By DebbieH 23 Feb 2021 6 min read

329 technical pilot interview questions


During a pilot interview, you will be asked some technical questions; this will allow the interviewers to assess your technical knowledge, understanding and ability to do the job in hand.

Some interviewers may just ask you a few common questions, but some might grill you with increasingly difficult technical questions for the pilot jobs; your ability to answer the questions comprehensively and confidently will be a key factor in how your application progresses.

The scope of the technical questions that may be asked is vast so it is wise to brush up in all areas of your knowledge, including how to handle landing and take off, what to do in an emergency and how to react to different weather situations.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of technical pilot interview questions which jobseekers say they have been asked most frequently by the world’s biggest airlines.

So let’s get started.


  1. What is the process for take off?

  2. What is the process for landing?

  3. What is the maximum takeoff weight, landing weight and ramp weight?

  4. Can you explain to me how the landing gear system works?

  5. How would you respond to an emergency during flight?

  6. Tell me about a time you discovered a safety issue and what you did about it?

  7. How would you modify a flight path?

  8. When should you increase your final reserve to 45 minutes?

  9. Can you define V1?

  10. Can you define V2?

  11. Can you define balanced field length?

  12. What would you do if you lost an engine during take off?

  13. Have you ever flown an aircraft with mechanical problems? If so, how did you handle it?

  14. What causes Dutch roll?

  15. What is the recovery technique from Dutch roll?

  16. What prevents Dutch roll?

  17. How do you calculate the required sweep of the wings?

  18. What are the Part 121 Duty Time Regulations?

  19. What is the difference between Part 121 and Part 135 Duty Time Regulations?

  20. How many hours can a Part 135 pilot fly per week?

  21. What altitude do you fly when you have lost communications with Air Traffic Control?

  22. What does it mean to be cleared for the approach?

  23. What does clearance on request mean?

  24. What is the clearance limit?

  25. While flying, what does a flashing red light gun signal?

  26. While flying, what does a flashing green light gun signal?

  27. While flying, what does a steady red light gun signal?

  28. While flying, what does a steady green light gun signal?

  29. While flying, what does a flashing white light gun signal?

  30. While flying, what does an alternating green and light gun signal?

  31. Who has the right of way between a landing aircraft and an aircraft on the ground?

  32. Who should you report aircraft accidents and serious incidents to?

  33. What period of time do you have to report an accident or incident?

  34. What is the minimum altitude you can fly over a congested area?

  35. What does Class B airspace mean?

  36. What is the maximum airspeed in Class B airspace?

  37. What are the cloud clearance requirements in Class B airspace?

  38. What is the maximum airspeed in Class C?

  39. What are VFR cloud clearances?

  40. What is the maximum holding airspeed at 3000 MSL?

  41. Why would an aircraft stall?

  42. Why is it important for a pilot to understand their speed and the angle of attack of the wings?

  43. Where does stall occur on a wing?

  44. What causes a wing to stall?

  45. What causes the separation of air over the wing during a stall?

  46. What systems protect against a stall?

  47. What factors affect stall speed?

  48. Can you define balanced field length?

  49. What produces the maximum glide range?

  50. What determines the gliding range?

  51. What is the best glide ratio?

  52. What is drag?

  53. What is the drag curve on an aircraft?

  54. How does an aircraft overcome drag?

  55. What is the directional stability of an aircraft?

  56. How can aircrafts improve directional stability?

  57. What is the rate of climb?

  58. What is the rate of descent?

  59. What limits an aircraft’s structural weight?

  60. How long should you wait before flying after consuming alcohol?

  61. What is the maximum blood alcohol content to legally operate an aircraft?

  62. How long does it take the body to rid itself of 1oz of alcohol?

  63. What are the effects of spanwise airflow over a wing?

  64. What are the effects of compressibility?

  65. What are the effects of excessive aircraft weight?

  66. What are the effects of wing tip vortices?

  67. What is the downwash effect?

  68. What is direct lift control?

  69. What is the purpose of vortex generators/fences?

  70. Do vortex generators increase drag?

  71. What is an aerofoil?

  72. How does an aerofoil work?

  73. What are ailerons, and how do they work?

  74. What is aileron reversal?

  75. What is the rudder and how does it work?

  76. What is a rudder reversal?

  77. What is a rudder lock?

  78. What are the hazards associated with flying in a region of volcanic ash?

  79. What happens when a plane flies through volcanic ash?

  80. What procedures would you adopt when flying in a region of volcanic ash?

  81. What is hypoxia and hypoxemia?

  82. What causes hypoxemia?

  83. What are the symptoms of hypoxemia?

  84. What Is hyperventilation?

  85. How do you treat hyperventilation?

  86. What is a visual blackhole effect?

  87. Why are visual black hole effects dangerous?

  88. How should a pilot prepare for a safe and successful night visual approach?

  89. What is a false horizon?

  90. Whose ultimate responsibility is it to avoid any type of collision on the ground?

  91. Whose ultimate responsibility is it to avoid any type of collision in the air?

  92. What are the three types of aquaplaning and hydroplaning?

  93. How do you control an aquaplane?

  94. Describe aspect ratio.

  95. During what phase of the flight is the lift at its greatest?

  96. What increases lift and drag during takeoff and landing?

  97. What is the chord line?

  98. What is the mean chord line?

  99. What is stability in flight?

  100. What is speed stability?

  101. Describe stability at high altitudes.

  102. Describe the centre of pressure.

  103. Why is the centre of pressure important?

  104. How do you find the centre of pressure?

  105. What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

  106. What are the indications that carbon monoxide is present in the aircraft?

  107. What actions should you take if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning?

  108. What is spiral stability and instability?

  109. What is the angle of incidence?

  110. What is lateral stability?

  111. How do you improve lateral stability?

  112. What is dihedral?

  113. What is the purpose of dihedral?

  114. What is anhedral?

  115. How does anhedral work?

  116. What is the longitudinal stability of an aircraft?

  117. What is washout on a wing?

  118. What is adverse yaw?

  119. How does adverse yaw occur?

  120. Why is adverse yaw important?

  121. What are the purposes of yaw and roll dampers, and how do they work?

  122. What is a Mayday call?

  123. When should a Mayday call be used?

  124. When flying over or even landing at a foreign state, whose air law do you abide by?

  125. What are the three purposes of spoilers on an aircraft?

  126. What are differential spoilers?

  127. What are nondifferential spoilers?

  128. How is spoiler blowback prevented?

  129. How do you correct for spoiler blowback?

  130. How does an instrument landing system (ILS) approach work?

  131. On an instrument landing system (ILS) approach, when can you descend on the glide path?

  132. What are the 4 components of an instrument landing system (ILS)?

  133. While in flight, how would you overtake another aircraft flying at the same altitude and in the same direction?

  134. Who has the right of way during an airborne overtaking maneuver?

  135. Who has the right of way on the ground?

  136. How do you use weather radar information?

  137. How is air temperature measured?

  138. How does humidity affect landing performance?

  139. What are the crosswind limitations on an aircraft?

  140. How does wind affect landing performance?

  141. What drift would you experience when flying from a low to a high pressure system?

  142. Which electronic horizontal situation indicator (EHSI) modes can display the weather radar?

  143. What is a stopway?

  144. What is the effect of aft CG on performance?

  145. What happens if the CG is too far aft?

  146. How does aft CG affect stall speed?

  147. What is the minimum separation you need when flying over a congested area?

  148. What is the lowest altitude you can legally fly over a congested area?

  149. What is the function of a taxiway?

  150. Describe the two types of taxiway lighting systems.

  151. What do runway light colors mean?

