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.