You are likely to encounter a checkride of sorts early in your path to becoming an airline pilot, and take many of them along the way. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- 1 – Preparation is the Key to Success
- 2 – Relax – The Hard Part is Already Over
- 3 – Have All Your “Stuff” Prepared and Ready
- 4 – Know Your Material and Your Limits
- 5 – Balance Your Attention
- 6 – Acknowledge Your Mistakes
- 7 – Fly Safely and with Assurance
Have your homework done early. Know what the standards are for all the maneuvers that you will be expected to fly, and practice adhering to them. You will have an idea beforehand of what you can expect on your flight. During training, learn how to execute what you need to do. During practice, hold yourself to the standard you would expect to see if you were the Examiner.
Go to bed at the normal time the night before your checkride so that you wake up refreshed. Follow your normal morning routine and eat what you normally eat for breakfast. It is all right to be a little apprehensive, but remind yourself that you are well prepared. Mental review will put you into a cool and confident state of mind that will be obvious to your examiner.
Running around at the last minute looking for your log book or test results is not conducive to maintaining that calm and confident state of mind that I mentioned. Make sure that you have absolutely everything that you will be asked for when you get to the training center. Having materials up to date, correctly filled out, and in proper order will start your checkride off on the right foot.
Examiners don’t expect you to know everything. They are trying to assess the state of your aeronautical knowledge. There is no excuse for not knowing the basics though; you should know the fundamentals of flight completely. Short answers to long questions only show a lack of knowledge; elaborate when responding but don’t try to bluff anyone. The Examiner will not only be looking for the right answer, but will also interested in seeing if you understand the concept being discussed.
Never fixate on any one thing for very long during the checkride. Keep your attention moving around you in a calm and controlled manner so that you don’t miss anything. You need to maintain airspeed and altitude minimums according to the standards that you have been given. You also need to keep the aircraft within its acceptable limitations. Use your trim when able to take the workload off of you. This will help you concentrate more on flying the instruments and allow you to better demonstrate your control of the aircraft. When asked to demonstrate any maneuver, be sure to begin at your assigned altitude, heading and airspeed (according to the standards that you have been given).
Nobody flies a perfect flight every time. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it and move on. Maintain positive control of the aircraft, and try not to overcorrect for any deviation. Most importantly though, remember this: whatever has happened in the recent past is no where near as important as what happens in the next thirty seconds. Never fixate or worry about anything that has already happened, concentrate on what you have to do next.
Remember throughout your ride that flying the aircraft comes before anything else. Make smooth adjustments to thrust, pitch and bank. If you don’t fixate on the fact that you’re being evaluated, you’ll be more relaxed and fly more smoothly. Remember that you’ve flown these maneuvers many times in the recent past and that this is no different. To pass your checkride, you’ll need to remain calm and focused.
By following the tips above, you will make a positive impression on your Examiner. You’ve succeeded at the flight training involved in gaining the proficiency necessary to be recommended for a checkride. That was the most difficult part. The checkride itself will only be another training event.