  152. What is a high speed taxiway?

  153. What does two or more white crosses displayed on a runway or taxiway indicate?

  154. What does Papi mean?

  155. On an IFR flight in VFR who is responsible for separation, you or Air Traffic Control?

  156. When is a report to Air Traffic Control required?

  157. When not in radar contact, should you always report?

  158. What is a Compulsory Reporting Point?

  159. What does the airspeed indicator indicate?

  160. What are the airspeed indicator (ASI) instrument errors?

  161. How is VMO displayed on the airspeed indicator (ASI)?

  162. What is the white arc on an airspeed indicator (ASI) for?

  163. What errors do the vertical speed indicator (VSI) instrument suffer from?

  164. When must you file a flight plan?

  165. Why is it important not to lose speed on the approach to land?

  166. Describe the aircraft’s navigation and anti collision lights.

  167. When should the anti collision and navigation lights be switched on?

  168. Is a landing light required at night?

  169. Should you report any hazardous flight conditions?

  170. What is a holding procedure?

  171. What is the purpose of a holding pattern?

  172. What are the three entry procedures into a holding pattern?

  173. What rate of turn should you use in a holding pattern?

  174. How do you time a holding pattern?

  175. What 3 things must you report when you enter a hold?

  176. What is a gyroscope?

  177. How does a gyroscope work?

  178. What is gyro wander?

  179. What are the parts of an electronic flight instrument system (EFIS)?

  180. What is the general electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) color coding?

  181. What does HUD stand for?

  182. How does the HUD work?

  183. How is aircraft cabin pressure measured?

  184. How is the cabin pressure of a pressurised aircraft usually controlled?

  185. At what cabin altitude should a pilot go on oxygen?

  186. What oxygen supply is delivered when selected to normal?

  187. When do you use emergency 100% oxygen?

  188. At what cabin altitude should passengers go on oxygen?

  189. How is the passenger oxygen system activated?

  190. What is the order of priority for all vehicles on an aerodrome?

  191. Describe the earth’s magnetic field.

  192. What is magnetic dip?

  193. What is an EADI?

  194. What is typically displayed on the EADI?

  195. Describe how a Mach meter works.

  196. What errors does a Mach meter suffer from?

  197. What is an LDA?

  198. What is the correlation between temperature and lighting strikes?

  199. What is Mach Tuck?

  200. What is a Critical Mach?

  201. How do you find the Critical Mach number?

  202. What is the primary use of flaps on an aircraft?

  203. What is the advantage of using flaps at takeoff?

  204. What are the effects of raising flaps in flight?

  205. What are the limitations of a variable/reduced-thrust takeoff?

  206. What is the importance of the braking system in the aircraft?

  207. What is the purpose of anti-skid systems?

  208. How do anti-skid systems work?

  209. Describe a typical aircraft fire detection and protection system.

  210. What is static pressure?

  211. What is static pressure in air flow?

  212. What is dynamic pressure?

  213. What causes dynamic pressure?

  214. What is dynamic pressure loss?

  215. What is the most practical way to eliminate a fire during a flight?

  216. What type of extinguisher should be used for electrical and flammable fires?

  217. What are the indications of thermal expansion and use of the fire bottles on the side of the aircraft fuselage?

  218. How do you evacuate a plane?

  219. What are an aircraft’s typical sources of dc electrical power?

  220. What is VMCL speed?

  221. How does the variation of air density due to temperature affect an aircraft’s performance?

  222. What is density?

  223. What is density altitude?

  224. What is the density altitude formula?

  225. What conditions reduce visibility?

  226. What do you know about very high frequency (VHF) communications?

  227. What factors affect the range of VHF communications?

  228. What is a microburst?

  229. What happens during a microburst?

  230. How does a microburst affect an aircraft?

  231. What is engine pressure ratio (EPR)?

  232. How is engine pressure ratio (EPR) calculated?

  233. Can a maximum takeoff weight aircraft use a reduced takeoff technique?

  234. What does maximum takeoff weight mean?

