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Notes from the FAA to Checkride Designated Examiners; ...FAA Expected Checkride Timeframe; ...The Unwritten PTS Standards; ...Getting Ready for My Checkride; ...Checkride #1; ...Checkride #2; ...Passed checkride today; ...Checkride #3; ...Checkride Situations; ...Toughest Oral Question; ...Tom's Checkride;
from the FAA to Checkride Designated Examiners
--Checkrides are to be as comprehensive and practical as possible
--Emphasis on aerodynamics, airworthiness, basic navigation, runway safety and flight planning
--Specific new addition is aerodynamics which is usually incorporated into other areas of the test.
--Unacceptably high numbers of accidents, incidents and deviations are showing pilot knowledge problems
--FAA expectation is that the oral and flight parts of the checkride be completed on the same day.
--DE's to have enough time to cover all PTS required tasks
--Applicant to allow for a four-hour checkride
--DE not to accept Form 8710-1 unless maintenance records are available before oral
--All airworhiness documents to be checked during preflight
--Checkride cannot be done in an aircraft that is not airworthy
--FAA has found that many checkrides have not been in compliance.
FAA Expected Checkride Timeframe
--10 Getting acquainted
--20 Checking documents and confirming aircraft airworthiness
--5 Testing process, options and answering applicant's questions
--50 to 90 Oral knowledge of PTS operations and tasks
--10-20 Review of aircraft maintenance records
--15 Preflight of aircraft
--1:20 lto 1:30 for flight test
--10 Postflight test
--10 Postflight documentation
--10 Post-test critique
Unwritten PTS Standards
--The ground reference and airwork maneuvers are basic to flying patterns in winds
--Poor judgment and making an unsafe decision are deadly mistakes
--Multi-tasking is an unmentioned PTS requirement that can fail any one applied to excess.
--Multi-tasking that is applied to situations involving fatigue and hypoxia are most prone to failure.
Getting Ready for My Checkride
Student License & Medical
Logbook -- current endorsements--Log sheets
POH from plane or Airplane pilots manual
Textbook (preferred Private Pilot book)
Systems documentation (or book)
Current AFD Facilities Directory
E6B -- mechanical or electronic (check batteries)
Knowledge Test Score sheet (written exam)
Check $??? to (DE)
Airframe and Engine Maintenance logs for aircraft
Certificate of Airworthiness
Pencils and Pens
Personal for me:
Post-it the required inspections in the logbooks
Note: double-check currency on AFD, Charts, and endorsements
Student Logbook Requirements
Student solo license endorsements for each type aircraft
Student solo cross-country license endorsement
Logbook signoff for ground instruction
Pre-solo aeronautical knowledge and instruction endorsement
Logbook signoff for aircraft test each aircraft
Logbook solo requirements endorsement
Logbook solo endorsement
Day solo endorsement
Logbook local airport solo endorsement
Individual signoff for EACH x-country
NA-Signoff for review of questions missed
Aeronautical knowledge and instruction endorsement
-Take Practical Test endorsement
-NA-Test after failure endorsement
These are the things I found out about the checkride.
Do learn as much as possible during your first 10 hours. It is this training you will revert to on the checkride (under stress)
Don't rush to get to solo. See above.
Do fly as much as possible during the 3 weeks prior to your checkride. Try to alternate between dual and solo, so that you can practice then ask questions.
Do go over your logbook about 6 weeks before your checkride to catch anything you might be short on.
Do have 2 or 3 practice orals within 2 weeks of the practical. Have you CFI grill you unmercifully.
Do all the prep work you can as far in advance of the test as you can. (x-country plan,W&B,etc.)
Try not to think about aviation or airplane for a couple of days before your ride.. Use this time to relax.
These are the things that I did or on 20/20 hindsight I should have done to make my ride more pleasant and bearable.
I would add...
--Save yourself money and time and spend a few hours in the plane going over procedures without leaving the tie-down.
--I have found that such 'chair-flying' in the cockpit going over procedures using just imagination and visualization is 'almost' as good as time in the air. (but not loggable).
--Know your airspace!
--Study a map and be able to indicate VFR cloud clearances and visibilility for each different feature that you can find.
