What Is A Check Ride?
A check ride is the final step in achieving your certificate or rating. Before you can exercise the privileges of a certificate or rating, you must have taken, and passed a check ride. This practical exam is taken with an FAA Inspector or an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE).
The purpose of the ground portion of the exam is for the FAA designated examiner to test your knowledge in non-flight related items such as:
The oral exam follows the Practical Test Standards (PTS) one area of operation at a time completing each task in sequence. This will continue until the entire PTS knowledge portion has been covered to complete the ground portion of the exam.
Once the knowledge portion is successfully completed the flight portion begins. Once again, the PTS is used and all tasks must be completed successfully. The examiner will have arranged the tasks into a logical sequence for an efficient practical exam. The purpose of the flight portion of the exam is for the FAA designated pilot examiner to test your ability to perform specific flight maneuvers and fly the aircraft safely. According to the PTS, the examiner can ask you to perform any or all of these flight maneuvers.
The result will be one of three possibilities: a temporary certificate will be issued, a notice of dissaproval (a pink slip) will be issued, or a letter of discontinuance (due to weather, maintenance, or illness) will be issued.
The Typical Check Ride
The typical check ride lasts approximately 4-5 hours. After getting acquainted, the ground portion begins. After you have passed the ground portion of the test, the examiner will watch how you perform the preflight, start-up, taxi, run-up and departure checklist. You will almost always begin your flight portion with the cross-country. The examiner will be checking your ability to follow your preflight plan. From here you will be asked to perform all or a portion of the flight maneuvers outlined in the PTS. Once those maneuvers are successfully accomplished, you will fly back to the airport. (Your check ride is not finished here, so don't let down your guard!) The examiner will be inspecting your takeoff and landing abilities. Expect some short and soft field takeoffs and landings, missed approaches, simulated emergencies, and/or a possible go-around.
The following Applicant's PTS Checklist is in the front of every PTS book. If you will follow this checklist to get yourself prepared for the check ride you will have everything ready for check ride day.