What you do…
What happens on an IFR checkride? Read the script below from what other students were asked to do on their checkrides:
- Depart the airport under IFR on a flight plan for a fictitious cross country the DPE asked you to plan. (you put on the hood or foggles shortly after takeoff using the three-part exchange of controls).
- Get about 10-15 miles from the airport on that IFR flight plan, and then cancel and go VFR
- The DPE vectors you around and gives you some headings and altitudes to fly
- The DPE take the controls using the three-part exchange of controls and had you perform a nose low and nose high unusual attitude
- The DPE gives you vectors towards an airport that usually has at least one precision and one non-precision approach. (you may use the autopilot if installed, the DPE may ask you to demonstrate using it at certain times and then will probably make you hand fly most of the flight)
- The DPE will vector you for an approach where you then go missed and hold
- The DPE will then vector you for another approach and simulate instrument failure (either by diming a screen or covering instruments with something, i.e. covering the attitude indicator and DG). You will fly the approach and go missed.
- The DPE will then vector you for another approach, this time it will be a circle to land approach and provided you perform it correctly you will land from this approach, taxi to parking, and print out your new temporary airman certificate with “Instrument Rating Airplane” printed on it!
Is that really it?
Yup, it doesn’t sound like much because it really is not. People get stressed out and make themselves think it is a crazy long flight that is totally insurmountable. Just take it one approach at a time, don’t worry about what comes next, and if you mess something up, forget about it and move on. The whole thing will take about 1.5-1.8hrs on the hobbs.
When people fail…
How do students fail an instrument rating checkride? Well, not a single FLY8MA.com student has ever failed their checkride when they’ve completed all of the courses for the rating they are working towards. So let’s talk about how students of other schools and instructors, unfortunately, fail their checkride.
- Programming issues (iPad, Garmin GPS, frequencies incorrect, etc.)
- Not mounting their iPad or approach plates somewhere accessible and having them on their lap, causing them to get the airplane off the desired course or altitude.
- Not treating the DPE like a passenger (brief them using the FLY8MA briefing card!)
- Getting behind the airplane and not recovering (how do you fix “getting behind the plane”, simply tell ATC you are a little behind the airplane and need a heading and altitude, and then vectors for another approach)
- Not configuring and slowing the airplane soon enough on the approach (get configured and slowed 2nm prior to the final approach fix, if you’re not, then go missed and ask for vectors again)
- Missing an ATC instruction or following an incorrect instruction (don’t ever hesitate to confirm an instruction with ATC)
- Filing an illegal flight plan (make sure you file a flight plan you can legally fly with the equipment you have on board)
- Missing a required report to ATC (we call it “required reports” for a reason
How you PASS!
So what are the tricks to passing?
- Keep an organized cockpit you can “work” in easily with everything you need readily accessible.
- Make use of the DPE sitting next to you, ask them to hold things for you.
- Know when to say “Unable” and “I need a heading and altitude, and to be re-vectored for that approach”
- Don’t hesitate to tell ATC “I’m not an experienced instrument pilot (or “student pilot”) and I need ___________”
- Take your time to set up before beginning an approach, if things are rushed, ask for “delay vectors” from ATC (fly altitudes and headings while you get everything else set up)
- Breathe and take it one step at a time, don’t dwell on what you mess up on, the DPE isn’t dwelling on what you do poorly, he either fail you on the spot or let you continue and not care about a D+ maneuver or approach, he’s just their to make sure they all meet at least a “D” and not an “F”.
- Review this course in its entirety and complete all of the checkride prep steps on FLY8MA.com! Everyone who has passes their checkride!