As with any pilot certificate exam, your instructor is the key to passing your test. So make sure that you connect with a respected flight school with experienced instructors. I was fortunate to do my seaplane rating at Alaska Floats and Skis in Talkeetna, Alaska, where there are lakes aplenty. My instructor, Esther Hershberg, prepared me well for the exam and made the training fun as well. She successfully instilled the confidence I needed to successfully pass the test on the first attempt. The most challenging part of the training was the glassy water landing, but when it came to the flight test that landing was smoothest glassy I had ever done.
>>> By Stephen Pope
Before I took the check ride for the commercial multiengine rating a few months back, my instructor gave me some great advice. He told me perfection was not the standard by which I would be judged. Inspectors and designated pilot examiners follow the practical test standards, which spell out the tasks a pilot applicant must complete. As long as I stayed within acceptable tolerances, I should do fine, he said.
Also, unlike during the private check ride, the commercial ride requires that special attention be paid to professionalism. After all, once you earn your commercial ticket, you can be paid to fly, and that carries with it a whole new level of responsibility. For me, professionalism meant acting, and even dressing, a certain way. I approached the test very much as I would a flight with a paying passenger. That included flying with a smoothness that wasn’t expected of me during my private or instrument check rides. And it paid off: At one point during the test, the examiner actually thanked me for using the rudder properly.
I also made a conscious choice not to allow my apprehension about being graded by an examiner to affect my performance. If I let my nervousness get the best of me, my chances of passing would only go down. I had to convince myself of the truth of this, but in the end I approached the check ride in a more relaxed frame of mind, and that also boosted my confidence and helped me ace it.
CitationJet Type Rating
>>> By Robert Goyer
The first type rating is a big deal, so I was understandably nervous when it came time for the test for my Cessna CitationJet single-pilot type rating at Simcom in Orlando. My examiner was longtime CJ pilot, instructor and examiner Bill Ball, who had in the early phases of my training, put me through the ringer — there’s so much to learn — but with grace and class and humor. So when it was time for my test, I knew what I was up against: a tough sim ride with a fair examiner.
The practical itself was as tough as could be. It seems as though I flew half of it single-engine, and by the end, I had not one, not two, but three single-engine go-arounds, the last of which was flown with a prodigious fuel imbalance thanks to burning a lot of virtual kerosene out of one side for a long period of time. Some of my approaches, single-engine and partial panel ones, were far from pretty. But I got the job done and got my single-pilot ticket. I was smiling for weeks afterward.
My biggest piece of advice for anyone taking any check ride would be this: Be tougher than nails. Go in expecting the examiner to give you the check ride from hell, so when it happens, it won’t surprise you and you’ll be up for the challenge.
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