Checkrides – Hangar Flying

Viator – A TripAdvisor Company

By Steve Krog, EAA 173799.

This piece originally ran in Steve’s Classic Instructor column in the December 2023 issue of EAA Sport Aviation magazine.

Throughout the past year, I’ve written articles and given informal talks about the weak link in our world of flight training. The renewed interest in pursuing a career in aviation has created a weak link in the entire process, and the process needs fixing before we have a generation of poorly trained pilots encountering flight situations for which they have little or no experience.

Designated pilot examiners (DPEs) are being put in very frustrating situations. Today, nearly 50 percent of the students coming to them for the private pilot checkride fail. There are numerous reasons for the failures, but it all comes down to less than adequate training.

One DPE experienced the situation of the student having little or no basic aviation knowledge. The student couldn’t answer the basic questions asked during the oral portion of the checkride. Examples include, “What airspace are we in at this airport?” The student had no idea. “Are there minimum ceiling and visibility requirements to fly at this airport safely and legally?” Again, the student had no idea. “Which way does the propeller turn?” “What does the vacuum pump represent?” Again, blank stares.

The DPE said, “Describe the engine in the aircraft we’re flying today.” The student responded, “It’s air cooled, I think.” If the pilot has no idea about the engine, how would they deal with a minor engine issue while in…

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