I had my checkride at KCOS (Class C Colorado Springs) on November 14th 2023. I kept the DPE’s name out of this since all DPE’s go by the ACS and generally test you on the same items. This was a retest since I had a previous disapproval but it had been a year since I tested in Kansas with another DPE so I needed to complete both the Oral and Practical again. Previously I failed on a missed approach altitude on climb out. I had misread an altitude and was 200 ft low.
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Debrief for Instrument Checkride Nov 14th 2023
Flight Plan Scenerio
The DPE gave me a flight plan to complete a couple of days before our checkride. I won’t give away the details as that is up to the pilot to be able to review all information about the flight themselves. I will say do your due diligence and look at everything you need to as if you are actually going to take that flight as you’ve been trained to do (NWKRAFT, DP’s, ODP’s etc.). They will ask you questions about these things and my DPE was particularly big on safety.
We started out going through the paperwork for the aircraft and logbooks. We went through the pilot qualifications, endorsements, written test information to make sure the plane and I were qualified for the test. This is an area you can save a lot of time in the oral and stress on if you have your paperwork in order beforehand. Use a checklist (ACS page A-12).
General IFR questions
- Pilot Currency
- Currency vs. Proficiency
- Personal Minimums
- When do you need an Instrument rating
- Alternates (3-2-1)
- Icing types
- Would you take off with frost on your plane?
- Pitot Tube blockages and indications
- AHRS, ADC – Understand generally what these systems are for and how they work
- What is RAIM, WAAS and how do these work
- Lost Comms procedures
- Be able to brief weather charts, read Metars and TAFs. Prog Charts, Sigmets, Airmets
- Know where you can get valid weather information from
- How to calculate TAS for your plane
- Prepare beforehand – Navlog, we went over the results
- Prepare beforehand - Weight and balance, we went over the results
- Prepare beforehand - Takeoff and Landing distance calculations, we went over the results
- On the route I chose, the DPE asked about symbols and altitudes along the way
- On the route I chose, We went over lost comms scenarios for a few points along the route
- We pulled up a couple of Approach plates and I was asked a few questions about the meaning of several symbols and information meant on them. Know the plates, the Digital Terminal Procedures Supplemental is helpful for this.
- Descending below DA, MDA can you do it?
- The DPE showed some actual pictures of runway environments on landing and asked if you could land (based on what you can see in the picture).
- We then went over the approaches we were going to fly for the practical portion. We were going to start with the VOR 17L doing the procedure turn. From there do the published missed. After that, the ILS for 17L and then vectors back for the RNAV 17L circle 17R for a full stop landing.
- Be sure and know your aircraft. Things like alternate air, alternate static, deicing equipment, engine performance. I flew my own plane that I purchased with another pilot so I had a good understanding of the capabilities of our aircraft. If you are renting a plane, be sure and spend some time to learn about the systems and capabilities of your aircraft.
- Remember to use your checklists. Safety, Taxi and Departing briefs.
- Communications – Not my greatest skill at this point so brush up on correct phrasing and terminology if you need to. The DPE did like to see concise and correct communication. Also, knowing when to report to ATC is very important as well (STALLMUUVA and not in radar reporting).
- Technology – If you are going to use Foreflight or anything try not to be distracted with it while flying. This was probably my biggest issue 😬. I relied on the ipad a little too much and the DPE debriefed me that it was distracting me a few times…he was right. So be sure not to fixate on the devices.
- Fly your altitudes but if you get out of tolerances correct it. I got off altitude a couple of times and was able to correct it fairly quickly. If you make a mistake, call it out and fix it!
- Unusual Attitudes – fairly standard nose down and nose up with bank. Correct as you’ve been taught.
- VOR 17L - AHRS simulated failure (suction cup over g5). Simulate reporting nav failure to ATC and continued the approach. Then flew published missed hold at Adane. Don’t forget vloc and when to changeover from gps.
- Hold at Adane with simulated lost comms (when do you start an approach?)
- Flew the ILS 17L with the autopilot coupled and back to vectors.
- Rnav 17L circled 17R for full stop.
My checkride with this DPE was overall a very good experience. I ended up passing my checkride 😄 and I think I had a very fair as a DPE. I was nervous going in on the checkride but some things that helped me this time was preparing myself with the right material and practicing.
Some of the better tools I used to prepare for the instrument checkride are listed below. There is too much information out there to chose from and it’s easy to get lost in the weeds so you have to focus a bit. These helped me focus on what’s important:
- ACS Instrument Rating Airplane – Study this and you’ll know exactly what you’ll be tested on. This is the guideline your examiner will use to test you.
- Andy Munnis DPE Instrument Checkride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUzR8f1Npss&t=4575s
- Seth Lake DPE Instrument Pilot ACS (parts 1 - 3): https://youtu.be/vW53ajVCi-Y?si=ypXHeLSLh3ecAANd
- Flight Insight Dan George Instrument pilot ground school https://www.flight-insight.com/courses
- Far/Aim (if using Foreflight part 61, 91, 135, bookmark and search are extremely useful)
- Digital Terminal Procedures Supplement (Foreflight search and bookmark)
I also had a great instructor and couldn’t have done it without his help.
Aircraft used: 71’ Bonanza a36 io550b Avionics and equipment:
- 2 g5’s
- GTN 750xi
- GFC500 autopilot
- GNC 255 nav/comm
- JPI EDM 930