check ride "conditions" in Texas

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by classicrock, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. classicrock

    classicrock Pre-Flight

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    NOTE:I take lessons(VFR student pilot in training)and fly out of David Hooks airport in Tomball Tx. I am about 80-85% toward getting PPL

    yesterday during a briefing with my Flight instructor, he mentioned that recently, DPE's in Harris County(Houston TX)had been failing ALOT of students going on their Checkrides. we chatted about that and then we proceeded on the plane/ my lesson(great lesson!). about 2 hours later, we landed,returned to the school, he signed my logbook, and had to go. I noticed that our schools CFI was in the office and ask him what he knew about recent checkride failures and this is what he told me.
    in the last 9 months(more or less) the school had scheduled several checkrides with PE's within Harris County and other cities throughout Texas. (evidently there is a shortage of PE's in Houston now, causing scheduling problems, so the school has contacted and schedules checkrides PE's in other cities). of the students pilots who did their checkride in other Texas cities,100% of them passed. only 50% of the students who had checkrides IN Houston....passed. the CFI has spoken with other schools in Houston and its not just going on with our school. and the number of students who have gone for checkride with our school is between 10 and 20 people.

    what conclusions would you draw from this?
     
  2. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Well I'm not sure yet.

    Did the same CFIs send their students to the same DPEs?

    Could it be that some CFIs were not preparing their students properly and it just happened that those CFIs were sending their poorly prepared students to the same DPE, this the lower failure rate?

    If I were you I'd just worry about making sure you're with a GOOD/EXPERIENCED CFI, if there is a bad DPE a good CFI won't send you to him ether way.

    As a students it's really a "in CFI we trust" type of thing.
     
    RyanShort1 likes this.
  3. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Not yet enough information in evidence to supply a proper opinion since "discontinuances" can occur at both the oral exam and practical flight phase. What you have shared doesn't provide info on where the students are falling short. We also don't know if this is rumor, a simple story being expanded for effect, or factual.

    But in a broad sense, I would suggest the students aren't as prepared as the different DPE's expect them to be. Often when an "in town" or "known" DPE is used, the CFI can ensure the student is solid on the DPE's hot buttons, both for the oral and the flying. But if an unknown examiner is used, the chances exist that the applicant is weak in an area the DPE considers very important, and that area is one that is a "must pass" on the PTS/ACS.
     
  4. rk911

    rk911 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    the DE's outside of Houston are more forgiving than their counterparts in Houston; the instructors outside of Houston are more thorough than their counterparts in Houston. or could be the other way around. is it the same CFI's that are failing the 50%? on what are they failing the students?
     
  5. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    I also caution overthinking at this stage... Otherwise, you'll worry yourself into a discontinuance.
     
  6. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    I'll give you the cynical version, since I just went through a part 61 checkride two weekends ago.You may have a rogue DPE grinding his axe in your region. It's not uncommon, happens more than you think. Schools are sensitive to this kind of dynamic, as it kills their business if word gets out that a DPE is sniping their applicants gratuitously. There's one such animal in the San Antonio FSDO region, and most people avoid him by word of mouth. Those who are not clued in to it due to lack of local familiarity, get burned. Being in Houston I would figure you could branch out a bit and look for other adjoining areas. The school should be able to network better on your behalf and get someone.

    Recognize this thing has less to do with Houston and more to do with the expiration of the old ATP written rules that created a glut of M-effers taking their written before the july 31 2014 deadline, and are now crowding out the schedules prior to the subsequent expiration of said "old rules" written, aka 1 aug 2016. Mostly R-ATP applicants as my DPE informed me while shooting the breeze during pre-checkride admin. Me and my buddy had to dodge and weave a bit the last two months trying to find anything available that was "above waterline". Lots of cash n' grab fly by night operations, and the FAA is cracking down. Can't wait for August to dry the cash cow and make these remoras disappear.

    Lot of froth due to the ATP, which is unfortunate because it doesn't really pertain to you folks at the private level. My advice? Travel away from the area for a DPE or wait until after Aug 1st. The simple thing would be to ask the failed applicants the name of the DPE. Chances are it's the same guy. Then tell the school you ain't checking with that guy. Good luck to ya.
     
  7. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    FYI; if anyone is ready for their instrument ride and wants to do it around Dallas, I can highly recommend the DPE I used.
     
  8. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    Wow, I was going to go off reservation with my response. My CFI was murdering me with 3pm summer 105* max thermal wind practice that was ABSOLUTELY horrible and nearly impossible to maintain altitude restrictions especially in steep turns. The flight portion of my PPL test started at 10am in high winds, but no thermals ... easiest maneuvers EVER given the pre-test flights my CFI had put me through. Thought it might be a "air tests between 12-5 pm" high failure rate type situation.
     
  9. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

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    If you are afraid that you won't pass in Houston, bring your CFI (or the school's chief instructor) with you on the checkride.
    If you are afraid that you still wouldn't pass, go elsewhere. I can recommend a good DPE in Austin. But you would have to travel, of course. It's just an hour from Hooks.

