FAA Checkride

I have my FAA practical private pilot check ride next week and i was looking for any tips to passing it on the first try.

Did most people here pass it on the first try?

Well, just remember to take each manuever step by step. For instance, many people mess up the stalls by retracting all of the flaps all at once, or before adding power. Expect an engine failure, get to best glide FIRST and maintain it the whole time. Expect a go around also. Dont forget to retract the flaps, but once again, retract them incrementally. Dont accidentally tune the VOR to a “from” indication when trying to fly to it. Many examiners might expect the airplane to be preflighted and ready to go, even before the oral. So get there early and make sure the airplane’s good to go (fuel and oil and good, windows clean, for make sure all the documents are in the plane, people often overlook them [A.R.O.W.]) When taxiing out, stay on the centerline and for God’s sake dont ride the brakes! Use the checklist, thats what it’s there for, and we all miss things sometimes. Know your airspeeds. Dont worry about making a perfectly smooth landing. Worry about not doinking it on the nosewheel! (assuming it has one)
Just do your best and dont let the nerves take over. Ive had students who were exceptional but failed after they forgot how to fly since they were so nerverous.
Good luck, let us know how it goes.
oh yea, make sure you have all your endorsements and paperwork done. Have someone look over your 8710.

You’re gonna do just fine. Everyone I know passed on the first attempt for the private. You just gotta fly safe and know a few things. You’re more than ready. You’re instructor has prepared you more than enough. I think the biggest thing the examiner will look for is situational awareness. Keep your eyes outside and know where you are at all times. Stay ahead of the game and you’ll do fine. They’re not looking for perfection. It is a license to learn.

thanks so far for this support, i just cam back today from my stage 3 check without issue at all. I nailed all of the maneuvers without any problems and i was really strong on the oral despite getting a 75% on the written on my first try.

Excellent to hear that it went well.

What I am about to post is my personal experience with the other side of the coin. It’s long, but it may be worthwhile to some. I failed my checkride the first time around. I’m writing this for anyone who is preparing for their checkride or who is in my situation, because, at the time, I wished someone had been able to tell this to me.

I’m 19, and I got my PPL just about a year ago. I took the written well in advance and did awesome, above 90%. I consider myself to be a very safe and cautious pilot, and I always try to pay attention to detail. I’m typically a very calm pilot, and I’m not a nervous pilot although I do have respect for the elements around me. I’m also not a nervous test taker in general. I flew a short solo hop to another airport for my checkride. The oral went fine, but, naturally, I was a bit nervous. I did the preflight and we departed. That’s when I made my first mistake. I climbed to 4000, an IFR cruising altitude instead of the approrpiate VFR cruising altitude. I’m not sure why I did, but that’s what happened. The examiner pointed it out and said the ride was over, but he quickly followed that he would let me have a mulligan on that one. By this point, my typical flying nerves were shot. And, as previously mentioned, shot nerves is a bad way to take a checkride. We followed my flight plan, he gave me a diversion, and that all went OK. Then he told me to do a power on stall in a turn. Unfortunately, my instructor and I hadn’t gone into this as much as we probably should have. Though I understood the maneuver, in retrospect, I didn’t have the concept down. Well, that’s where I lost it. I did the stall, the wing dropped off, I didn’t bring it back up, and the examiner called no joy. However, we continued the checkride and did some air work and instrument work, which went fine, but when he asked me to do a forced landing I really botched it. After we got back on the ground he told me that I did great on the oral, but I needed to work on those stalls and engine out procedures. Needless to say, my heart sank as I flew back to my home airport. I was devisated. My one big dream in life was shot down. The one test that I should have been most prepared for I had failed.

