My PPL Checkride Notes From 2016. Hope It Helps

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by easik, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. easik

    easik Pre-takeoff checklist

    Jun 24, 2017
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    I took my private pilot checkride on December 26, 2016, which I passed. My exam took place at San Bernardino Airport in California. Below are my notes and there's also a brief summary video if you hate reading :)


    - Started with currency: Know everything on currency for the pilot and the airplane

    - Know the acronyms: IMSAFE, SAFETY AAV1ATE

    - Next he went over my weight and balance. For weight and balance simply know the things concerning load factor and center of gravity, are you too heavy? Are you within limits?

    - He then went over my flight plan.

    - After he asks me to brief him first on the weather from the print out I have; local weather, en route forecast, notams etc. Also, I briefed him on my planned route using the sectional chart.

    - From the chart, he asked several questions on my route, airspace, Alert Areas, Restricted Areas, MOA etc.

    - He created a few scenarios on unexpected weather that could happen during my flight. He wasn’t looking so much for definitions here but rather how safe I am as a pilot.

    VORs: Know as much as possible on VORs, FSS and Airspace. Know how to communicate with FSS via VOR frequency.

    Airspace: Mainly asked about cloud clearances for each airspace.

    An example scenario he gave; Assuming a TFR was issued (he drew a circle diagram) and you are within the shell of the TFR. What do you do to fly out of the area?

    Airplane Performance:

    - Know your airplane’s speeds and limitations

    - Know your pressure altitude, density altitude etc. And how the difference in atmospheric pressure affects performance of the airplane.

    - What is standard temperature and pressure? What are the lapse rates?

    - He created several scenarios on these and he wanted to know things to consider about your destination/landing point before heading out.

    - He also painted a similar scenario with Big bear. How does your airplane perform having high or low outside temperature?


    - He didn’t ask anything specific on any of the weather charts. But he did create several scenarios on different weather situations.

    - For weather, be prepared to use your knowledge and common sense to properly answer any of the scenarios he gives you.

    - Know when to make a GO or NO GO decision.

    - Think; even when within legal limits, based on my skill level and experience, am I safe to make this flight?


    - Know what type of engine you have

    - Know the 4 main functions of oil in the engine

    - In flight, what can cause a rough engine, or loss of power? Based on your answer, then he asks, how do you remedy the situation?

    Fuel system:

    - Know your fuel system.

    - He will paint several scenarios on fuel, particularly on the use of fuel pumps. When and or where do you use the auxiliary fuel pump? High altitudes situation, engine failure situation, rough engine situation, in flight fire situation etc.

    - In an emergency, what do you do? Hint: declare an emergency sooner than later.

    Electrical system:

    - Know the basics on your electrical system.

    - Know how to determine a bad alternator.

    - What do you do in a situation of an alternator failing?

    - What do you do in a situation of in-flight fire?


    - Know how this thing works on the technical side. He will ask you questions like, how does your MFD display work? As in what is working together to give you the information you see on your screen?

    - I wasn’t as prepared for this part but luckily he didn’t ding me much for it.

    Load factor: what is load factor? How does it affect your flight?

    How to recover from a SPIN: PARE

    Night Flight:

    - Know as much as possible on night flight and the type of hazards one is exposed to flying at night.

    Aeromedical Factors:

    - Know your Aeromedical Factors; Hypoxia, hyperventilation etc.

    - Know what they are and type of symptoms to determine each. He gave a scenario of flying at high altitudes and one of my passenger was looking very out of it, you see their lips turn blue. What’s wrong with that passenger? What do you do to help them?

    - Know the legal requirements for Oxygen usage in high altitudes

    - Know the legal laws and limitation on alcohol consumption and scuba diving.

    These are most of the things I can remember. My entire ground took about 1.5 hours. And it went by quickly.

    Keep in mind Safety! Safety! Safety! That was the common theme in a lot of his questions. That and your ADM.

    On weather and airspace, if you answer the first few questions well, he’ll likely just breeze through and move on without bothering you with in-depth stuff as he did in my case.



    - We did the preflight together. He went around the plane with me, so make sure you use that checklist thoroughly on preflight.

    - Remember to take the chalks off.


    - This was a quiet ride. As long as you do not mess up with directions and your position at the airport, taxiing will be a breeze.

    - Also remember to take a short pause and look around first when entering or crossing taxi lanes.

    Radio Comm:

    - Be clear and proficient when you talk on the radio.

    - When you make a position call in the practice area be sure to say your full call sign and type of aircraft.

    Take off:

    - After run-up, as we moved closer to the runway, I briefed him on the different takeoff/engine failure scenarios. Then made a call to tower (he’ll let you know what to request for).

    - First maneuver was a soft field take off to the practice area.

    - As we flew over the airport he just asked for a brief walkthrough on flying the first leg of my flight plan. Luckily my flight was directly south of SBD which would have required flying into a Class Charlie. So, to stay clear of class C, he said we didn’t need to fly it. Just be able to properly talk him through it.

    - Next was a diversion. Know how to divert and talk him through it: get course, distance, time and fuel.

    - For diversions you are allowed to use the NRST button on the G1000 and or your phone calculator.

    - Next was slow flights

    - Next was power off stalls

    - Next was power on stalls

    - Next Hood work/Unusual attitudes

    - Next Emergency decent in a fire situation

    - Next Engine failure procedures

    Then we came back to SBD to do some Landings.

    - Short field landing first

    - Then a stop and go for short field takeoff

    - Then a go around: know how to properly execute a go around when low to the ground.

    - Remember that your pattern/rectangular course also serves as ground reference maneuver.

    We ended the flight portion with a soft field landing and then we taxied back to the FBO.

