New Zealand Pilot License/Aircraft Technical Knowledge

PART I Technical Knowledge



Identify the major components of a conventional airframe (fuselage, wings, tail section, control surfaces, undercarriage, powerplant).

Identify and explain the basic function of the following components used in fuselage construction (frames, longerons, stringers, skin).

Identify and explain the basic function of the following components used in the construction of wings, tailplane and fin (ribs, spar(s), stringers, skin).

In simple terms, explain the load on the wings (a) on the ground and (b) in the air, and state the function of spars and struts in opposing these loads.

Explain the basic operation of the primary flight controls, trim tab and flap systems. State the function of control locks and precautions for removal before flight.

State the two types of undercarriage system (tricycle/tail wheel) and explain typical steering and braking systems with precautions for use.

Engines - General


Identify typical cylinder configurations used for aircraft piston engines (eg radial, in-line, horizontally opposed).

Identify and state the purpose of the major components of a four-stroke piston engine (cylinders, pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft, crankcase, camshaft, valves, spark plugs).

With the aid of diagrams, explain the basic principle of operation of the four stroke internal combustion engine.

In broad terms, explain the need for valve timing (valve lead, lag and overlap).

Describe the principal features of a typical ignition system (dual, independent, engine-driven magneto systems with two spark plugs per cylinder).

State the purpose and principle of an impulse coupling.

Describe the operation and correct handling of a rotary ignition/starter switch (including the starter warning light), and separate toggle ignition switches.

Explain the purpose and a typical procedure for conducting magneto checks.

State the correlation between engine rpm and power output.



State the purpose of carburation.

With the aid of a diagram, explain the operating principle of a simple float-type carburettor.

State the purpose of the following systems within the carburettor; atomisation and diffusion; idling; accelerating; enrichment (at high power); mixture control and idle cut-off.

Explain the correct operational use of a manual mixture control and idle cut-off.

Describe the effects of excessively rich or lean mixtures on engine operation.

In simple terms, describe the abnormal combustion conditions detonation and pre- ignition, and distinguish between them. State the causes and likely effects of these conditions and the measures which can be taken to avoid them.

Explain the formation of refrigeration, throttle and impact ice in a carburettor and intake system.

State the:

(a) atmospheric and throttle setting conditions conducive to the formation of carburettor ice;

(b) symptoms of carburettor ice formation;

(c) correct use of carburettor heat for de-icing, and as an anti-icing measure (normal operation).

In simple terms, describe the operation of a fuel-injection system. State the advantages and disadvantages of fuel-injection versus carburettor systems.

Fuel Systems and Fuel


Describe the function of the following components of a simple fuel system:

(a) fuel tank, sump, drain point, supply line standpipe, vents, overflow drain;

(b) fuel selector valve, supply line, strainer and strainer drain;

(c) fuel primer, engine-driven pump, auxiliary (boost) pumps;

(d) fuel quantity indicators.

Describe the correct management of the fuel system, including fuel selection and handling of priming and auxiliary pumps.

State the common grades of AVGAS with their colour identification.

Distinguish between the different characteristics of AVGAS, MOGAS and AVTUR, and state the precautions regarding the use of MOGAS in aero-engines.

State the common contaminants of AVGAS and the precautions which can be taken to avoid them.

Describe the procedure to be used for a fuel drain check.

State the general rules for fuelling of aircraft, including the special precautions for the use of drum stock, and plastic containers.

Lubrication and Cooling


State the functions of engine oil (lubrication – reduction of friction, assisting with cooling, removal of contaminants, and sealing).

Explain the term viscosity and the effect of temperature on the lubricating qualities of oil.

Briefly describe the function of the following components of an oil system:

(a) wet sump;

(b) dry sump, scavenge pump, tank;

(c) engine-driven pump, pressure relief valve;

(d) oil lines, passages and galleries;

(e) oil cooler, bypass valves;

(f) oil pressure and temperature gauges.

State the importance of using the correct type and grade of oil for a particular aircraft, and of checking the correct quantity before flight.

Identify cockpit indications of a possible oil system malfunction, and state the pilot actions (if any) that the pilot can take to rectify the problem.

Briefly describe the main means for air cooling an engine; cowling ducts, baffles, fins and cooling flaps (when fitted).

Briefly explain the precautions to be taken to prevent overheating and overcooling in flight, and explain the correct handling of engine cowl flaps when fitted.

Engine Handling


State the safety precautions to be taken before starting the engine.

