Anatomy of a Checkride

Paul Hamilton is one of the first persons to become a DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner) for sport pilots. As a full-time author and sport pilot expert, he writes books and produces DVD's for Aviation Supplies and Academics (ASA). Now Paul has graciously agreed to answer your questions here. Thanks Paul! For more information about Paul, please visit www.Paul-Hamilton.com and www.Sport-Pilot-Training.com.

Moderators: drseti, Paul Hamilton

spooky981
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 9:38 pm

Anatomy of a Checkride

Postby spooky981 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:38 am

I'm at 26 hours dual instruction and about 10 solo PIC. I've passed my knowledge test, solo XC, and my instructor once complimented me by saying that I "have experienced more things in my training than most students ever do". Specifically he was referring to sudden accidental IFR conditions, having a legitimate in-flight emergency and emergency landing while solo (false alarm), working within the Washington DC SFRA/FRZ rules, and learning in three different airplanes at two different airports.

I'm feeling quite ready. Except for one thing: I have very little idea what to expect during my check ride and it's causing a fair amount of anxiety. I know the material and maneuvers I'll be tested on, but I was hoping you all could clear some things up:

Obviously every DPE is different so these will be based solely on your experiences.

1) How long is the check ride?
2) What is the breakdown of the check ride? Preflight questioning - preflight - cross country - diversion - flight maneuvers - return home?
3) How deep into the cross country flight do you typically get before diverting?
4) What surprises will be thrown at me?
5) Will I be asked to preform every single flight and takeoff/landing maneuver, or do they just pick a few?
6) Where do most people blow the check ride?

That'll do for now. I'm certain your responses will incur more questions though!

ArionAv8or
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:42 am

Re: Anatomy of a Checkride

Postby ArionAv8or » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:16 pm

spooky981 wrote:Obviously every DPE is different so these will be based solely on your experiences.

1) How long is the check ride?
2) What is the breakdown of the check ride?
3) How deep into the cross country flight do you typically get before diverting?
4) What surprises will be thrown at me?
5) Will I be asked to preform every single flight and takeoff/landing maneuver, or do they just pick a few?
6) Where do most people blow the check ride?

That'll do for now. I'm certain your responses will incur more questions though!


1) How long is the check ride? 1.6 hours
2) What is the breakdown of the check ride? Preflight questioning - preflight - cross country - diversion - flight maneuvers - return home? 45 minutes for oral and written pre-checkride test, typical preflight WITH checklist, 15 minutes or so for flight planning and another 10 for Wx-Brief, standard takeoff to start the cross country with hitting only the second checkpoint before diversion. Simple diversion to show ability to find alternate airport, didn't actually fly all the way there. ALL flight maneuvers with 4 stalls, (power off, power on and accellerated stalls to the left and right). Once all maneuvers were completed headed home for a touch a go followed by a full stop landing. Short field and soft field TO and landings rounded out the day with securing the aircraft as the last skill before the handshake.
3) How deep into the cross country flight do you typically get before diverting? 2 checkpoints
4) What surprises will be thrown at me? Be prepared for the diversion and engine out.
5) Will I be asked to preform every single flight and takeoff/landing maneuver, or do they just pick a few? I did them all.
6) Where do most people blow the check ride? I can't speak from experience but from what I have heard watch for your +/- 100' tolerances and if you are at a controlled field make sure you contact ground when required and likewise with tower. I know a PPL student that failed his checkride because he forgot to call ground before taxi to runway.

I did my checkride with 23 total hours including 1 hour under the hood, I am sure you will do just fine.

User avatar
RyanShort1
Posts: 154
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:40 am
Location: Burnet / Austin, TX
Contact:

Postby RyanShort1 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:41 pm

Look at the PTS standards and ask yourself how much you know about each topic mentioned...

Ryan
Independent Flight Instructor at http://www.TexasTailwheel.com. Come fly tailwheel LSA's.

spooky981
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 9:38 pm

Postby spooky981 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:18 am

Interesting. I'm at an uncontrolled airport and never called for taxi, nor heard anyone else announce a taxi. I've also never heard of left or right accelerated stalls.

