Your flight training is almost complete, and as you wait in the No. 3 position for takeoff on a checkride dress rehearsal flight with your instructor, it’s hard to fight off your impatience to get airborne.
Your flying club’s other trainer has just been cleared for takeoff and is taxiing onto the runway. Ready to go next is a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air turboprop, from which you have been keeping a respectful distance during your run-up and when slipping into the departure line behind it.
Now it’s your turn—and although you haven’t commenced your takeoff roll yet, the clock is already running on your checkride rehearsal, whether you realize it not.
The reason? Your CFI is alertly watching, as a designated pilot examiner would, whether you have noted how far down the runway the King Air became airborne. Although it should be no problem for your single-engine trainer to become airborne before that point, the CFI doesn’t want to see you gobble up runway with an unfocused takeoff run and a lazy rotation. Such a performance would raise big doubts that you are minding the wake-turbulence-avoidance precautions you should have learned.
CFIs see plenty of that, trust me. And it is at their peril that they would recommend someone who exhibits such poor risk-mitigation abilities for a flight test.
That said, your instructor will scrutinize how well you strive to keep your trainer above the departing turboprop’s climb path to prevent an encounter with the hazardous turbulence generated by wingtip vortices.
If there’s wind, and a crosswind component, you will be evaluated on how well you visualize where those vortices would drift in that wind. This you will demonstrate by how you carefully maneuver your climbing aircraft upwind of where those vortices might lurk.
Your management of these and other scenarios that can’t be predicted before a flight gives credible testimony to your ability to correlate information learned in ground study with the real-life demands of piloting.
No two scenarios are alike, thanks to variables like winds, the types of other aircraft present, and the ATC instructions issued.
What they all have in common is giving your CFI a good measure of whether it is time to recommend you for a checkride.
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