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Old August 8th, 2007, 01:35 PM   #1
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Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

I thought it was about dang time this got stickied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Ron
1. Relax and enjoy it. Nationwide, about 90% of applicants pass on the first try, so look around and see if you think you’re as good as 9 out of 10 other students. Also, your instructor must maintain a pass rate of at least 80% to get his ticket renewed, so he’s not going to send you up unless he’s pretty darn sure you’ll pass – otherwise, he has to find four other people to pass to make up for you, and that’s not always easy.

2. Go over with your instructor the logbooks of the aircraft you're going to use the day BEFORE the checkride to make sure it's all in order (annual, transponder checks, ELT ops and battery, 100-hour if rented, etc.). If the airplane's paper busts, so do you. Run a sample W&B, too – get the examiner’s weight when you make the appointment. If you weigh 200, and so does the examiner, don’t show up with a C-152 with full tanks and a 350 lb available cabin load – examiners can’t waive max gross weight limits.

3. Relax.

4. Rest up and get a good night's sleep the night before. Don't stay up "cramming."

5. Relax.

6. Read carefully the ENTIRE PTS including all the introductory material. Use the checklist in the front to make sure you take all the stuff you need -- papers and equipment. And the examiner’s fee UP FRONT (too much chance a disgruntled applicant will refuse to pay afterward) in the form demanded by the examiner is a “required document” from a practical, if not FAA, standpoint.

7. Relax.

8. You’re going to make a big mistake somewhere. The examiner knows this will happen, and it doesn’t have to end the ride. What’s important is not whether you make a mistake, but how you deal with it – whether you recover and move on without letting it destroy your flying. Figure out where you are now, how to get to where you want to be, and then do what it takes to get there. That will save your checkride today and your butt later on.

9. Relax.

10. You're going to make some minor mistakes. Correct them yourself in a timely manner "so the outcome of the maneuver is never seriously in doubt" and you'll be OK. If you start to go high on your first steep turn and start a correction as you approach 100 feet high but top out at 110 high while making a smooth correction back to the requested altitude, don't sweat -- nail the next one and you'll pass with "flying colors" (a naval term, actually). If you see the maneuver will exceed parameters and not be smoothly recoverable, tell the examiner and knock it off before you go outside those parameters, and then re-initiate. That shows great sense, if not great skill, and judgement is the most critical item on the checkride.

11. Relax.

12. During the oral, you don’t have to answer from memory anything you’d have time to look up in reality. You never need to memorize and know everything. Categorize material as:

a. Things you must memorize (i.e. emergency procedures, radio calls, airspace, etc).
b. Things you must know or have reasonable understanding of (i.e. interpreting weather codes, non-critical regs).
c. Things you know about but can look up and will have time to look up on the ground.

(Thanks to Mark Bourdeaux for this categorization.) So if the examiner asks you about currency, it’s OK to open the FAR book to 61.56 and 61.57 and explain them to him. But make sure you know where the answer is without reading the whole FAR/AIM cover-to-cover. On the other hand, for stuff you’d have to know RIGHT NOW (e.g., best glide speed for engine failure, etc.), you’d best not stumble or stutter – know that stuff cold. Also, remember that the examiner will use the areas your knowledge test report says you missed as focus points in the oral, so study them extra thoroughly.

13. Relax.

14. Avoid this conversation:
Examiner - Q: Do you have a pencil?
Applicant - A: I have a #2, a mechanical, a red one...
Examiner - Q: Do you have a pencil?
Applicant - A: I also have an assortment of pens, and some highlighters...
Examiner - Q: Do you have a pencil?
Applicant - A: Yes.
Examiner - Thank you.
One of the hardest things to do when you’re nervous and pumped up is to shut up and answer the question. I've watched people talk themselves into a corner by incorrectly answering a question that was never asked, or by adding an incorrect appendix to the correct answer to the question that was. If the examiner wants more, he'll tell you.

15. Relax

16. Some questions are meant simply to test your knowledge, not your skill, even if they sound otherwise. If the examiner asks how far below the cloud deck you are, he is checking to see if you know the answer is “at least 500 feet,” not how good your depth perception is. He can’t tell any better than you can, and the only way to be sure is to climb up and see when you hit the bases, which for sure he won’t let you do.

17. Relax

18. Remember the first rule of Italian driving: "What's behind me is not important." Don't worry about how you did the last maneuver or question. If you didn't do it well enough, the examiner must notify you and terminate the checkride. If you are on the next one, forget the last one because it was good enough to pass. Focus on doing that next maneuver or answering the next question the best you can, because while it can still determine whether you pass or fail, the last one can’t anymore. If you get back to the office and he hasn't said you failed, smile to your friends as you walk in because you just passed.

