Greetings from a Student Pilot!
Hey fellow aviators!

I just started Sporty's Learn to Fly online course for ground school, with ASA's "The Complete Private Pilot" by Bob Gardner for supplementary material. I've been fascinated by planes since around age 7 and flew with my Aviation Club in high school from 1997 through 2001.

Question: Is it possible to go through my entire ground school training and FAA Knowledge Exam without CFI assistance? I, like many people, don't have the money (yet) for an instructor, so I can't exactly call someone up and ask questions when I get confused. How should I handle that? Thank you and fly safe!

David Wilcox
Lombard, IL
26 Replies
Ronald Levy
1154 Posts
Lloyd Fries:
There seems to be some confusion at the testing centers as to what constitutes a valid sign off. Locally we have one that won’t honor the graduation certificate if it  dosen’t include “Single Engine Land”. the other does without the SEL.

So so my student doesn’t waste time I always give them a back up endorsement. 
Lloyd Fries CFI. Since 1977

You should get the FSDO involved.  The test is Private Pilot-Airplane -- category only, no class. Test code PAR, numeric code 046. Covers initial issuance with any of the four Airplane class ratings.

There seems to be some confusion at the testing centers as to what constitutes a valid sign off. Locally we have one that won’t honor the graduation certificate if it  dosen’t include “Single Engine Land”. the other does without the SEL.

So so my student doesn’t waste time I always give them a back up endorsement. 
Lloyd Fries CFI. Since 1977
I recently took the written test.  They did not question the CFI signoff sheet I got from King Schools.  They will only send that to you after you have completed all of the course and passed a minimum of three practice tests.  When I showed up for the test and handed them that sheet they didn't ask any questions they just took a copy of it.
"This was before the FAA released all of the questions. "

So where does one find this volume of questions ?
David, see this threat where I question why instructors have to be involved at all.  But since they are, perhaps you can call a local one and ask for an hour of spot checking your knowledge before the test, with a sign-off if he or she is satisfied.  Otherwise if there's a local club maybe one of the members could go over any specific questions.  Be sure they are written out by you and exactly what you want to ask.  Remember, most pilots are happy to have more people in GA! 

But don't take the written until you're pretty sure you can afford the training; it's only good for 2 years, after all.  The more intense your flying practice the faster you'll pass, and it's almost a geometric relationship.  Anyway, a lot of the topics are pretty self-evident, such as airspace types, safety regulations, chart reading, basic navigation, weight & balance, etc., so while you certainly should study everything be sure you are really sharp on what is needed to be safe, legal and effective when handling an aircraft.  (And when you take the multiple-choice test read back your answer as the end of the question's statement.  Does that sound right?  It's a good final check before handing things in, but if you know the material this should go smoothly.)
Ronald, that makes some sense but since the written is now expensive it seems that few people will take it without some serious preparation.  So why is this requirement still in place?  The FSDO is no longer involved in giving tests.