Possibly the best advice...seek out other pilots who have done the check-ride with the examiner you will be seeing, find out what he or she is like, what kinds of things they are 'sticklers' for.
Most of the time, you'll also find out what a nice person the examiner is, how they are not out to bust you, and how it turned out to be both fun and educational.
Okay Back from my shock, Figured I would share my experience.
Checkride was a 1pm. Had to Fly from my home base airport (KRYY) to the checkride airport (4A7) Around Atlanta's Class B. Got to the airport at 9am. Checked out the airplane and got some words of wisdom from my Instructor. Then Murphy visited. Aircraft was 1/2 full, and needed oil, so we called at 11AM to get it done. At 12PM the fuel truck finally showed up. Filled one wing (Cessna 172P), then ran out of fuel. Took another 30 minutes to get another fuel truck out. Had to call the examiner to advise him I was going to be late (not a good start). He was extremely nice, and said just show up when you can.
Got there at 2PM, was so worried about meeting him for the first time (Gene says: Always have preliminary visit with DE to learn expectations.) and being late, I bounced on the landing at the checkride airport. Once I got there he was very nice and had me sit down for a little bit and relax. He showed me pictures of his DC-3 and other things to ease my tension. The oral went a lot better than I thought it would. He had me pull out the flight plan I created and asked questions about it.
"What airspace is this?", "What symbol is this?", "You passed this checkpoint four minutes ago and are now lost, where do you think you might be?". He then asked questions about the Aircraft, "What documents are required?", "What maintenance is needed on this aircraft?" Mostly questions were right out of the book. He did go into a lot more about the weather (Fronts, Lapse Rates, Cloud types). I'm glad that I enjoy learning about the weather. I rattled the questions off quickly and he basically said that I knew what I was talking about and lets go fly.
He then told me basically what we were going to be doing in the order (except for the emergencies), that we were going to do them. Once the Preflight was done, I gave my passenger briefing (Normal stuff like Seatbelts, Emergency exits.). I did add a statement that I will give to passengers "These controls are linked together, if you get scared and grab the controls then I will have a very hard time to control the aircraft and to refrain from grabbing the yolk/rudder pedals. Once in the plane I taxied out (using a good crosswind technique). wind was pretty gusty that day and I remembered reading a posting about a gust of wind hitting an aircraft while taxing and lifting the tire off the ground. Runup normal, then once on the runway he asked for a short field takeoff, did it nicely (wind shifted and moved right down the runway). Took off got to my 2nd checkpoint and was told to divert. Once I diverted he had me put the foggles on and do climbs, descents and turns. He took the aircraft and put it in a nose high attitude, had me recover then the foggles were gone. About 20 seconds after the foggles were off he told me I had an engine fire.
Did the emergency decent and found a field. then it switched to a engine failure. Just above the trees did a go around. Then did our S-turns and Turns around a point, steep turns, etc. After that we came back and did our Soft/Short Field T/O's and Landings, Forward slip to landing. After the landings he told me to taxi back and gave me a post flight briefing (list of complaints). Wasn't too bad, I wasn't smooth with the throttle and jerked it, he told me that engines have failed right after takeoff by doing that. Normally I'm smooth with them, guess I was just nervous. He also mentioned that when trying to make my emergency landing, never turn my back on the field that I intend to use, I did a spiral down but was a good distance from the field (not over it). I should of used s-turns and kept the field in sight. Was getting worried at that point. He then told me to bring all my stuff and come back to his office. When I walked in I saw him pull a white sheet of paper from his "Temporary Airman's Certificate" Booklet, and started to put it in the Typewriter (Needless to say, I had to look a couple of times to see if my name was actually on it!)...
Well there it is in a nutshell, not too detailed, but the examiner did everything by the book, and no real surprises. He was very professional and very sharp, not to mention a lot of fun to fly with (If it hadn't of been a checkride). I was so excited to tell everyone, but had to wait until I got back from 4A7 to RYY to give the good news. I was told that I could of taken the shortcut and flew through the Class B at that time, but decided not to push my luck the first day. I did listen to them on my 2nd Com radio. Very busy, and two people busted the Class B and were scorned "... You are already in my class B airspace, Decend Immediately and standby"...
