Stupid mistakes in front of the Examiner!

It is perhaps the most stressful day of your life ... you’re taking your checkride for your next aircraft rating! Whether it is your very first checkride or your sixteenth checkride, showing up prepared will start your practical test on the right foot and leave you breathing easy after your paperwork is taken care of. The Airmen Certification Standards, published by the FAA, includes a checklist that gives you information on most of the things you will need to bring with you for your practical test.

In addition to the items listed here, a few other pieces of information will help the paperwork process go smoothly.

Make sure you know your IACRA login and password, since you will need to sign some paperwork online at the beginning of the test. Write your login information out and have it easily accessible so you can enter it on any device in case your phone malfunctions or you forget to charge your tablet!

The day before your checkride you will call your Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE), and receive a briefing detailing the cross country flight you should plan as well as pertinent weight and balance info. Make sure you confirm with your examiner the price of the checkride, and whether he or she accepts personal checks or credit cards. Some examiners only take cash, and some require a cashier’s checks as opposed to a personal check.

Beyond just bringing the aircraft logs with you, take the time a few days before your ride to go over the logs with your CFI or resident mechanic, and confirm that the aircraft you have been flying for all this time is, in fact, airworthy! Make sure you can locate pertinent AV1ATES inspections in the logbooks and be able to explain the information you find to your examiner. Know the location of the airworthiness and registration in the aircraft, and make sure that if you remove the POH or weight and balance for your practical test that you put them back in the plane before you fly!

Go through your logbook and create tags for important milestones like your required cross countries or your last biennial flight review. Double check your math to ensure you have all the required hours so you don't end up having to call your instructor to get that last .1 of simulated IFR before you can continue your checkride! Make sure all instruction flight are signed off by your instructor, and that if a flight requires an endorsement from an instructor that you have the proper endorsement.

Lastly, bring a lunch! After passing your oral exam you're going to want a sandwich, not that one snickers bar the vending machine is selling for $4.99. Take all the time you need for a lunch break, pat yourself on the back, and relax before you go out to the airplane!


Sophia is a licensed mechanic as well as private and instrument rated pilot, currently turning wrenches and writing blog posts to make ends meet until she logs enough hours in the left seat to start making the big bucks as a corporate pilot. Her hobbies include flying and working on airplanes, and at any hour of any day she is most likely to be found in the North Aero hangar or somewhere else around the Salinas Airport.

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