Private Pilot Checkride/ATC CTO

atcadvocate

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Jun 15, 2008
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So, has anyone here done it already? I have my private pilot checkride in about 2 weeks. I feel like a know a lot, but needless to say that I DO NOT know everything. (God forbid if the examiner decides to "really" test my knowledge on weather).lol =) I am sure he could gig me. I know enough to pass, but I am sure that he (if he wanted to be a ****) could ask me some pervasive weather question and I would give him the deer in headlights look, followed by akward silence, and probably a discontinuance.

So, I have read all the "generic" tips out there on the interwebs about; "relax" "you don't have to be perfect" "he wants you to pass" "it's an open book test" etc........and on and on..... blah, blah, blah... But this is info that I have heard time and time again. So, that being said, let me compare it to something that we all know... ATC.

I remember when I was studying up for my first CTO practical sign off, I was SOOOOOOOO tore up about what the tower sup would ask me on position. I studied ALOT! And the day of my practical, there were still things (that he very well could have quizzed me on that I didn't have memorized." But everybody kept telling me, "you know your stuff", "It's not as bad as you think it's going to be". And guess what? I did fine and got my CTO.

So, for those that have done the private pilot check ride, was it as bad as you thought it was going to be, better, or exactly what you expected?

Just for some background, I really do feel like I am very well prepared, but if this DPE wants to quiz me on topics such as the schematical flow charts of the fuel/electrical system, advanced meteorology, or EVERY SINGLE V-SPEED for EVERY possible flap setting, etc , perfectly, then I might need ALOT more studying time. LOL

Now, that being said, YES I know my important basics of each topics covered in the above paragraphs, Vx/Vy/Vr/Va, BASIC meteorology, the BASIC route of fuel flow, and the BASICS of my electrical system.

But some of these practical study guides seem to go WWWAAAAAYYYYY in depth on some of this stuff. ~~~Example----What is density altitude? My answer is, pressure altitude corrected for non-standard temperature. D.A. basically tells you how the plane will perform that day at current pressure/temp. The study guide answer is 3 freaking paragraphs long that goes into some physics thesis paper.

So, any advice from those that have taken it.

1. How well prepared did you feel going into it? Did you feel ready?

2. How was it , compared to your expectations?

3. Did you pass/fail, why?

4. and any other tips!!!!!! Please!!! and Thank You! =)
 

GUYONABUFFALO

Epic Member
Oct 4, 2012
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first off Good luck. You will feel like a million buck on your first flight home as a private pilot.

1. How well prepared did you feel going into it? Did you feel ready?
- I was prepared. I felt ready for most anything he would ask me but was a little nervous about some flight manuevers he could ask. They can ask you to do anything in the plane. My instructor ( my Vietnam fighter pilot uncle :) ), trained me with full power departure stalls, spins, accelerated stalls and even had me do them under the hood constantly to full break. I didnt know the test CFI was going to take it so easy on me, and all of my pilot buddys said the same thing. The flight test is a breeze.

2. How was it , compared to your expectations?
- Well my instructor, that was my uncles buddy from the war, asked me about two questions about a sectional, told me to plan a cross country, immedietly told me we wernt actually going there so I dont need to fuel up and then proceeded to take a nap right after we took off for about 10 minutes and then told me to do a few soft field landings/takeoffs at his home. We did one stall that wasnt to full break, he asked me if he minded if he spun the airplane from the backseat (my uncles Super Decathalon), I said sure why not. He then told me "I can tell if someone can fly or not after ten minutes, you can fly, you pass"

3. Did you pass/fail, why?
- pass

4. and any other tips!!!!!! Please!!! and Thank You! =)
- Relax and enjoy it. I realize that my CFI was probably way more relaxed than most on the REGS but all of my pilot buddies say the same thing. It is one of the most exciting days in your life so enjoy it! If you are evenly remotly adept at flying you will be fine. AS far as some of the in depth question. well your Examiner probably doesnt even remember those questions.
 

atcadvocate

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Jun 15, 2008
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Hey, thanks alot for the pointers. Wow, what an experience!!! That's a great story. I hope my checkride is that much fun. Thanks again
 

StuSEL

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Aug 23, 2009
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You're going to do just fine. My one piece of advice: The whole test is outlined in the PTS including the oral and flight portions. Go here: http://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/test_standards/media/FAA-S-8081-14B.pdf and find page 31. Under each Area of Operation, the PTS tells you exactly what the examiner is going to do. You won't be caught off guard if you give this a brief read once.

Page 23 of the PTS has a checklist you should complete prior to getting to the test. Complete this checklist so that you have all of your sh*t together prior to the test. Note that the 8710-1 form should already be done and signed by your instructor on IACRA.

ASA's practical test study guides, if that's what you're using, are absolutely terrible. I tried to use one for my commercial ride and it was so useless. Way too scripted.
if this DPE wants to quiz me on topics such as the schematical flow charts of the fuel/electrical system, advanced meteorology, or EVERY SINGLE V-SPEED for EVERY possible flap setting, etc , perfectly, then I might need ALOT more studying time. LOL
Here's what the PTS says on Systems Operations:

Task G: Operation of Systems (ASEL and ASES)
References: FAA-H-8083-23, FAA-H-8083-25; POH/AFM.