My wife is going to be the first one up, then my Father when he comes back from vacation (He was a Private Pilot until 1967 when the prices started going up), Hopefully he will get the bug again..
I was asked a couple of times about my hours. I started taking lessons in 1994 and acquired 16.7 Hours, until the funds/job ran out. Once I had the funds to complete my training I took my medical, I have high blood pressure and take medication. I wanted to make sure that it wasn't going to stop me from flying so I got my medical before I took another flight lesson. Right after that Sept 11 came. I decided to take a home study Private Course (King Schools). I watched the tapes and refreshed my brain. Got the sign off and took the written (Scored 95), once all that was out of the way I found a School. The day of my Checkride I had a total of 44 hours, 11 was solo. Basic minimums on all the requirements (5 hrs solo x-country, 3-hrs night, 3-hrs hood). One hour of the hood was actual instrument. My instructor took me up to scare me, then decided not to take me up anymore because I enjoyed it. Guess my Instrument is next.. :-)
Thanks again to everyone here who shared there experiences
and gave me many lessons that I learned from. Of course the learning
has just begun...
My check ride was scheduled for Monday at noon. I spent the weekend studying, flying, and stressing about it. I flew with Russ on Friday night to finish up the instrument and night requirements. I still needed an hour of hood time so I flew almost the entire flight by references to instruments only, including taking off with the hood by watching the directional gyro to stay on the runway and shooting an ILS localizer approach into Watsonville to give me a taste of what I could do with an instrument rating.
On Saturday morning, just 10 hours later, we reviewed the basics including slow flight, stalls, unusual attitudes, and emergency procedures. On Sunday night I went up by myself. Lori (the FAA designated examiner) had already told me to plan a flight to Red Bluff (KRBL) with weight and balance data and takeoff and roll distance over a 50-foot obstacle at whatever conditions existed at Red Bluff on Monday, so I had my flight plan ready. I also knew that she would have me divert at some point, so I had studied the chart to find all of the possible divert airports.
I flew the first part of my flight plan, and then surprised myself with an order to divert to Tracy (KTCY). I wanted to make it as much like the real check ride as possible, so I just picked the divert point at random. I plotted the new course to Tracy and practiced my short and soft field procedures there. They were getting better, but still hit and miss.
That night I checked the weather and it was looking grim. They were predicting a scattered layer at 4000 feet all afternoon, and that was too low to get over the East Bay hills. Monday morning was perfectly clear though, and the forecast had changed to clear skies all day. (Gene Says, "If a 4000-foot clouds keeps you from flying in the Bay Area you won't be able to fly much.")
I got to the airport at 10am after plugging the latest weather
numbers into my flight plan. Russ and I went over all of the
paperwork and I pre-flight 446SP as I prayed to the aviation
gods. I'll bet they love watching student pilots stress over
check rides. The time finally came and Lori arrived. She was
joking with all of the flight instructors, but was very businesslike
Her first words to me were, "I'll need to see your logbook, medical, application form, and driver's license." Nice to meet you too! Don't get me wrong, she was very polite and fair, just all business, which was understandable given the role she was playing. Once the paperwork was completed, we went right into the oral exam. From what I remember, she asked the following questions.
- What are the yoke positions for taxi in head/tail winds
and taking off in a crosswind?
- Describe spin recovery.
- What do you have to do to remain current with and without passengers?
- Describe the symptoms and causes of hypoxia.
- What would you do if your engine started running rough during the takeoff roll?
- What privileges do you have as a private pilot?
- Describe the Cessna 172 fuel system.
- What are the fuel reserve requirements during the day and night?
- If one fuel gauge is reading empty and the other is reading full, but you have visually verified that both tanks are full, is the airplane legal to fly?
- What is weather like along today's route?
- What is the difference between an AIRMET and a SIGMET?
- How do you tell the difference between taxiway and runway at night?