My instructor was extremely supportive when I got back, and within a few days we were up practicing a lot of stalls and bringing that wing back up with the rudder. I returned several days later to retry my checkride (the portions I had busted for that matter). The examiner asked if I was still a bit neverous, and I told him that truthfully I was. We went up, and I did the maneuvers. They weren’t perfect. I know they weren’t perfect. He told me they weren’t perfect. But, I passed. For a long time the whole situation of failing, passing, and still not feeling 100% confident on those maneuvers bugged me. Encompassed in the flights following my checkride, I worked with an instructor at emergency procedures. And, at the beginning of this summer, I went up with an instructor who I respect greatly and did a whole session of stalls. We stalled that plane so much in so many ways that I came out realizing that stalls are much more managable than I precieved at the time of my checkride.

I learned a lot from my experiences and my failure, and I don’t blame anyone for it. First, my failure pointed out the points in my flying that I needed to correct. (And really, that’s what a checkride is. It’s not meant to bust you; it’s meant to point out areas that the pilot may still need work in.) Although I’m a perfectionist, I learned that sometimes a failure can be a greater teacher than success on the first try. My experiences humbled me, and with each flight I constantly try to improve something in my flying. My examiner said that my pilot’s license is a license to learn, and I believe that to be true. I feel that my experience has made me a better pilot, and to be a better pilot, even despite occasional dissapointment, is the one thing that all pilots should strive for.

Oh, and since then, I have never forgotten the rules on VFR cruising altitudes. :smiley:

Much thanks to the instructors who have and continue to support me in my flying.

I just wanted to let y’all know that I passed the practical exam with flying colors. In fact, my faa exam guy said that i was the fastest person he has ever done the oral exam with. 30 minutes without missing one question. And the practical was no issue at all even with some hairy crosswind landings.

excellent news ryn

thanks and now I am really part of the club

I have already taken my dad up for a $100 Hamburger

Lots of fun

You ain’t part of “THE CLUB” until you take your mom up for a spin! :smiling_imp:

Then there’s that OTHER club - the one associated with a distance of 5,280 feet… 8)

(Just kidding! Congrats on gettin’ your wings!)

Hah, especially my mom. She loves to fly. (Sarcasm Intended) I’m taking her and a friend up this weekend. It’s supposed to be near 100 degrees. I postponed last weekend due to high winds and what was likely to be a choppy ride for the passengers. I haven’t discussed rising thermals w/ them yet. :wink:

btw… don’t try becoming a part of the second club while acting as PIC, haha!

Turbulence is somewhat predictable. Best time to fly is just around sunrise OR just around sunset. I wouldn’t be taking my mother up in temps of 100F. Talk about a crappy ride from thermals.

Make your best impression by flying early or flying late. More comfortable for passengers and plane alike. Plus, more likely to have calmer winds for that impressive greaser you want to do.



In the immortal words of Bryan from Family Guy…


Lieberma, I completely agree. I would much rather fly in the morning or evening, however, personal schedules dictate otherwise. But yes, morning or evening flying typically means a smoother ride, lower density altitudes, and often less traffic. Flying at night is perhaps the best of all. I recently flew from Davenport, IA to Chicago after dark on a crystal clear night. The air was as smooth as glass, and of course, the city lights in Chicago are absolutely amazing (and the controllers seem more personable).

Unless a plane is never available for the optimum times to flying, I’d wait until the schedule can dictate a morning or evening flight.

The saying goes… your first impression is your last impression

Give your mom a bumpy ride and her last impression will be just what may turn her off of GA.

I’d rather wait for that silk smooth day then push it in 100F temps so it’s most enjoyable for the first time passenger.

You say yourself, she is already anxious about flying, don’t add to it by putting her in a small GA plane where there’s no air conditioning on the ground. Getting strapped in, explaining start up procedures, taxing and runup will probably be most uncomfortable for her.

In addition, since you probably are staying in the area, you probably won’t go high enough to benefit from Mother Natures natural AC found at 5000 feet and above.

Sooo… my vote would be keep her on the ground until it’s cooler and more comfortable for your mom. Trust me, been there done it :smiley: