Helpful hints to pass your FAA Practical Test (Checkride):

Show up, on time. If you will be late/ no show, call your Examiner as soon as possible, during "waking hours." 2AM is probably not appropriate. :)

Have ALL your pilot logbooks/ paperwork, and the aircraft mainenance logs. If your Flight School will only let you have a maintenance Status Sheet, call your Examiner to discuss in advance.

The ACS/ PTS has a checklist of things to take to your test. In fact, it has LOTS of good information. It lists everything you need to bring and everything you're going to do/ talk about during your Practical Test. Few people actually read it, but it's free and informative. Do yourself a favor and read it cover to cover. I know- it's as dry as every other gov't publication, but reading it takes the surprises out of checkride day.

Make sure you have met and logged all the Aeronautical Experience Requirements, your Application is 100% correct, all required Logbook Endorsements are entered, and you've brought everything you're supposed to. Having a preventable "hiccup" right away on checkride day frustrates Applicants and Examiners needlessly. To make checkride day go smoothly, both Applicant and CFI should check and recheck these items. Nothing builds an Applicant's Self Confidence better than knowing they're well prepared and have everything they need.

After the CFI has Electronically signed the Application, print off a copy and hand sign the Recommendation. If IACRA is offline, you can then proceed using paper without delay. If you or your CFI has ANY questions about the application or the process, call your Examiner.

The FAA says that there are no "redos" on checkrides. That is to say that you have one opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge/ aeronautical skill within the standard required. Take your time. Think about the question/ maneuver, then proceed. It only takes a second.

Continue reading and there is mention of "consistently exceeding tolerances." What that means is if you slightly exit the parameters, but take corrective action on your own- good job! Exceed the standard and don't take corrective action? Exceed the standard multiple times? Houston- we have a problem.

Another thing being evaluated is judgement. A pilot exercises good judgment if they "go around" when the desired safe outcome is in doubt. This works on Steep Turns as well as Approaches and Landings. Obviously if you have to go around multiple times, you are consistently exceeding the standard.

Know how to use everything in the airplane, and do so as appropriate. If your airplane has GPS and/ or Autopilot- use them! That is CRM. CRM is good. Your DPE will ask you to turn them off if they need to see you demonstrate something else.

RELAX! BREATHE! A checkride is not a "timed event." Think about the question, think about the correct answer, and then JUST answer the question. In as few words as possibe. If you're talking, you're digging...

Your instructor has prepared you well and wouldn't have recommended you if they didn't feel you were ready. You, they, and your Examiner want you to succeed. If you're there on checkride day, we all know you can. Try to enjoy this as best as you can given the circumstances. I know checkrides are stressful- I've had a couple myself :) RELAX!

Photos and Text Copyright 2022. Richard Wilkening