My Private Pilot Checkride Exam


  • We did the preflight together. He went around the plane with me, so make sure you use that checklist thoroughly on preflight.
  • Remember to take the chalks off.


  • This was a quiet ride. As long as you do not mess up with directions and your position at the airport, taxiing will be a breeze.
  • Also remember to take a short pause and look around first when entering or crossing taxi lanes.

Radio Comm:

  • Be clear and proficient when you talk on the radio.
  • When you make a position call in the practice area be sure to say your full call sign and type of aircraft.

Take off:

  • After run-up, as we moved closer to the runway, I briefed him on the different takeoff/engine failure scenarios. Then made a call to tower (your examiner will let you know what to request for).
  • First maneuver was a soft field take off to the practice area.
  • As we flew over the airport he just asked for a brief walk-through on flying the first leg of my flight plan. Luckily my flight was directly south of SBD which would have required flying into a Class Charlie. So, to stay clear of class C, he said we didn’t need to fly it. Just be able to properly talk him through it.
  • Next was a diversion. Know how to divert and talk him through it: get course, distance, time and fuel.
  • For diversions you are allowed to use the NRST button on the G1000 and or your phone calculator.
  • Next was slow flights
  • Next was power off stalls
  • Next was power on stalls
  • Next Hood work/Unusual attitudes
  • Next Emergency decent in a fire situation
  • Next Engine failure procedures
  • Then we came back to SBD to do some Landings.
  • Short field landing first
  • Then a stop and go for short field takeoff
  • Then a go around: know how to properly execute a go around when low to the ground.
  • Remember that your pattern/rectangular course also serves as ground reference maneuver.
  • We ended the flight portion with a soft field landing and then we taxied back to the FBO.

My Observations:

1. For both ground and flight, I made sure I had a decent meal and or snack in between and stayed hydrated. This is a day-long exam, if you consider your travel times in the car and in the air, you are looking at 9-10 hours of being active as it was in my case. 5 of those hours is your actual exam. Make sure you EAT. You will be completely drained if you don’t. Do not let the lack of food in your system mess you up after you’ve worked so hard to prepare.

2. For all the maneuvers, I did a clearing turn or used a previous turn as my clearing turn first, and then I made a position call as I get set to do the maneuver

3. Make use of the checklist from preflight until the end of the flight.

4. Talk through everything you are doing in the cockpit. Try as much as possible to be vocal about your intentions. If you pull the power back, say so; “just gonna reduce power a bit here”.

5. Remember that you are pilot in command through the entire flight portion. Except when your examiner asks for control of the airplane, it’s your airplane.

Here are 2 examples of being PIC during my flight:

First Scenario: Initially in the practice area, it was very bumpy closer to the mountains and we had to look for smoother areas to do the maneuvers. While we were being tossed around, I assumed he was looking at how I handled and managed the situation. So keep that in mind in the case of unforeseen conditions that could affect your flight.

Second Scenario: When we were coming back to do some landings, we were on the north side of the runway, right downwind of runway 26. When I called in to land. Tower clearly told me to make a right base entry for runway 6. But when we turned base at runway 26 he went: well we’re pretty high, why don’t you slip it down to get closer. We were at about 3800ft and needed to get down to 2000ft. Well I slipped the airplane down to about 2500ft and then I let him know that we were actually instructed for runway 6 not runway 26. And that I was flying a right base for runway 6.

He goes; Oh sorry, totally forgot. I’m so used to using runway 26 here.

In that moment, he sounded very genuine. But when I think about it now, that could have been part of his test to distract and see what I would do as pilot in command. If I actually setup and landed on runway 26, that would have been a fail. So very important to know that you are PIC and you have the final authority.

Overall, My examiner Ernie was genuinely cool and calm from the moment we shook hands. As long as you are prepared and find a way to stay relaxed, the entire exam should go fairly easy.


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