How do you do a Max Performance take off? Do you follow the FAA procedure as spelled out the the Helicopter Flying Handbook or do you use something else like a towering take off?
Examiners are expecting you to follow the Helicopter Flying Handbook. There may be other techniques but the one the applicant has to demonstrate is the one required by the PTS as described in the FAA handbooks.
The FAA just nabbed another Pilot Examiner for not doing his or her job. This is the 3rd one in the last 18 months or so. Unfortunately, this has also resulted in the retesting of over 1000 applicants. All these retest are at the applicants expense and those applicants who don't retest in the allotted time period get their pilot certificates revoked. NOT good.
Got a question on check ride policy? Take a look at the PTS or the Examiner Handbook 8900.2, Available by "Googling" 8900.2. Of course you can always call your local DPE or FSDO.
Safety Management Systems…..
You’ve probably heard the buzz words Safety Management Systems or its acronym SMS. SMS is a method of managing and reducing risk. There maybe a long, formal, process for doing this or it could be something simple. Truth be told, simple works. One of the pillars of SMS is developing Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs. Part of SOPs are developing policies that dictate when, where, and how we fly. Another name for that could be Personal Minimums.
The term Personal Minimums has been around for a long time. The FAA encourages everyone to develop their own set of personal minimums. These are the policies that you set for yourself. For example we can legally fly in Class G airspace with 1 mile vis and clear of clouds, helicopters in less than that. What are your minimums for Class G airspace?
Some of the scenarios I use in my check ride will get you to discuss your personal minimums. Lately, I’ve been kind of concerned about the lack of development in individual personal minimums. For example I’ll set up a night flight scenario with ceilings at 3000 feet with light rain forecasted but the visibilities will be around 4 to 5 miles. It’s interesting to note that private applicants with just a mere 3 hours at night, are ok with flying in these conditions. I can pull out any number of fatal accidents with just these conditions.
So just what are YOUR personal minimums? Think about it and wright them down, these will be your Standard Operating Procedures. As you gain ratings and experience you can adjust your SOPs.
I know one pilot who, early in his career, would launch off with his new instrument rating in weather down to 200 feet and ½ visibility in an IFR equipped C-150. He’s a good pilot and never had any problems. Ask that same pilot what is personal minimums are for single engine IFR and he will tell you 1000 feet and 3 miles. Why, you may ask? He’ll tell you we have a lot of redundancy in our aircraft but in a single engine airplane we only have one engine. If that engine stops I’ll be gliding in the soup. When I break out of the clouds, I want to be able to glide to a safe landing area. Do you think I can do that with weather of 200 and a ½?
I’ve only seen this a couple of times. An applicant shows up for the check ride down on himself and lacking self-confidence. Some people are just nervous but this is different. As we talk I’ll hear something to the effect of “I don’t think will go well but what the heck!”
Well that’s no way to start the show! I’m not sure how long this “negative thinking” has been going on but the longer it does the more a person will believe it. I’ve seen people get stuck on a simple question and say “I don’t know, I give up”. Well, lets not get so shaken up yet. Can you find the answer somewhere, in your notes, or FAR/AIM? I had one applicant several years ago actually give up flying the airplane! We where in the landing flare when the applicant took their hands off the controls and said “I can’t do this!”
Well, here are a few suggestions to help us out.
Have confidence in your training and instructor. All the instructors I know will not recommend an applicant for a check ride until that person is ready. The FARs and the PTS spell out the minimum requirements and I know most instructors standards are higher than the those. So have faith in that you have had good instruction.
Think positively. The check ride is not nearly as difficult as you think it will be. I’ve often asked applicants if the ride was as bad as they thought and they almost always answer “No, it was easier”. Some tell me their instructor was harder (which is the way it should be). Keeping on the positive side will keep you more relaxed and stress free.
Keep your head up and sit up straight. Believe it or not posture can play a role in self-confidence. People with the more dominate stance generally command more respect and power. That stance (or posture) sends positive signals to the brain allowing the individual to do well.
Just before the check ride, write down what your are scared or nervous about on paper. After you’re done, throw the paper away. I don't know why this works as a stress reducer but it does.
Remember to take your time, relax and breath. It’s kind of a yoga thing that will help reduce stress and clear your mind.
That’s all I got! Good Luck!