I know it has been a while since I have posted but checkride day is upon me. Mainly studying and getting ready for my checkride. I enlisted the help of a second instructor to get a different perspective on my abilities. I felt confident and ready to go.
I’ll save you the suspense. I failed.
I make no excuses, they were things that I should have done. My instructors were top notch in getting me prepared, I just messed up on a couple of things. The examiner was fair and gave me a few little nudges along the way, I just blew it.
I showed up early to get things ready for the oral portion. Also to study a few last things before the examiner arrived. Once the examiner arrived, we did some paperwork, IACRA, signed off on acknowledging that I am PIC, pilot’s bill of rights, etc.
Once this was completed, we headed to the club classroom for the oral portion. This part went pretty well. There were a couple of things that I wasn’t 100% on but you don’t have to be perfect. We completed the oral portion pretty fast, I felt pretty good about it.
For the flight portion, we filed IFR because of a few low clouds in the area. I filed via foreflight and then called to pick up my clearance with the understanding that I would call back for my release.
I was cleared to TTA via Direct Liberty, KSCR, TTA as per my filed plan. This would have us perform the VOR-A approach. Next, I briefed and prepped and after a nudge I tuned in the VOR to verify the vor. Almost blew the ride here because I was nearly at LIB and almost performed a teardrop entry instead of the parallel entry that the gps sequenced. I got a little flustered with this because I was slightly behind the aircraft. ok, back on I performed the procedure turn and headed back in towards Liberty VOR.
This is where I screwed up. I was told I could use the GPS for this approach but the problem is, I don’t think I have ever done a VOR-A approach with the GPS. Not an excuse just trying to layout the chain of events.
Once I crossed the Liberty VOR I Started the clock as normal for a timed approach. However since I was using GPS I could follow it instead. The Examiner even said, “Are you doing a timed approach or GPS”? Hint… ugh. So, for the VOR-A at KSCR there is waypoint VAYRU that if you’re using the GPS you can step down from 1380 to 1240. However with the timed approach, you can’t. I have always performed the timed approach and even though I saw VAYRU Sequence, part of me said if I stepped down I would fail. So I didn’t step down…. I failed.
This is where I let it get to my head. I performed the missed approach back to LIB when the examiner said I failed. I elected to continue, might as well right? Well after back with ATC, they put me on a vector (Which I sucked at today) and asked which approach I would like. I told them the RNAV 21. At this point the examiner asked ATC if we could have a block altitude. This meant we were going to perform an unusual attitude recoveries. Well, the only thing I thought about during the unusual attitude recovery was the failure, so guess what…. I messed that up as well.
Shake it off. The examiner requested we ask ATC for the full approach instead of vectors, so we were given OZOPE. I flew to OZOPE and began the approach. My clearance was descend 2000 to YUXI cleared for the RNAV 21 approach. I thought this was weird because the route segment said 2000. When I got down to 2200 I asked ATC to re-confirm my clearance to 2000 and she affirmed. So I descended to 2000. After about a minute, ATC apologized and asked me to climb to 2200. I didn’t get dinged here because I asked for verification. After YUXI, I descended, albeit late, down to 2000 for the glidepath intercept. At this point I was partial panel with no attitude or directional gyro. It was ok, I had the GPS.
I flew the rest of this approach with no issues and as we descended, the examiner said to go ahead and cancel IFR because we could do the rest of the ride in VFR weather. I flew the missed and then was vectored to the west with intention of intercepting the ILS Y 03. At this point I screwed up again. I started to setup my flows and when I got to verifying the ILS We were still too far away so I said out loud, “I need to verify the ILS” Guess what I forgot to do once established? Yep, didn’t verify ILS. I looked at the ID on the GPS but didn’t say anything about it being ID’d that way.
Flew the rest of the ILS just fine and landed. Ride over. Confidence in the gutter. I never thought it would happen. I feel lousy not because of me but because I feel that I let my instructors down and one of them got a ding on there record for a failed checkride.
What next? Let’s look at the bright side. This was the real deal. IFR weather on the checkride. Not a lot of people get that opportunity. And the best part was, that wasn’t my issue. I handled being in the system just fine. Made the radio calls. Only real radio call issue, I had to ask them to repeat one call because I was briefing out loud to the examiner. I feel good about catching the route altitude problem. I let the first issue (Stepdown) cause the second issue (Unusual Attitude Recovery) and the third issue (Verifying the ILS) was just me forgetting. If it wasn’t for those things, it was a pretty fun ride. I was able to function well, for the most part, through the 2nd and 3rd approaches even though I was pretty distraught.
The silver lining in this whole process is that my original goal was to be a safer pilot. Even though I worked hard and thought I was ready, this experienced shined a light on some deficiencies. Maybe it isn’t what I wanted but what I needed to get to the next level, to be a safer pilot.
It won’t get me down. In the next post, I will be posting about my success. Stay Tuned!