5 Must-Known Tips About assing FAA Checkride

Checkride – a practical flight test which stresses out almost all the student pilots. After months of flight training and ground school, it’s the last thing to pass after which they have their new pilot certificate. Are you hoping to pass this FAA graduation exercise on your first try? How can you overcome your nervousness and show the FAA examiner everything you have learned both in the air and on the ground. Check out the below 5 tips which can help you in passing the FAA checkride with skill and confidence.

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Preparation is very important

Prepare the PTS (practical test standards) thoroughly, the minimum altitudes for each flight maneuver in particular. Before you appear for your FAA checkride, complete your preparation early i.e. some days before your test day. Find out about your examiner and also discuss with other pilots who might have received their license through that same examiner. It is possible that you may find certain aeronautical areas the FAA examiner asks more questions on. And if you are going to appear for your flight test at some other airport and not your regional airport, then make sure you take at least few practice flights there. Be familiar with the taxiways, runways – learn as much as you can prior your test, and prepare yourself with all the flight test knowledge.

Don’t stress too much

Many students’ studies even the night before their checkride test day. If you want your checkride to be better, then you should stop studying and get a good 8 hours of sleep. There is no use of overcrowding your head with new information at the last minute. Sleep early and wake up relaxed and refreshed and eat healthy breakfast. Reminisce about the flight training, your first solo, your spot on maneuvers, your best take-offs and landings. Prepare yourself mentally and remember that you have reached this point because you have sufficient knowledge about your training.

Get your paperwork ready

Many pilots make the mistake of appearing for their FAA checkride without all their important paperwork in order. Make sure to go through your 8710 airman certificate application and then make your flight instructor to do the same. Check your airport directory and sectional charts and make sure they are current. Make sure you get at most two weather briefings: one briefing for the morning of your flight test and one at the night before. Double check your logbook and CFI and make sure everything is current, neatly filled out and in proper order. You wouldn’t want to aggravate the FAA examiner and leave a bad impression. Make sure you start your checkride on the right foot.

Know the Route

Make sure to understand the route for your flight plan that the examiner asked you to plot and also the route to an alternate airport. You should know everything about the routes be it airspace requirements or altitude minimums, even though you won’t be flying the entire strip of the plotted course. Prepare a sheet with all required frequencies of nearby airports as well as prepare emergency plans based upon an in-flight emergency anywhere near those routes.

Know the basics out and out

Give equal importance to both the oral part of your flight exam as well as even to the flying portion also. Your examiner doesn’t expect you to know everything, but he or she will just check how good you are at the basics of the aeronautical knowledge. Make sure you know the basics inside and out because you don’t want to give the examiner a reason to fail you by not knowing the basics. Also, even before you appear for your checkride make sure to identify and work on your weak points. The examiner will also ask you situational and hypothetical questions where he does not just want right answers but he also will be interested in knowing whether you know why your answer is correct. It’s okay to not know everything but it’s really not okay if you went for your checkride without preparing the PTS study material.

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For Student Pilots: before opting for a Type Rating

Most of the student pilots or aspiring student pilots might have this question in their mind – Do they really need a type rating? Is training for a type rating worth all the effort? Would a type rating help improve their chances of getting a job in a decent airline? Even though these are all important questions, a type rating for pilots may actually make a lot of sense for their careers.

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A type rating is indeed a big deal! It is an attempt in learning what the ‘actual world’ of commercial flying entails. If you are considering getting your first type rating, you are likely to have flown a single engine aircraft followed by a multi engine aircraft. Thus, below are some points you need to bear in mind before opting for a particular type rating.

Aircraft Type:

The first and the most obvious decision to make is what type of aircraft you prefer: Boeing, Airbus or ATR. Depending on the aircraft type, your initial type rating may cost anywhere between 15 to 24 thousand US dollars. Also, a lot depends on the training academy you train, however 20 thousand US is the approximate figure. Expensive! Right? Thus, if you want to make the correct choice make sure you do your research and that there are decent number of openings on the aircraft type you opt for.

