You wouldn't believe some of the goofy stuff I see on checkrides. Its unfortunate but sometimes a pilot examiner has no choice but to issue a notice of disapproval. Here are some of the new stories
One private pilot applicant had not filled in the winds aloft part of his cross country. No problem. So we went out to the computer where he went to Aviationweather.gov. Instead of pulling up winds aloft for his proposed altitude of 5500 feet, he pulled up the METARs for all the stations along his route of flight. He promptly took the surface winds and plugged them in to his flight plan form. The applicant told me one of his many CFIs told him to do it that way.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks later at different school I get to see the same thing! The applicant said the CFI taught him to do it and he always did it on his solo cross countries. The CFI was right there with us and you could see he was pretty ticked off. The applicant pulled out his solo cross countries (with the weather nicely stapled to it) and showed us that he had always used surface winds for his cross country planning. Well the instructor just about went though the roof!
I was asking a commercial applicant to walk me through his cross country he had planned. We were flying a light twin, a BE-76. I noticed he had a planned true airspeed of 180 KTS at 4500 feet and the fuel burn worked out to 56 gallons per hour. That's not quite right! Ok, not even close, the BE-76 is usually around 150 KTS and 18 gallons per hour. When I asked about the discrepancy, the commercial applicant said the computer program he used didn't have the BE-76 in its computer base but the PA-31 was in there. He thought that would be close enough.
Speaking of computer programs, I had one private pilot applicant show me a cross country that should have been a heading around 280. Instead his computer flight plan, which was developed by a friend, showed an on course heading of 010, exactly 90 degrees off course. Some friend!
More recently, I've seen a couple of applicants use the wrong performance figures for their aircraft. One airplane was a Cessna 172 which had been modified with 180 hp engine to replace the original 150 hp engine. This applicant used the original POH which showed a fuel burn of 6.5 GPH at 2300 RPM. In reality the fuel burn was almost 2 GPH more than that. Usually when an aircraft has a change like that there will be undated information included in a POH supplement. Some older STCs didn't include the relevant info so you have to go else where for your data.
I was giving a private pilot check ride to an applicant that was doing very well. We proceeded out to the airplane and launched off on our cross country. After we leveled off at cruise I noticed he didn't lean the engine. When I asked him why he hadn't leaned the engine, he told me he didn't know how. I thought he was joking but he wasn't . He told me the only time he used the red knob in the 152 was to push it in for start and pull it out to shut the engine down.
That was several years ago but he was the first of about a half a dozen who have demonstrated that they don't know how to lean the mixture.
Then there was the guy on his multi engine check ride who feathered the left engine and then shut down the right engine! I'll save that story for another time. I'll leave it with there was some shorts that needed to be changed afterword.
Problems with forward slips are showing up. Some applicants are starting the slip with a skid and then trying to correct to the slip. Skidding an airplane at low airspeed and low altitude is dangerous and will wake me from my nap!
The "forward slip" is a slip in which the airplane's direction of motion continues the same as before the slip was begun. If there is any crosswind, the slip will be much more effective if made toward the wind (wing down into the wind). Slipping should usually be done with the engine idling. There is little logic in slipping to lose altitude if the power is being used.
Assuming that the airplane is originally in straight flight, the wing on the side toward which the slip is to be made should be lowered by use of the ailerons. Simultaneously, the airplane's nose must be yawed in the opposite direction by applying opposite rudder so that the airplane's longitudinal axis is at an angle to its original flightpath. The degree to which the nose is yawed in the opposite direction from the bank should be such that the original ground track is maintained. The nose should also be raised as necessary to prevent the airspeed from increasing. These are very smooth, fluid control movements.
If a slip is used during the last portion of a final approach, the longitudinal axis of the airplane must be aligned with the runway prior to touchdown so that the airplane will touch down headed in the direction in which it is moving over the runway. This requires timely action to discontinue the slip and align the airplane's longitudinal axis with its direction of travel over the ground before touchdown.
From the FAA website:
Published instrument procedures and routes are incorporated by reference into 14 CFR Part 95 and 14 CFR Part 97, are "law." They are "effective" only during the AIRAC cycle dates specified on the enroute chart/TPP covers or on the side of the chart when printed from the digital-TPP. If you are using a published procedure before or after the dates specified on the chart under IFR, you are technically in violation of the law.
From the FAA website:
AIM 1-1-19b3(b) Database Currency (1) In many receivers, an up-datable database is used for navigation fixes, airports and instrument procedures. These databases must be maintained to the current update for IFR operations, but no such requirement exists for VFR use.
AIM 1-1-19f1(b) Equipment and Database Requirements - For IFR Operations "All approach procedures to be flown must be retrievable from the current airborne navigation database..."
AC 90-100, U.S. TERMINAL AND EN ROUTE AREA NAVIGATION (RNAV) OPERATIONS, paragraph 8a(3): The onboard navigation data must be current and appropriate for the region of intended operation and must include the navigation aids, waypoints, and relevant coded terminal airspace procedures for the departure, arrival, and alternate airfields.