Top 7 Mistakes Pilots Make on Check Rides: Featured

Pilots of all levels of experience and backgrounds tend to make the same mistakes..  Here they are and ways you can avoid them.

Here are the top 7 mistakes and ways you can avoid them:

1.  Not noticing an abnormal indication prior to takeoff unless it is shown on the main annunciator panel.  Too often pilots miss abnormal engine indications, ammeter splits, APU relay engaged or annunciators not on the main panel under the glare shield.  Be sure before taking the runway to scan the entire panel and acknowledge any amber light or unusual indication.

2.  Not arming the approach mode when cleared for the approach.  Let's face it, a check ride is not a normal flying experience.  One approach after another combined with malfunctions.  You will be rushed and your situational awareness will be challenged.  Too often pilots fail to arm the approach mode and fly through the localizer and/or glide slope.  When you hear "Cleared for the approach", arm the flight director or ask for delay vectors if you are not ready.

3.  Not hitting TOGA on a missed approach so the FMS never sequences to the Missed Approach Waypoint.  You think you've got the landing made and suddenly FedEx pulls on to the runway.  You pull back, call for flaps 15 and gear up but never hit TOGA.  Happens all the time.  Be sure to ask your SIC to verify the FMS has sequenced and if not, to line select it on the FMS.  (This is especially important if you were doing a green needle approach.  Before beginning a green needle approach make sure the next waypoint in the FMS is one that is on the approach).

4.  Going to the wrong waypoint when doing a course reversal.  You are cleared direct to NESBIT for the RNAV GPS 36 at KMEM but there are 3 NESBIT's in the FMS!  Which do you select?  Just remember when you must reverse, go to the first.  If you want to go fast go to the last.  Additionally, pilots in the Excel get nervous the FMS is not going to turn inbound.  Just to be sure, you can determine how far outbound from NESBIT the plane will fly by looking at the approach plate.

5.  Deleting the hold from the FMS on the missed approach.  You went missed. No problem.  You called for flaps 15, gear up, FMS and NAV and you are on your way. Trying to get ahead of the game you ask ATC what approach you can expect so you can load it into the FMS.  But the minute you load it, the hold disappears if your FMS is a Universal.  Resist the temptation and wait until you cross the initial holding fix before entering the next approach.

6.  Not turning off the YAW DAMP before 50 feet.  Withe the YAW DAMP on the Rudder Bias can't do its thing very well and 30 degree heading deviations are common when an engine fails.  Click that Autopilot Disconnect several times before you get too close to the runway.

7.  On a circling approach: when leaving MDA, not reducing power or setting the missed approach altitude.  It's simple physics.  if you are within normal circling distance limits and descend with the power still set at 63% N1, you will land long or get a "Sink Rate" call.  Both are considered Unsat.  Most cases you won't require more than 50% N1 for a normal 3 degree glide path to the runway.

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Mark Mealey

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Pilot-ol-ogy is the magazine of  XLPilotStaffing, a company created by Mark Mealey in 2013 to take the hassle out of finding a contract pilot for your flight operation.  Whether you need a contractor to fill in for vacations, training, illness, or personal reasons, XLPilotStaffing is here to help.