Saturday, January 29, 2005

SP Knowledge Test Guide

Sport Pilot Knowledge (Written) Test Preparation Guide
To get your Sport Pilot Certificate you will be required by the FAA to take and pass a Knowledge (Written) Test along with taking and passing an oral and Practical (Flight) Test. This guide covers the process for the Knowledge Test.

Practical (Flight) Test Study Guide
I have also taken the Sport Pilot PTS (Practical Test Standard) and made a similar list of documents, study aids and associated links. This will prepare you for the oral and practical (flight) test. Many of these are the same ones but there are some additions. I will be posting that along with this Knowledge Test document. Update: The Guide is here:

Sport Pilot Oral and Practical (Flight) Test Guide

What is the purpose of this document?
The biggest difficulty I have had, in preparing for the FAA Knowledge test for Sport Pilot, is in finding all the information I need. There are bits and pieces here and there. The FAA's own website has made it no easier for me. What I have needed, is one place where I could find all the necessary documents and study material. In addition, I wanted access to the best training information and I wanted it at the lowest possible cost. The FAA publishes and makes available virtually all the study materials required. Finding it all on their website and elsewhere is a bit of a task. I decided to write one document with links to all the things I needed. In the rest of this study guide I will point you to the links to, and locations of, all of the documents and training material needed to complete this process. My aim is to make it easy for you to download for free from this one document, and acquire elsewhere at minimal cost, the things you need.
Note: I recommend that you take an in-person course to study for this test. The depth of learning you get from the repetition and give and take and question and answer of a classroom setting far exceeds what you can get from home study. But for those who don't have an opportunity for a classroom course or who just want to brush up on their knowledge, this list would be a good place to start.

How do I use it?
This document is meant to be a place from which you can obtain all the information you need. I have inserted links to all the documents and study materials so all you have to do is click on them and then download the document. The links are shown in blue. In some cases I have made the link to a location where you have to look through a page or two of documents to choose the one you want. Other times the link takes you to where there are multiple documents that you want as in the case of the AC's and training handbooks. Some documents such as the training handbooks are in multiple files (Many are newly published by the FAA and are in color with charts and photos! I love them!). Some links are to online content such as the federal codes or AIM. The documents are mostly in PDF format. A free Adobe Reader is available on the Adobe website.
It will be your job to download the applicable documents and assemble the study aids and set yourself a regular schedule of reading and studying the material. I recommend that you begin immediately as there is quite a lot of material to cover.

Where do I start?
The first thing you will want to do is to find out the prerequisites for taking the test and the knowledge areas for the subject matter you will need to cover. The FAA publishes a document called the Knowledge Test Guide. The Knowledge Test Guide handles both of these subjects. In addition, the entire testing process is detailed. You need to read and study this document to fully understand the requirements for taking the Knowledge test.
The FAA has not (and will not) publish a Knowledge Test Guide for Sport Pilots. The aeronautical knowledge requirements for a Sport Pilot and those for Recreational or Private Pilots as specified in Part 61 are identical except for one thing. The Sport Pilot is not required to receive training in radio communication procedures. Because of that close relationship I recommend that you use the Knowledge Test Guide for Private and Recreational Pilots. A link to it is here:

FAA-G-8082-17A, Recreational Pilot and Private Pilot Knowledge Test Guide

Eligibility Requirements
The eligibility requirements for a Sport Pilot differ from a Private Pilot or Recreational Pilot and can be found in:

Part 61.23 (Medical certificates: Requirement and duration.)
Part 61.305 (Age and language requirements)

Knowledge Areas
Part 61.309 lists the aeronautical knowledge areas you will have to have to apply for a Sport Pilot certificate. Later in this document I have included this part with a list of study material. See the regulation here:
Part 61.309 (Aeronautical Knowledge Area requirements Sport Pilot)
Part 61.407 lists the aeronautical knowledge areas for a Flight Instructor with a Sport Pilot rating.
Part 61.407 (Aeronautical Knowledge Area requirements Flight Instructor with a Sport Pilot rating)

Where to take the test?
You will have to go to a testing center to take this test. Here is a link to a list of testing centers:

Airman Knowledge Testing Center List

How to qualify to take the test
This document is an FAA matrix that tells you the prerequisites for computer testing. These include age, and authorizations required. Retesting requirements are indicated. The number of questions on the test, allotted time and passing score are also shown.

