Real Answers from Real Pilots

Failed Checkrides

I recently failed a checkride. I don’t feel good about myself even though the examiner told me not to beat myself up too much. My question is do any of you airline pilots have experience with failing a checkride? If so, how did you cope with it?

Thanks!

Matthew,

While you obviously don’t want to make a habit out of it, trust me MANY pilots have suffered a bust. While I understand most pilots (at least good ones) seek perfection, we’re all human and ALL make mistakes. You need to know it won’t effect your future or your career and hopefully you learned something? If the examiner told you not too beat yourself up I’m sure it was a minor infraction. I know it’s easy for me to say but you do need to shake it off. Mainly because dwelling on it serves no purpose. As I said many pilots have had at least one, be happy you got it out of your system early :slight_smile:

Adam

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Matthew,

I have not failed a checkride, but I did struggle a bit on IOE (initial operating experience) when I was a new hire at ExpressJet. I was having problems landing the airplane and thus had to have an extra trip with an instructor pilot to work on it. It was a ding to my ego, but I figured out how to land the airplane and then moved on. At the time though it really upset me.

My advice would be try not to focus on it, none of us are perfect pilots. We all have our good days and our not so good days. Just pick yourself up and try not to think about it on your next checkride.

Chris

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I have one. My partner and I were using a Airplane Flight Manual that was a revision behind, and there were now 3 start related memory items instead of the 2 in my book. I was given the one I had never seen on my checkride. I don’t blame the book or the training, I was using a book that was outdated in the sim. Documents are my responsibility as PIC.

Own it

Learn from it

What’s next

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Matthew,

Like the rest of the mentors said, it happens…nothing you can do about except accept it and learn from it. Most airline recruiters these days don’t mind a failed checkride or two, as long as you can explain to them what happened and how you have improved since. If you can show up to the interview and say with confidence that you have learned from your mistake, you will be golden.

Yarden

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I failed my private multi w/ instrument privileges yesterday. First time getting the NOTICE OF DISAPPROVAL. Everything was going well until I made the biggest boneheaded mistake at the very end. We were at 2,000 feet shooting an RNAV approach when my examiner simulated an engine failure. My bad habit of rushing through a problem cost me the added rating. I feathered (simulated) the wrong engine. It was too late to catch my mistake. If only I had a few seconds to THINK before I act. Looking back I realize that 2,000 feet is plenty of altitude to IDENTIFY the problem and VERIFY by closing the throttle, prop, and mixture for the dead engine. It was absolutely the right thing for my examiner to tell me that was unsatisfactory. If that were to happen in real life, the end result would likely be deadly. He felt bad that he had to fail me at the very end because he said I flew so well, but that’s no excuse. I learned a very powerful lesson to take a deep breath and THINK what I have to do to solve the problem instead of rushing through the memory items on the checklist. I didn’t feel like beating myself up. In fact, I felt relieved that I nearly completed the checkride and that I learned a huge lesson. I think my instructor was more unhappy with me than I was, but I’m not going to let that get to me. Would this be a good explanation during an interview if they ask if I had any checkride failures?

That would be a great explanation.

Also, know that your scenario is one of the most common reasons students fail the instrument checkride. Your approach on handling this is great, just focus on the future and use the past only as a guide.

Yarden

Erik,

GREAT explanation, GREAT attitude and even BETTER lesson learned! Not sure is you ever heard “wind your watch”, “light a cigarette”, “take a deep breath and count to 10…slowly”? There are many pilot adages when it comes to dealing with any inflight emergencies but they all mean the same thing. Take a moment BEFORE you act. While I’m sorry you suffered a bust (sucks but DEF not the end of the world) that honestly may be the single most important lesson you’ll ever learn. There are countless accidents (and deaths) which could have been avoided had the crews simply SLOWED DOWN.

Shake it off. Get it out of your system and move forward. It’s all good.

Adam

BTW, this is what it looks like when you do that for real!

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