Aviation for Women

MAR-APR 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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72 AviationforWomen M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 How to Deal With Checkride-itis M E G G O D L E W S K I T he knowledge test had been taken and passed with a score of 85 percent. The ex- perience required for private pilot certi- fication, as detailed in CFR 61.109, had been acquired. The pilot's proficiency met the standards as dictated per CFR 61.107 and the airmen certification standards. His CFI was ready to sign him off for checkride but the client refused. The client said he didn't feel he was "in the zone." His CFI asked what he needed work on, but the client could not give any specifics. Diagnosis was the client had a severe case of checkride-itis. The treatment of checkride-itis is a delicate affair. Begin with identifying the client's mo- tivation for doing flight training. Is the client pursuing a career in aviation as an airline pi- lot? When working with students, in addition to teaching him or her to fly, teach how to teach. Test t he client 's knowledge by having t hem demonstrate air work, takeoffs, and landings while talking as if teaching you. Do the same with ground lessons. Being able to teach the topic gives most clients a new level of confi- dence, and it's an excellent metric to see how well he or she is learning. In addition, as it is highly likely the client will spend part of his or her career as a CFI, or perhaps teaching new hires at an airline, it gives the client more time to hone his or her skills. If the client is learning for fun, checkride- itis can often be caused by a fear of failure. This person is often successful in his or her chosen profession and discovers f light training to be more challenging than anticipated. Because of this, the client is reluctant to be challenged by the test. This can be addressed by doing several mock checkrides. The mock checkride may be the first time the client does a ground session or flies with someone other than his or her reg- ular instructor. There will be butterflies in the stomach and may be soft spots in the training or knowledge. The whole purpose of the mock checkride is to identify these areas so they can be improved and brought up to standard prior to the checkride with the designated pilot examin- er. While there will still be butterflies on check- ride day, hopefully the butterflies will be flying in formation. Another type of student is someone who just likes coming out to the airport and doing laps in the pattern. The client doesn't seem to be in a hurry or interested in finishing. With the ex- ception of throwing a surprise checkride (nev- er a good idea), there isn't a lot you can do with these clients, except taking the tough love ap- proach such as refusing to recertify them for solo until they buckle down and finish. If the student is not interested in finishing you must decide if it is worth your time and certificate to continue with flying this client on your ticket as a perpetual student. The tough love approach can be difficult if the client owns his or her airplane. There was a stu- dent pilot who bought a C-150 to learn in. He had been soloed six times by the same CFI. That's more than a year and a half of flight training dur- ing which the client's flying skills improved, but his knowledge and decision-making skills were suspect. He said he flew for fun, so he didn't need to know the regulations and the rules as long as he stayed out of the busy airspace. His CFI refused a seventh solo re-certification. The client tried to get the other CFIs at the school to sign him off, but all demurred fearing he'd pull a "stupid pilot trick" as it would come back on them. The client and his airplane disappeared one night. No one knew if he had hired someone to fly the airplane, or if he had taken it despite the lack of certification. You may find yourself training people who have no intention of taking a checkride or even to solo. It's not uncommon to train a client who is the spouse of a pilot and simply wants to be prepared in case the spouse has a cardiac event and cannot land the airplane. For a spouse, fo- cus on the items outlined in FAR 61.87 required for pre-solo and perhaps include some lessons on navigation and radio work. Your task with this client is to make the student as comfortable as possible in the air. You may have a client who cannot meet the minimum medical standard, but that doesn't mean you should stop training him or her. These clients love flying too much to quit. You should treat this like any other lesson with the under- standing that solo will not happen. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Meg Godlewski, WAI 8165, is a seven-time Master CFI and an active instructor. If the student is not interested in finishing you must decide if it is worth your time and certificate to continue with flying this client on your ticket as a perpetual student. T I P S F R O M A C F I

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