    Without anybody reading into it too much, could I ask what nationality/origin the failed students are? I can imagine that in Houston, they might fail based on poor language skills. I know many students up in Dallas won't pass for that reason. Am I right, Mike? :D

    Mike, can you PM me your DPE's info? Or can you PM it to Adam on the red board?
     
  10. Squanto84

    Squanto84 Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm based at Pearland, and am part of the leadership team for a flying club based there. I have overheard some talk between CFIs about there only being 3 DPEs that are active. I know Debbie Rihn-Harvey and Rick Rawlings' names were mentioned, and I believe there was talk of one DPE Based in the Houston area that was boycotting by not doing any checkrides. I'll share more info if I get any.

    As for advice, don't worry about it. Most issues I had with my first checkride was because I didn't know what to expect, which made me nervous.
     
  11. whereisrandall

    whereisrandall Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I strongly recommend flying with a DPE that your CFI has a good relationship with, and who's a known quantity. You may also get checkride reports from earlier students to find out what went well and didn't. I've flown out of TRL/TYR and have loved Mr. Horace Abbott, who is good and plenty firm. When I was prepping for my CFI ride, I certainly saw a number of reports online about people failing out of certain Texas FSDOs for almost identical issues.

    Also - I did my instrument ride with an examiner who recommended a dry run first. He and I flew the week before the checkride and did the exact same things we were going to do again one week later, except the first one didn't count. I would have passed, but the point was to take all the guessing out of the situation, and so that I would have the best chance of passing, and he could flag any issues he saw before he had to pink-slip me.
     
  12. DrewG

    DrewG Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just out of curiosity, how was the pay arranged for that? Did he take a normal instructor's hourly rate, or what?
     
  13. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Oh, come on.... there are many young studs up here that speak passable Engrish. I'm more amazed how our busy tower is able to successfully communicate with them over the school aircrafts scratchy radios

    Done... It's Dale Williamson for those who know him.
     
  14. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    I too am curious as to the cost of mock ride with that examiner.
     
  15. whereisrandall

    whereisrandall Pre-takeoff checklist

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    @DrewG , @AggieMike88 - it was an hourly CFI rate, logged as PIC/dual received. Instructor was in Maine, and quit DPE work because he was too busy. Shame - I'd do every checkride I could with the guy.
     
  16. Old Geek

    Old Geek Pattern Altitude

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    As a PP that failed his first checkride, I'd say don't overthink it. If you pass, great. If you fail, get right back into the saddle and make it right. You can learn from every failure.
     
  17. MikeELP

    MikeELP Pattern Altitude

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    Just to clarify, Mike:

    A "Discontinuance" is where the checkride is stopped for some reason OTHER than a bust. Weather, technical issues with aircraft, a health issue or emergency, etc. As an example, the student and DPE meet. Winds are borderline. They complete the oral exam, but then it is decided that the weather is not going to cooperate for the flight. The exam resumes at some other time but it is not a failed exam. The DPE will note the reason for postponing the test. There is no need for the CFI to submit a new IACRA.

    A "Disapproval" is a bust. And again, the DPE will have to fill out a form but this time detailing the areas of the PTS (or ACS) that the student failed. Further instruction is required and a new IACRA must be submitted.
     
  18. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    Every DPE in his right mind would love to pass every candidate, if they could, for several reasons.
    First, having a higher pass rate would make them more attractive to CFIs and flight schools, hence generate more business. Second, when you fail someone it feels bad both ways, and a failure is actually two people failing: the student and the CFI.
    Also, the DPE knows that if they pass the candidate it will add one more pilot into the shrinking GA pool, and DPEs want GA to succeed and grow.
    So when a DPE fails you, it's (almost always) not because they feel nasty or grumpy that day, but because they feel you are still not safe enough to be released into the wild. As others have said, it's better to focus on the CFI and the flight school than the DPE.
     
  19. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

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    My DPE told me he could not fly with me outside of the checkride because giving dual instruction to applicants is conflict of interest. Which I agree with.
    Is that a real reg or maybe just a personal rule? (too lazy to look up regs for DPEs)
     
  20. whereisrandall

    whereisrandall Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Mmm. That's good - I'll look it up. Instructing and examining is a conflict. A checkride prep ride seems legit and not contrary to the spirit of checks and balances. But good point.
     
  21. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    My understanding is that a DPE can give dual, but they could not be the recommending instructor and also the examiner. Doing both would definitely be a conflict of interest. I've heard of some guys giving instruction but having a third party instructor do the checkride prep and sign them off for the checkride but have actually seen very little of it actually happen. Usually the DPEs are so busy that they don't have time to give checkrides and instruction.

    I do however feel that having a DPE that is doing the "mock checkride" described here is also a bit non sequitur though. I also do not believe in teaching to pass a checkride. Unfortunately, too many students are nervous and want so badly to pass the checkride that they want to know exactly what will be on the test rather than recognizing that they have the ability to acquire the skill and knowledge to pass any question or do any maneuver that will be asked of them on the checkride if they just practice and study a bit.