19. Relax and enjoy your new license.


Ron Levy, ATP, CFI, Veteran of 11 license/rating checkrides, including 4 with FAA inspectors
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Old August 8th, 2007, 01:36 PM   #2
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

Yeah but...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Levy
19. Relax and enjoy your new license.
Go get 'em Ed!!
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Old August 8th, 2007, 01:42 PM   #3
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

Technically its a certificate, not a license.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 01:46 PM   #4
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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Originally Posted by Greebo View Post
Technically its a certificate, not a license.
You get the certificate from the FAA, but you get a LICENSE to LEARN. I'm sure that's what Ron meant!

[Chuck, you might consider doing Jason Hegel's Leaseback article as a sticky, too.]
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Old August 8th, 2007, 01:51 PM   #5
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

Got a link to it handy?
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Old August 8th, 2007, 01:56 PM   #6
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greebo View Post
Got a link to it handy?
http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum...45&postcount=2
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Old August 8th, 2007, 02:30 PM   #7
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by gprellwitz View Post
You get the certificate from the FAA, but you get a LICENSE to LEARN. I'm sure that's what Ron meant!

[Chuck, you might consider doing Jason Hegel's Leaseback article as a sticky, too.]
Now there's a name I haven't heard in a long, long time. I had forgotten about that post...
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Old August 8th, 2007, 02:46 PM   #8
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

Quote:
...If you didn't do it well enough, the examiner must notify you and terminate the checkride...
I always had this impression, that if you do a maneuver that's "questionable", but the checkride continues, then you necessarily haven't busted on that maneuver.

Then I took my instrument checkride, which was a peculiar experience overall, but ultimately it ended with a slip of paper of the wrong color, based on something that happened in the middle of the checkride. He didn't like the way I did something (something that isn't specific enough to be in the PTS, isn't described as "the wrong way" in any FAA document, wasn't the way I was trained, but where I agree that his way makes very good sense, and is how I've done it since then), he made me do it over, this time doing it "his way", we did a couple other things, and then on the ground he failed me for the thing he didn't like.

I went back and looked through the PTS, but I couldn't find any language _requiring_ the DPE to notify the applicant immediately after a maneuver he considers to be unsatisfactory.
-harry
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Old August 8th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #9
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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Originally Posted by mantakos View Post
I always had this impression, that if you do a maneuver that's "questionable", but the checkride continues, then you necessarily haven't busted on that maneuver.

Then I took my instrument checkride, which was a peculiar experience overall, but ultimately it ended with a slip of paper of the wrong color, based on something that happened in the middle of the checkride. He didn't like the way I did something (something that isn't specific enough to be in the PTS, isn't described as "the wrong way" in any FAA document, wasn't the way I was trained, but where I agree that his way makes very good sense, and is how I've done it since then), he made me do it over, this time doing it "his way", we did a couple other things, and then on the ground he failed me for the thing he didn't like.

I went back and looked through the PTS, but I couldn't find any language _requiring_ the DPE to notify the applicant immediately after a maneuver he considers to be unsatisfactory.
-harry
It's not in the PTS -- it's in the examiner's handbook (FAA Order 8710.3). See Chapter 5, paragraph 11E.(2). The applicant must ask the examiner to continue after failing a maneuver, and only with that request and the examiner's consent may the test continue. Further, the repetition of the maneuver was in violation of 8710.3 paragraph 13. If it was within PTS standards the first time, it should not have been repeated; if it was not within PTS standards the first time, it should have been repeated only if it was discontinued for safety reasons, collision avoidance, a misunderstood request, or if the examiner was distracted and unable to evaluate the performance.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #10
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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Originally Posted by Ron Levy View Post
If it was within PTS standards the first time, it should not have been repeated; if it was not within PTS standards the first time, it should have been repeated only if it was discontinued for safety reasons, collision avoidance, a misunderstood request, or if the examiner was distracted and unable to evaluate the performance.
...and you're not supposed to go below DH without the runway environment in sight...
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Old August 10th, 2007, 04:51 PM   #11
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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...and you're not supposed to go below DH without the runway environment in sight...
True for the most part, but you are permitted to sink below DH during the power-up and rotation after initiating the missed approach at (but not below) DH. It's only MDA that has a firm "never below without runway environment in sight and able to land" rule.

In any event, the examiner in question should not have repeated the maneuver merely to teach his own way of doing it. As the story is told, you probably have grounds to appeal the failure unless your first time through the maneuver did not meet PTS standards, which your telling suggests was not the case.

Last edited by Ron Levy; August 10th, 2007 at 04:54 PM.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #12
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

If I only had remembered that on my checkride....
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Old August 10th, 2007, 07:07 PM   #13
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by gprellwitz View Post
You get the certificate from the FAA, but you get a LICENSE to LEARN. I'm sure that's what Ron meant!

[Chuck, you might consider doing Jason Hegel's Leaseback article as a sticky, too.]
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Old August 11th, 2007, 12:33 AM   #14
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

Quote:
...As the story is told, you probably have grounds to appeal the failure unless your first time through the maneuver did not meet PTS standards, which your telling suggests was not the case...
I considered that, but then it just seemed far simpler to just go back to the same DPE and redo the thing he failed me on. Anybody ever appealed a checkride fail? I'd be interested in what the circumstances would be where that would appear to be the path of least resistance.

