As a pilot examiner I get to ask the questions and listen to the answers. Sometimes some of the answers raise an eyebrow or two.....
From a Private pilot applicant when asked about spin recovery procedures:
"I don't need to know that, my airplane isn't approved for spins."
From a CFI Airplane applicant when asked how the carb heat on her C-177RG works:
"Carb heat is electric on this airplane"
From a CFI Instrument applicant when asked how the pitot/static system works:
"Air comes from the pitot tube through the airspeed indicater, the altitmeter then the vertical speed and out the static port"
From a PWK based commercial pilot applicant when ask a Class B question:
"I don't know, I never go near Class B"
From a private pilot applicant when asked which gyros would fail if the vaccum pump failed in his 1975 C-172:
"The turn coordinator, the attitude indicator and the vertical speed indicator"
And from several applicants, What the best way to cure hypoxia?
"Open the windows"
There have been other strange answers to common questions along the way. Does one bad answer end the checkride? Most of the time not. But every examiner is different on this opinion. Most examinerss probe a little more to see if its just a brain fart or a real lack of understanding. I've noticed if I get a strange answer to a question, I'll drop the subject and ask a simular question (or questions) later in the oral. Most of the time the light goes on and we have a good chuckle about the previous answer.
"Pilots can be compared to buildings; if the foundation is faulty, the building will eventually fail"
Taking a check ride for a new rating is always stressful, whether it is the Private Pilot License or an advanced rating. While there is a little room for error, some components are absolutely essential to get right both in the oral portion of the exam and during the flight test. And you can maximize your chances of acing your check ride by carefully studying the Practical Test Standards (PTS), published for each FAA rating.
The PTS is the FAA examiner’s bible. He or she must comply with the rules within the book and cannot test anything that is not included in the publication. There are several sections of particular importance. The first is called “Special Emphasis Area” and it highlights several safety related components that you need to be aware of. For example, one component is collision avoidance. If the examiner notices that you are not scanning for traffic during your checkride, he or she could technically give you the dreaded pink slip.
Other sections to pay extra attention to are the ones titled “Satisfactory Performance” and “Unsatisfactory Performance.” They tell you very clearly what you should and shouldn’t do if you want to pass your test. The PTS also states that you are expected to use a checklist and that it is the examiner’s job to attempt to distract you during the exam to test your ability to divide your attention while maintaining control of the airplane.
If you are applying for an additional rating, there is a table in the PTS that shows which sections of the PTS will be tested. There is also a handy checklist of equipment and documents that you need to bring to the exam. And it doesn’t hurt to go over the examiner’s checklist, too.
By reading the PTS cover to cover, you can make sure that there won’t be any surprises during the checkride. You can download the Practical Test Standards for all ratings on the FAA website, but if you prefer to get the information in print there are several publishers, including ASA and Jeppesen, that sell the PTS books for around $5.
Darn good question! I think the checkride should be the length of a mini skirt, long enough to cover everything but short enough to keep it interseting. Ok, joking aside, most of my checkrides run about 4 hours from the time you walk in the door to the time you walk out. The checkride breaks down to 30 minutes of pre-checkride paperwork, 1 hour 30 minutes for the oral, 15 minutes for a quick break and preflight, 1 hour 30 minutes for the flight and another 15 minutes for debrief and paperwork. Pretty streight forward.
Those are average times. Some people take a little longer and others a little less. What makes that determination is how well the applicant is prepared. For example, I have seen a very well prepared private pilot applicant pass my oral in 1 hour and five minutes and I've had private applicants take 2 hours 10 minutes and still pass. The flying part is very consistant at 1.5 plus or minus .2 on the hobbs.
How can an I keep my checkride orals to 1 hour 30 minutes when anouther examener takes 4 hours? I use several senerios throughtout the test plus I combine Tasks from the PTS. Here's an example of how I combine Task from the PTS. Noticing the preplaned cross country passes through Class C airspace I'll ask according to the forcast, when will the XYZ (Class C airport) be VFR (IFR)? This allows me to evaluate the ability to read a TAF and the applicants knoweldge of VFR/IFR mins in Class C airspace. Note that this isn't the only question I'll ask on the subjects, it's just one example on how combine testing Tasks.
Checkrides very from applicant to applicant. Some folks are more nervious than others and some are better test takers than other. I recently had a CFI have an applicant come to me for a private pilot checkride. The applicant passed the test, but the CFI was a little P.O. that the oral took over 2 hours. The issue here was with how the applicant was prepared. Some of the questions I initially posed to the applicant he would lock up on. It took a little effort to pry the knoweldge out of him. For example, When I ask most applicants to show me that the aircraft is airworthy for the flight we are about to make, it takes less than 5 minutes to take the log books and show me the requried inspections. With this applicant when the question was posed he locked up. He grabed the logs and started paging threw them with a glassy eyed look. I let him flounder for a bit and then ask him what he's looking for and he list the required inspections. A good sign. Now I ask where those inspection could be found. He continued to work through his list he made with the logs and he found everythings. It took a little more than 15 minutes to do that. But as you can see, if we have to do that for 3 or 4 questions, the oral can get quite long. (Hint: have your student put together a cheat sheet with the required inspections and tag them with sticky notes in the logs).
August 9, 2011 by Tim McAdams Flying a rotor system edgewise through the air creates a problem known as dissymmetry of lift. One side of the disc advances into the wind (headwind) while the other side is retreating (tailwind). For a fixed angle of attack, the lift on the advancing side is greater creating a lift imbalance that increases with airspeed. The rotor system equalizes lift by flapping.
How flapping works is by changing the angle of attack in response to the varying airspeeds the blade encounters as it moves around the rotor disc. When the advancing blade experiences a higher airspeed, the lift on that blade increases forcing it to move up. This upward movement changes the direction of the blade’s relative wind reducing its angle of attack. On the retreating side just the opposite happens. The reduced airspeed causes a decrease in lift causing the blade to move down, increasing its angle of attack. You can only increase an airfoil’s angle of attack so much before it stalls. As the helicopter continues to fly faster the retreating side must continue to increase its angle of attack to compensate. At some airspeed, the retreating blade begins to stall.
From the pilot’s perspective, when this happens an abnormal vibration will be felt, the nose can pitch up, and the helicopter can have a tendency to roll in the direction of the stalled side. The amount and severity of pitch and roll will vary depending on the rotor system design.
The tendency for the nose to pitch up is because the spinning rotor system acts like a gyroscope and therefore experiences gyroscopic precession (a physical property that states when an external force is applied to a rotating body the effect will happen approximately 90 degrees later in the direction of rotation). As such, when the retreating blade stalls and stops producing lift, the effect of this happens toward the rear of the rotor disc. This causes the disc to tilt back, and the nose to pitch up. The pilot should lower the collective pitch first and then reduce forward airspeed to recover.
Conditions like high density altitude, steep or abrupt turns, high blade loading (caused by high gross weight), turbulent air and low rotor rpm will increase the likelihood of encountering retreating blade stall when operating close to a helicopter’s Vne (never exceed speed).
King GPS info found here