FAA Airman Knowledge Testing Authorization Requirements Matrix

Airman Knowledge Test Question Bank (Sport Pilot)
Below is a link to a sample bank of questions for the Knowledge Test. The numbers above the questions are subject matter knowledge codes (See Subject Matter Knowledge Codes below). The question bank is an invaluable source of information and will point you to the appropriate areas of study. This is the latest one.

Airman Knowledge Test Question Bank (Sport Pilot)

Here is a link to the Question Bank with answers (This is the bank released 4 Nov, 2004) This Question Bank has clickable links (in blue) to the Figures needed to answer the questions. An asterisk indicates the correct answer to each question.

Sport Pilot Question Bank with Answers and Figures

The FAA released a second SP Question Bank on 17 Feb, 2005. Here is a link to that question bank. This Question Bank has embedded links in blue, to each of the supplemental figures required to answer that particular question. The correct answers are NOT given. See it here:

Sport Pilot Question Bank #2 with Figures

(Sport Pilot Instructor/Examiner)
If you take the knowledge test for Sport Pilot Instructor/Examiner, then you need not take the knowledge test for Sport Pilot. This is a savings of time and money if you intend to take the Instructor/Examiner test within the two year limit or if you are going for the instructor certificate. This is the latest one. Here's the link:

Airman Knowledge Test Question Bank (Sport Pilot Instructor/Examiner)

Here is the link to the Question Bank with answers and embedded links to the supplemental figures necessary to answer the questions. The link are indicated in blue.

SP CFI and SPE Question Bank with Answers and Figures

Private Pilot Weight-shift or Powered Parachute
If you are interested in studying for the Private Pilot Powered Parachute/Weight Shift certificates then the sample question bank for them is here:

Airman Knowledge Test Question Bank (Private Pilot Powered Parachute/Weight Shift)

There are supplements (graphic and visual aids) that are necessary for understanding and answering the questions in the question bank. They are available from ASA. See the links.

Offers information for obtaining the FAA Computerized Testing Supplements.


Update 7 Jan 2006
FAA SP Supplemental Figures Available Online
When you take the practice tests online, or study the Question Banks in preparation for taking the SP Knowledge Test, some of the questions refer to supplemental figures. These figures are necessary to be able to answer the questions. The FAA used to post these figures online, but no longer do so. The only way to get them now is to order them from ASA. To aid those who need them in order to study the question banks or take the online tests, Bob Comperini has gone to the trouble of creating 3 web pages of thumbnails and loading all the figures online. These figures are all the figures needed for the SP, SPI and SPE questions. Note: The FAA changes the question bank questions over time and also, more slowly, the associated figures. So these will not all be valid forever. Please let us know if you find questions requiring figures that are not provided. The link is here:

Figures not in the Supplement can be had here:

Figures not in the Supplement

Bob Comperini's Fly-UL website is also a treasure trove of Sport Pilot and Ultralight information and links. It is here:

Subject Matter Knowledge Codes
The subject matter knowledge codes above the questions on the knowledge test, and in the Knowledge Test Question Banks, relate to areas of study, and are listed in AC60-25. The codes are listed next to subjects, and in the chapters of, various FAA Training handbooks and other study aids. If you take a list of the codes and assemble the associated study materials you will have the materials necessary to study for those questions and similar ones for each of those subject areas. A link to the AC showing the codes is here:

Airman Subject Matter Knowledge Codes (AC60-25F)

Aeronautical Knowledge required under Part 61
As an example, I have printed the aeronautical knowledge areas required to apply for a Sport Pilot certificate. I have annotated this list with the appropriate study guide or material for that item listed in parenthesis. The item listed in the first parenthesis is the general study guide and the item listed in the second parenthesis is listed for more detailed study of the subject.