There are many speculations surrounding the word type rating and one of them is that a type rating is the key to landing an airline job. Well, not exactly. A type rating is just an additional endorsement on your license. Only your knowledge and skills in aviation will be responsible for landing you a job. Whether you have a type rating or not, you just have to be a good navigator and aviator.

Your navigation and aircraft basics need to be rock solid as most training institutes would assume that you have certain knowledge base in Aviation. Lack of basic knowledge may make it very difficult for you to get through a type rating course. Make sure you brush up on your knowledge of instrument rating and orientation before you apply for FAA Type Rating.

Another thing candidates have to be aware about is a speculation stating: flying a multi crew aircraft is easier than a single pilot aircraft. This is the biggest Type Rating Challenge that many student pilots will encounter. Contrary to the popular notion, operating a multi crew aircraft is much harder than a single pilot aircraft. The standard operating procedures, combined with navigating bustling airspace is a difficulty one can understand only after his or her first type rating experience.

And when it comes to the duration of the course, then the more is always good whereas less is actually bad. There are many training schools that offer a complete Airbus A320 Type Rating in just one month. Well to clarify, please take note that aircraft like A320 are hi-tech equipment with 300+ computers controlling them directly or indirectly. There are fat chances of any pilot able to take in the know-how of the system that are needed to fly that kind of machine together with the practical simulator training in a month! A decent duration to look out for is 2-3 months and anything more than this is absolutely better.

Another speculation to be aware about is about the number of orders of a particular aircraft type. A 100 aircraft on order doesn’t mean anything when deciding whether to get type rated or not. Generally, the fleet expansion rate will almost never be more than 3 aircraft per month, where 3 aircraft a month is being too optimistic. In general, an aircraft used for domestic operations ideally needs a unit of 6-8 first officers based upon aircraft policies.

A type rating course is one of the most wonderful experiences of your life you will ever have. You do your very first type rating for only once, so make sure that you make the most out it and above all enjoy it.

All you need to know about Line Training Program

For a student pilot, a line training program helps him or her to increase their total number of flight hours, for gaining experience in a real aircraft and for getting a better job. The most popular line training programs in the aviation field are A320 line training and B373 line training. Generally, line training programs are offered by airlines or recruiters. Let’s see why pilots need line training and what does it involve.

Line training

Line Training Program Requirements:

Line Training program requirements are relatively identical everywhere. The list of primary requirements for line training program is:
Minimum 100 hours of total flight hours (as pilot-in-command of aircraft);

  • FAA type rating on a current aircraft;
  • Legit Multi-engine, Instrument Rating;
  • Legit Commercial Pilot License or Airline Transport Pilot License;
  • Legit Class 1 Medical Certificate;
  • Completion Certificate of Multi Crew Cooperation
  • English level 4 according to ICAO requirements;

Firstly, you have to check whether you meet the requirements or not and be applicable to begin the program within two to four months. After that you have to send the required documents and, if pre-approved, wait for further information with all line training program details (fee amount, additional required documents, etc.) Airlines usually approve of applicants with the minimum of 100 hours of total flight hours (more is better) and high grade of final type rating exam (about 95 – 100%).

Training Expense

The costs of line training program are based on the aircraft type. For example, line training A320 might cost around $50,000 – $60,000. Line training for less popular aircraft types are generally economical as well as applicants can pay around 60% of payment before the program begins and the rest of it later.

Moreover, candidates are not paid when they are training for the program. Still, there are many airlines that offer the convenience of signing a permanent contract as a first officer for pilots (after completing the line training).

Despite the notion that line training programs destroy the airline pilot industry (self-sponsored training), line training by its very nature is obligatory and generally, it is the very first step of becoming a pilot. Of course, there was a phase when airline pilot training was sponsored by the airline hiring a pilot. However, the circumstance has changed and now only a few airlines still apply this policy.

How does flight simulator help in flight training?

