Every pilot spends many hours training before taking their checkride. While most people pass their checkrides on the first try, some can find it to be a pretty tedious experience and not know what to expect. In this post, we’ll share some of our best checkride tips, so you can pass your first attempt with confidence!


Tip #5: Show up organized

One thing that examiners don’t like is when a student shows up without the proper paperwork or materials. This can include proper performance charts completed, an unorganized logbook, and other necessary reference materials. Not having these ready ultimately shows unpreparedness from a student, and can make checkrides more difficult.

We suggest having everything ready the day before. Print out a paper 8710 form in case IACRA goes down, and make copies of your ID and Medical. Total and sign all logbook pages, and have a copy of any endorsements in case the examiner requests it. We also suggest having a tabbed out copy of a FAR/AIM, and any other reference materials like the Airplane Flying Handbook and PHAK.

If you’re taking an IFR, CFII, or Multi add-on checkride, we strongly recommend printing out your approach plates, enroute charts, and departure/arrival charts. This way, you have a paper copy in case your electronic copy fails.

Tip #4: Be Familiar with the Airman Certification Standards

I’ve personally had examiners ask me what the tolerances for a maneuver were, and I drew a blank in the middle of the flight. It’s always a good idea to be familiar with what the standards are, since you’ll know the tolerances you have within a maneuver to remain within standards.

The Airman Certification Standards is also like a “rubric” and explains everything you will be tested on.

Tip #3: Show good checklist usage!

Examiners want to see you being safe in flight, and proper checklist usage can’t be emphasized enough. It’s okay to have a “flow” used, but always verify it with a checklist afterwards.

This will not only show good airmanship and judgement, but also will prevent situations where you may have forgotten something because of task saturation.

Tip #2: Stay ahead of the airplane

Do your best to stay ahead of the airplane. Configure the airplane properly, and be ready for the next required task before it comes up. Pilots can get task saturated, and being behind the airplane will only make it worse. Before departing, do things like having your backup or next frequencies on standby. Trim the airplane out if needed, use heading and altitude bugs, and configure the autopilot in advance.

If things are going too fast, remember you can always slow things down if you need to. On an instrument checkride, ask for a “delay vector” so you can have some additional time to configure the airplane.

Tip #1: Don’t guess. Look something up if you have to.

Examiners hate it when students guess something on a checkride. If you’re unsure about something, look it up in an official FAA document, whether it’s the FAR/AIM, PHAK, Advisory Circulars, or AFH. You’re can also use your aircraft’s POH as needed.

Be VERY familiar with these documents before your checkride. Tab them out in advance in case you need to look something up on the fly. Remember, while you can look anything up as needed, it does not look good if you’re looking everything up. Try to remember most things, and if you’re drawing a blank, use your resources, but never guess.