I nailed every question and she told me, "You are very well prepared for your oral." Little did I know at the time that it wasn't over! She told me to get the airplane ready and that she would meet me there in a few minutes. I was happy for another opportunity to pray to the aviation gods. I was glad that the oral portion had gone smoothly, but I knew that the hard part was yet to come. When she joined me, she told me that I was pilot in command for this flight, no question about it. She also told me that if I failed any portion of the test she would tell me then and that she wasn't allowed to give me any second chances so if she stayed quiet, things were going well. (Note the change in DE rules from earlier checkrides.) I think if I were a DE, I would wait until I got back on the ground to tell some poor sap that they had failed just in case they decided that life just wasn't worth living after the shame of failure. I guess she decided I have a look of sanity about me. (Gene Says: There is no shame in failing a checkride. I have never known of an unfair checkride in 35 years. I do know of several that kept pilots from unknowingly killing themselves.)
As I started going through the familiar routine of my pre-start checklist, I started to feel more at ease. I remembered that the reason I started taking lessons in the first place was that I love to fly, and besides being a check ride, this flight was also another opportunity to soar in the wild blue yonder. I felt the same excitement I always do when I start to taxi. I was supposed to treat her as a passenger, albeit one with the authority to tell the pilot what to do, so I just concentrated on the airplane. All of the scouting reports indicated that she always declined a passenger briefing, so I was surprised when she accepted my offer. Uh, here's your seat belt and there's the door. Any questions? She seemed ok with that Russ always had me contact ground control right after taxiing out of the parking area and I was about to do that when she asked, "Have we called ground yet?" I replied that I was just about to do that and made my call. She probably thought I had forgotten. What a way to start this flight! (Gene Says: At controlled airports there are movement and non-movement areas deliniated by a broken double yellow line. Communications are voluntary but recommended inside the non-movement area.)
After completing my run up she asked for a soft field takeoff. The tower told me to cross runway 31 right and takeoff on 31 left, so I taxied across the parallel runway with the yoke all the way back in the soft field takeoff configuration. My soft field takeoff was average, but I was happy that I didn't forget anything and that I managed to keep the airplane 6 feet off the runway until I accelerated to best angle of climb, which doesn't take very long in a 172SP. As my Grandpa used to say, "And we're off, in a cloud of hen turds!"
As I was climbing towards my cruise altitude, she started firing questions at me. This must be one of those famous distractions I heard about! She first asked me what kind of airspace we were in, to which I replied, "Class E under the San Francisco class B shelf and just outside of the San Jose class C." I wanted to add, "which means it's very busy here and I need to pay attention to my flying, so quit asking me questions!" but I refrained. G.W. Shoulld have.
She then asked for the VFR weather minimums for class E airspace and the requirements for entering the class B airspace. After the initial barrage of questions, I noticed that I had missed my first checkpoint and was approaching my second checkpoint. I called out the second checkpoint, pointed out that the needles on the two VOR's were centering, and noted the time. Russ had warned me against putting in too many checkpoints close together since there was already so much to keep track of (the first checkpoint was only 7 minutes into the flight), and he was right. She either didn't notice, or ignored it. (G.W. She noticed.)
As we approached Livermore (KLVK, class D), she asked what the vertical limits were for that class D airspace and what I would do if I lost my radios right now. The also asked where the registration and airworthiness certificates were for this airplane and as I pointed to the pockets down near my feet, I dropped my pencil. As Murphy would have it, when I bent down to pick it up, I leaned into the yoke causing the nose of the airplane to dip. I recovered my pencil and then recovered my level attitude and listened for her to tell me I failed, but she said nothing.
Then the divert order came, and lo and behold, it was to Tracy, where I had practiced yesterday! Of course, I was at a different point in my flight plan, so the course was different. I plotted a radial off of a nearby VOR so I could intercept it and fly right to the airport, but I failed to notice that that radial extended right over a restricted area west of the airport. I knew about that restricted area, but I didn't realize I was right over it until she asked me to show her where we were on the chart. Then she asked me what the vertical limits were for the restricted area. I had been looking at the chart the night before, so I happened to know off the top of my head that it was 4000 feet. I then glanced at my altimeter and noticed that I was descending through 4200 feet, so I quickly leveled off. I dodged a bullet on that one! Since I was high because of the restricted area, I began a rapid descent towards the Tracy traffic pattern altitude after clearing the restricted area. She said, "What you are doing is OK, *but* for the comfort of your passengers you might consider circling to lose altitude rather than dive-bombing the airport." Good advice. She asked for a soft-field landing, but when we were just a few hundred feet off the ground she ordered a go around.
