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7 day IFR Rating
Checkide Series: About Checkrides | Are You Really Ready For the Checkride?
| Checkide Mindset | Single-Pilot Resource Management
When the topic of "the checkride" comes up with my students, it is usually met with some fear. This is one of those topics that a little education will resolve most of the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). People are trained in many different ways, but the result must always be the same. The checkride is a practical test to measure the skills developed throughout training. It is based on practical test standards published.
The checkride is administered by an FAA Inspector, or a Designated (by the FAA) Pilot Examiner (for a fee). A DPE is usually long time flight instructor who loves aviation and is not in it for the money. They generally love learning and like to see applicants in the same mindset. They are often FAA Aviation Safety Counselors as well because they care about and encourage aviation safety. Sometimes they are retired FAA inspectors, airline captains, or other highly qualified aviation professionals.
The Designated Pilot Examiner system works because everyone does their job. The student comes to the table capable, willing, and ready to learn. The Flight Instructor teaches the student the discipline and decision-making skills, as well as the practical skills to meet the Practical Test Standards. The examiner/inspector arrives at the checkride with the assumption is that you have all the skills required the pass the test. You’re given a chance to prove the examiner wrong and if you do so, you fail the checkride. No one wants that to happen... certainly you don't, the examiner doesn't (think of the extra paperwork he must do), and your instructor’s recommendation to take the checkride is a reflection on him. So here's a moment in your life where everyone wants you to succeed.
In order to sit for the checkride you must have:
As you know the checkride consists of two parts, the oral knowledge exam and the practical flying exam with associated briefings. For the oral knowledge exam, you'll be expected to answer questions based upon these levels of learning:
How does the examiner measure success when satisfactory performance is subjective? The short answer: you will be held to the standards published in the PTS (see Checkride Resource Section below). The long answer: in general, unless you do something unsafe, you’ll pass. In addition, the examiner is looking to be sure there isn’t a pattern of failure. He is ensuring there is a lack of “serious holes” in your knowledge… i.e. what is lift? The results for your oral exam should be the same pass/fail at 70% as the written/knowledge exam. Keep in mind that one word answers are always wrong… does the applicant really understand what’s going on? Does the applicant struggle with every question? Momentary deviations from the standards don’t cause failed checkrides… gross unsafe conduct, attitudes do. You won’t typically know what your DPE thinks about your performance until the end.
Overall Rules of the Checkride
the training to get to the checkride should
have been the hardest part. The
checkride should be a breeze that you easily accomplish.
Get the most out of your instructor so that
the checkride is the easiest part of the rating. If
you have any tips from your checkride
experiences, I'd love to hear from you. Please
email me with your ideas and experiences.
of December 16, 2004, the
Designated Pilot Examiner Handbook (D Version) states: