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Common Technical Interview Questions for Pilots

Updated: Jan 28

This study guide is made and designed to help all pilots with up-and-coming interviews that will require technical knowledge including basic IFR, aerodynamics, weather, Aircraft knowledge, and Australian flight rule procedures for those who have been flying overseas. The information in this article is subject to change and has been put together from various technical portions of interviews within Australia and my own flying experience. It should be used as a guide to help prepare for your interview and refresh your knowledge on common IFR questions, ATPL theory, and general flight knowledge within Australia.


Common Memory Item Technical Questions

Depress Memory Item

Engine Failure Memory Item

TCAS traffic memory item

Windshear memory item

Aborted Engine Start

Go around

PRM Breakout Procedure

General Questions

What happens to TAS as we climb?

What happens to Mach as we descend?

RVSM is?

Requirements to enter RVSM airspace

Altimeters read more than 150ft difference in RVSM, what do you do?

When do the runway centreline lights turn to RED?

Last 300m of runway left

When do the runway centreline lights alternate colours?

900m from end of runway and turn stead red from 300m from the end of the runway.

When do you leave the sensitive area of the taxi way?

you have passed the alternating green and yellow taxi way lights

What colour is the taxi way edge lighting?


What colour are the centerline lights on the taxiway?


COBT Compliance Time: ENR 1.9-3

Arrivals: SY,BN,ML,PH: -5min to +15min

Departure: PH: -5min to +10min

IFR Questions

CAT speeds for your aircraft

What is the circling area for your aircraft

CAT C: 4.2nm ENR 1.5-5

Minimum Circling Obstacle Clearance for your aircraft

CAT A/B: 300ft

CAT C/D: 400ft

When do you have to conduct a missed approach

What is the approach ban?

How is the MDA/DDA derived?

Hold Speeds

0000-14000: 230kts

14000 - FL200: 240kts

Above FL200: 265kts

Hold leg lengths

0000-14000: 1 Min

14000 above 1.5 Min or dist limit according to chart

Hold Entries

Feeder Fix Times


Fix: On time and up to 30 seconds early, unless otherwise published or instructed by ATC. Pilots must cross the waypoint at the lesser of 250KT or profile speed. Aircraft unable must notify ATC ASAP.

Hold: On time and up to 1 minute early

When do you have to notify ATC of the TAS difference

10kts or 0.02M

ATIS validity for an instrument approach

An actual aerodrome QNH obtained from an approved source is valid for a period of 15 minutes from the time of receipt.

QNH sources

Prior to passing the IAF, Pilots are required to set either:

  1. the actual aerodrome QNH from an approved source, or

  2. the forecast aerodrome (TAF) QNH, or

  3. the forecast area QNH

Where instrument approach charts are identified by a shaded background to either the minima titles for IAL charts or the published minima for DME or GNSS Arrival Procedures, landing, circling and alternate minima have been calculated assuming the use of Aerodrome forecast (TAF) QNH. These mimima may be reduced by 100kt whenever an actual aerodrome QNH is set.

Approved sources of actual QNH are ATC and ATIS except when the aerodrome forecast QNH is provided, AWIS and BoM accredited meteorological observers. METAR QNH does not meet this requirement.

When the actual aerodrome QNH is not available, ATC will report the Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) QNH on the ATIS. the ATIS will include information in the format "ACTUAL WNH NOT AVAILABLE, AERODROME FORECAST QNH..."

Where the forecast area QNH is used, the minima used must be increased by 50ft

When can you descend during day?

When can you descend during the night?

What does visual reference to the runway mean?

the runway threshold, or approach lights or other markings identifiable with the landing runway clearly visibility to the pilot and either:

  1. for circling approaches, clear of cloud, insight of the ground of water, and with a flight visibility not less than the minimum specified for circling; or

  2. for runway approaches, a flight visibility is not less than that specified for the procedure.

You lose visual reference on the downwind leg of a visual approach, what do you do?

ENR 1.5-10 1.9.3

When a missed approach is required from visual circling, the expectation is that the pilot will make an initial climbing turn toward the landing runway and overhead the aerodrome where the pilot will establish the aircraft climbing on the missed approach track. In as much as the circling maneuver may be accomplished in more than one direction, different patterns will be required to establish the aircraft on the prescribed missed approach course depending on its position at the time visual reference is lost.

Recency requirements for an approach

Landing at night

Weather Questions

ATIS validity for an instrument approach

15 minutes

When is a TAF3 valid?

How often are TAF3 issued?

Requirements for holding fuel during TAF3?

Reference datums for METAR

Reference datums for ATIS

FOG types

Wind Types

Windshear is?


SIGMET Decoding

METAR decoding

Jetstream is?

Wind Strength of Jetstream

What are the icing requirements?

When do you put on engine anti-ice?

Aircraft Performance Question

Definition of a contaminated runway

Definition of a wet runway

Screen Heights for a multi Engine Aircraft, Dry and Wet

What is ASDA

What is TORA

What is TODA

What is balanced field length

V speed Definitions

The takeoff and climb segments of an aircraft

What happens to T/O performance with changes in temperature and pressure

Climb Gradient requirements for OEI

Climb Gradient Requirements for Go Around

In IAL procedures, the missed approach is designed to provide a minimum obstacle clearance of 100ft to an aircraft climbing along the specified missed approach path at a gradient of 2.5% (152ft/nm) from the MAPT or DA/RA Height from which the missed approach procedure commences.

Aerodynamics Questions Asked in Interviews

Mcrit is?

What do swept wings do?

Mach Tuck is?

CoP moves what direction approaching the stall?

What do winglets do?

Multi-Engine Questions

Vmcg is?


Critical Engine is?

Blue line speed is?

Climb out with one inoperative is based on?

During takeoff the aircraft swings/yaws left, which engine have you lost?

If the aircraft drifts left during landing, what do you do with an IOE?

Taxi on one engine?

You lose an engine in cruise, what Altitude do you descent to? what do you do?

Scenario-based Questions Used in Pilot Interviews

During a flight, you have an unruly passenger and the flight attendants approach you for advice, what do you do?

You have a depressurization during flight, take me through your actions and thoughts,

You encounter severe turbulence during flight, what do you do?

Captain is intoxicated or you think he is during the setup, what do you do?

Captain wants to land with a crosswind over the limits, what do you do?

Radio failure what do you do?


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