There’s no doubt that taking your commercial checkride can be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience. After all, the stakes are now higher. If you pass the checkride you can get hired, work as a pilot in a professional capacity, and start getting paid.
Here are 6 tips that you might find useful if you’re planning on taking the commercial checkride anytime soon.
1. Know Your Plane
Our first tip is to make sure that you are very familiar with the plane you will be using for your checkride.
Knowing things like glide capability, Vspeeds, how the electrical system operates, etc. is important and will play a large part in how well your checkride will go.
Taking the checkride in the same model of plane that you have logged many hours in and know inside out will ensure that won’t get tripped up or caught out.
2. Know Your Equipment
Before you take the commercial checkride, make sure that you know your equipment well. Ideally, any piece of equipment you need to use should be second-nature.
Having said that, make sure that you don’t over-rely on your equipment. Using a piece of equipment like an iPad, for example, can be a crutch and result in poorer situational awareness. Use equipment only when necessary and make a device work for you, not against you.
3. Don’t Aim for Perfection
Pilots in particular can fall into the trap that perfection is necessary. After all, the margin for error when flying a plane is greater than driving a car, for example.
However, remember that you aren’t being tested for perfection, you are being tested to practical test standards that you will either meet within acceptable tolerances or won’t. So make sure that you reframe what a commercial checkride consists of and what you are being tested for.
4. Acknowledge Your Mistakes
As stated above, it’s okay if the checkride doesn’t go perfectly as possible. To go one step further, though, if you happen to make a mistake, it’s a good idea to acknowledge that you did something (or didn’t do it) and make the correction.
If you just move on, the examiner might think that you didn’t realize that you made the mistake, make a note of it, and you’ll be left in a much worse position.
4. Be Professional
A commercial pilot license gives you the privilege of getting paid for flying, whether that be carrying cargo or passengers. As commercial pilots are expected to be professional, make sure that you maintain professionalism during the checkride.
This includes how you approach the checkride and acting in a similar manner as if you were flying a paying passenger. You also want to make sure that you fly the plane as smoothly as possible.
5. Don’t Rush
If you’ve ever read one of the many stories of a pilot in an emergency situation, you’ve no doubt noticed a familiar pattern. The pilot managed to stay calm – sometimes surprisingly so. It’s this calmness that helped them properly assess the situation, their options, and make the correct decision at the correct time.
So if there is no need to rush even in emergency situations, you can bet that there is no need to rush during your commercial checkride either. Remain calm and take the time to do things purposefully and correctly. You have more time than you think.
6. Only Test When You’re Ready
It’s normal to be nervous but if you’re not close to 100% sure that you’re ready to take the checkride, then don’t.
Spend some additional time in the plane, take a few more flying lessons, study more. If you take the checkride and fail because you aren’t ready this will only make you more nervous when you retake the checkride. You’ll find that your previous failed checkride will be weighing on your mind, and will only serve to put you under additional pressure.
This doesn’t just apply to the commercial checkride, but any test you take.