IFR Prep, Gusts, X-Winds advice?


My Instrument checkride is set for Sunday and I'm flying every night this week (3 hours hood time needed, mock checkride work and clean up).

Saturday was a great XC, 3 legs MKG-SUS-OXI-MKG. Weather was pretty good, great at 12K and only a few layers around MKG on departure and arrival 8 hours later. I had plenty of time to set up, verify the VOR's and plan for the approaches we used.

Last night we had winds 22018G29. Anything below 2500 and I was getting my Butt handed to me. Bouncing all around. Got to my step down altitudes early and waiting for tower to call the FAF (DME or Radar only) and couldn't hold the +100/-0 for nothing. Kept going 50-75 low because of the turbulence, just trying to stay within a dot of path. Speeds were +15 / -15 at that point. Really got rattled, forgot my VOR checks and overall frustrated.

Any advice on how to handle that? I'm hoping its not like that for my ride, but beyond that, what happens when I'm doing it in real life?


Sometimes on a really bumpy IFR day the only thing you can do is keep her wings level and accept the variations in altitude and airspeed. If it got really bumpy and you were +/-200ft or more, I'd advise ATC and look for another altitude, divert out of the storm I probably just flew into, or ask for a block altitude clearance. It will get nerve-wracking but remember the job you're there for and keep the plane under control the best you can.

For the checkride the DPE will understand if the conditions are bad. I sent a student on a day that turned out to be very bumpy, and afterwards the student told me he kept getting bounced all over. He just told the DPE how he was correcting for the turbulence and the DPE said afterwards that he did a good job given the conditions. Also remember for the checkride on most approaches the fixes are only minimum altitudes (with an underlined altitude) meaning you can be high but not low. So if its bumpy, give yourself a couple hundred feet cushion and brief the DPE on what you're doing. They like to see the good decision making and that you won't kill yourself if you go on a challenging IFR day.

Hope this helps and go pass that checkride.


Well-Known Member
If it ends up being a windy day, Make sure your not exceeding any limitations of your aircraft (X-wind) that will get you into the crap right away.

as Toga said if its rough give it your best, if your being tossed around the DPE is also being tossed around right next to you, and he/she should understand that. One thing i had to teach my students and use myself is when your 1 dot or more off of GS or LOC simply say correcting, it will let the DPE know your working to fix it, and it also gets it in your head that you need to do something.

While good flying is part of your IFR checkride, a good portion of that ride is Decision making. The DPE is looking at your thought process and making sure you know whats going on and that your going to be safe. A lot of your oral will be Scenario based (as per the FAA) so the DPE can get a good look at what your thinking. So when it comes to the flight just make the right decisions, and you should be good!



Well-Known Member
The PTS are under good conditions. If you're flying in an Airmet Tango with LLWS then it can be understandable that you're getting tossed around. Make sure that you're still confident in your overall ability to fly the plane in that stuff, and expect that PTS might be difficult or in some cases impractical to try and remain within. As long as your correcting and talking out loud about whats going on as others said you'll be fine on your check ride. Make good PIC decisions.


Appreciate the advice!

Going out for three or four more hours tonight. Hopefully it goes a bit better! I'll have an audience along as he wants to bring a potential PPL candidate along for the ride.


Staff member
I was going to jump in here with some good advice but, well, those other guys beat me to it.

Have fun!


Staff member
I don't know Dave, but I think he's an OK guy if it's who I'm thinking of. Doesn't he do some flying out of GRR? King Air, maybe something else?


4 out of 5 great lakes prefer Michigan.
I have nothing of helpful substance to add, just want to wish you good luck John! Everything that has been said is pretty much spot on, especially with the altitude, give yourself a buffer below the MDA if needed, and keep talking so the DPE knows you know something is wrong and that you are correcting. I saved a bust on my MEL add-on by talking through the maneuver...

Cal Goat

Prestige Worldwide™
As was said earlier, just verbalize EVERYTHING so the examiner knows your thought process.
This. I find that verbalizing everything you do on a checkride or stagecheck also helps keep your mind from focusing too much on one thing. During some brutal sim sessions at my current employer, I was just narrating everything I was doing. Obviously I was making mistakes, but I was announcing to the instructor that I was aware of the mistakes and what corrective action I was taking. I'm sure it was annoying for him and my sim partner, but I felt that it helped me.