§ 61.309. What aeronautical knowledge must I have to apply for a sport pilot certificate?
Except as specified in §61.329, to apply for a sport pilot certificate you must receive and log ground training from an authorized instructor or complete a home-study course on the following aeronautical knowledge areas:

(a) Applicable regulations of this chapter that relate to sport pilot privileges, limits, and flight operations; (Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations Parts 43, 61 and 91)
(b) Accident reporting requirements of the National Transportation Safety Board; (NTSB 830)
(c) Use of the applicable portions of the "Aeronautical Information Manual" (Online or print version from your local FBO) and FAA advisory circulars (AC's); (Online)
(d) Use of aeronautical charts for VFR navigation using pilotage, dead reckoning, and navigation systems;
(FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge)
(Aeronautical Chart, E6B and Protractor/Plotter) Get at local FBO or order online.
(e) Recognition of critical weather situations from the ground and in flight, windshear avoidance, and the procurement and use of aeronautical weather reports and forecasts;
(FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge)
(AC 00-54 Pilot Windshear Guide)
(AC 00-45E Aviation Weather Service)
(AC 00-6A Handbook of Aviation Weather)
(f) Safe and efficient operation of aircraft, including collision avoidance, and recognition and avoidance of wake turbulence;
(FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge)
(AC 90-48C Pilot's Role in Collision Avoidance)
(AC 90-23F Aircraft Wake Turbulence)
(g) Effects of density altitude on takeoff and climb performance;
(FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge)
(h) Weight and balance computations;
(FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge)
(FAA-H-8083-1 Weight and Balance Handbook)
(i) Principles of aerodynamics, powerplants, and aircraft systems;
(FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge)
(j) Stall awareness, spin entry, spins, and spin recovery techniques, if applicable;
(FAA-H-8083-3 Airplane Flying Handbook)
(AC61-67C Stall and Spin Awareness)
(k) Tumble entry, tumble avoidance techniques for weight-shift-control aircraft category privileges; (NA)
(l) Aeronautical decision making and judgment; and
(FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge)
(FAA-H-8083-3 Airplane Flying Handbook)
(AC 60-22 Aeronautical Decision Making)
(m) Preflight action that includes–
(1) How to get information on runway lengths at airports of intended use, data on takeoff and landing distances, weather reports and forecasts, and fuel requirements;
(FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge)
(Aeronautical Chart) and (Airport Facility Directory – AFD)
(2) How to plan for alternatives if the planned flight cannot be completed or delays are encountered.
(FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge)

Basic List of Publications and Study Aids and Sources:
This is the list of basic study aids from the above Part 61 list.

NPRM and Final Rule - FAA website
14 CFR Federal Regulations - FAA website
AIM (Airman's Information Manual) – FAA website (Online) and FBO (Buy printed version)
FAA Advisory Circulars (AC's) - FAA website
(FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge) - FAA website
(FAA-H-8083-3 Airplane Flying Handbook) - FAA Website
(AC 00-6A Handbook of Aviation Weather)

(NTSB 830) - NTSB website
Aeronautical Chart - FBO or State aeronautical division or NACO (National Aeronautical Charting Office)
Protractor/Plotter (Looks like a protractor attached to a ruler) - FBO

In Depth List (from above items) NOTE: These publications are very in depth discussions of the above subjects and are listed only for those that want a lot more info.

AC 00-54 Pilot Windshear Guide
AC 00-45E Aviation Weather Service
AC 90-48C Pilot's Role in Collision Avoidance
AC 90-23F Aircraft Wake Turbulence
AC 61-67C Stall and Spin Awareness
AC 60-22 Aeronautical Decision Making

FAA-S-8083-1 Weight and Balance Handbook

Some additional publications you may also find helpful:

AC 61-84B Role of Preflight Preparation
AC 20-43C Aircraft Fuel Control
AC 00-30B Atmospheric Turbulence Avoidance
AC 120-27D Aircraft Weight and Balance Control

The following Handbooks should also be of help:
FAA-H-8083-27a Student Pilot Guide
FAA-H-8083-19 (Plane Sense) w/ Editorial Changes
A current listing of available/current training handbooks. Also, contains ordering information.