In general terms, state the procedures for:

(a) starting the engine in cold temperatures;

(b) starting an over-primed engine;

(c) starting a hot engine;

(d) controlling an engine fire on start-up;

(e) checking oil pressure after start;

(f) stopping the engine.

Explain the reasons for avoidance of rapid power changes, and the need for monitoring and cross-checking instrument indications.

State the possible causes for rough running or excessive engine vibration and the actions (if any) that the pilot can take to rectify the problem.

State the possible causes of a sudden engine failure in flight, and the remedies which may be available to a pilot during subsequent trouble checks. Note: Handling of the mixture and carburettor heat controls is covered under previous syllabus topics.

Electrical System


State the types of service which are typically electrically operated in a light aircraft.

Explain the function of the following components in a typical light aircraft electrical system:

(a) battery;

(b) alternator (and generator);

(c) bus bar;

(d) voltage regulator, voltmeter or overvoltage light;

(e) ammeter (left zero and centre zero);

(f) master switch (or battery/alternator switch);

(g) fuses, circuit breakers and overload switches.

State the precautions to take during normal operation of the electrical system, including:

(a) avoiding continuous operation of high-power systems on the ground before start;

(b) starting with radios and other unnecessary equipment switched off;

(c) avoiding prolonged operation of the starter motor;

(d) releasing the starter once the engine is running;

(e) checking satisfactory operation of the system after start, and monitoring

during flight;

(f) switching off ancillary equipment before shut-down;

(g) switching the battery master switch off before leaving the aircraft.

Identify the cockpit indications of the following electrical system malfunctions, and state the actions available to the pilot to deal with the problem;

(a) excessive alternator/generator charge rate;

(b) lack of alternator/generator charge;

(c) blown fuse or popped circuit breaker.

Pressure Instruments


Identify the three basic instruments which rely on air pressure for their operation.

Describe static pressure and dynamic pressure, and the main factors which affect them.

Explain the operation of a pitot-static system, including:

(a) static vent(s);

(b) pitot tube;

(c) combined pitot-static head;

(d) drain holes, heating, pitot cover;

(e) alternate pressure source.

With respect to the airspeed indicator, describe the:

(a) basic principle of operation;

(b) colour coding, and the meaning of VSO, VS1, VFE, VNO and VNE;

(c) IAS/TAS/groundspeed relationship;

(d) errors affecting the ASI, and how position error correction is applied.

With respect to the altimeter, describe the:

(a) basic principle of operation;

(b) subscale settings and the meaning of QNH, QFE and QNE;

(c) errors affecting the altimeter, including subscale setting error.

With respect to the vertical speed indicator, describe the:

(a) basic principle of operation;

(b) errors affecting the VSI.

Indicate the normal checks for serviceability of the pitot-static system, both pre- flight and during operation.

Identify the cockpit indications of the following pitot-static system malfunctions, and state the actions available to the pilot to deal with the problem;

(a) blockage of the pitot tube;

(b) blockage of the static source.

Gyroscopic Instruments


Outline the basic principle of operation the vacuum system, and state the likely effects of reduced or nil suction.

Describe the gyroscopic properties of rigidity and precession.

With respect to the turn indicator/coordinator:

(a) explain the basic principle of a rate gyroscope;

(b) with the aid of a diagram, differentiate between the different indications of the turn indicator and turn coordinator;

(c) state the function, indication and correct use of the coordination (balance) ball;

(d) state the pilot checks for serviceability.

With respect to the attitude indicator (or artificial horizon); explain:

(a) the basic principle of operation (earth gyroscope);

(b) with the aid of a diagram, how pitch attitude and bank angle are displayed;

(c) the pilot checks for serviceability;

(d) the need for, and operation of, a caging device.

With respect to the heading indicator (or DGI), explain the:

(a) advantages of a gyroscopic heading indicator (versus a compass)

(b) need for, and method of synchronisation;

(c) pilot checks for serviceability.

Briefly explain the errors likely to occur if the gyro rotor rpm is low; the indication of power failure on electrically-driven instruments; and the indications of toppling.

Magnetic Compass


Describe the earth’s magnetic field, and:

(a) distinguish between the true and magnetic poles;

(b) define magnetic variation, isogonals, and deviation;

(c) given a sample deviation card, show how to apply corrections.

Briefly describe the construction of a modern direct-reading compass, and

(a) define lubber line;

(b) state the functions of the fluid in the bowl.

