2011 has past and 2012 brings a fresh start to things. As I had some free time to myself, I thought about last year’s checkrides. Although the number of checkrides was down, the quality has gone up. I credit that to the dedication and hard work from the flight instructors. The student has a roll in here too, without the proper motivation the instructors work would be moot.
In an effort to focus a little more attention at improving the education of our pilot, I took a look at some of the problem areas that keep showing up on checkrides. Here’s the list:
Private: Basic weather knowledge, Effects of density altitude, Takeoff, landings and go-arounds (think stabilized approaches and cross-winds)
Instrument: Basic weather knowledge, RNAV approach plates and Basic holding (think enroute holding)
Commercial: Commercial privileges and limitations and 180 power-off accuracy landings.
Multi Engine: Engine out climb performance, Precautionary engine shut-down, and feathering the wrong engine
ATP: See Instrument and Multi Engine and add Circling approaches.
CFI Airplane: All of the stuff above! Notice the correlation here!
Helicopter (all categories): Effects of density altitude (think RBS, Height Velocity diagram), wire strike avoidance, Low rotor RPM, Confined area and Auto Rotations.
CFI Helicopter: Same as above. Instrument Helicopter: Point in Space approaches.
Please note that these are the reoccurring weak areas, not necessarily resulting in a failed checkride. Yes, some performances observed during a checkride did end with a pink slip but these where usually the result of multiple deficiencies.
In the last year, I had 3 instances that ended checkrides before they ever got off the ground. All of these failures where the result of a runway incursion. PLEASE, have an airport diagram out and listen to the controllers instructions. Ask for a Progressive Taxi if you need to. If something isn’t adding up, get clarification!
Over all 2011 was a great year. Now go out and fly!