Checkride Tips

Suggestions for Doing Well on Your Checkride

Relax! You’ve practiced and prepared for this. And remember, most examiners are really nice people who love flying. They just want to make sure you’re going to be a safe pilot.

  1. Take care of you. Get a good night’s sleep the night before. On the day, be sure to eat and drink enough before your test to keep oxygen flowing to your brain the entire time.
  2. Know what is expected of you. Study the FAA’s Private Pilot Practical Test Standards. Talk with others who recently took checkrides with your examiner. Talk with the examiner; some will offer suggestions and advice, others won’t.
  3. Use a familiar airplane, such as the one in which you’ve been training. If necessary, delay or reschedule your checkride. Avoid marginal situations, such as an unfamiliar airplane, bad weather, personal illness, or the like.
  4. If possible, fly with the examiner (or another instructor) before your checkride as a final progress check. This will give you additional confidence.
  5. Try to Relax! The examiner is not trying to be negative and doesn’t want to fail you! Remember, your instructor would not have signed you off for your checkride unless she believed you were ready. You are the pilot-in-command on this flight. Think of the examiner as your first real passenger.
  6. Explain what you are doing out loud. If you think you’ve made a mistake, explain it to the examiner and ask if you should do it over. All pilots, at all levels, make mistakes. The important thing to the examiner is for you to recognize and be able to correct the mistake.
  7. But, only answer the question being asked. You may be tempted to expand your answer to show off your knowledge, but don’t. You may make a mistake and it gives the examiner more to dig in to.
  8. Don’t think you’ve failed because the examiner is taking notes. They are most likely reminders for your post-flight critique. If you’ve failed, you’ll know immediately because the checkride will be terminated immediately.
  9. Don’t try to second guess the examiner. Doing a maneuver when you’re not sure what’s expected is counter-productive. Reading the examiner’s
    mind is not a checkride requirement. When in doubt, ask for clarification.
  10. During the oral, if you are not sure of something, say you are not sure and then tell the examiner where you would find the answer, such as the FAR’s, pilot’s operating handbook, or the aircraft’s equipment list. If you don’t understand a question, ask the examiner to clarify.
  11. During the flight test you must be in control of the aircraft. If you have trouble with a maneuver, explain what you did wrong and offer to do it again. Many examiners will give you a second try with no penalty.