When things have reached a do-or-die point, and when asked what kind of weapon to shoot at the bad guys, the captain shouts, “Fire everything!” This logic applies in the flying world when preparing for a checkride.
Applicants do one of two things during a checkride: pass or fail. Many applicants who fail do so because they forgot to bring something they needed.
Flight test guides for every certificate and rating provide a list of documents and other things needed. You should pack these items for the day of testing. But what about other things—what if you want to fire everything, win the day, and go home with a fresh rating?
Here is a short list of “space weapons” you might consider bringing to the battle that is a checkride.
- Books: It does not hurt to have a handy reference book like the Aeronautical Information Manual in case a question comes up during the oral part of your checkride.
- Water: Nothing can give you a dry throat like taking a checkride. Keep a bottle of water handy in your flight bag.
- Approved painkillers: Checkrides can be a headache. It is nice to have a little relief handy in your bag—ditto for stomach meds like antacids.
- Training records: You have brought your logbook to verify you have the aeronautical experience and training required to take the practical test for the certificate or rating. It may be handy to bring your training folder and other records that document your training history in case of a question.
- Food: A candy bar in your bag can be a lifesaver during a long, drawn-out checkride.
- Aircraft records: Ensure you know the required documents and where they are located for the checkride aircraft. You would be surprised how many applicants show up without them or with things like their pilot's operating handbook out of date.
A checkride is akin to a space battle, remember? Any little trinket, book, or thing you might need is better found in your bag at the checkride than unavailable at home. Ask your flight instructor and friends what they brought to their checkrides that made their day easier.
Kevin Garrison is a retired 777 captain with more than 22,000 accident-free hours flown. He has been a flight instructor for more than 45 years and holds an airline transport pilot certificate, along with a commercial certificate with land and seaplane ratings, and a flight instructor certificate. He has been an airline pilot examiner and is rated on the Boeing 727, 757, 767, 777, DC-9, and MD-88. Kevin has over 5,000 general aviation hours that include everything from banner towing to flying night cargo in Twin Beeches.
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