PPL Checkride Tips...


Well-Known Member
I'm preparing for my PPL checkride and was wondering if anyone had any good tips or advice for the checkride?

Any tips for my DIVERSION as far as making an accurate estimate of heading, groundspeed, arrival time, and fuel consumption?
Do I just get out the map and E6B and go to work (all while flying)?

anything will help... thanks..
Sometimes it's easier just to do the calculations in your head for the diversion rather than reaching for the E6B. For instance if you're crusing at 100 knots and the diversion airport is 20 miles away, it's just about good enough say since 20 is about 20% of 105 and 20% of one hour is 12 minutes, we'll be there in 12 minutes. Use common sense about wind; under 15 knots I doubt the examiner will mind you omitting to mention wind during the first "rough estimate ETA and heading" part of the diversion. Be sure to announce how much fuel you have remaining and announce that your fuel supply is adequate.

I usually have no problem dividing the distance by my airspeed, rounding that off to the nearest 10 percent and multiplying by 60 to get my ETA. Remember that 10% of one hour is 6 minutes.

For the heading use the VOR's on your sectional to help.....connect your present position and the diversion airport with your plotter, carefully keep the plotter at the same angle and slide it over to the nearest VOR. This will give you a quick and easy magnetic heading to fly.

After you've turned to your rought heading and done your distance and fuel announcement, then you can bust out the E6B and start getting a wind correction angle, groundspeed, and perhaps announce a revised ETA when you've done that.
Thanks for the link.. good info there.. I think I may have difficulty in determining an accurate heading to my diversion while trying to fly the plane.. I practiced it sitting at my desk with one hand and every time it ended up being about 10-20 degrees off.
It doesnt have to be down to a degree. Get a ballpark guess (within 10 degrees or so is fine), and then look for landmarks to check your progress.
Only one suggestion: (and I'm not being a smartass) - don't do anything to scare your DE.

If your instructor has prepared you properlly... and signs off on your checkride, then he/she feels competent in your skills to pass.

Look at your checkride as an opportunity to show off what you know.

Have fun with it!! You know what you are doing - just go do it.

Keep us posted.

If your instructor has prepared you properlly... and signs off on your checkride, then he/she feels competent in your skills to pass.

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Ditto to the above. The checkride is just that, a checkride. Your CFI has given their professional opinion that you are qualified for the certificate or rating that you are applying for. The checkride is just to check that the CFI is not way off base. The DE shouldn't be looking to trip you up on some technicality. Keep it safe and legal, and you should be alright.
Here's a hint to diversions that might help you out. As soon as your DE (or CFI for that matter) tells you to divert, take note of the time to the nearest minute and mark EXACTLY where you are. I've seen several CFI's leave that out when they're teaching their students. To get a ballpark heading, look at your new destination and where you are. Hold a pencil connecting the two, then keep it pointed the same way. If you slide it over to a VOR you have your intitial heading that you can turn to and THEN do all of the math after you are headed towards the new destination.

Then come the exact calculations. Get the plotter to measure your course and distance. You should already have your winds aloft. Use those and your cruise speed and plug it into your E6B and voila, there you have it. I'll give you some advice here. If it looks like you aren't on course with your computed heading, you can always use pilotage to find the way. You could tell your DE something like "Well, it looks like these winds aloft are a little off today, so I'm going to steer 20 degrees right to get us where we need to go." How often have you seen winds aloft that are exact to the forecast? Especially if you're at an altitude of 4,500 and you are in between two stations. Show the DE you know what you're doing.

Your DE will let you know where you will be planning your XC to for the checkride. If you schedule the ride a week or so in advance, you can plan your XC and look for airports in the vicinity on your sectional. If it makes you feel better, have your CFI go up with you and practice one or two diversions in that area. Also, some DE's are notorious for having favorites for the X/C and diversion. Get the gouge on your DE if you can, it could really help out.

Ok, my novel is finito. I'll leave you with my last but most important piece of advice. FLY THE AIRPLANE first. Throughout all of the fumbling through charts, plotters, E6B's, etc... make sure you maintain positive control of tha aircraft. Stay on your heading and altitude while keeping your head out of the cockpit. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
I just read your post about being 10-20 degrees off. If you look at the PTS you have +/-15 degrees to work with. I would even go so far as to say if you get 20 degrees off and do something very quickly to correct it you might be okay. Now if you were 20 degrees off for more than 1-2 minutes, I might consider that a bust.

Has your CFI shown you how to fly the plane with no hands? If you trim it for level flight it should stay at the same heading and altitude when you release the controls. I show my students that this can be done and then teach them that they can fly on their X/C with their index finger and thumb. Think of when you are in a car. Sometimes when I make a lane change to the left I look over my shoulder for traffic. then I look back ahead and oops, I'm already in the left lane. The same goes for an aircraft. Use very light control inputs and keep what you're working on directly in front of you and the problem should go away.
Hold yourself to the highest standard possible, if you seeing something going bad, then fix it, dont wait for the examiner to point it out, you should have enough time in the aircraft and know the pts well enough to know what to do and what not to do. And most importantly, just have fun!
I too will soon be taking my private checkride, and the check instructor that I did my last prog check with had a good bit of advice about what to do when (if) the examiner pulls the power out for a simulated engine failure.

He said that they'll usually leave themselve an out, so you should always be aware of the area you're flying over, because they'll often pull the power over an airport (whether a grass strip, etc.) or other prime landing spot. So, he said to look directly under the plane first when searching for the best field.

This probably won't always be the case, but I think its something worth noting.

Just realized I'm a little late... but maybe this will help someone else.