We have a November Graduate! November 19th (Saturday) to be exact! The graduate is a bit shy, but we'll call him "Bob" as that's his name. Bob completed his Oral and Practical Exams (both form a "Checkride") on the first try! Congratulations, Bob!
Bob used one of our Remos GX aircraft for the checkride. It made sense since he trained in this aircraft and was very familiar with it. But we'll let Bob comment on the checkride and the flight.
"I will freely admit that I was nervous about the checkride. I heard about the pass rate being near 50:50, I read the horror stories on the internet, I studied materials and didn't recall some of the information I had studied previously. To say that I was anxious would be an understatement!
And of course, I had to sit down with my E6B Calculator and Plotter and plan a cross country flight to an unknown destination that my Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) would tell me a couple of days before the flight. And I had to calculate weight and balance of the aircraft.
And I was told that I would be "Pilot in Command" for this flight, so I would be responsible for all flight planning, weather, and awareness. The DPE would 'just be a passenger.' Oh yeah, no pressure. Gag.
Mike, my CFI, told me not to worry, and assured me that I knew all the material. I appreciated his great instruction and support. But I still had my self doubts.
The call to the DPE was straight forward, and he told me to plan for an airport in the high desert. [Editor Note: We removed the name of the airport in case the DPE wants to name that airport for future checkrides.] I stressed out in anticipation of the flight planning. But Mike's instruction came back and I had no issues plotting a course, filling out the flight plan, calculating wind correction factors, time and distance. And I was able to create a weight and balance for the checkride that left 0.9 pounds of useful load remaining. That's right... we were loaded to 1,319.1 pounds, leaving just under a pound of available load!
The morning of the checkride, I called 1-800-WX-BRIEF (Lockheed Martin flight service) and received a Standard Briefing for the cross country. From this information, I was able to finish the cross country flight planner. I then packed together my flight gear and headed to the airport. Mike was already there. It was very assuring to know that Mike was there from a mental support perspective.
The DPE arrived soon after. His name was Bob too. He was very friendly , and his calm demeanor really helped ease my nervousness. After reviewing the logbook endorsements and required documents for the Remos GX, Bob initiated the oral exam. There were some tough questions in there, but it's an open book exam and as long as you know where to look (which I did), you'll be fine. The entire oral exam was 1.3 hours, but it felt like it passed in a flash. It was a good experience explaining the cross country route, rationale, planning, answering questions about flight rules... all things that I had studied and covered with my CFI Mike.
By the time we were done with the Oral, my nervousness was subsiding and I was ready for the practical. I wish I could say more about the practical exam, but it went by so quickly! It was a 1.2 hour in-flight exam, and everything that Mike taught me came into play. All the maneuvers, slow flight, diversion... even the "engine failure" emergency were non-events. I credit Mike for the excellent instruction. Even DPE Bob thought it was a good flight.
Probably the most memorable part of the flight was the taxi to parking. As I taxied, I saw a helicopter was parked where I had been next to the hangar. That's when DPE Bob stated, 'Well, unless you hit that helicopter, you passed the exam.' To say I was elated and relieved would be an understatement!
I send my thanks to Deon for the flight school and using the excellent Remos GX as a flight trainer. It is a remarkably coordinated and competent aircraft. I also send my thanks to my CFI - Mike. His instruction is top notch. Students who follow his guidance should have no issue with the checkride whatsoever. And lastly, I thank DPE Bob for making the checkride a very pleasant and memorable experience. I very much appreciated the calm, friendly atmosphere.
Congratulations again, Pilot! Blue Skies!