Anytime one is completing a practical test in any subject the attitude of the examiner plays a part in how comfortable and confident you feel. Of course you are going to feel some form of intimidation, but make every effort to put this aside as it will interfere with your capabilities.
Completing your Private Pilot Check ride is a perfect example of the above scenario. This is your final practical test before achieving your Private Pilot License. You must remember that the examiner has a job to do. He/she must determine that you are knowledgeable enough and capable of flying a plane on your own. There is a standard form that the examiner must follow but some will add a few twists of their own to see how you react. They go a little beyond the classic textbook knowledge.
A favored trick of some examiners is the pencil fallacy. Here they will drop their pencil at some point of time during your flying. Most often, it will occur when you are engaged in performing a task that requires your undivided attention such as doing a turn. Your first instinct is to want to impress the examiner, so you will immediately try to retrieve the pencil taking your attention away from your maneuver. This act of kindness on your part could cause you the loss of the chance to obtain your license. In other word a failing mark. Be one-step ahead of these types of ploys. Keep extra pencils on your kneeboard. Then simply tell the examiner you cannot reach their pen as you must concentrate on what you are doing, but in fact, you do have an extra one.
Always be prepared for the unexpected. Dead batteries are one of the most common mishaps. Let’s assume you are being rerouted to another airport and your E6B that you rely so heavily on is suddenly flat. If you carry a good supply of extra batteries with you then there is not going to be a problem. If you don’t then you have to rely on the wheel that you have thought about since your initial training. Talk about extra stress this is it. The last thing you need is any more stress at this particular time.
There are not only instances where deviating from your concentration could be dangerous they could also be embarrassing. You can imagine how you would feel if you were in the take off mode only to discover that, you hadn’t removed the tie down rope? After all, isn’t this something you should have completed in your pre flight? The lesson to be learned here is taking nothing for granted and check everything.
The purpose of this test is to show you are capable of being the pilot in command. This includes viewing your examiner as your passenger. Ensure that your passenger has his seatbelt on. If you miss this simple step you could be missing your license. Don’t forget about the pre flight briefing that is to be given your passenger as well. You are ultimately responsible for the safety of your passenger regardless if he happens to be the examiner. Also, remember to do your break check at your takeoff. You have to show that you are considering the flight as a whole. You need to know that you can land.
You must always be prepared. This means that if the examiner were to tell you that an engine was out you would have to be prepared for an emergency landing. In this case, you need to be constantly aware of your surroundings and always know the possible places you could put your plane down safely if you had to do so.
These are just a few of the unforeseen circumstances your examiner could put in your path. Just be prepared for anything.