Saturday, June 12, 2010

The dreaded pink slip

Check rides. An hour or two (or more!) of your life that shows just a sample of your knowledge and abilities. Kind of unfair. We all have bad days. If a bad day conicidies with a check ride it could haunt you for the rest of your career.

I'm no Superman. Just an average guy, yet I have never failed a check ride. The reason being is I am somewhat superstitious and eat the exact same meal before every check ride....a McDonalds Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddle. Seriously. I have gone out of my way to secure the sugary, salty, fatty, artery clogging delicacy...especially hard while in Florida for my CFI initial. I have been very lucky as I felt I almost failed my private single and CFI initial. I was told I used "all limits of the PTS".....but passed. Nice?

When applying for my airline there was a box to check if I had ever failed a check ride (I don't remember the exact verbage). I know friends that have been hired with one or two failed check rides.

There is one examiner at my old flight school who was known to fail guys for truly trivial and minor reasons. Another who is old school and would fail an applicant if he made a minor mistake, but only once. This examiner wouldn't charge for a retake and typically wouldn't fail for minor mistakes again. Of course with the two different examiners the latter started charging for retakes and being a little more lenient of mistakes. For the record I have never had an FAA examiner, only designated examiners, so I paid for all of my check rides.

I am on a 4 day weekend and commuted down to KGKY yesterday , which is my old flight school. It was neat to be around a general aviation airport. Nice day, lots of planes moving about. Funny how a Lear 25 doesn't sound annoying and loud when I'm at an airport.

The ATP location there isn't nearly as busy as it was back when I was there. Less than 1/2 the number of CFI's around. I thought for sure I wouldn't know anyone. I was wrong.

A CFI was there that I knew when he was still a student. Nice guy. Great guy. I asked the obvious, "You're still here?" question. He has over 2200 hours. An ATP. Tons of multi.....and 3 check ride bust. He had applied to my airline but didn't get hired. He has over 500 hours MORE flight time than me! He is hoping to find a corporate gig. Really sucks as he has every right to be hired. I can only assume it was the check ride bust.

While there another CFI recognized me blog. A year or so ago this website had a different name and I was more frank about my gig and life. Small world.

I took a walk around the facilities. Not much had changed. I did find a few "paper tigers" for Seminole training. Back when I was there I practiced flows in a chair and pretended to be in a cockpit. Now students can sit in chairs and practice flows and checklist behind a photo mock up.

[singlepic id=453 w=640 h=480 float=center]

[singlepic id=454 w=640 h=480 float=center]

Much nicer. The same thing I did when I got hired by my airline. I spent hours in a small room with a mockup of my cockpit going through flows.

I miss teaching. I love teaching. Hopefully the industry picks back up and I can teach the RJ course again.


  1. What ATP school is this?

  2. The photos are from the Arlington, TX location when I flew down there to visit.


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