Without landing at Tracy, she asked me to climb to 2500 feet where she handed me the hood. With the outside world blocked from view, she asked me to climb to 3500 at best rate of climb while holding a specific heading. After leveling off, she had me to several turns to specific headings while holding altitude. I think all my simulator time really paid off here, these were easy. Then she had me close my eyes and I expected her to put the airplane in an unusual attitude, but she just told me to keep flying the plane with my eyes closed, trying to maintain straight and level flight. I knew that my sensations could deceive me and I had trimmed for straight and level, so I just took my hand off the yoke and listened for engine RPM changes. After a minute or two, she told me to open my eyes and recover and I saw that I was in a 15-degree bank and had lost a few hundred feet of altitude. I think I would have been worse if I had actually tried to fly the plane.
The hood came off and she told me to "transition to slow flight after you are sure the area is clear." I made my clearing turns and slowed down to the point where the stall horn was blaring constantly with full flaps and zero vertical speed. She had me do several turns while maintaining altitude, and then had me do a stall. I recovered and got back into cruise flight, where she asked for 360-degree steep turns, one to the left and one to the right. The first one went ok, but as I leveled out the air got very bumpy since we were passing over some hills. She told me I could wait to clear the hills before doing the other turns since it was so bumpy and I tried to make a joke by saying "Is it bumpy?" She replied, "Or you could do it right here if you want." I shut up and waited for more stable air to do my other turn. After that she told me to return to Reid-Hillview via any route I wanted, at any altitude. We hadn't even done a landing yet! Did that mean I had failed? She then pulled my power and told me I had lost my engine, so I pulled out my checklist and went through the engine loss procedure. At 3000 feet my engine miraculously recovered and again she told me to head back to KRHV.
It was a long twenty minutes as we flew back to my home airport. I had to keep reminding myself that no news is good news. Once we were back in the pattern, she asked for a soft field landing. At one point on final she said, "Let's keep it above the VASI please" because I was below glide slope. Required by FAR, G.W. The landing was ok, but I hope it was simulated dry grass and not simulated mud because it was not a greaser. The tower handed me off to ground as she told me that we needed to takeoff again. I taxied back and she asked for a short field takeoff. This one I did well, holding the airspeed right on best angle of climb until we cleared the imaginary obstacle where I transitioned to best rate of climb. Next she asked for a short field landing. Uneven heating of the ground from the parking lots and the mall made for a bumpy final so it was difficult to hold a constant airspeed, but I managed to get the airplane down, using about a third of the 3000-foot runway before coming to a stop.
She told me to terminate, but there was a traffic jam on the taxiways, so we had to hold our position for several minutes before taxiing back to parking. I pulled power, mixture to lean to kill the engine, shut off the master switch and awaited the verdict. She said, "When did we stop using checklists?" My heart sank. I searched my memory trying to figure out where I had failed and what I had missed. I meekly replied that I didn't think I had. Then she pointed out that I hadn't yet removed the key from the ignition. She said, "Other than that, your checkride was excellent. Congratulations!" Whew!
I was now a real pilot, after 48.2 total hours in almost three
months of training. Of those hours, 37.8 were dual, 10.4 were
solo, 4 were night, and 11.3 were cross-country. I had logged
a total of 149 landings. Check ride successfully completed, I
am now officially licensed to learn.
I took my private checkride toaday and passed. I'm posting this because I know that I had a million questions before I took mine.
I've been extremely nervous about the checkride the past several days. I went up with a couple instructors over the week to make sure that I was ready. To be honest I really wasn't sure. My instructors are very strict on everything (which is good for me) and I've been getting airsick every time while doing steep turns. I took my written two days ago and passed with a 95%. I did home study ground school supplemented with my instructor for a few hours. I found that the public library has the King ground school video tapes so I checked them out. Even if you took a regular ground school class I still suggest you check with your public library, it saves you about $350. I also spent several hours on the ground yesterday while a few instructors quizzed me.