    My Observations:

    1. For both ground and flight, I made sure I had a decent meal and or snack in between and stayed hydrated. This is a day-long exam, if you consider your travel times in the car and in the air, you are looking at 9-10 hours of being active as it was in my case. 5 of those hours is your actual exam. Make sure you EAT. You will be completely drained if you don’t. Do not let the lack of food in your system mess you up after you’ve worked so hard to prepare.

    2. For all the maneuvers, I did a clearing turn or used a previous turn as my clearing turn first, and then I made a position call as I get set to do the maneuver

    3. Make use of the checklist from preflight until the end of the flight.

    4. Talk through everything you are doing in the cockpit. Try as much as possible to be vocal about your intentions. If you pull the power back, say so; just gonna reduce power a bit here.

    5. Remember that you are pilot in command through the entire flight portion. Except when he asks for control of the airplane, it’s your airplane.

    Here are 2 examples of being PIC during my flight:

    First Scenario: Initially in the practice area, it was very bumpy closer to the mountains and we had to look for smoother areas to do the maneuvers. While we were being tossed around, I assumed he was looking at how I handled and managed the situation. So keep that in mind in the case of unforeseen conditions that could affect your flight.

    Second Scenario: When we were coming back to do some landings, we were on the north side of the runway, right downwind of runway 26. When I called in to land. Tower clearly told me to make a right base entry for runway 6. But when we turned base at runway 26 he went: well we’re pretty high, Why don’t you slip it down to get closer. We were at about 3800ft and needed to get down to 2000ft. Well I slipped the airplane down to about 2500ft and then I let him know that we were actually instructed for runway 6 not runway 26. And that I was flying a right base for runway 6.

    He goes; Oh sorry, totally forgot. I’m so used to using runway 26 here.

    In that moment, he sounded very genuine. But when I think about it now, that could have been part of his test to distract and see what I would do as pilot in command. If I actually setup and landed on runway 26, that would have been a fail. So very important to know that you are PIC and you have the final authority.

    Overall, My examiner Ernie was genuinely cool and calm from the moment you shake hands. As long as you are prepared and find a way to stay relaxed, the entire exam should go fairly easy.

    Here is a brief video summary
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
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  2. 1RTK1

    1RTK1 Cleared for Takeoff

    Sep 10, 2014
    Central Left Coast
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    Nice write up
  3. NHWannabe

    NHWannabe Line Up and Wait

    Jul 31, 2015
    New Hampshire
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    Good stuff. Thanks for posting!
  4. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Oct 1, 2015
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    Excellent, thanks.
  5. Slackyhacky

    Slackyhacky Ejection Handle Pulled

    Dec 27, 2014
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    When I did my check ride - I had not practiced an emergency descent on fire ever. I had no idea what to do. It's pretty easy if you practice, or if someone just tells you what to do.

    I don't think that was part of the standards before the change. My examiner told me after that lots of people were not getting that one correctly. Luckily, I still passed...perhaps I fumbled through that portion and squeaked out a pass. I also totally came in too high on an the runway on an engine failure....but again...he didn't fail me. He told me later that he would have slipped the plane, even in full flaps...if it really was an engine out scenario and you are too high on final.
  6. ScottinIowa

    ScottinIowa Pre-takeoff checklist

    Jan 21, 2018
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    Good stuff! Thanks for sharing.
  7. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

    Nov 8, 2009
    Denver, CO
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    Great write up and nice job on the video! Youee great at laying it out in a good order and great pacing @easik !

    So when is your Instrument ride? And how long until CFI??? :) :) :)

    Your tips in both were solid.
  8. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

    Nov 8, 2009
    Denver, CO
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    That one is all about limitations. If the POH/AFM has a procedure you have to follow that. (In a real emergency, if you know a faster safe-ish way down, do it.) Some airplanes have a specific manufacturer emergency descent procedure and on a checkride it has to be followed. Same thing with entry airspeeds for some maneuvers.

    Otherwise it’s limits. Gear speed, flap speed, top of the yellow / redline, whatever is lowest.

    Most folks also teach to roll over into a reasonable bank also, to lose some more of that vertical component of lift and stay over a spot if that’s where you want to be, but if not, go toward something you can land on — that’d be your thought process in the real world. Rolling into a bank also can keep positive G on the airplane in the initial pitch over which is more of a passenger comfort thing than anything, but matters in big airplanes with people possibly standing in the aisles when an emergency starts. Not nice to bounce them off the ceiling. :)

    Nothing wrong with telling the examiner that you’re doing something different either, within limits. If you decided not to roll, for example. “I normally would want to get into a turn to lose more lift, but there’s an airport right there off the nose. I’m going there.” Show good decision making and situational awareness.

    One of my examiners stayed flatly after simulating an engine fire in the twin and I rattled off that I’d watch the gear and flap limits closely... “Fine for the checkride but if it’s really on fire that bad, get it on the ground. If the fire didn’t turn it into a total insurance loss, being over gear or flap speed isn’t going to break it much worse, if at all, in this particular aircraft. They can inspect it if the wing didn’t burn off. There’s a 55 gallon drum worth of fuel right behind that engine. Okay, recover.”

    And of course aviate, navigate and COMMUNICATE. People forget that last one, but usually there’s enough time to say (especially on a checkride) that you’re simulating squawking 7700 and simulating the mayday call. If you headed for that airport ahead, maybe that’s a CTAF mayday, maybe approach if it happens to be in a radio already... judgement call.
  9. easik

    easik Pre-takeoff checklist

    Jun 24, 2017
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    Thanks! Both in the next 1-3 years. Using just private vfr to build more time now :). Although I'd prefer to have my own airplane long term and get my instrument rating in that particular plane.
  10. jarinawoz

    jarinawoz Filing Flight Plan

    Aug 28, 2017
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    Thank you for sharing :) it seems very- very useful
    easik likes this.