Real Answers from Real Pilots

Checkrides

So I was wondering, once you are in the airlines do the checkrides become easier? How have your experiences been mentors?

Angel,

I always have a certain amount of stress when it comes to check rides, there is pressure to do well and in some degree your job is at stake. That being said, it does become easier after taking so many of them. At this point I do not worry so much about them, but I would be lying if I said I was relaxed.

Chris

Honestly my 2 worse checkride experiences where both the first at my respective airlines. When I was hired at ExpressJet I found the transition from piston twin to the jet to be tremendously challenging. While I didn’t bust the checkride I did require 2 extra sim sessions to get me prepared. Now when I got to Hawaiian I had been flying a jet for almost 10yrs so I found the transition to a larger aircraft fairly easy. BUT, fortunately (or unfortunately depending on the sitch) airline DEs (designated examiners) have a HUGE amount of latitude on what they can throw at you and I found myself in front of the toughest examiner at the company. While again I was successful it was a bear! (I refer to it as an Al Haynes nightmare!). Now most airlines have transitioned to AQP (Advanced Qualification Program) which is intended to remove some of the jeopardy (and the stress) out of training since it’s been proven that stress is not conducive to learning. That said don’t be surprised if you don’t meet a dinosaur or 2 out there that feel it’s their responsibility to “RAISE THE BAR” and see how you deal with the pressure.

Adam

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Angel,

Although I’ve only done one checkride at an airline, I feel that it is not as stressful as the 8 initial checkrides. AQP, as Adam described above, really helps reduce the tension because you know that you can make a mistake without failing the checkride immediately, as long as you can correct it on the second try.

Yarden

Hey Yarden, I know you have answered this before but I can’t seem to find it. How many hours were you at when you got the employment offer from Skywest? Did you interview with multiple airlines and if so did you get offers from multiple? When you got to 1500, how long was it from leaving ATP till you were in new hire class? And lastly how long was it from your start of class at Skywest till you were actually flying? Sorry for all the questions :stuck_out_tongue:

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What’s different? Is it something you can mention? What is removed from
traditional checks?

Angel,

The FAA’s AQP manual is an ENCYCLOPEDIA so to explain all the difference would take a year. But here’s the concept: EVERY airline has unique challenges based on a number of factors which may be unique to their operation. Rather than have every airline do the same liturgy of maneuvers year after year they allow the airline to use their own data to customize their training to address their challenges which makes the training more realistic and beneficial. That’s one major change. The other is the concept of the Inevitability of Human Error. Modern aviation acknowledges the fact that no matter how skilled or knowledgeable a pilot is, a pilot first and foremost is human and humans make errors. If we are to accept this fact that it’s unreasonable to expect a pilot to show up to a checkride and be “perfect”. Therefore there’s a 3 strike rule for some maneuvers and others are “train to proficiency” which allows the instructor to actually do some additional training on the spot and let the applicant repeat the maneuver to the standards. By doing this it (hopefully) relieves some of the stress and allows the pilot to perform better.

Adam

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Thanks Adam. So much information huh?

VOLUMES and VOLUMES and yes I’ve read the whole thing! It was exhausting!

Adam

Tucker,

I interviewed with SkyWest in May last year with about 1300hrs. They offered me the job and asked me for a tentative ground school date, I figured 2-3 months to finish up the last 200hrs so I chose a class date in the beginning of August.

I also interviewed with Compass airlines but was not offered a job unfortunately (or fortunately because they stopped hiring now, and I would have been stuck at the bottom of the barrel for a while…)

I’ll just give you the timeline of my training at SkyWest:

July 21st- Flew the 1500th hour.
July 29th- Started ATP-CTP at SkyWest.
August 8th- Began indoc class.
August 16th- CRJ ground school.
September 1st- Passed systems exam. (finished ground school)
September 5th- Started sims
September 28th- Passed ATP checkride.
October 25th- CRJ 700/900 differences training.
November 1st- Started flying (IOE)
December 3rd- Finished IOE

Hope that helps…

Yarden

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So did you receive any of the tuition reimbursement before joining Skywest?

And that month gap between passing your ATP checkride and the differences training, is that normal? So figure roughly 3 months from 1500 at ATP to actually flying?

The gap between sim and IOE was because there weren’t enough check airmen at the time. The wait time goes up and down depending mainly on the time of year, right now with the spring increase in flying the wait is a lot less.

Yarden

Ahh alright. So in theory if there were enough it would have only been 2 months of training?

I went straight from ground school to sim, some bid for a month off between ground and sim…depends on you (and your seniority in class of course). But yeah, you can say it’s about 2 months of training.

Yarden

Thank you!