On September 22 2013, I took my Private Pilot Checkride. I practiced maneuvers on my own in the practice area, including, turns around a point, steep turns, power on, and power off stalls. I spent the entire day – the day before my checkride with my instructor practicing all of the flying and oral exam material. We had 2 sessions of flying, one in the morning, then we planned the cross country that was to be used for my checkride, and we flew again in the afternoon.
The examiner gave me a scenario for planning the cross country that included taking off from a high altitude airport, overloaded with people, fuel and luggage. So he wanted to make sure that I found out that I caught that the weight and balance numbers wouldn’t work and that I correctly computed density altitude.
The oral exam part of the checkride was about 2.5 hours in length. I prepared for that by watching the Flight Training Apps Private Pilot Ground Portion App.
Here is a brain dump of the questions that I remember that the examiner asked me during my oral exam:
Max Airspeed below 10000 ft
Max airspeed below bravo
Max airspeed in outer class C
Altitudes and dimensions of class b, c , and g airspace on the chart.
At altitude, with a given temperature is your temp above or below standard temp for that altitude and how much.
Hypoxia, how does it happen? The faa says that it can happen above a certain altitude. What altitude is that, can it occur below that altitude? What is the major factor in causing hypoxia? -> it is the TIME spent at high altitude.
Carbon monoxide: how can you recognize it besides the indicator that you buy? Answer exhaust fumes. What do you do when you smell exhaust, what do you do?
One of two fuel gauges shows empty even though your fuel is full. Can you fly?
What are minimum lights required for night flight?
What happens to the class delta airspace after the tower closes? What airspace is it, and what are the cloud clearances?
Can you fly into a moa? Can you fly into a warning area.
At x altitude, can I fly into this moa? Does the moa even include that airspace at that altitude?
What do you need to fly into class bravo, what do you need to fly into class c and class d?
Do you need a mode c transponder to fly OVER the top of class c airspace?
What should you bring with you if you were flying over the desert at night to vegas?
What do I need to fly to Mexico? Equipment? Flight plan? Special insurance? Radio permit?
What lights surround a taxiway?
What lights surround the runway?
What lights do you see from the air at the beginning of the runway?
What lights do you see at the end if the runway?
If you see the beacon at the airport on during the day, what does that mean?
What clouds/ceilings would there need to be for it to be VFR?
What does special vfr do?
If you leave class d with svfr, does it do anything after that?
What didn’t go well:
The examiner tuned the air to air frequency and made position reports before I did, setting an example, and demonstrating what I should have already done as Pilot in Command.
We departed KMYF flew up the coast towards KCRQ, and diverted before we reached KCRQ. He told me to tell him the heading to head for Lake Wohlford, and I guesstimated the heading incorrectly, using the chart and my hand. Instead he told me to use a straight edge, or just use the reciprocal runway number at KCRQ, which would have been 060.
Simulated Engine Out – this didn’t go well, because – while I pitched for correct airspeed/best glide, I misjudged the altitude it would take to make the base/final, and ended up very high on final. I did a kind of S turn to compensate, after the examiner complained about that.
Steep turns – ok, but almost busted altitude because it was bumpy and we were over some mountainous terrain with some clouds above us.
After the messy engine out episode, the examiner told me to “Head for Ramona” so I did. I was unclear that we were going to land at Ramona, and the examiner complained that I might bust the Ramona Class D airspace. I told him that that was not a risk, because I choose to circle and establish communication prior to entering the Ramona Class D. Later I clarified that I was confused whether he wanted me to actually enter the airspace or fly over it because of our communication. – I was pretty freaked that my checkride was maybe busted at this point, and started to get pretty demoralized.
While in the pattern at Ramona, we did some stop and goes – no flap landings – etc. Still rattled from some of the previous nervousness, my no flap approach was really high – and we had to do a go-around. At this point, I was trying to reset mentally and not allow my previous flubs affect my current or future performance. I did a pretty good job at resetting once I realized what was going on with my attitude.
What went well:
I passed the checkride in spite of myself.