The examiner gave me weight and balance data and cross country requirements a week earlier so I had plenty of time to prepare. Generally he quizzed me on one aspect of each area of flight. I didn't know the answer to what is the minimum requirement for VFR flight, but I was able to look it up in the FAR's which was ok with him. He didn't really look at my cross country log, though he did quiz me on all the various airspaces I would be in. I suggest that you make your first cross country check point within 6-10 mi. of your departure point. This will make it very easy to be there within the 5 minute ETA time frame. He pretty much had me do something in each area of the PTS, including all types of takeoffs and landings. He did ask me to do a couple things that I didn't totally understand, he was very good about explaining them to me when I asked. The only distraction was during a constant airspeed climb he asked what the outside temp was. Generally speaking my check ride went great, I never got the feeling that he was out to get me on something. I did a couple of procedures lousy and asked if he would like me to do them again. He said they were fine.
So to wrap up this long post here are a couple suggestions.
- Spend the days before the checkride doing mock checkrides with an instructor, also spend time on the ground with instructors quizzing you.
- Get the weight & balance and the cross country info before the checkride and have your instructor look it over.
- Check your local library for the King school videos.
- While on the checkride ask questions anytime your aren't totally sure what the examiner wants to see. For example, between stalls I'd ask if he would like to see more clearing turns.
- If you feel like you really messed something up, offer to do it over.
- Most important thing is TAKE YOUR TIME.. Don't rush anything. Between each thing that is asked of your wait before you act. Stabilize the plane, then think out the entire procedure, when you are good and ready, go for it! He didn't mind waiting for me between each procedure.
So I've been reading r.a.s ferociously for close to a year, hungrily soaking up every last byte of information that I could. I have to go on record and state that not only is this newsgroup really fun and informative to read, but that just about every question and concern that I encountered during my training has been answered and echoed by posters before me.
I am now switching modes from 'lurker' to 'active poster' (hopefully). Anyway, on with the saga...Learning to fly has been one of those things that I've always wanted to do, and as the cliché goes, have never had the means (be it time, money, or both) to actually undertake.
This year, pretty much on a whim, I visited Signature Flight Support in Albany NY. I was driving down I-87 and a Citation on short final rocketed above my car. I took the exit for the airport. There, I talked to Mike Townsend, the owner of Aerial Dimensions (a top notch rental/instruction outfit).
The training flew by (pardon the pun ;-). We went up as often as his schedule, my unpredictable work schedule, and the weather would allow. I called almost everyday to try and squeeze something in. I'd show up early in the day, he'd stay back late. We did some 'real IFR' on a cloudy day. There was a real mutual effort to make it work.
It took me about 3 months (and about 6500$) for Mike to sign me off for the checkride. It was scheduled for 10am on a Monday. I was at the FBO at 9am, going over my cross country planning, and doing some last minute cramming on the weak spots in my written. The DE (Arnie) showed up about 20 minutes later, introduced himself, and told me to take my time and meet him upstairs.
The exam started out well enough, going over the paperwork (oops, my height has to be in inches ONLY), logbooks, and other formalities. Arnie asked some questions about AD's, 100 hour inspections, and annuals. About 5 minutes later,
I realized that the oral exam had started and I hadn't even realized it! Soon, Arnie was systematically going over all the areas in my written that I had missed (good thing I had brushed up on those). He then sat back, pulled out a rather worn binder, and began asking random questions rapid-fire style. I did fairly well, and looked up the questions that I didn't know the answer to off the top of my head.
About 2.5hours(!) later, Arnie said 'lets go flying, you seem to know your stuff'. We went out and pre-flight. He showed me a couple of interesting things that I didn't know, such as watching for rapid evaporation of discarded fuel, and the fact that you can blow into the pitot tube to test it/ASI (but not too hard else the ASI needle gets bent LOL). (Gene adds: You can blow at the pitot but no air moves into the pitot...only pressure is applied to the air in the system.)