Objective: To determine that the applicant exhibits satisfactory
knowledge of the elements related to the operation of
systems on the airplane provided for the flight test by
explaining at least three of the following systems:


1. Primary flight controls and trim.
2. Flaps, leading edge devices, and spoilers.
3. Water rudders (ASES).
4. Powerplant and propeller.
5. Landing gear.
6. Fuel, oil, and hydraulic.
7. Electrical.
8. Avionics.
9. Pitot-static, vacuum/pressure and associated flight
instruments.
10. Environmental.
11. Deicing and anti-icing.

On Weather:

Task C: Weather Information (ASEL and ASES)
References: 14 CFR part 91; AC 00-6, AC 00-45, AC 61-84; FAAH-8083-25; AIM.
Objective: To determine that the applicant:


1. Exhibits satisfactory knowledge of the elements related to
weather information by analyzing weather reports, charts,
and forecasts from various sources with emphasis on—


a. METAR, TAF, and FA.
b. surface analysis chart.
c. radar summary chart.
d. winds and temperature aloft chart.
e. significant weather prognostic charts.
f. convective outlook chart.
g. AWOS, ASOS, and ATIS reports.
h. SIGMETs and AIRMETs.
i. PIREPs.
j. windshear reports.
k. icing and freezing level information.


2. Makes a competent “go/no-go” decision based on available
weather information

On v-speeds: The DPE wants you to know what best glide, best angle of climb, best rate of climb, and stall speeds for landing and takeoff configuration will be. If he asks you anything else, just tell him you'd like to look it up in the POH, and that should be totally acceptable. Your DPE will likely not ask you what the stall speed with full flaps, power off, and a 50 degree bank are. What's the point?

You'll find the test to be pretty simple. After your test, you'll find equivalently qualified pilots in the real world to be extremely incompetent. I'm sure you already see a fair amount of that as a controller.
 

GUYONABUFFALO

Epic Member
Oct 4, 2012
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Your DPE will likely not ask you what the stall speed with full flaps, power off, and a 50 degree bank are. What's the point?


You are right there. No point in asking that one becuse every student pilot that tried that in a 150 or 172 is probably dead :)
 

kingjoemom

Junior Member
Jun 22, 2011
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Did my PPL checkride about a month ago. I rocked the oral so I felt like I left a good impression on the DPE before we started the flight. The flight was pretty easy however I did make some nervous mistakes. I forgot to listen to the morse code on the VOR. My crosswind technique was a little off, and my landings were kinda bad. But other than that I flew pretty well. From my experience the DPE is looking more for you to be a safe pilot rather than nail PTS 100%. Obviously PTS is important but sometimes it is really hard to nail a steep turn when it is very turbulent out. All in all I was a lot more prepared than I guess I really needed to be, speaking more from an oral standpoint. My advice to you would be to NOT STRESS!!! I would say about 95% of my errors came from being nervous, if it was not for those pesky nerves I would have had almost a perfect checkride (well maybe not 100% but you get the idea). I was lucky and had a great DPE who made the flight very comfortable and was super chill throughout the whole thing which really helped me perform better.

So all in all
1. Do NOT STRESS
2. Have fun (believe it or not I tried to do this and it worked)
3. There is an 80% pass rate on the PPL checkride
4. If your instructor signed you off to take the ride..... You are ready!!

Hope this helps, by the way.. Passed my checkride the first time.
 

GUYONABUFFALO

Epic Member
Oct 4, 2012
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I have a aquantance at the airport i fly out of that kept adding aileron during his stall recovery portion on the test and pitching the airplane straight down, and all the instructor did was show him how to do it right and still passed him.
 

atcadvocate

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Jun 15, 2008
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Hey, thanks a bunch for all the info. I definitely appreciate it. I think that nerves will definitely be my worst enemy. If I can keep them under control, I should be good. I'm pretty confident in the Oral and flying portion. I'm kind of worried about having to "possibly" pull out the e6b and compute problems while flying. I haven't done a lot of that. I am also a bit worried about diversions to an area that I may have never been to before. But generally, I tend to over prepare for this type of stuff. I'll let you guys know how it goes. If you are a religious type, keep me in your prayers! :) thanks again.
 

N813JB

Trusted Member
Feb 22, 2010
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Best advice given to me was to chat up your examiner...seriously, poke around at his past, ask him his background and run with it. My PPL examiner was a Nam vet. We spent an 1.5 hours talking about his experiences, and he asked me 10 questions at most relative to the oral exam. Now it doesn't work all the time, but the friendly conversation helps with the stress level.
 

atcadvocate

Junior Member
Jun 15, 2008
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Update: Guess what? I passed! Whoo-Hooo! :) so I guess I DEFINATELY over prepared. The examiner was super chill! He even flew my plane around the pattern once because he had never flown a diamond DA-20 before. He was Very laid back and my check ride was actually REALLY fun. I totally forgot that I was on a check ride. And he definately was more about safety rather than perfection. I had a great time and actually had a blast! And , oh yea... I'm a private pilot!
 

TAJ

Trusted Contributor
May 16, 2010
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When I took my private check ride it seemed that the examiner was mostly concerned about decision-making and acting as pilot in command. Glad everything went well for you, enjoy yourself up there!
 

AF_ATC

Trusted Member
Nov 20, 2009
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Awesome! I got my PPL back in 2005 and unfortunately have stopped flying due to work and lack of funds. I really want to get back into it once the FAA hires me (which may never happen, but that's a different story). My advice is to keep with it and remember it's a license to learn.

Congrats again!