Real Answers from Real Pilots

Minimum Checkride Busts

Hey mentors, not that I plan on failing any checkrides once I get started at ATP, but how many does it to take to eliminate your chances with a regional? Also, would Air Force avionics experience on AC-130H model aircraft be a significant resume booster in regards to flying job apps?

Javid,

There is min (or max) when it comes to checkride busts but more than 2 and ATP can rescind their Instructor position guarantee and as a former Regional interview panel participant I can tell you more than 2 would get my attention as well. The thing is this, while in modern aviation we accept the “Inevitability of Human Error” and the fact that any pilot can have a bad flight, we are talking about a flight you’ve training for and you are expected to rise to the occasion. One bust is fairly common. Two? Ok, this guy’s had some bad luck and HOPEFULLY has a good story/lesson learned to go with it. Three? Ok now I’m concerned if this person has had training issues. I’m going to scrutinize their logbook looking for retraining, hours trained for each stage etc. Rather than think about the number that could cost you your career, I’d honestly prefer you work REALLY hard and try for zero.

While that experience will probably earn you a nice “geewhiz” in an interview I don’t see it giving you a leg up. No disrespect, I thank you for your service and I’m sure you’re a great tech but let’s be frank, avionics experience doesn’t mean you can fly or if you’d be the guy I’d want to be sitting next to for 10hrs on a flight.

Adam

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Can always count on Mentor Adam to keep it real. NY represent!! Haha. Thanks alot big man, that cleared things right up for me. As for my work experience, I was really hoping it would serve me a bit better, but it’s ok…I should be more focused on my flight training right now anyways. Hope I’m not being too forward in asking, but are there any particularly rough training/checkride experiences you wouldn’t mind sharing with us young and hopeful prospects?

Javid,

Not too forward but I’ve been very fortunate in my career in regard to checkrides and the pilots I know with busts often are the result of very simple lapses in judgment (aka “brain farts”. Worst I know was a friend who forgot to remove the wheel chocks before attempting to taxi, DOH!). What you should understand is for most checkrides your instructor must sign you off and should not if they don’t feel you’re ready. When I say ready I don’t mean on a good day with light winds, our fingers crossed, several Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers and a rabbit’s foot in your pocket you might get lucky. I mean you’ve consistently demonstrated your ability to complete the task at hand. With that understanding, while yes people do slip up the odds are you shouldn’t (and statistics confirm this). The checkride with the most common busts is the Initial CFI. The snags with this one is a) since you’ll be responsible for training new pilots so EVERYTHING is fair game and b) the FAA monitors their ASI’s (Aviation Safety Inspectors) who perform these checkrides (DPE’s can only be used IF no ASI is available and most will make sure they are) and they simply won’t pass everyone (especially since NO ONE has ever had a “perfect” checkride).

Again I really wouldn’t focus on the negative. Work hard, take your time and do your best and you SHOULD (?) be fine :slight_smile:

Adam

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