JAR JAR Binks!

I got my hands on the European version of the FAA’s Knowledge Examination and it’s a doozy! For starters, there are actually seven of these things and some have to be done without an electronic calculator!

Here are the seven:

  1. Aviation Law and Procedures
  2. Meteorology
  3. Navigation
  4. Aircraft General
  5. Flight Planning and Performance
  6. Human Performance
  7. Radio Telephony

Each of the examinations are variable in length. Meteorology consists of twenty questions with a multiple choice of four answers with a one-hour time limit. The passing grade is 75% which means that the minimum number of questions answered correctly to pass is fifteen. Here’s a sample question:

An aerodrome VOLMET report for 0450 UTC during the autumn in the UK is:

Surface wind: 15005kt
Visibility: 2000 metres
Weather: Nil
Temperature: 9°C
Dewpoint temperature: 8°C
QNH: 1029hPa
Trend: NOSIG

Given that sunrise is 0600UTC, during the two hours following the report, the most probably meteorological condition to develop would be:

B – advection fog.
C – a very low cloud base.
D – radiation fog.

The Navigation exam paper consists of twenty five questions with four multiple choice answers as well. Time allowed is 1 hour 30 minutes with a passing grade of 75% which means nineteen questions must be answered correctly.

Electronic calculators are not allowed to be used during the examination so whip out those E6Bs, kids! Here’s a sample question:

During a flight between X and Y, a distance of 160nm, having kept a constant heading, you pinpoint your position as 120nm along track and 8nm port of track. Assuming no change in wind velocity, what heading alteration is needed at that point to fly direct to Y?

A – 12 degs stbd.
B – 24 degs stbd.
C – 20 degs port.
D – 16 degs stbd.

Interesting. Since Navigation is one of my favorites subjects, here’s some more:

When maintaining a constant track to an NDB with 8° port drift, the relative bearing indicator (RBI) will indicate:

A – 352° relative.
B – 008° relative.
C – 176° relative.
D – 188° relative.

One more:

Given the following data:

Fuel required for start up, taxy, run up and take-off = 2US gal.
Planned flight time = 2hr – 30min.
Planned diversion time to alternate airfield = 22min.
Fuel consumption rate = 6US gals/hr.
Fuel for approach and landing or missed approach = 3US gal.
Fuel required to be on board overhead the alternate airfield = 7US gal.

The minimum fuel required to be on board before start-up is (rounded up to the nearest whole gallon):

A – 30 US gal.
B – 27 US gal.
C – 24 US gal.
D – 20 US gal.

Last one:

Given the following data:

The aircraft basic empty weight = 1401 lb.
Pilot’s weight = 172 lb.
Fuel weight 40US gal Specific Gravity 0.73 = ?
Maximum authorized weight = 2325 lb.

The maximum PAYLOAD that may be carried is:

A – 443 lb.
B – 486 lb.
C – 421 lb.
D – 506 lb.

The Aircraft General examination paper consists of fifty questions with four multiple choice answers with a time allowed of 1 hour 30 minutes and a passing grade of 75% so at least thirty eight questions must be answered correctly.

Here’s a sample question:

The bending of an aeroplane’s wing spar in flight is the product of opposing forces – lift which bends the wing …(a)… and weight which bends the …(b)…

(a) — (b)

A – upwards upwards
B – downwards downwards
C – upwards downwards
D – downwards upwards

One more:

A gyroscope when spinning is said to have rigidity in space. Rigidity is a function of:

A – RPM, rotor mass, and position of its centre of gravity.
B – RPM and position of its centre of gravity.
C – RPM and rotor mass.
D – Centre of gravity and rotor mass.

Uno mas:

The valve that allows oil to by-pass a blocked engine oil cooler is:

A – pressure activated.
B – temperature activated.
C – manually activated.
D – density activated.

Last one:

Elemental to one complete Otto Cycle is that each piston moves:

A – up once and down once.
B – up twice and down twice.
C – up four times and down four times.
D – up twice and down once.

If you pass this test, I have a feeling you’ll actually know what’s going on in the aircraft.

Flight planning and Performance has twenty questions with four multiple-choice answers and 60 minutes for the test. With a 75% passing grade, fifteen questions must be answered correctly.

Here’s a sample question:

An aeroplane take-off weight = 2300lb.
Calculated C of G for departure = 90.75 inches aft of the datum.
Planned fuel burn during the flight = 170lb. positioned 87 inches aft of the datum.

What is the position of the landing C of G aft of the datum?

A – 87.42 inches
B – 89.71 inches
C – 93.45 inches
D – 91.05 inches

Last one:

The relationship between the power available from a piston engine and the power required for various airspeeds is illustrated by the graph below. Referring to this graph, what airspeed should be flown for maximum range?


A – A
B – B
C – C
D – A or B

The Human Performance test is twenty questions long with four multiple-choice answers as well. Time allowed is thirty minutes and fifteen questions must be correctly answered for a 75% passing grade.

Two sample questions:

The use of compressed air for scuba diving has resulted in decompression sickness or ‘bends’ being experienced during a subsequent flight at altitudes as low as 6000ft. Following the use of compressed air for scuba diving, pilots are advised not to fly within …(i)… hours of diving, and …(ii)… if a depth of 30ft has been exceeded.

(i) (ii)

A – 9 18
B – 18 30
C – 12 24
D – 24 48


Following a rapid change from a climb to straight and level flight, a pilot flying solo has the sensation of tumbling backwards. S/he should:

A – rely on somatosensory (seat of the pants) information.
B – concentrate on and believe the aircraft instruments.
C – initiate a dive then rapid recovery to reverse the sensation.
D – close the eyes for a few seconds then visually concentrate on the natural horizon.

Radio Telephony (what a cute name!) has a 75% passing grade with thirty questions in total each with four multiple choice questions. Time allowed is 40 minutes.

One sample question:

En-route, you are instructed to make a procedural position report, for instance at your next waypoint. The correct content and sequence of that report would be:

A – call-sign, position, time, level, next position and ETA.
B- call-sign, position, ATA, and ETA next position.
C – call-sign, squawk code, position and ATA, level and ETA next position.
D – call-sign, squawk code, ATA at the reporting point and level.

Finally, Aviation Law and Procedures is 40 questions with a 75% passing grade. Time allowed is 60 minutes. Here’s one sample:

Survivors who require assistance may indicate this by laying out a visual ground to air signal as large as possible with materials that contrast with the surface  background.

Which of the following is the correct form of signal?


A – (i).
B – (iii).
C – (i) & (iii).
D – (i), (ii) and (iii).

These questions I randomly culled from the examination books. Looking further through them, there are some gnarly ones especially when I consider that I won’t have the use of an electronic calculator. All I can say is, imagine the brouhaha US pilots would raise if these were the sorts of questions and the number of examinations they’d have to pass?

At the very least, these are exhaustively thorough tests of knowledge and anyone who successfully passes them deserves my kudos.