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Fri, Aug 04, 2006

ANN's Daily Aero-Tips (08.04.06): Do-Over

Aero-Tips!

A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of "there are no old, bold pilots.")

Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner, master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us -- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators. Some of them, you may have heard before... but for each of us, there will also be something we might never have considered before, or something that didn't "stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized it for the practical test.

Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you through the Aero-News Network.

Aero-Tips 08.04.06

It happens. Not everyone passes a checkride on the first attempt. A couple examiners I know tell me the most frequent reason applicants fail the flying portion of a pilot certificate or rating "practical test" is lack of preparation brought on by an unrealistic goal-trying to pass a checkride on a specific day (for instance, a birthday), or attempting to complete the test at a specific number of flying hours.

The reality: you're not ready 'til you're ready. A busted checkride reflects more on the CFI who gets talked into endorsing a pilot that's not ready than it does on the pilot taking the test.

Bad air day

Let's say you succumbed to calendar or hours-flown pressure and you can't quite cut it on the checkride. Or maybe you gave it your all, when your "all" wasn't enough given your current level of training and experience. If you begin a practical test and for whatever reason cannot successfully complete all the Areas of Operation you'll be given the dreaded "pink" slip -- and encouraged to train a little more to be ready for a retest.

FAR 61.49 outlines precisely what happens when you don't make it the first time:

  • An applicant for a knowledge or practical test who fails that test may reapply for the test only after the applicant has received:
    • The necessary training from an authorized instructor who has determined that the applicant is proficient to pass the test; and
    • An endorsement from an authorized instructor who gave the applicant the additional training.

You only need to demonstrate proficiency in those Tasks you did not pass on the first attempt-you're "do over" applies only to missed items. You do, however, need to perform all maneuvers during the second-phase checkride to the standards of the certificate or rating you seek. For example, you may need to re-do the Lazy 8 from a commercial checkride, and no other maneuvers, but you still need to make the takeoff and landing to Commercial standards in the do-over.

There are special requirements for a do-over on the Flight Instructor practical test:

  • An applicant for a flight instructor certificate with an airplane category rating or, for a flight instructor certificate with a glider category rating, who has failed the practical test due to deficiencies in instructional proficiency on stall awareness, spin entry, spins, or spin recovery must:
    • Comply with the above requirements for training and endorsement before being retested;
    • Bring an aircraft to the retest that is of the appropriate aircraft category for the rating sought and is certificated for spins; and
    • Demonstrate satisfactory instructional proficiency on stall awareness, spin entry, spins, and spin recovery to an examiner during the retest.

You don't have to demonstrate a spin on a Flight Instructor checkride to pass the firs time. But botch a stall or any other "spin awareness" item and it's time to find a spin-approved airplane and actually spin (and recover) in the do-over.

Aero-tip of the day: Don't let a bad checkride discourage you -- all flying is the constant awareness of what you did right and did wrong, then compensating. If you need to do-over a checkride, take it as a positive sign that you need just a little more work to truly act as pilot-in-command.

FMI: Aero-Tips

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