When I get diverted, are they basically just looking for me to make educated guesses based on pilotage to navigate to the alternate airport?

ArionAv8or
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:42 am

Postby ArionAv8or » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:51 am

spooky981 wrote:Interesting. I'm at an uncontrolled airport and never called for taxi, nor heard anyone else announce a taxi. I've also never heard of left or right accelerated stalls.

When I get diverted, are they basically just looking for me to make educated guesses based on pilotage to navigate to the alternate airport?


If you notice I said "If you are at a controlled field". An uncontrolled field does require clearance for taxi however a lot of pilots will still announce taxi intentions for safety sake especially at busier fields. I have included a link to an article on accelerated stalls and my DPE required me to make a 15 degree left turn through an accelerated stall and then repeat to the right.

http://www.planeandpilotmag.com/pilot-t ... stall.html

As for the diversion question I would say an educated guess might get you lost. You need to know ground references and landmarks in each direction so when you divert you will have a better bearing than a guess to head in the right direction. In my area all I needed to know was roads and lakes, they will take you anywhere you need to go in Central Florida.

bryancobb
Posts: 371
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:35 pm
Location: Cartersville Georgia

Diverting

Postby bryancobb » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:23 pm

The name of the game, in diverting, is the IDEA of having a pretty good general idea of where you are at any given moment.

Then being familiar enough with NEARBY airports and where they are in relation to where you are.

No pilot, regardless of experience or rating, could magically divert to another airport in an unfamiliar area, where he does not have a general knowledge of surrounding airfields, WITHOUT HELP.

No superhuman skills expected here. Your checkride will more than likely be in an area that you are familiar with.

Just keep a sense of "situational awareness" (FAA Jargon) and kind of know where you are. Then when the examiner says "OK, there's 1 Each ACME bad thunderstorm straight ahead, we're gonna have to go to XYZ instead," just demonstrate that you know generally where you are and where you need to turn to.

I was a very inexperienced aviator with only 42 hours in my logbook when I took my Private Checkride, in 1985. The examiner pointed to the vacuum pump on the engine and asked me "what's that?" I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW! About 15 minutes into the first leg of my cross-country, out of Peter O'Knight, in Tampa, FL, headed northest, toward Zephyrhills, Mr. James Leslie says "OK Mr. Cobb, I've seen enough. Let's go over to West Pascoe." I immediately entered a left turn without even thinking because I had a very good FEEL for where we were, and we flew Radio Controlled planes out near West Pascoe. I rolled wings level at a heading that I FELT would get me there. He says "Let me know when you have the field in sight." I said oh it's right there (pointing ahead and to the left about 10 or 15 degrees) about 10 miles ahead, just to the right of that tower." He said "good job, you know where you are...don't you?"

After we landed back at TPF, he got his little blue typewriter out of his trunk of his little Datsun. I had been told by my instructor, "If he don't go get his typewriter, you failed."
Bryan Cobb
Sport Pilot CFI
Commercial/Instrument Airplane
Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter
Cartersville, Ga
bryandcobb@att.net

bryancobb
Posts: 371
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:35 pm
Location: Cartersville Georgia

Away From Home

Postby bryancobb » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:45 pm

If you MUST travel to an unfamiliar area for your checkride, you are at a disadvantage for the diversion exercise.

If the examiner asks you to divert, in this situation, to an airport you have never even heard of...

How can you POSSIBLY do this without help?

How about this option?

"Tampa Approach, I am a student pilot on a practical test, I am 15 minutes out of Tango Papa Foxtrot, on a 045 heading, at 85 KTS. Could you please assist me in diverting and give me an approximate heading and distance to Papa Alfa Sierra?

How could an examiner expect any more from you in unfamiliar territory?

Unfolding a sectional in a cockpit and hunting a field that you have no idea its' location, is bordering on unsafe and flunk, if you ask me.

