top of page

A Guide to the Flight Performance and Planning Exam: Tips and Strategies for Student Pilots

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Are you a student pilot preparing for the UK Flight Performance and Planning exam? If so, you've come to the right place! In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know to ace the exam and become a successful pilot.

What is the Flight Performance and Planning Exam?

The Flight Performance and Planning Exam is an important part of the pilot training process. It tests your knowledge of flight planning, performance, and related topics. The exam is typically taken after completing ground school and a significant proportion of the flight training, although it can be taken at any point during the student’s PPL training. It consists of multiple-choice questions and is designed to evaluate your understanding of aviation theory and principles.

A parked aircraft on the ramp at the airport, representing the Flight Performance and Planning Exam for student pilots. This image highlights the importance of understanding the fundamental concepts of flight performance and planning, as well as the practical aspects of airport operations. By passing the exam, student pilots can demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and move one step closer to becoming a licensed pilot.

What is the Pass Mark for the Exam?

The pass mark for the Flight Performance and Planning Exam is 75%. This means you need to answer at least 9 out of 12 questions correctly to pass the exam. The exam is graded on a pass/fail basis, and you'll receive your results immediately after completing the exam.

How Many Questions are in the Exam?

The Flight Performance and Planning Exam consists of 12 multiple-choice questions. You'll have 45 minutes to complete the exam, so it's important to manage your time effectively and not spend too much time on any one question.

Where Can You Take the Exam?

You can take the Flight Performance and Planning Exam at any UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved exam centre. There are many exam centres throughout the UK, so you should be able to find one close to your location. To find an exam centre near you, visit the CAA website. This is most likely to be your flying school where you are completing your practical training.

The exam is taken online via the CAA’s official e-exam system.

Typical Exam Questions

Here are some examples of typical questions you might encounter in the Flight Performance and Planning Exam:

1. An aircraft overflies an aerodrome where the QFE is 1007hPa. The pilot's altimeter is set to the local QNH of 1012. If the aircraft's altimeter is reading 2,000ft, what would be the aircraft's approximate height above the aerodrome?

a. 1,850ft

b. 2,150ft

c. 2,000ft

2. Given a QNH of 1020 hPa, an air temperature of -2°C and an elevation of 2,740 ft, the density altitude will be:

a. 1,090ft

b. 1,300ft

c. 1,510ft

3. A pilot checks the time en-route and notes that it is 08:41. The distance to the next waypoint is 46 nautical miles and the aircraft is on a true heading of 270° with a true airspeed (TAS) of 100kts. The wind is 300/15.

At which time will the aircraft arrive overhead the next waypoint (to the nearest minute)?

a. 09:13

b. 09:09

c. 09:10

(Correct answers: 1. a, 2. a, 3. a)

Other questions and subjects which may appear on the exam:

  • What is the take-off distance for a particular aircraft at maximum weight and standard conditions?

  • What is the crosswind component given circumstances?

  • 1-in-60 calculations

  • Interpreting information from 1:500,000 CAA Aeronautical charts

  • Interpreting NOTAMS and other pre-flight information

  • Interpreting aircraft performance graphs, charts and tables

  • Centre of Gravity calculations

  • Completing ICAO Flight Plans

  • Calculating climb gradients and similar calculations

Permitted equipment during the exam.

You are allowed to bring certain equipment into the exam, including a calculator, protractor, ruler, flight computer and compass. However, all equipment must be approved by the examiners and meet certain specifications. Make sure you check with the examiners in advance to ensure that your equipment meets the requirements.

An image of the permitted equipment for the Flight Performance and Planning Exam, including a calculator, protractor, ruler, and navigation tools. This image highlights the importance of having the right tools and equipment during the exam, and helps students prepare for the various questions that may require mathematical calculations or graphical interpretations. By reviewing the permitted equipment list and practicing with these tools, students can feel more confident and comfortable during the exam, and focus on applying their knowledge and skills to real-world flight scenarios.

Flight Performance and Planning Exam Learning Objectives.

You can read the official CAA learning objectives here (PDF):

Flight Performance and Planning Learning Objectives (Aeroplane and Helicopter)
Download PDF • 594KB

Outcome of the exam.

