What is a Checkride?
Here at Embry-Riddle, the flight portion of our degree for those majoring in Aeronautical Science requires us to complete the Private, Instrument, Commercial and Multi-Engine certificates / ratings. I have been working on my Commercial Single-Engine Certificate which will be added to my instrument rated private pilot certificate. Every rating or certificate you complete, you need to take a knowledge test and a practical test, known as the checkride. These checkrides can be completed with a check airmen (ERAU instructors) or a Designated Pilot Examiners (DPE) (FAA).
Commercial Pilot Checkride
If you are completing your commercial pilot training here at Riddle, you need to take the in-house checkride (oral and flight with ERAU check airmen) then you need to complete an oral and a flight with a DPE, known as the DE. By the time this post goes up, I will be waiting for my DE to get scheduled upon completing and passing my in-house checkride.
My In-house Checkride
My checkride was fairly straight forward. The oral portion went by rather quickly, just like every other oral checkride here at Riddle. I had about 3 observers who were also students on the commercial track, who wanted to observe my checkride before they have to go on their own. We are sometimes asked to take observers on our orals and flights to encourage backseat learning. After about 2 hours of intense briefing and questions being tossed around, I had passed my oral portion of the in-house checkride.
Couple of days later, I was put on schedule for the flight portion. It was a 2 hour and 20 minute flight on a hot, spring day here in Florida. Despite all the thermal bumps in the air and the extreme afternoon heat in our small cockpit, the flight went smoothly. The check airmen asked me to perform the required maneuvers, perform my landings in a small non-controlled airport near Melbourne and demonstrate my abilities to safely operate and conduct this flight. He was very helpful in guiding me in times when I was stuck on a question or occupied with maneuvering my way through other traffic.
Checkrides in the Future
Now as I study and prepare for my “real” checkride, a DE with the Designated Pilot Examiner, I am heading back into self-quarantine surrounding myself with books, documents, study guides and other references to prepare myself.
For those who are hoping to become airline pilots in the future, you will start to hear a lot about checkrides starting with your very first Private Pilot certificate. You will start to hate everything about checkrides because they are the most daunting part about flying if you are not a big fan of examinations. Good news and bad news, you will be well prepared for every one of your checkride despite what your nerves tell you. Bad news, the checkrides will never end until you decide to retire at the age of 65 because airline pilots go on their “checkrides” every 6 to 12 months (depending on your company).
Stay safe and healthy everyone!