NOTE: AC 00-2, Advisory Circular Checklist, transmits the status of all FAA advisory circulars (AC's),as well as FAA internal publications and miscellaneous flight information such as Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), Airport/Facility Directory, knowledge test study guides, and other material directly related to a certificate or rating. The checklist is available on the Internet at:

AC 00-2, Advisory Circular Checklist

Most or all of the above publications may be available as downloadable files from the FAA website. Some of the files are large (15MB) and require a fast connection to the internet.
Call your local FSDO for more info including publications and videos they may sell or loan.
Check with the Superintendent of Documents (Government Printing Office) for printed versions of some or all of the above publications.

Other Sources of Study Material
Gleim has a number of study aids including books, CD's, complete kits and an online study course. Their site is here:


ASA also has a line of study materials:


King Schools has some good materials too:

King Schools

There is a study guide for SP called the Sport Pilot Encyclopedia. It is here:


Sweeney Corp Online Aviation Ground School

It is never too soon to study these subjects as they will make you a better and safer pilot. So let's get started!

Online Practice Tests
Here are a couple of locations where you can take online practice tests for FAA material. The first one has Private Pilot Weight-Shift and PPC as well as Sport Pilot and Instructor.


The second site is for Sporty's FAA practice tests and Study Buddy:


News Flash! Sport Pilot Knowledge Tests Modified
SP Basic Knowledge Tests Now Category Specific

The FAA has instituted category specific knowledge tests for the basic Sport Pilot certificate. Each test will have general SP questions as well as questions that relate to that specific category of aircraft (Such as Fixed-Wing, WSC or PPC). This means that you will have to decide what category of aircraft you are going to take the oral/practical test in, and take the knowledge test for that same category. For those who have already taken the non-category specific test, as long as your test is good (24 months), you may use it for any category. You will not be required to take additional category knowledge tests to get the additional categories endorsed in your logbook when adding categories after you become a SP.

One difficulty for students is that the question bank the FAA has posted on their website does not include the category specific questions so there is no way to correlate the knowledge areas to study from referenced knowledge codes. The only way to assemble an adequate list of study aids is to get the list of reference materials from the PTS (Practical Test Standard). For category specific questions they simply list either “The Powered Parachute Bible” or “Trikes, The Flex-Wing Flyers”. In AC60-25f the particular chapters you need to study, are listed. They are also listed below for your convenience. Remember, this is just the category specific information. You will still need to study general Sport Pilot material.

I understand the FAA is producing new Manuals for you to study for WSC and PPC that will cover the category specific material. Until these are available the only materials available are privately published. This is where the FAA is deriving their questions from until their own material is ready.

For WSC this would be “Trikes, The Flex-Wing Flyers” by Lucien Bartosik and Hal McSwain. Here is a link:

For PPC’s it would be “The Powered Parachute Bible” by George A. Begue. Here is a link:

If you study the following chapters in these books, you will have covered the appropriate material.

The Powered Parachute Bible—Media Max, First Edition
Knowledge Code Chapter No. Chapter Title

H01 3 Airframe
H02 4 Wing
H03 5 Powerplant
H04 6 4-cycle and 2-cycle Engines
H05 7 4-stroke vs. 2-stroke
H06 8 Electrical Output
H07 9 Ignition Systems
H08 10 Oil and Fuel
H09 11 Engine Gauges
H10 12 Propeller
H11 13 Aerodynamics
H12 17 Preflight
H13 18 Operations

Trikes, The Flex-Wing Flyers, H & L Press, Second Edition
Knowledge Code Chapter No. Chapter Title

H20 1 Principles of Flight
H21 2 Weight-Shift Ultralight
H22 3 Effects of Flight Controls
H23 4 Preflight and Postflight
H24 6 Navigation
H25 7 Flight
H26 8 Clothing and Equipment
H27 9 Triking Activities

Note: When the FAA completes their Handbooks and posts them on the net, I will provide links to them. Until then, you will have to obtain a copy of the appropriate privately printed materials, for category specific study.

This information will also be posted on the Sport Pilot Training website at:

Here's a link to the other site with guides for certification of aircraft and repairmen:

SP Training Blog 2