Every good DPE wants the applicant for a flight test to be successful. Examiners are all long-time flight instructors and are totally invested in the success of the aviation system. Their worst day is when they have to disappoint an eager applicant with bad news (but sometimes “more training” is required). From the other side of the table, it often seems applicants go out of their way to create their own problems or never “got the script.” (See “20 Ways to Fail Your Flight Test“) That is why the SAFE CFI ToolkitApp was originally created; to make the testing process easier – providing CFIs and applicants all the necessary endorsements, hour requirements and testing codes. Now “Checkride Ready!™” takes this process a step further aiming directly at the applicant and revealing specific stumbling blocks DPEs mention continuously. Once you learn the “rules of engagement” your evaluation experience can be much easier (I hesitate to say “even enjoyable?)
True, every applicant hopefully glanced through the ACS a few times, and if they were lucky they had a talented educator ask solid scenario-based questions that got the applicant really thinking (and preparing) like a pilot-in-command. But very simple and avoidable problems can make the whole process difficult (like the common problem of not having your IACRA Login/PW so you can sign the FAA application online?) How about never having ever done (much less practiced) a turning stall(it is in the private pilot ACS). This leads to the unhappy admonition “I guess this will be your first one.” “Checkride Ready!™” prevents these surprises.
Every applicant starts an FAA evaluation with 100% (you are *already* a pilot when you submit the IACRA application and start an evaluation!). All errors (and there will be errors: allowed and expected) are a “mark down” from 100%. Though a 70% is ugly and undesirable, it is still a “pass.” Your DPE is required to emphasize: “perfection is not the standard“ So don’t psych yourself out with self-critical “over-thinking.” Be a confident PIC; you got this!
“Checkride Ready!™” is a new resource from SAFE and it is embedded in the (free) SAFE Toolkit App.This new resource reveals key problem areas seen by DPEs that result in nervousness, aggravation and maybe even an unsuccessful outcome. The new material is broken down by certificate and rating (private and instrument rating are currently complete), and the include the popular VFR and IFR “pink slip” suggestionsfor improvement. The checklist in the ACS is very thorough (and every applicant should read it). But also available on the ACS website is a pdf for the examiner (and available to applicants) of sample scenario questions for evaluators (DPE) and the structure of the evaluation. Use these resources and make flight testing easier.
Fly safely out there (and often).
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David St. George is an FAA DPE (Sport to Multi ATP) and a Part 135 charter pilot flying the Pilatus PC-12 in the NYC area. He recently renewed his Master Instructor for the tenth time and is a Charter member of SAFE. Formerly a 141 Chief Instructor for over 25 years, with a Gold Seal CFI. David started flying at 16 and has logged over 15,000 hours. He owns a 1946 7AC Aeronca Champ and wrote the SAFE Toolkit app.