My GST (As i remember it )

When I sat my GST,about 9 months ago from writing this,  it was with a new (to me) instructor, and an aircraft i had only flown for 3 days (a GT450 with electric trim) in an area i was unfamiliar with. I was very nervous, and stressed 🙂  After i sat my GST, i took notes on what we did, and how i dealt with the tasks. This is just how i remember it, and may very well have missed a load of stuff, but for what its worth, here are my memories:

I was asked to fully pre-flight check the aircraft. I had a printed checklist (which i still use on my own quik every time i fly) and worked my way round the wing, and then the trike. Explaining out loud what i was doing and what i was checking.

Then i had to treat my instructor as if he was a passenger who had never flown before, and provide a pre-flight briefing, explaining how to get into the aircraft without standing on the fibreglass, what not to touch, what to expect in flight, and make sure that there is nothing that can affect flight ( loose clothing, cameras or gloves without restraint)

When in the aircraft, always physically check that your passenger has done up their helmet and lapstrap, rather than assuming they have done it correctly. The Examiner is looking for you to talk out loud of all these checks, so he knows you are performing them.

Perform the pre-start-up checks:  STAMP  (S)ecurity (check helmets and harnesses), (T)hrottle – hand throttle off – foot off – Tangs (clips on centre pole and bar, and Jesus bolt), (A)rea – (check surrounding area for people of objects close to Prop), (M)ags – check that both mag switches are on, and choke is on if required and (P)rop – cover mike and shout clearly “Clear Prop” to warn anyone in the vicinity.  Start Aircraft

Allow Aircraft to warm up – checking “T”‘s and “P”‘s (temps and pressures). Oil Temp needs to be at least 50 degrees before take off.  Perform pre-flight checks: CHIEFTAP:

  • Controls – Check full and clear movement on bar
  • Helmet, harnesses and hatch’s check pilot and passenger – visual check on Zips on wings and centre cover
  • Instruments – Check “T”‘s and “P”s – adjust altimeter, visual check that all instruments look ok
  • Engine management – raise revs and switch off each Mag in turn, listening for slight dip in revs.
  • Fuel – Check enough fuel for flight
  • Trim – adjust trim for take off
  • Area – check for aircraft on approach or on runway
  • Power – use full power on take off


Take off  keeping the bar and wheels straight – climb on full power until instructor gives instructions.

General practice throughout whole test

**when i was practicing this before the GST, i was always tempted to rush all these commands, as if they needed done quickly. THEY DONT 🙂 The lesson i learned was to take my time, think about what i was doing before i did it.**

During the test – regularly take the time between exercises to complete a full 5 point look out (backwards left, mid left, forward, mid right and backwards right) – at 3 levels (High medium & Low) taking a couple of seconds at each point to make it easier to identify other aircraft. Always announce what you you are doing before and during the exercise.  Do the same on a regular basis with “T”‘s and “P”‘s to show the instructor that you are checking and showing good airmanship.


Exiting a climb:  APT (Attitude/Power/Trim) – so when leveling off, pull bar back first, then reduce power, then trim to suit

To Start a climb: PAT – Power first, then bar forward, then trim when in the climb.

Exiting a Descent: PAT – Power and push bar simultaneously, then trim to suit.

Always make it clear that you are trimming at the end of these exercises – the instructor is watching for it.

Straight and Level

I took off and exited the circuit straight from take off. My instructor told me what course to maintain, and to level out at 1,500ft and maintain straight and level flight on the compass course given.

I was then asked to climb to 2,500ft and level out, maintaining course all the time.

At 2,500 feet, i was told to slow the aircraft down to stall speed plus 5 (43mph). This meant slowing down the revs of the engine, while pushing the bar forward to compensate. I held this speed (and course) till advised to return to straight and level flight (no deviation in height or course)

I was then asked to speed up to 75mph, while maintaining the same level and course. This involved increasing power while compensating for increasing height by simultaneously pulling the bar back to correct it. Then when i reached 75mph, hold until advised to return to hands-off trim ( briefly take hands off bar at this point to prove it).


After that we did a couple of stalls. We did a straight and level stall: We flew at hands-off trim, straight and level. Then slowly and progressively (not a harsh movement) – push the bar forward almost as far as possible until the aircraft stalls and the nose drops. immediately the nose drops, pull back the bar (to mid range – not fully back) and give the aircraft full power on the throttle.  As the power comes in, push the bar forward into the climb, and continue a full power climb UNTIL INSTRUCTED. Once in the climb, adjust the trim accordingly for a smooth climb.


First of all i was asked to do a 30 degree (medium) turn.  The initial turn was to maintain the indicated altitude throughout the turn.   First thing to do is a full lookout to make sure you are checking completely that its safe before making the turn. To identify the correct angle of turn, i had to bank until the wing wires were level with the horizon. For a level, 30 degree turn, there is no need to push the bar forward. To pass this test – the altitude must not vary + or – 100 feet of the initial altitude.

I was asked to do this for both left and right turns.

Then i was asked to do a climbing turn at 30 degrees. This effectively was the same as the straight and level turn, but with more power and initially pushing the bar to gain height. Do this is stages: Establish normal level turn first. Only when the turn is established, should you increase to full power. Push bar forward to establish the climb – then TRIM for a steady turning climb, keeping the angle constant at 30 Degrees until requested to level out. I did this in both directions a couple of times. it varied, where i was asked to level out completely (back to straight and level, and also level out at a fixed height and maintain the turn when reaching the level. I found this quite difficult to get my head round, but must have done it satisfactorily.

Advanced Turns

Before starting this task, i would do a “HASELL” check for safety.

Similar to the 30 Degree turns, but when you reach 30 Degrees, additional power is required and push the bar forward to maintain altitude. I was taught to “ease and Squeeze” the throttle till the “G” force was felt and you knew you were in the right zone.  To do a right hand turn, i would identify a landmark on my left hand side and enter the turn. I would maintain the turn until just before the landmark, leveling out to end up heading toward the landmark. This was to make sure i stopped turning before i reached a full 360 degrees, and potentially hit my own propwash. I had to do 2 or 3 of these in each direction.

Climbing Turn STALL


Establish 30 Degree climbing turn. Power to idle and push bar. The trike will stall, and fall to the side. Immediately pull bar back to mid range, apply full power and roll out of bank. Level off and then establish climb out using PAT (power and attitude together and then Trim.

Unusual and Dangerous Attitudes

Your instructor will ask you to hold the throttle at a certain level and he will take control of the aircraft, while you “cover” the controls. He will fly in and out, round about and try and disorientate you. at some point he will say “you have control”. At this point, you will be either climbing steeply or descending steeply, perhaps at an angle. It is your responsibility to safely get the aircraft under control without endangering yourself or your passenger. If you are climbing, then its full power, bar back to mid range, level off and climb away. If you are diving, then its NO throttle, straighten up and level off, when level, full power and climb away till instructed otherwise.

PFL (Practice Forced landings)

The instructor will tell you to power to idle (foot off throttle) and fly as if you had just had an engine failure. You should pick a suitable landing area, while making consideration (if possible) of the wind conditions, so you would land into wind. You will explain to the instructor what your intentions are, and talk through the procedure as you do it. The instructor will let you go right down to almost landing, where he thinks you would either have made the landing or if he thinks you wont make it. At either of these points, the instructor will instruct you to climb away. In the descent, you should “warm” the engine with an occasional blip of the throttle, to keep the heat in the engine, so it responds when you go to climb away.

EFATO – Engine failure on Take off

Your instructor will ask you to take off, and at his discretion, will call engine failure. You should immediately throttle off, and pull the bar back in and perform an emergency landing before the end of the runway. The instructor is looking for you to gain speed on the descent as soon as possible so that you don’t stall.

Emergency Landing with Power

Used for example when the weather is closing in, or you are running out of light at the end of the day, and although the trike is flyable, the conditions may not be. In this scenario, the pilot will do 3 circuits of a potential emergency landing area to recce out the landing site for suitability. each time the circuit height will drop, allowing a better look at the potential landing strip. 1st circuit would be 500ft, then 300ft, then 100ft. The height is only dropped while above the actual runway. So for example, 1st circuit is done at 500ft all round. 2nd circuit the trike will be dropped down over the runway to 300 ft, at the end of the runway, the trike will climb back to 500 ft, until circuit 3, where the height is dropped down again to 100ft only over the runway. At the end of the final circuit, trike will return to 500ft and land on the 4th run.

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