1. Relax and enjoy it. Nationwide, about 90% of applicants pass on the first try, so look around and see if you think you’re as good as 9 out of 10 other students. Also, your instructor must maintain a pass rate of at least 80% to get his ticket renewed, so he’s not going to send you up unless he’s pretty darn sure you’ll pass – otherwise, he has to find four other people to pass to make up for you, and that’s not always easy.
2. Go over with your instructor the logbooks of the aircraft you're going to use the day BEFORE the checkride to make sure it's all in order (annual, transponder checks, ELT ops and battery, 100-hour if rented, etc.). If the airplane's paper busts, so do you. Run a sample W&B, too – get the examiner’s weight when you make the appointment. If you weigh 200, and so does the examiner, don’t show up with a C-152 with full tanks and a 350 lb available cabin load – examiners can’t waive max gross weight limits.
4. Rest up and get a good night's sleep the night before. Don't stay up "cramming."
6. Read carefully the ENTIRE PTS including all the introductory material. Use the checklist in the front to make sure you take all the stuff you need -- papers and equipment. And the examiner’s fee UP FRONT (too much chance a disgruntled applicant will refuse to pay afterward) in the form demanded by the examiner is a “required document” from a practical, if not FAA, standpoint.
8. You’re going to make a big mistake somewhere. The examiner knows this will happen, and it doesn’t have to end the ride. What’s important is not whether you make a mistake, but how you deal with it – whether you recover and move on without letting it destroy your flying. Figure out where you are now, how to get to where you want to be, and then do what it takes to get there. That will save your checkride today and your butt later on.
10. You're going to make some minor mistakes. Correct them yourself in a timely manner "so the outcome of the maneuver is never seriously in doubt" and you'll be OK. If you start to go high on your first steep turn and start a correction as you approach 100 feet high but top out at 110 high while making a smooth correction back to the requested altitude, don't sweat -- nail the next one and you'll pass with "flying colors" (a naval term, actually). If you see the maneuver will exceed parameters and not be smoothly recoverable, tell the examiner and knock it off before you go outside those parameters, and then re-initiate. That shows great sense, if not great skill, and judgement is the most critical item on the checkride.
12. During the oral, you don’t have to answer from memory anything you’d have time to look up in reality. You never need to memorize and know everything. Categorize material as:
a. Things you must memorize (i.e. emergency procedures, radio calls, airspace, etc).
b. Things you must know or have reasonable understanding of (i.e. interpreting weather codes, non-critical regs).
c. Things you know about but can look up and will have time to look up on the ground.
(Thanks to Mark Bourdeaux for this categorization.) So if the examiner asks you about currency, it’s OK to open the FAR book to 61.56 and 61.57 and explain them to him. But make sure you know where the answer is without reading the whole FAR/AIM cover-to-cover. On the other hand, for stuff you’d have to know RIGHT NOW (e.g., best glide speed for engine failure, etc.), you’d best not stumble or stutter – know that stuff cold. Also, remember that the examiner will use the areas your knowledge test report says you missed as focus points in the oral, so study them extra thoroughly.
14. Avoid this conversation:
Examiner - Q: Do you have a pencil?
Applicant - A: I have a #2, a mechanical, a red one...
Examiner - Q: Do you have a pencil?
Applicant - A: I also have an assortment of pens, and some highlighters...
Examiner - Q: Do you have a pencil?
Applicant - A: Yes.
Examiner - Thank you.
One of the hardest things to do when you’re nervous and pumped up is to shut up and answer the question. I've watched people talk themselves into a corner by incorrectly answering a question that was never asked, or by adding an incorrect appendix to the correct answer to the question that was. If the examiner wants more, he'll tell you.
16. Some questions are meant simply to test your knowledge, not your skill, even if they sound otherwise. If the examiner asks how far below the cloud deck you are, he is checking to see if you know the answer is “at least 500 feet,” not how good your depth perception is. He can’t tell any better than you can, and the only way to be sure is to climb up and see when you hit the bases, which for sure he won’t let you do.
18. Remember the first rule of Italian driving: "What's behind me is not important." Don't worry about how you did the last maneuver or question. If you didn't do it well enough, the examiner must notify you and terminate the checkride. If you are on the next one, forget the last one because it was good enough to pass. Focus on doing that next maneuver or answering the next question the best you can, because while it can still determine whether you pass or fail, the last one can’t anymore. If you get back to the office and he hasn't said you failed, smile to your friends as you walk in because you just passed.
19. Relax and enjoy your new license.
14 CFR 61.57 (d) describes the requirements for an instrument proficiency check (IPC), and includes a description of when an IPC is necessary. While certain exceptions apply, a pilot may reestablish instrument currency that has been lapsed for more than 6 months only through obtaining an IPC. On December 16, 2011, the FAA issued a technical correction to section 61.57 (d) in order to clarify the meaning of the regulation. This clarification was simply just that, a clarification, and no change to the application of the rule was intended. As the FAA explained in that technical correction (emphasis added):
The revised language makes it clear that a pilot who has failed to maintain instrument currency for more than six calendar months may not serve as pilot in command under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR until completing an instrument proficiency check. A pilot whose instrument currency has been lapsed for less than six months may continue to reestablish instrument currency by performing the tasks and maneuvers required in paragraph (c).
Notwithstanding the exceptions on 61.57 (e), the following timeline illustrates the correct application of 61.57 (d):
January 31, 2012: A pilot is no longer instrument current because they no longer meet the recent experience requirements found in 61.57 (c). This pilot may no longer act as pilot-in-command (PIC) of an aircraft operating under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR.
February 1, 2012 to July 31, 2012: The pilot has between these dates in order to obtain the recent experience requirements found in 61.57 (c). This experience may be obtained through instruction, the use of a safety pilot, or through a simulator / training device.
August 1, 2012: If by this date the pilot had not regained instrument currency, the only method by which a pilot may become instrument current again is by obtaining an IPC.
The FAA has become aware of some recent blogs, emails, and website comments that contain confusion about the technical correction and the current meaning of the rule. This FAAST Blast will hopefully alleviate that confusion. For additional information, please review the latest technical correction to 61.57 at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-16/pdf/2011-32333.pdf.
It wasn't a security threat that kept Qantas flight 825 from the skies, but rather a smelly, dirty diaper. The plane was en route from Darwin to Brisbane, Australia Sunday when passengers started complaining of a strange odor. And, in that situation, Qantas procedures dictate that the plane land as soon as possible, reports ntnwes.com.au. The plane landed in Mt. Isa.
A Qantas statement said an "odor" was detected, but the commenters at The Aviation Herald pinpointed the real culprit.
"Unfortunately the fumes turned out to be a very smelly nappy dumped in the fwd toilet," posted Frank Smith.
Because the Mt. Isa airport couldn't handle a plane as large as a Boeing 767, the passengers had to be removed from the plane by forklift, five at a time, in a process that took two hours.
A new plane picked them up in Mt. Isa and brought them to Brisbane. Their original craft later joined them in Brisbane, with their luggage.