The outcome of the exam is made clear to the candidate immediately after completion. If you pass the exam, your score will be presented to you and you will receive a print-out confirming your result. Your result will also be stored on the CAA’s official exam system.

If you fail, you will receive a Knowledge Deficiency Report. This report does not specifically state which questions were answered incorrectly, but it will provide a list of CAA learning objectives where the candidate must improve their knowledge. The learning objectives take up the format of a number (for example You can look-up these numbers in the official learning objectives document, or use our KDR tool. The learning objective will have an associated description of the specific subject, for example “Effect of density altitude and aeroplane mass”. The candidate should focus on these weak areas before taking the exam again.

Advice for the Exam.

Preparing for the Flight Performance and Planning Exam can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

Study using up-to-date online materials:

There are many resources available online to help you prepare for the exam. Make sure you're using the most up-to-date materials to ensure you're learning the correct information. You can also consider using our Bitesize Online Ground School course, which provides comprehensive online theory training for student pilots, and covers the Flight Performance and Planning Exam completely.

A student sitting at a desk, surrounded by books and papers, looking overwhelmed and stressed while preparing for the Flight Performance and Planning Exam. This image represents the challenges and pressure that student pilots may face during their studies, and highlights the importance of using up-to-date online materials to stay organized and focused. By accessing online resources such as QuizAero's 'Bitesize Online Ground School', students can benefit from clear and concise explanations, interactive learning tools, and practice exams that help reduce stress and increase confidence.
The study books are heavy and often contain out-of-date information!

Our online theory course provides all the necessary information in easily digestible chunks, making it easier for you to retain the information. We also include frequent progress checks, which not only help increase your confidence but also assure you that you're making progress and on track to pass the Flight Performance and Planning Exam. With QuizAero, you can rest assured that you're well-prepared and on your way to becoming a successful pilot.

Use practice exams:

Practice exams are a great way to prepare for the Flight Performance and Planning Exam. They can help you get used to the format of the exam and identify areas where you may need to focus your studies. Our practice exams are up-to-date, reflecting the latest CAA requirements and are designed to help you prepare for the exam.

An image of QuizAero's Flight Performance and Planning Exam practice exams displayed on a laptop screen. This image showcases QuizAero's online learning platform, which offers up-to-date and comprehensive practice exams to help students prepare for the actual exam. With a user-friendly interface and realistic exam questions, QuizAero's practice exams allow students to assess their knowledge and identify areas for improvement, while also building their confidence and familiarity with the exam format. By using QuizAero's practice exams in combination with other study materials, students can optimize their learning experience and increase their chances of passing the Flight Performance and Planning Exam.

Manage your time effectively:

Remember, you only have 45 minutes to complete the exam, so it's important to manage your time effectively. Don't spend too much time on any one question, and make sure you leave enough time at the end to review your answers.

Read the questions carefully:

Make sure you read each question carefully and fully understand what is being asked before answering. Pay attention to any key words or phrases that can help you determine the correct answer.

Stay calm and focused:

Finally, try to stay calm and focused during the exam. Take deep breaths if you feel nervous, and don't let any difficult questions throw you off track. Remember, you've prepared for this exam and you're ready to succeed.


As a student pilot, passing the Flight Performance and Planning Exam is an important milestone in your pilot training. Remember to follow these tips and use the right resources to prepare effectively for the exam. With the right mindset, preparation, and focus, you can confidently tackle any challenge that comes your way. So stay committed to your goals and keep working hard, and soon enough you'll be soaring through the skies with confidence and expertise.

At QuizAero, we understand how important it is to have access to the best study materials and practice exams to succeed in your Flight Performance and Planning Exam. That's why we offer a comprehensive online theory course called 'Bitesize Online Ground School', designed to provide student pilots with up-to-date and easy-to-understand resources. Our course covers all the nine PPL exams in detail and is loaded with features to help you prepare for the exam with confidence. So why not give QuizAero a try? Sign up today and take the first step towards becoming a successful pilot.


Recent Posts

See All


Subscribe to our Articles

Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page