  235. What is the runway clearway?

  236. How does the runway length, surface, and slope affect the landing performance?

  237. What is a warm front?

  238. What is a cold front?

  239. Why does a warm front move slower than a cold front?

  240. What is TCAS?

  241. How does TCAS work?

  242. What is ACAS?

  243. What is the difference between TCAS and ACAS?

  244. What steps can be taken to safeguard against water contamination?

  245. What are trim tabs?

  246. What is the purpose of trim tabs on an aircraft?

  247. What is the adiabatic process?

  248. What is ELR?

  249. What is turbulence?

  250. What causes surface turbulence?

  251. Should you navigate the aircraft to avoid turbulence?

  252. Describe how clouds are formed.

  253. How is the height of a cloud base determined?

  254. What is the difference between GPWS and TAWS?

  255. When can you override a GPWS warning?

  256. What is tire creep?

  257. How is creep detected?

  258. What are fusible tire plugs?

  259. Tire temperature prior to takeoff depends on what factors?

  260. What factors are taken into account on restricted landing weight (RlW)?

  261. Describe the airflow between a low and a high pressure system

  262. How does a change in pressure affect an aircraft’s flight level?

  263. What are Krueger flaps?

  264. You’re taking off and lose an engine before Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC). What procedures would you do?

  265. What is specific gravity?

  266. What is specific gravity used for?

  267. What is a squall line?

  268. What causes a squall line?

  269. What is ground effect and how is it caused?

  270. What is the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)?

  271. Where do hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons form?

  272. What direction do hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons track?

  273. What is a Convective Sigmet and what does it cover?

  274. How far should you fly from a thunderstorm for safety?

  275. What is the altitude effect on wind direction and speed?

  276. What is wind velocity?

  277. What is wind shear?

  278. What is predictive windshear detection mode?

  279. What is the purpose of a flight management system (FMS)?

  280. Describe a typical flight management system.

  281. What is mist and fog?

  282. What are the different types of fog?

  283. How are the different types of fog formed?

  284. What is dew?

  285. How is dew formed?

  286. What is frost?

  287. How is frost formed?

  288. What is Virga?

  289. What is a METAR?

  290. What does BR mean in a METAR?

  291. What is the difference between a Metar and TAF?

  292. How are thunderstorms a hazard to aviation?

  293. When is lightning most likely to occur?

  294. What is a jet stream?

  295. What does the jet stream do?

  296. Where do you find jet streams?

  297. In what conditions would you expect icing, and when should you turn on the engine anti-icing?

  298. What is a deicing system?

  299. What is the purpose of cockpit window heating?

  300. What is the pressure gradient force?

  301. What is a MOCA?

  302. What is a MEA?

  303. What is the difference between MEA and MOCA?

  304. How do you calculate obstacle clearance altitude?

  305. What does RVR mean?

  306. How does RVR work?

  307. How do you calculate RVR?

  308. What is a FAF?

  309. What determines the missed approach point on an ILS?

  310. Where is the final approach fix on an ILS?

  311. What is VMC?

  312. What is the P factor?

  313. What does P factor cause the airplane to yaw to the left?

  314. Where is bleed air taken from?

  315. What is an autopilot system?

  316. Describe how an autopilot system works.

  317. What is the purpose of an autopilot system?

  318. What aircraft systems use hydraulic power?

  319. What are the advantages of a hydraulic system over a pneumatic system?

  320. What is a typical landing gear layout?

  321. What is the purpose of retractable landing gear?

  322. How is the landing gear extended and retracted?

  323. Why is fuel measured in terms of a mass (weight) rather than by volume?

  324. What is nose wheel shimmy?

  325. What is the purpose of a shimmy damper?

  326. What are the requirements of a nose wheel?

  327. How do you refuel an aircraft?

  328. Why is refuelling an aircraft dangerous?

  329. What precautions should be taken before and during aircraft fueling?

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