A flight simulator is an equipment that re-creates aircraft flight and environment artificially, for pilot flight training, design or other purposes. It replicates the equations that govern how aircraft fly, how they counter the applications of flight controls, the influence of other aircraft systems, and the behavior of aircraft to external factors such as air density, turbulence, wind shear, cloud, precipitation, etc.

Flight Simulator

If you are a student pilot working on your instrument rating or FAA ATPCTP training then using flight simulator you can learn the controls of a real airplane as well as enhance your flying skills. It helps you in dividing tasks and complicated procedures into feasible segments. You can practice a specific skill, practice flight in the air, and repeat it several times without the disruptions that occur in the world of real flying. To come to the point, think of Flight Simulator as an economical, programmed procedure and activity trainer which delivers the same benefits as the airline and corporate pilots get. Check out some training features in a Flight simulator which can help you learn and enhance your flying skills.

Flights

Flights help in getting started quickly in a specific aircraft at a particular location, with weather, views, and other prerequisites already put together. Prepare everything once, save that conditions as a flight, and with just a few clicks of the mouse, you can begin flying from that spot under those particular conditions whenever you want to.

Flights are also useful when you want to work on a particular skill – such as flying instrument approaches, entering holding patterns, or VOR navigation. On loading a flight that starts in the air, you can get right into the action and focus on the specific tasks at hand without wasting time in taking off, flying to the appropriate practice area, and configuring all the aircraft systems. If you are an instructor, you can also use Flights to construct situations in which particular instruments or entire aircraft system fail.

Weather

Using Flight simulator, you can train for flying through the dark, rainy skies. The flight simulator’s advanced weather features enable you to create cloud layers, murky fog, crosswinds and other challenges. The ability to constitute low clouds and reduced visibility can be useful in conditions where you are trying to learn how weather conditions affect your flying.

Flight Analysis

The Flight Simulator includes an enhanced flight analysis that functions much like a flight data recorder in a real-world aircraft. It automatically monitors your altitude, trajectory, speed and other information as you fly. You can play back the flight overlaid on a map – any time you want to see whether you have followed the ATC’s instructions or tracked the localizer properly or not.

Map View

The map view is not just a tool to check your position instead it also shows the location of navigation aids, high and low-altitude air routes, intersections and your pathway over the ground. Map view also functions as an airport/facility directory in Flight Simulator.

Sharing aircraft: Multiplayer

A flight simulator multiplayer enables you to share an aircraft with your flight instructor or student over the web or a LAN (Local area network).

Tower: Multiplayer

Learning air traffic controls can be very nerve-wracking for a student pilot. The flight simulator’s multiplayer tower feature allows you to function as the air traffic controller for the students over the LAN or the web.

System Failures

With flight simulator, you can experience authentic unplanned engine failures, instruments, and entire system failures.

Views and Windows

This feature of Flight Simulator comes handy when you want to practice the views of a real-world airplane – you can observe the airplane’s attitude during landings, takeoffs, and other maneuvers.

Slew mode

This is a convenient tool for understanding the navigation instruments. It is a quick way to drift the airplane for another landing or to enter traffic pattern from the different direction.

Flight Simulator is a great tool for formulating different challenges that encourage the students and keep them determined, especially when maintenance or weather obstructions calls off a real-world flight.

What happens during a student pilot’s flight training?

As a student pilot, you will get to learn a variety of things during your flight training. Flight training is a course study for students who are learning to pilot an aircraft and this training includes a combination of aircraft flight lessons and ground school training – flight planning, aircraft systems, federal aviation regulations, weather, and aircraft performance. But what exactly do student pilots learn during their flight training? Let’s look at some different types of maneuvers that private pilot candidates learn and master before moving up to more advanced ratings:

Flight Training

Ground Reference Maneuvers

Ground reference maneuvers are meant to develop your understanding of how the wind influences your ground track. It develops your skill and confidence to a degree where you can safely maneuver the aircraft when flying at low altitude and making alterations for the effect of the wind. Ground reference maneuvers are a required part of the private pilot practical test and you would need these skills while operating in the airport traffic pattern. Ground reference maneuvers include turns around a point, S-turns, and rectangular course.

