Passed My Check ride

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 and

Moderators: drseti, Paul Hamilton

Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:49 am
Location: Miami

Passed My Check ride

Postby bill_dom » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:33 pm

Last Sunday was my check ride. I was the one having problems with short field landings and posted about it. A few weeks back, I finally got proficient with the short field landing and proceed with check ride practice with my instructor, he found that I was ready and booked my check ride. During my check ride, all my on air maneuvers came out equal or better than during practices, my DPE was impressed with my steep turns and made good comment about them. Unfortunately, I could not impress him with my landings, they where not as good as in my latest practices. First landing was the regular landing, the plane ballooned a bit but I was able to salvage it and bring it down for a greaser. Second was short field and I did ok, but not like my latest practices. The third was the soft field, to be performed at the home airport, I didn't had much problem with the soft field during my training so after passing the short field, I was kind of relieved, and I might have let the guard down.

The soft field landing was the one that came worst. The plane made 3 or 4 nose up semi-gentle bouncing with a bit of side load but fortunately, there where not tendency to roll, I was able to keep the nose wheel up all the way until the main wheels settled and ground speed came down to minimum. I'm sure, in an actual soft field, the plane would have survived in one piece, but the landing wasn't exactly pretty. I never had soft field landing like that during my training, I even made a real soft fields in turf runway and it came out really well. I taxied back to the ramp wondering if I passed the test or not.

After shutting down the engine, the examiner ask me some questions about why the soft field landing came out like that. After I answered and recognized my mistakes, he agreed and expanded my answers, after that he told me that I did ok with the landing and he was just giving me advise for continuing improvements.

I have heard from other pilots that it is common to do little worst during check ride than in practices, mostly due to nervousness. In my case, I don't think I was nervous, I think I wasn't as careful as I should have.

The learning here is this, the test is not over until you shut down the engine back at the ramp, then you can feel relieved. Keep trying your best until then.

User avatar
Posts: 6348
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:42 pm
Location: Lock Haven PA

Re: Passed My Check ride

Postby drseti » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:59 pm

bill_dom wrote:Last Sunday was my check ride.

Congratulations, Bill, on accomplishing that major milestone, and welcome to the ranks of licensed pilots!

he told me that I did ok with the landing and he was just giving me advise for continuing improvements.

The really good DPEs are, first and foremost, teachers. Sounds like you got a good one.

I have heard from other pilots that it is common to do little worst during check ride than in practices,

Very common indeed. Same is true on knowledge tests. That's why I set the bar twice as high as the FAA does. If my students can consistently score above 90% on the practice written tests, I know they're going to do better than 80 on the actual written. If they can hold altitude +- 100 feet, airspeed +-5 knots in practice, I know they'll easily manage the PTS requirement of altitude +-200 feet, airspeed +-10 knots on the checkride. Sounds as though your performance in practice greatly exceeded PTS standards, so your checkride went fine even with performance below your norm.

Now, go out and fly a bunch. Stay safe, keep learning, and have fun!
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch

User avatar
Posts: 443
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:35 pm
Location: Cartersville Georgia


Postby bryancobb » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:04 pm

Congratulations Bill.

This re-emphasizes what I have been yelling for months.

Checkrides are EASY to pass. There is no reason for worrying.
Just go fly like you are taking one of your buddies for a ride...who just happens to know a little about flying himself.

My probably didn't meet minimum PTS standards on everything, especially your soft-field exercise, but you still passed.
Bryan Cobb
Sport Pilot CFI
Commercial/Instrument Airplane
Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter
Manufacturing Engineer II, Meggitt Airframe Systems, Fuel Systems & Composites Group
Cartersville, Ga

User avatar
Paul Hamilton
Posts: 359
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 2:42 pm
Location: Reno/Tahoe Nevada

Postby Paul Hamilton » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:51 am

As I have said here before, Any student should be able to fly to the PTS standards (in calm air) before they go for their checkride.

If you can not fly to the standards, you are not ready yet.
Paul is a Sport Pilot CFI/DPE and the expert for ASA who writes the books and produces the DVD's for all pilots flying light sport aircraft.
See and to Paul's websites

Return to “Ask The Examiner”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 1 guest