Explain magnetic dip; how it is compensated for; and define residual dip.

State the effects of:

(a) acceleration error; and

(b) turning error.

State the compass pre-flight serviceability checks, and the precautions when carrying magnetic items.

Part II Principles of Flight

The Atmosphere


State the principal gases which constitute the atmosphere (nitrogen and oxygen, plus small amounts of others).

In general terms, describe air density, and how it varies with altitude in the atmosphere.

State the relationship between pressure/temperature and the density of an air mass.

Outline how pressure, temperature and density normally vary in the atmosphere.

Outline the basis for the International Standard Atmosphere, and state the assumed standard sea level pressure and temperature conditions, together with their lapse rates up to the tropopause.

Basic Aerodynamic Theory


State what an aerofoil is and distinguish between different aerofoil sections (high lift, high speed and general purpose).


(a) leading edge;

(b) trailing edge;

(c) chord;

(d) thickness;

(e) camber.

(f) angle of attack

(g) angle of incidence

(h) aspect ratio

Define relative airflow and angle of attack.

State Bernoulli’s Theorem in simple terms.

Define streamline flow around an aerofoil, and explain the changes which occur to dynamic and static pressure wherever the speed of the airflow is:

(a) increased;

(b) decreased.

With the aid of diagrams, explain:

(a) venturi effect;

(b) the pressure distribution around an aerofoil which is producing lift.

Define the terms total reaction (TR) and centre of pressure (CP), and describe how TR and CP change with increasing angle of attack (for a lifting aerofoil).

Define the lift and drag components (of TR).

Summarise the factors affecting lift (angle of attack, aerofoil shape, IAS).

Define in simple terms the coefficient of lift (CL) and:

(a) describe a typical CL versus angle of attack curve;

(b) show how CL varies with use of flaps and control surfaces.

State the precaution against flying with ice, frost, other contamination or damage to lifting surfaces.

Distinguish between induced drag and parasite drag, and list the elements of the latter (skin friction, form and interference drag). [Students should be aware that there are other ways of categorising drag.]

State the factors affecting skin friction, form, and interference drag.

Identify a curve of parasite drag versus airspeed.

Explain the cause of induced drag, and identify a curve of induced drag versus airspeed (and angle of attack).

Show how, by combining the induced and parasite drag curves, a curve for total drag versus airspeed (and angle of attack) is produced. Identify on this curve, the speed for minimum drag (and maximum L/D ratio).

Identify a curve of lift/drag (or CL/CD) versus angle of attack. 06:42, 8 July 2010 (UTC)B Rogers

Flying Controls


State the three aircraft axes of rotation, and define pitch, roll and yaw.

State the flying controls used to affect movement about each axis, and explain how each control operates to achieve control of the pitch attitude, bank angle, and yaw.

Explain the cross-coupling (further) effects of control in roll and yaw.

State the effects of airspeed and change of power on control effectiveness and aircraft attitude.

Explain the purpose and principle of operation of a basic trim control, and state the correct method of use.

Explain the requirement for balancing the controls and state the methods used to obtain aerodynamic balance (inset hinge, horn balance, balance tab).

Explain the requirement for using anti-balance tabs on an all-moving tailplane, and describe the principle of operation.

Explain the purpose and the principle of operation of basic wing flaps.

State the normal operational use of flaps, including the precautions against flying with flaps lowered above VFE, and raising flap before reaching a safe height on a baulked approach.

Straight and Level Flight


State the four main forces acting in flight, and describe, for level flight, how these forces change as IAS is varied.

Describe the pitching moments in flight, and how balance is achieved.

Given a basic graph of power available (PA) and power required (PR) versus TAS in level flight, show the derivation of:

(a) maximum and minimum level flight speed;

(b) maximum-range speed;

(c) maximum endurance speed.

State the basic operational considerations which apply to flying a light aeroplane for range, or endurance.

Climbing and Descending


Given a diagram, name the forces acting in a steady climb.

Distinguish between a maximum angle climb; a maximum rate climb; and a normal climb. Recall the meaning of Vx and VY.

Using the PA/PR graph referred to in 12.28.6, show the derivation of max. rate of climb speed.

Briefly explain the factors which affect climb performance (power, airspeed, flap extension, weight, altitude, temperature, manoeuvring, and wind component - on climb angle).

Given a diagram, name the forces acting in a steady glide.

Demonstrate how the lift/drag ratio determines the steady-speed glide angle.

Briefly explain the effects of weight, IAS, wind, and flap extension on the glide angle.

Show how the forces in the diagram at 12.30.10 become modified in a steady- speed power on descent.



Define centripetal force.

Given a diagram, explain the components of lift which provide the:

(a) turning (or manoeuvring) force;

(b) force required to counteract weight.

Define load factor (“g”) and, for a level turn, state the relationship between bank angle and lift, drag, and load factor.

State the relationship between the turn radius and rate of turn: (a) at a given airspeed;

(b) at a given bank angle.

Describe a standard rate (rate 1) turn, and state the rule-of–thumb method of calculating the bank angle required.

Explain the effect of bank on rate of climb in a climbing turn, and the tendency to “overbank”.

Explain the effect of bank on rate of descent in a descending turn, and the tendency to “underbank”.

Stalling and Spinning


Describe the stalling angle of attack, with reference to:

(a) disruption of streamline flow over the upper surface of the aerofoil;

(b) reduction of lift and increase in drag.

Describe the symptoms of a developing stall.

State how:

(a) the stall is associated with a particular angle of attack and not a particular airspeed;

(b) a reduction in angle of attack is critical to recovery.

Explain how the stalling IAS is affected by:

(a) load factor;

(b) aircraft weight;

(c) altitude;

(d) power;

(e) flap extension; and

(f) ice, frost, or other contamination of the wings.

State the precaution against using ailerons near, and during, the stall.

Define the term autorotation and the conditions leading to it.

Define a spin, with reference to:

(a) stalled condition of flight;

(b) simultaneous motion about three axes (rolling, pitching, yawing);

(c) high rate of descent at low airspeed;

(d) the difference between a spin and a spiral dive.

State the measures which can be taken to avoid a spin.

State the ‘standard’ recovery action from a developed spin.



With respect to propeller terminology, state the meaning of the following :

(a) blade section;

(b) blade angle;

(c) helix (or pitch) angle;

(d) angle of attack.

Explain the reason for blade (or helical) twist.

Given a diagram, identify and define the following (for a rotating blade section):

(a) direction of rotation;

(b) relative airflow;

(c) total reaction; with its components

(d) thrust and propeller torque.

For a fixed-pitch propeller at a constant throttle setting, explain the relationship between airspeed, angle of attack and rpm.

Briefly state the factors which affect the ability of a fixed-pitch propeller to convert engine power into useful thrust.

State the principal advantage of a constant-speed versus a fixed-pitch propeller.

Explain the basic principle of operation for a constant-speed propeller, and the normal procedure for changing power settings with the manifold pressure and pitch controls.

Take-off and Landing Performance


State the general effect of altitude on aircraft performance.

Define pressure altitude, and:

(a) calculate aerodrome pressure altitude, given aerodrome elevation and prevailing QNH ;

(b) explain how to determine pressure altitude by using an altimeter.

State the general effect of temperature on performance.

Define density altitude and, given pressure altitude:

(a) calculate the deviation of ambient temperature from ISA ;

(b) calculate the density altitude.

Define the following:

(a) take-off distance required (TODR);

(b) take-off distance available (TODA);

(c) landing distance required (LDR);

(d) landing distance available (LDA).

State the effect of the following factors on TODR and LDR;

(a) aircraft weight;

(b) temperature and pressure (i.e. density altitude);

(c) humidity;

(d) runway slope;

(e) runway surface and condition;

(f) headwind/tailwind component;

(g) use/misuse of flaps, and power;

(h) frost or other contaminants/damage of lifting surfaces.

Describe the hazards of a windshear in the initial climb-out path, and on the approach path.

Demonstrate the practical use of P-charts to determine TODR and LDR.

Aircraft Loading


State the general reasons for operating with correct loading (controllability, avoiding airframe overstress, satisfactory performance).

Define the following loading terms:

(a) basic empty weight ;

(b) zero fuel weight;

(c) gross weight:

(d) maximum certificated take-off weight (MCTOW)

(e) maximum certificated landing weight (MCLW);

(f) the moment of a force; and

(g) moment arm.

State the effect on stability and control of an aircraft if flown with the CG:

(a) ahead of the forward limit;

(b) behind the aft limit.

Define the meaning of:

(a) aircraft datum;

(b) positive and negative moments (about the datum); and

(c) aircraft station (STA).

Given a basic aircraft load sheet/data, demonstrate an ability to:

(a) calculate the CG position;

(b) use a typical loading graph to determine CG position;

(c) use index units.