Performance Maneuvers

Performance maneuvers are intended to develop a high degree of pilot skill. They help the pilot in examining the forces acting on the aircraft and in developing coordination, timing, and division of attention for precise maneuvering of the aircraft. It sharpens the fundamental skills to the degree that a pilot can cope with unusual or unforeseen circumstances occasionally encountered in normal flight. A pilot learns Performance maneuvers such as steep turns (a 360 degree turn at a steep bank angle) to experience the potential and aircraft behavior characteristics in high-performance flight.

Takeoffs & Landings

Takeoffs are easy; however, there is more to the type of takeoffs that you will learn. Along with the normal takeoff, you will also get to learn the crosswind takeoffs, soft field takeoffs, and short field takeoffs. Similarly, when it comes to landings, as a pilot, you need to learn to land on short runways and soft, grass runways. This training turns out to be useful during emergency off-field landings, and also provides the required training to fly into and out of different types of airports.

Stalls and Stall Recovery

An aircraft “stall” happens when an aerofoil (the wing of the aircraft) exceeds its given critical angle of attack and can’t make enough lift to keep the aircraft in level flight. Stalls are dangerous at low altitude flying, such as during takeoff and landing, and without learning proper recovery procedures, it can turn into a spin. A student pilot must train for stalls and stall recovery procedures at high altitudes so that he or she knows exactly how to recover properly (if they accidently stall the aircraft during their flight).

These lessons include a student learning to fly close to the stall and learning the different behaviors of the aircraft when there is not enough lift produced by the wings to balance its weight. It is important for the students to know about stalling so that they can avoid the inadvertent stall, learn about slow flight, and the approach and landing phase of the flight.

Emergencies

Emergencies are unusual, but they do happen, and a good pilot has to be prepared with an emergency checklist for several emergencies situations. Generally, a pilot has to practice to perform emergency landings by simulating an engine failure. By keeping the aircraft power off, the student pilot will learn to descend to an emergency landing spot while assessing damage and carrying out emergency checklists, making radio calls, and setting up for a landing in a field. Moreover, a student pilot has to prepare for other emergencies such as electrical malfunctions, cabin fire, engine fire, and numerous other system failures.

Flight navigation

Flight navigation is a procedure of planning, reporting, and operating the movement of an airplane from one stop to another. Nowadays, flight navigation has got easy due to the use of GPS, iPads and other tablets, but as a pilot one should still know how to navigate in case a GPS fails.

Flight Planning

Lastly, a pilot must learn to plot a cross-country flight with information of climate conditions, routes, alternate airports, and guidelines. The flight planning process is a comprehensive process which includes chart plans, airspeed calculations, magnetic heading, the fuel usage, and flight time and navigation techniques.

Thus, these are just a few basic required maneuvers that a student pilot practices during their private pilot training. Becoming proficient in these maneuvers is essential for getting a PPL (private pilot certificate) and for moving up to advanced FAA type ratings.

What can a student pilot expect on his first solo flight?

A student pilot’s first solo flight is nothing less than a milestone and something he or she will certainly never forget. It is great for building confidence and it’s an accomplishment that every student pilot should be proud of. During their first solo flight, the student pilot will fly few circuits and build up confidence in his or her flight abilities – without an instructor instructing them. Students often learn many things when they are flying solo. The first solo flight of a new pilot includes a pilot completing a takeoff, a short flight, and safe landing, on their own.

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A student can appear for his or her solo flight only when the instructor believes that the student is ready and also after going through lots of training. Before a student is allowed to fly an airplane on their own, they must learn certain topics and maneuvers on the ground. The FAA has formulated requirements that must be met before a student can fly solo. According to FAR Part 61, a student pilot must meet the following training requirements:

Ground Training

A student pilot is required to pass an aeronautical knowledge test based on topics in Part 61 and Part 91 of the FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations). The test should also include procedures for the student’s airport, airspace rules, flight components and operational limitations for the aircraft to be flown. And before the student goes for his or her solo flight, the flight instructor has to assess the test and any incorrect answers with the student pilot.

