Can you accept a LAHSO on your private pilot checkride?

Steve V.
  • Can you accept a LAHSO on your private pilot checkride? Steve V.

    Suppose you're on your private pilot checkride and the tower gives you a land and hold short clearance.

    Are you able to accept that clearance? I know you're expected to fly as if you were a private pilot, and you're allowed to carry the examiner even though they're not providing you dual instruction...

    Are you allowed to accept a clearance on your private pilot checkride that you couldn't accept as a student but could as a private pilot?

  • First, let's see whether it's legal. FAA Order 7110.118 notes that:

    7. EXPLANATION OF CHANGES.

    The following changes apply to all LAHSO.

    • a. ...

    • b. Solo student pilots will not conduct LAHSO.

    However, you could interpret that as not applicable to your situation, as you are not the sole occupant of the aircraft:

    14 CFR §61.87

    (a) General. ... The term "solo flight" as used in this subpart means that flight time during which a student pilot is the sole occupant of the aircraft...

    Though it might be allowed, note it does not say must:

    AIM 4-3-11(b)

    1. ...

    2. Student pilots or pilots not familiar with LAHSO should not participate in the program.

    I'd recommend against doing so because LAHSO can add to your workload, especially if you're a bit nervous on your checkride. Also, the AIM note on discouraging LAHSO is rather valid and if done improperly, can affect safety. Having said that, the examiner is likely to ask questions on LAHSO during your practical examination, especially since LAHSO is a special emphasis area in the PTS. This may include:

    • Requirements to accept a LAHSO clearance
    • ATC pharseology for LAHSO
    • Pilot responsibilities while carrying out LAHSO

    In any case, always remember that you do not need to accept a LAHSO clearance -- if you do not feel comfortable with doing so, ATC will provide arrangements to land full-length on the same runway or another one. You should not accept a LAHSO clearance if you believe doing so would compromise safety.


    Note: this does not necessarily apply to all situations where a student pilot is prohibited from doing something that a private pilot would be able to do.

  • From my checkride, I can say that the examiner strongly discouraged LAHSO operations in general. That's not to say you can't do it perhaps, but you probably shouldn't do it (@Qantas 94 Heavy has a great analysis of the rules behind LAHSO, so no sense in repeating them). Things to consider include making sure you have enough available landing distance and check against conditions with your aircraft performance data. Remember, the examiner is testing, among other things, your decision making skills as a pilot. Your examiner would probably be more impressed by declining a LAHSO clearance and landing safely with full-length than trying to show off to the examiner. You already have to demonstrate a short and soft takeoff and landing -- probably not much sense in trying to go overboard.

    Personally, as a recently-certificated pilot with only about 60 hours of experience, I'd still decline a LAHSO clearance if given one. There's nothing that says you need to take one, especially if you feel it may compromise your safety.

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