In my case, my DPE did a few "peculiar" things, including having me do a steep turn under the hood, when that had long since disappeared from the PTS. Again, it was easier to just do the maneuver than to argue about it. It might have been interesting, though, if I had "failed" that one, because I would have had no choice but to ask him to point out the standards I didn't meet. A "better man" might make some effort to see that a DPE who's a little out of whack is brought back into conformance, but it seems to run counter to one's self-interest to do so, when your goal is to get the ticket and move on with your life.
-harry
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Old August 11th, 2007, 09:21 AM   #15
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

All true, but at the same time, we need to weed out the maverick examiners who don't play by the book -- they inordinately complicate live for applicants and their instructors.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 02:46 PM   #16
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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Originally Posted by Ron Levy View Post
All true, but at the same time, we need to weed out the maverick examiners who don't play by the book -- they inordinately complicate live for applicants and their instructors.
Isn't it the case that instructors have to have a certain pass/fail ratio? If so, then it seems the instructor would have more of a vested interest than the applicant in challenging examiners who make up their own checkride rules.

What's the process an instructor would use? Does the FAA have a documented procedure?
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Old August 11th, 2007, 07:59 PM   #17
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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Originally Posted by Boo Boo View Post
What options does an applicant for a certificate have if a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) "busts" an applicant for a task outside the scope of the Practical Test Standards (PTS)?
Filing an appeal with the DPE's supervising inspector at the FSDO. The applicant will probably get a new practical test "without prejudice" from a FSDO inspector, and if he passes, will see the DPE's Notice of Disapproval disappear from his record.

Quote:
What is involved to "weed out the maverick examiners who don't play by the book"?
Documenting their improper activities and reporting it to the DPE's supervising inspector at the FSDO. The FAA has more times than most people realize pulled DPE's designations over improper practical testing.

Last edited by Ron Levy; August 11th, 2007 at 08:05 PM.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 08:03 PM   #18
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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Originally Posted by TangoWhiskey View Post
Isn't it the case that instructors have to have a certain pass/fail ratio?
In order to be renewed on the basis of activity, instructors must (among other things) have at least an 80% pass rate.

Quote:
If so, then it seems the instructor would have more of a vested interest than the applicant in challenging examiners who make up their own checkride rules.
That's kind of a subjective question, but as an instructor, it makes my life a lot harder if examiners don't play by the book. OTOH, I know I'm a good instructor, and one bust (especially a bogus one) won't get me down, but the applicant gets a real ego-smash if he busts.

Quote:
What's the process an instructor would use? Does the FAA have a documented procedure?
No. It's a matter of documenting what happened and reporting it to the DPE's supervising inspector at the FSDO. You'd probably want to get several instructors together to document multiple cases of improper DPE activity rather than a single event.
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Old August 12th, 2007, 04:18 AM   #19
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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OTOH, I know I'm a good instructor, and one bust (especially a bogus one) won't get me down, but the applicant gets a real ego-smash if he busts.
i feel the same way ron. i dont really care too much about my pass rate. i dont use the pass rate to renew my CFI. I do my best to make sure everyone i send is prepared and ready. If the examiner busts them and its not for something in the PTS, I want to know and I make sure my students know that I will go to bat for them if the DPE is out of line.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 02:45 AM   #20
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

I haven't actually sent a student for a checkride yet, although I have one coming up pretty soon (depending on the weather).

In my own experience with chekrides, I have had a least two examiners who did things differently than the PTS/objected to a maneuver performed in accordance with the FAA "flying guides".

I make my students get the ACs which are the Airplane flying handbook. I figure that if there is ever a disagreement about the "right" way to perform a maneuver, that the FAA handbook is the "right" way.

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P.S. the handbook is now FAA-H-8083. It is no longer an AC,
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Old December 12th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #21
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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In my own experience with chekrides, I have had a least two examiners who did things differently than the PTS/objected to a maneuver performed in accordance with the FAA "flying guides".
I've seen that more than once, and it's bad for everyone. I consider it to be the recommending instructor's responsibility to see that the overseeing FSDO hears about such mavericks and straightens them out. Just be sure you're right before you complain -- it's sometimes better to phrase it as a question rather than an accusation ("Y'know, one of my students did a checkride with Mr. X yesterday, and Mr. X said we were supposed to do [whatever], but that's the first I've ever heard of doing it that way. Is there something I've been missing?").
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Old February 8th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #22
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

Thanks for this post Ron. My check ride is still pretty far in the future and I am confident that I'll be ready for it when it comes around. However, I can almost guarantee that I will have some nerves pumping when it finally arrives. I'll make sure to read your post again when it does.
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Old October 5th, 2010, 01:57 PM   #23
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

Could someone explain what a PTS is??

Thanks!
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Old October 5th, 2010, 02:10 PM   #24
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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Could someone explain what a PTS is??

Thanks!
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Old October 5th, 2010, 02:13 PM   #25
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Re: Captain Levy’s Checkride Advice

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Could someone explain what a PTS is??
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