Flight Training

Well, for a student to fly solo there are no minimum requirements but he or she should be proficient at certain flight maneuvers before their solo flight. Occasionally, a student can fly solo with around 10 or 15 hours, but at times, a student requires more training time than that and it’s not unusual for a student to increase 20 or even 30 hours before they fly solo. According to FAR 61.87(d), a student pilot must be trained in multiple maneuvers to cover traffic patterns, takeoffs and landings, stall entries and recoveries, emergency procedures and more.

Flying Solo

When a student pilot is ready to fly solo, and have accomplished the mandatory tasks as per the FARs, his or her instructor will choose a clear weather day for the student’s solo flight. A student will go up first with his or her flight instructor to make sure that the landings are good, that the student is performing well for the specific conditions of the day, and then, often after the student performs 3 or 4 good landings in a row, the instructor will tell him or her to taxi back to the ramp and drop him off back at the flight school. The student will taxi back to the airport where his instructor will sign his or her logbook and student pilot certificate with the required endorsements and then he or she is ready to fly solo.

After the solo flight, a student has to accomplish additional solo flights, first in the training zone and then at other airports until eventually, the student will get his or her private pilot certificate. After the private pilot certificate, the student can add different certificates and FAA type ratings to his or her license.

How can student pilots learn more from each flight lesson?

For productive flight training, student pilots require skilled and motivated aviation instructors who are committed to their students’ success. But along with this, the students should also understand that they have a major role in the learning process to fly. They have to actively participate in their flight training by reviewing every lesson they learn and by completing specific assignments given by their respective flight instructor to help them prepare for the next lesson. Let us look at some more ways how student pilots can get the most out of each flight lesson:

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Use a course outline or syllabus

This is the very first thing that a student pilot should do. Whether you are getting your flight training from a distinguished flight school or from an independent CFI, a course outline would provide you a methodical order to flight training and helps you in effectively tracking your progress lesson by lesson.

Prepare for every lesson beforehand

After the completion of each lesson, make sure your flight instructor assigns you reading material to study. And before your ground lessons always remember to review the relevant subject matters in advance and make notes of topics you don’t understand. In order to prepare for flight lessons, review each maneuver step-by-step and do some chair flying where you mentally go through every single step of a flight in your mind with a checklist in hand.

Begin with an organized cockpit

Always remember to organize the cockpit pre-flight – make sure your sectionals, kneeboard, Airport /Facility Directory (A/FDs), pens, iPad, and E6B are easily accessible.

Maintain a consistent lesson schedule

Make an attempt to schedule at least 2 to 3 lessons per week, and if possible avoid long intervals of time in between flight lessons. This would help you in remembering the facts and techniques better, which in turn would quick and less costly for you to get your certificate.

Keep the distractions at bay

If you are often distracted during ground lessons due to the unusual activities of the training aviation airport request your instructor for a more isolated training area. Many flight schools have designated enclosed areas for providing a good private learning environment.

Never miss the post-flight briefing

One of the most important aspects of a flight lesson is the post-flight briefing. Don’t skip the post-flight briefing as this would help you in knowing what you did aptly during the flight and the areas where you need to improve. Don’t forget to record the flight times in your logbook, record the flight details in a schedule and discuss what needs to be reviewed before the next lesson.

Join the airport community

This would definitely help you in getting more knowledge about your flight lessons. Try to get to know other instructors, other students, seniors at your flight school. Make sure you never miss any seminars or forums conducted at your airport. All these things would offer you useful knowledge and help you progress through challenging lessons and tasks during your training.

Moreover, as a student pilot, you should read as much as you can about the flight training, ask questions, attend local seminars, check the online courses, meet other students and discuss the challenges, share experiences and success. Productive flight training is important for you to apply for the pilot job at an airline. You should also consider getting a FAA type rating as many companies are looking for pilots with such experience.