We got clearance (Albany Class C), and took off (he didn't like me dropping my hand off the throttle earlier than I should've). He told me to begin my planned cross country route (to Binghamton). We got vectored around by ATC a fair bit before getting on course, so we missed our first checkpoint, but I navigated ourselves to our second checkpoint. Arnie asked if I was sure about where we were. Nervously, I tuned to two VORs and found the intersecting radials. Sure enough, we were exactly where I thought we were. I told Arnie as much, and he chuckled and said, "Just confess that you know you're totally lost"
At that point, I pretty much panicked and all I could muster
was a croaky, "What?".
He replied, "I said, I guess we know you're not going to get lost".
Wheeeeew. Play it cool. 'Oh, yeah, thanks, heh'.
We did some steep turns, stalls, and talked about spin recovery. All went well. Next was slow flight; he had me take it down to 60-knots, which I did. He asked, "Why aren't you using trim?"
Well, I had never really used trim a whole lot, except to level myself out.. "I don't really use trim that much for slow flight". He really did _not_ like that answer, and made it known. He then asked me to take it down to MCA. Flaps down. Throttle back. Carb heat on, I can do this. "I want that stall horn blaring constantly", he said. Ok, that's not a problem, almost there. Power back in. There's that stall horn. Pitch it down a little, back up, there it is again. He complained, "If you used the trim, you'd be able to keep it blaring, rather than have it go on and off intermittently like that!"
Crap, That's it. I've busted this, I thought. Negative thoughts clouded my mind, I felt defeated, and suddenly very aware of how tired I was. I should've gotten a better nights sleep. Perhaps had another cup of coffee. Arnie made a few more comments about proper use of trim, and told me to resume cruising speed without losing altitude. I did so, and it was like the altimeter needle was painted on the gauge. "Ok good job. Now let's do some hood work. Get your foggles out", he said, seemingly pleased.
Maybe I was still in the running! Hood work had never been a problem for me. That would be the last positive thought for the flight. It would be a slippery downhill slope from here. I twisted back to get them (after making a visible point of TRIMMING the aircraft), I reached into my flight bag.. The foggles. <'Oh Crap. Kill me now'>The foggles! They were in a cupboard, in the FBO, on the ground, approximately 30 miles east. Right where Mike had told me to grab them from before the flight. I confessed. Arnie was visibly agitated at the news. I could sense the disappointment and irritation in his voice. He launched into what was seemed like an epic monologue regarding cockpit organization and preflight planning, and my apparent complete disregard for both of those extremely important tasks. 'This is my life, and it's ending one minute at a time'>
As I mentioned, it was all downhill from there. We did some turns about a point, which went fine except for the neglected clearing turns prior to the maneuver. "Good turns about a point, but what happened to the clearing turns, didn't Mike tell you about those? They're in the PTS!", Arnie commented. <'Put a gun to my head and paint the walls with my brain'>
It was over. 15 minutes later, after a passable soft field
at Albany, we were on the ground. We both knew fairly definitively
that I had failed. I tied 2059E down and met Arnie inside for
my debriefing. Even though I knew I hadn't passed, seeing him
write on the dreaded pink slip added to my feeling of disappointment.
FLIGHT BY REFERENCE TO INSTRUMENTS
USE OF TRIM
"Those are the areas you need to work on, and once you've done that, we'll go up again and if you show me that you've mastered these areas we'll do just fine" Arnie was amazingly compassionate, almost like a different person on the ground (or maybe he seemed different when I was stressed). Back on the ground, I realized (after he patiently explained) that this wasn't the end of the world. He said that I needed a 'couple of more hours if that' going over these things and he'd be happy to make an appointment right now for Friday (it was Monday afternoon at this point). I made the appointment, shook his hand, and drove to work with a strange mix of disappointment and hope.
If there's one thing I've learned from this botched checkride, it is the huge different that your outlook and mental outlook can have on your performance. I think it holds true for a lot of activities, but more so for the low time pilot who is just learning to 'stay ahead' of the airplane. I talked to Mike and he said, "I've never had someone fail twice, and you're not going to be the first" We scheduled some time together and went over everything. I also inked in some solo time to practice the areas that I needed to.
