Safety Publications/Articles

A checkride persona

A common question that students ask is how to pass a checkride. Most instructors administer the correct advice regarding knowledge, preparation, and so on. Yet, I seldom hear instructors talk about the proper persona to display during the practical test's oral and flight exam.

The checkride persona that a student presents during this exam has a lot to do with how favorably or unfavorably he's looked upon by the designated examiner. I'm referring to the type that conveys a sincere interest in learning; humility; optimism; a disposition toward safety; confidence without hubris; and an inclination toward the cautious behavior that all examiners want to see.

You might argue that your student, while safe in the air, doesn't overtly demonstrate these qualities during normal conversation, since it's not a part of his personality. My advice for that student is to do what he or she often does on a first date--act like the person you think the other individual wants you to be. I'm assuming that a student won't be disingenuous when acting out these qualities. Instead, he or she will simply exaggerate them for easier detection. The examiner isn't just asking, "Does this person have a collection of mechanical skills?" He's really asking, "Is this person ready to be a safe pilot in command?"

So the next time you're preparing a student for a practical test, give the person some feedback on his or her demeanor. Let students know how they're coming across to you--and how an examiner might interpret their behavior. Help them to convey the persona of safety, confidence, and humility that all examiners want to see on a checkride.

By Rod Machado

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