Pilot Checkride Preparation - DPE Walkthrough [Video]

Pilot Checkride Preparation – DPE Walkthrough

Pilot Checkride Preparation – DPE Walkthrough

BETH: Hi everyone, welcome back to another flight training video presented by AeroGuard Flight Training Center. My name is Beth and we’re here with our good friend Pete Reddan. Peter Reddan’s a DPE and he owns Vapor Global Aviation, and he’s based out of the Memphis, Tennessee FSDO, and he’s come to help us out today. Hey Pete, thanks for coming.

PETE: Thanks Beth, appreciate it and I hope for all you out there that this video gives you answers about what to expect potentially on your first practical exam or your third or fourth practical exam.

BETH: Perfect, that’s what we’re going to be talking about today: how you can be best prepared and what to expect for your private pilot or any checkride.

Starting Point

BETH: All right everybody, so we’re going to get started on how to meet your DPE and the beginning of how a checkride will go.

I showed up this morning for my checkride an hour early and so I got here to make sure the aircraft – I went ahead and pre-flighted it and cleaned the window and made sure everything was good, and then I came into the room and I got all my documents laid out, because I know that Pete’s going to want to see these things from me.

I have my checkride binder with all of my written tests and the maintenance log; everything we talked about in the previous video. I have my logbook ready to go and I have everything tabbed out so I can show him my cross-country flights and solo time and I have all of my documents here that I know he’s going to ask to see. Along with that, I have his scenario he gave me a few days ago, I made my NavLog and I have all the tools, the E6B, everything he’s going to ask of me, and so I tried to come as prepared as possible because I want to show Pete how professional I am and I am hoping to make this an efficient exam, so the more prepared I am, the most I can get out of it.

PETE: Great job on your preparedness, Beth. So what I’m going to do is, per the FAA, as a designated pilot examiner, I am legally bound to go through a briefing and cover a multitude of items before we even begin the exam. That’s important because up until I say the exam has begun, no one is being tested on anything and we’re basically setting the room, the airplane and you, as the practical exam applicant, up for success.

Once we say the exam has begun, I am now a representative of the FAA and I am enforcing or observing the Airmen Certification Standards and how you fulfill them. So with that, I’m going to start with one of a few briefs that we have to accomplish legally with you to get the exam going. So I’m going to roll into that with Beth, and she’s going to provide me the information that I need to make sure that she is ready to take her exam.

So Beth, congratulations on reaching your practical exam for your private pilot certificate, that’s a big accomplishment.

BETH: Thank you.

PETE: I know you’re excited, I know you’re a little nervous, but just go ahead and try and relax and just know that I am here to give a snapshot second opinion of what your instructor has already endorsed you for, which is to be a private pilot. So, just a second opinion, and we’re going to go through the ACS. We’re going to make sure that you are safe to accomplish the privileges of being a private pilot.

BETH: I’m excited and nervous.

PETE: Good, that’s okay. It’s okay to be excited, it’s okay to be nervous. So what’s your background? Where did you do your flight training, and how did you get to this point?

BETH: So I did my flight training with AeroGuard and I trained at the Deer Valley campus here in Phoenix.

PETE: So I know Adam, he’s one of the instructors at AeroGuard. I don’t know if you’re familiar with him.

I know AeroGuard has a really good reputation for producing quality students and quality applicants, so we have a little bit of common background there. So, a couple of other things we have to go over. If you’re already flight training at AeroGuard and you’ve been in this building, you know where the facilities are, you know where the emergency exits are. If anything should happen or if you should need to use the facilities just ask to stop, pause the exam and you know you can you go use these facilities or take a break or whatever we need.

BETH: So I can take a break?

PETE: Yes, you can.

Other than that, cell phone usage; so you can use your cell phone, your iPad, your ePubs, whatever you have in support of your exam. If you have to do calculations or pull up a chart or what have you, we just ask that you don’t use Facebook, Instagram, don’t answer text messages, don’t phone a friend for an answer.

BETH: So I can’t text my flight instructor?

PETE: No, no you don’t want to do that, but if you do have an emergency text or emergency phone call, just let me know. We’ll put the test on pause, we’ll let you handle that and then we’ll decide what we need to do with the test going forward.

BETH: Understood.

PETE: Basically, the big overview of the test is we have this pre-test briefing to kind of lay out the ground rules and answer any questions that you may have, make sure that you are qualified as the applicant, make sure the airplane is qualified to take the test in, and then once we have that all done we will go into the oral portion of the exam and we’ll go through some scenarios and some direct questioning, but mostly scenarios best we can with the scenario I sent you and then we’ll take a break in between the oral and the flight. We’ll come back in here, we’ll brief up the flight because we don’t want to be in the airplane and us have questions about what the expectations are.

So we’ll go through and we’ll brief up the flight as thoroughly as we can. Can’t tell you when the emergencies are going to happen, but we’ll tell you as much as we can about the flight and what to expect and how to expect it so that when we get up there, we can just move through the maneuvers and what we have to accomplish to get the exam done.

So with that, we need to make sure that you have a hood, your charts, whether they’re electronic or paper. Make sure you have your E6B, a plotter, make sure you have a blank flight plan, or how you would write out your flight plan as you would tell it to the flight service station briefer. You have to have flight log, your chart supplement, whether it’s digital or paper and then again, your FAR/AIM, whether it’s digital or paper. Just have that readily accessible because if I ask you a question and you’re not so sure about the answer, just let me know where you’re going to look it up and then find the right answer and then let me know. There’s some balance there because if we have to look up every answer, that demonstrates a lack of knowledge and understanding, but if you can kind of put your finger on it pretty quickly and know what the right answer is and then just confirm what the absolute right answer is, that’s a good way to go with your supporting documentation.

Are you familiar with the Airmen Certification Standards of what you’re going to be held accountable for today?

BETH: Is that like the tolerances?

PETE: Yes.

BETH: Yes. my instructor taught me those.

PETE: Okay, good. So Airmen Certification Standards, that’s what I’m going to test you on. It’s the only thing I can test you on. I can’t test you on my personal preferences, my personal biases, my personal techniques. I have to judge you for your practical exam on the Airmen Certification Standards and only those.

The three big things in the Airmen Certification Standards are proficiency, safety and good judgment, right?

You have to show me that you’re proficient, you have to show me that you understand safety. So let’s say we’re doing a maneuver and you’re getting out of tolerances or you’re getting too fast. You just need to show me that you can immediately correct back to tolerances safely and correctly and then that also shows me good judgment.

If you’re going to float past your touchdown point or your touchdown zone for your short field landing and you know you are and you decide that you’re going to go around, that shows me proficiency in a go-around, it shows me good judgment and it shows to me that you understand what the tolerances are and you’re unwilling to accept anything less than that.

I have a plan of action here. So it’s a white binder, it has all of the pre-written questions and pre-written answers that I’m going to ask you, so I’m not making anything up along the way. It comes right out of the ACS and it has the references to the answers so that there’s any question we can look it up together.

I’ll be taking notes through the entire test, so don’t let that distract you. If I ask you a question at any point during the test, especially when we’re flying or specifically when we’re flying, and you’re too busy aviating and navigating to answer it, just put your hand up or just say ‘not now’ or ‘hang on one second’. Remember, I’m here for you to support you and your advancement of getting the pilot certificate, so I’ll make a note of what the question was and we’ll re-attack it somewhere later in the exam.

There are three possible outcomes for the test:

(1) You can get your temporary airmen certificate, which is what we’re all hoping for; your temporary airmen certificates, good for 120 days. After 120 days, your temporary earnings certificate expires, or when you receive your plastic private pile certificate in the mail. If after about 60 days you don’t receive that plastic private pilot certificate, you can contact me through your instructor. Let me know and I’ll help you track down where that plastic card is and make sure we give it to you in a timely manner before the 120 days expire.

(2) A notice of disapproval. Obviously, it’s not what we want but it can happen. A notice of disapproval is good for 60 days and that is a letter of debt. So basically, what that says is, these are the items that you owe the next examiner to prove, to accomplish, to get your private pilot certificate. That’s good for 60 days. If you don’t take your exam within 60 days, then you have to retake the entire exam over again.

(3) Then you have the letter of discontinuance. So, let’s say the airplane breaks, let’s say you get that emergency phone call and you can’t continue with your exam. Let’s say weather moves in and we were unable to do the flight portion of the exam. If that happens, that’s a letter of credit, so what we’ll do is I’ll write up a letter and it’ll basically say these items were already accomplished, so when you give that to the next examiner, they don’t have to examine you on everything, they can just examine you on what is required. Note, that even though you have that letter of disapproval or discontinuance, the next examiner can examine you on whatever they think they need to examine you on. It’s kind of the minimum that has to be done but it’s not necessarily the maximum.

So with that, what we want to move into next, is we want to make sure we qualify you and the airplane for the exam. The first thing I would do is I’m going to go into IACRA. I’m going to pull up your application and the first thing that would happen is, it’s going to ask for your identification. I have to make sure that I log your form of identification into IACRA and make sure that it is actually you who’s taking the exam.

The next thing I’m going to check is I’m going to check your medical certificate against your IACRA application. The only thing that really changes over time is most people’s weight, but everything else should stay pretty much the same. So when you’re filling out your IACRA, make sure that it coincides with your medical certificate. I’m going to make sure that your medical certificate is current, I’m going to make sure that your medical certificate is correct for the exam that you’re taking.

All the exams need a third class medical at a minimum. You have a first class and I’m going to also check to make sure that the examiner’s name is exactly as it is typed out on your medical certificate in your IACRA application.

I’m also going to check your pilot certificate number against the number that’s in IACRA because that will be your student pilot certificate number, to make sure that they match, and then I’m going to confirm with you that your mailing address is actually the address that you want the card to go to so that if you live in another state but you want to come to Arizona, it doesn’t go to the other state and you have to wait for it to get mailed to you by your parents or roommates or what have you. So I’ll check all that.


BETH: Thanks so much to Pete Reddan, our DPE, for coming out and talking to us about how to make that checkride get started. We have two more segments with Pete coming in the next few weeks. Look forward to scenario questions for your checkride followed by frequently asked questions for your checkride. Thanks for watching, and as always please like and subscribe. We’ll see you next time!

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