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FAA Glossaries

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FAA Knowledge Tests

The FAA publishes the questions for the knowledge tests but not the answers. The FAA takes the questions verbatim from the FARs and its own publications. Each question has a code number that indicates where the answer to the question can be found. By searching the appropriate document you can be certain of the answer and by reading a few sentences or paragraphs near the question and answer, you can understand the context for the question.

The questions draw heavily from the FARs, the AIM, and the Pilot Controller Glossary. These are available in searchable form online. All of the tests also use the Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, the Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide, and Aviation Weather. Individual tests will also rely heavily on FAA books for the specific area. Many of the questions have answers in several sources. A few questions rely on FAA Orders and NTSB Part 830. For airplane pilots, all of the PDFs can be found on the FAA web site. (Soaring and Balloon pilots will find some questions in Goodyear, Balloon Federation of America, and Jeppesen publications.) All, except for Aviation Weather, are searchable from within your PDF viewer, so it’s easy to find the answers to the questions. I have a physical copy of each of them and it’s handy but I also downloaded each of them so I could find things easily. I used Combine PDFs to string together all of the FAA documents for easier searching. I also put together a page that lets you do a Google search on FARS, the AIM, and selected FAA publications. It is located here.

Reviewing the Questions

Right now there are two ways to review the questions. The first is with all of the questions on a single page, sorted by topic. Read the question, then move your mouse over the blank spot below the question to see the answer, an explanation, and a link to the source. The second shows one question at a time, presented randomly. Right now only Light Sport is completed. The rest have answers but not all of them have explanations yet. I’ll be adding a feature to let you choose questions in specific topics.

Questions on Specific Topics

I’ve written posts on many of the topics that are covered on the tests. I recently started to include a link to the the questions on the topic covered in the post. This post lists the topics that are covered and links to the test questions.


0. The FAA publishes the questions and the Computer Testing Supplements at this page. One nice thing about using the PDFs is that you can blow them up to see details on the sectionals or weather maps. I put a link to each figure with the questions, but using the original source will give a better quality image.

1. FARs. Technically, the Code of Federal Regulations, Part Title 14 (CFR Title 14). Pilots need to know the contents of CFR 14 PART 61—CERTIFICATION: PILOTS, FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS, AND GROUND INSTRUCTORS and CFR 14 PART 91–GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES. Most of the questions concerning regulations can be found in these two parts. There is a search page that lets you search Title 14 for relevant terms. It is located here.

2. AIM. The AIM is available on-line here. The AIM contains lots of information on pilot procedures. Much of the information in the AIM is located in the FARs and other FAA publications, but it is easy to find in the AIM.

3. Pilot Controller Glossary. This is a great source for terms that are used when communicating with controllers. It is online here.

4. Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. This is an excellent book for understanding the basics. It covers, Principles of Flight, Airplanes and Engines, Flight Instruments, Weight and Balance, Weather, Airport Operations, Airspace, Navigation, and Aeromedical Information. It is easy to read with lots of diagrams and examples. Many of the questions on the knowledge test are taken verbatim from this book.

5. The Aeronautical Chart Users Guide explains the symbols used on the government charts that are used in the tests. Most of the symbols can be deciphered from the legend on the charts, but this is a handy reference. This is a book that you will use frequently while learning to fly and then probably never open again, unless you run across a symbol that you can’t decipher.

6. Aviation Weather Services explains the Metars and TAFs as well as the more obscure weather reports that are on the Knowledge Test. This book is the only source that I’ve found for deciphering some of the pages at NOAAs Aviation Weather Center.

7. Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook does a good job of showing how to calculate weight and balance but it’s probably overkill for most pilots.

8.Instrument Flying Handbook is the source for lots of the questions on the Instrument Knowledge Test and it explains the maneuvers on the Practical Test. For me, it was hard to read.

9. The Airplane Flying Handbook is a great book to use for learning how to fly, but only a few questions on the Knowledge Tests are taken from it. Knowing the information in this handbook will help with the Practical Test.

10. Aviation Instructors Handbook contains all of the information needed to pass the instructional part of the Instruction Knowledge Tests.

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