I don't THINK an examiner is prohibited from allowing you to use a GPS to help you in the diversion task, although using the "Help From ATC" method would demonstrate to the examiner that you have a much better grasp of the system and the resources available to you. Also it would show them that you are not nervous at using those resources.
Bryan Cobb

Sport Pilot CFI

Commercial/Instrument Airplane

Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter

Cartersville, Ga

bryandcobb@att.net

ArionAv8or
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:42 am

Re: Away From Home

Postby ArionAv8or » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:14 pm

bryancobb wrote:I don't THINK an examiner is prohibited from allowing you to use a GPS to help you in the diversion task, although using the "Help From ATC" method would demonstrate to the examiner that you have a much better grasp of the system and the resources available to you. Also it would show them that you are not nervous at using those resources.


When I did my diversion I used the roads and lakes, which I was familiar with, to fly the direction needed for my alternate. After I had the field in sight and demonstrated I knew how to get there my DPE said, you will love this, "Why didn't you just use your GPS?" DOH!!!

N918KT
Posts: 451
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:49 pm

Postby N918KT » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:53 pm

I have a question about surprises.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpnANWRpfBw

In this video, Paul Hamilton says there's a coyote on the runway when a student is making a landing. What if the DPE was lying about a coyote on the runway, like the DPE claims he saw something just to trick you and you didn't see it.

Like if you say, "no I really didn't see a coyote" (because in reality there really wasn't a coyote on the runway) and went ahead with the landing would you fail, or at least lose points on the checkride?

bryancobb
Posts: 371
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:35 pm
Location: Cartersville Georgia

Think Common Sense

Postby bryancobb » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:15 pm

You know the DPE is gonna come up with stuff that are "LIES" to lead you into a task they need to evaluate.

This is not the time for the "I don't believe you" game.

I actualy had a CFI (Retired Airline Captain) reach down and shut off the fuel valve on a Cessna 152 while we were climbing out in VFR on an instrument flight.

The engine promptly quit. We were at about 900' AGL or so.

Very DUMMMMB! I could have punched his lights out.

I threw off the hood and yelled what the %$#&%&^%&!
I did a gentle 180 and went back to the runway, thinking we had a REAL engine failure. When I found out I was mad. I left him with HIS airplane on the end of the runway and walked to my truck and went home.
Bryan Cobb

Sport Pilot CFI

Commercial/Instrument Airplane

Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter

Cartersville, Ga

bryandcobb@att.net

Jim Stewart
Posts: 480
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 6:49 pm

Postby Jim Stewart » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:19 pm

You know the DPE is gonna come up with stuff that are "LIES" to lead you into a task they need to evaluate.


We also know that they are mandated to try to distract us. That was my first thought. So what to do? Ask if the coyote is "simulated" or if the examiner is saying that to distract me?

N918KT
Posts: 451
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:49 pm

Postby N918KT » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:27 pm

I see what you guys mean.

ArionAv8or
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:42 am

Postby ArionAv8or » Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:51 am

You are a better man than me Bryan. Shut my fuel off at 3K' I will be a little angry but will do what I need to do to handle the situation. Shut my fuel off at 900' I will put the plane on the ground and beat your a$$. I would have spent the night in jail for assault and battery but he would have learned a good lesson.

3Dreaming
Posts: 2304
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:13 pm
Location: noble, IL USA

Postby 3Dreaming » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:54 am

The examiner I use says to find the alternate airport by any means available. He would like to see you turn towards the airport, and then figure out how to get there. Tom

bryancobb
Posts: 371
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:35 pm
Location: Cartersville Georgia

It was HIS airplane.

Postby bryancobb » Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:11 pm

ArionAv8or wrote:You are a better man than me Bryan. Shut my fuel off at 3K' I will be a little angry but will do what I need to do to handle the situation. Shut my fuel off at 900' I will put the plane on the ground and beat your a$$. I would have spent the night in jail for assault and battery but he would have learned a good lesson.


It was Mr. John's own airplane and I guess he practiced this lots of time and was was confident HIS plane was not at risk.

My pucker factor was through the roof though.
Bryan Cobb

Sport Pilot CFI

Commercial/Instrument Airplane

Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter

Cartersville, Ga

bryandcobb@att.net


Return to “Ask The Examiner”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest