolerances are exceeded.