Monday, February 22, 2010

FAA Writtens

Hello, all, and sorry for the delay in the post... I've had quite a few people ask me how I did on my FOI written and I said I would post about it. Unfortunately, I took the test on a Wednesday morning (also pitching my resume to the flight school owner, btw) and had to prepare for for the Great Lakes Aviation Conference in Novi, MI. [Special thanks to Pam and Carol for helping with the booth!]. So I didn't post on Thursday before I left.

Unfortunately, on my way out of my house at 6am (I was awaiting sunrise), I went flying -pun intended- down four concrete stairs because of melted snow that had frozen overnight, landing on my left shin with a second point of contact: my face. I seriously considered getting my leg x-rayed to see if I had broken it. Such pain. I am happy to report no broken teeth or split lips.

Luckily it stopped hurting enough for me to be able to stand in the booth for the next couple of days. It didn't help the healing though, and so I am trying to keep it elevated while trying to get caught up with packing for the Women in Aviation Conference today (you can guess how well that's going). I would take a picture of the fireworks display that has erupted on my lower leg, but I will spare those of you with weak stomachs. Tomorrow I begin the 16 some hour drive to FL. Just so I can enjoy the warmer weather longer....

So, about my test. Let me just say that in the interest of time, I prepared for the FOI written by using and continuously taking the practice exam over and over again. I had hoped to get all of the writtens done by the end of February but that's clearly not going to happen. I scheduled the FOI written before I could think of an excuse to work on other things and put that off, too.

The actual test is done on a computer in a 'certified location' and is a pretty basic 1983 era looking fifty question test (unlike the 100 question test online). The problem with my doing the online test over and over again is that I had stopped actually reading the answers and had more memorized where the answer was (like the third position). In the actual test, there are the same answers but in different order, so I missed FOUR because I couldn't remember which was the true answer. *blush* Unfortunately, looking at the answers and using the intellect-based method of choosing the answer that makes most SENSE to you doesn't work in the FAA exam.

At least 92 well exceeds the passing minimum grade of 70. Before you even think it, I know: I'm going to have to go back and read the answers that I had just memorized so I will learn from the information in that test.

So in order to set up the test, I received a phone call from my instructor, Tony, telling me I needed to call someone else (not just the flight school) to schedule the exam. Apparently, this test is moderated by a company called Computer Assisted Training Service. The good news is that you can get $10 off for being an EAA member, but instead of being $75 for the test, it's $100! This is the kind of business I need to be in - since this averages $10/min for how long it took me to take the actual test.

I'll be honest, I am learning a lot of new things becoming involved in General Aviation. As we throw around all of the reasons that we think GA is a fading trend and why fewer people get into flying, perhaps we could ask ourselves why on top of all of the other expenses in learning to fly, why a simple computer based test should cost so much. I have three writtens I need to take before I begin my flight training at a total cost of $300! How long does it to take the average person to raise this kind of money? Could this not be a function of the FAA? Certainly they have IT folks over there, and they are responsible for maintaining the test results anyway. It's just one more outrageous cost involved in getting a pilot's license.

So what are your thoughts? Do you agree? Or am I missing something?


  1. OH MY!!!! We must be on the same page on this one. I posted this as a topic for the next Mile High Flyers Podcast last week. I'm trying to get "recertified" to take the sky again and am not excited about the cost of just getting back to the RAMP let alone getting up in a plane. The cost of the exams to me also seems to be based on the "Lets just see what we can get" scale.

    We'll see what our listeners come up with. Even a few of them are in positions to pose the questions to the right people. Who knows. Change could happen if enough people start talking about it.

  2. You must not have heard, written prices are going up significantly in April or so. Time to get them all out of the way!

  3. I always thought that FAA writtens were a racket. Luckily for most ratings you only have to take one. But CFI/CFII, oh my! I actually didn't take my ground instructor writtens because I didn't think that the certificate would be worth the $140 I had to spend on writtens. :(