Come Friday, I was feeling a lot more confident than the original checkride. We went up, and I nailed pretty much everything, if I may say so myself. As we came in to land back at Albany, Arnie said "Land in the first half of the runway, and I'll give you the thumbs up" I performed the best landing I've ever done, right on the numbers. As we turned onto the first taxiway, I started going through the post-landing checklist. Arnie nudged me, and I looked over. Thumbs up.
Into the great wide open,
--We were on downwind, abeam the numbers, she pulls power to idle. No surprise there. Next she tells me (I forget exact wording) to try to restart the engine. I told her that close to the runway, in a pattern that busy, I'd keep my head outside, land on the runway, and solve the problem there.
That's exactly what I did, and she didn't complain.
--At what speed does this airplane stall? (Any speed)
--The Question: "Well? What do you want to do?" (Bad weather)
The Answer: "Let's try again tomorrow." It was the hardest thing I've had to do in a long time. I had arranged to have my check ride on my birthday. When the day came, the weather was a bit iffy. The only thing wrong were the conditions.
-- My DE asked me what the difference between an annual and a 100-hour is. Luckily I knew that it was that same inspection, but an IA signs off the annual. Even that was easy, and he said not many people get that one.
-- Don't know about "best answer". But my DE asked
me to tell him how the Altimeter worked. I told him you set the
field elevation, and you get the "sea level pressure"
in the Kollsman window (as opposed to "absolute pressure").
Then as the plane goes up, the pressure drops. This pressure
drop is reflected in the elevation change, as the setting in
the Kolsman window stays the same.
The DE said a lot of people did not really understand this.
--Bob just kept asking questions (including my plans) until
I gave my next steps, and he always agreed with my plan. Something
odd occurred each time though....no matter how much information
I gathered, Bob always asked ONE more question for which I did
not have the answer. Always.
So it became a game without our ever discussing it or either of use ever mentioning it in any way. I would seek more and more information before each call. HM
--Part of the airworthiness certification requires that the airplane cannot stall of its own accord in the landing configuration. The only thing that would make is stall in this configuration is if you pull on the yoke
--It was, specifically what kinds of information are in each of the different kinds of NOTAMs?
--My toughest question was about the little numbers outside the VOR box on the charts... As we do not have voice VOR's or even FSS out here I had to look that one up...(AIM or sectionals g.w.)
--How much flight time is required for a flight review?"
--Part 43 regs (what can a pilot do to an airplane maintenance-wise), and Part 91 regs regarding required equipment, maintenance and inspection intervals (ELT batteries? huh?), etc.
--What's the number enclosed inside a box along victor airways mean?
-- My toughest questions were on the cross-country flight plan. He drew a line between point A and B and had me explain who I would have to talk to and why, whether I could go through the space (SUAs), altitudes I would select and why, how much fuel I would burn, etc. Pretty good learning experience.
-- I was also given crosswind landing exercises where I had to calculate whether or not I would be able to land at a destination.
--What is an impulse starting feature? (See magneto)
--He has instructed me to be able to DRAW and EXPLAIN the following systems (and any effect on instruments or operational diagnosis) from memory :Pitot/Static; Electrical; Vacuum; Fuel systems
I've been mostly lurking here and benefiting from the posts you all have made. Here's my chance to contribute a little:
Today I passed my checkride. Some time ago, the question was asked about the cost to get a private pilot certificate. In my case, I'm a fifty five-year. I started in January. I've got a total of 56 hours of time. I spent $5200 total. This includes books, ground school, flight instruction, check ride, cheap headphones, and all other supplies and crap.
As far as the checkride is concerned, the biggest thing I can offer is that when you do something wrong, tell the examiner what should have happened. For example, I didn't fly the best circle you ever saw for the ground reference maneuver. (I also don't spell too well, either) But I described how you need to vary your bank angle with the wind. Later, at the end of the flight, while debriefing, the examiner said that knowing why you are doing certain things was worth more than simply getting it right without knowing. My instructor suggested this, and it seems she was right.
Best luck, and thanks to all for your contributions here,
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