Jump to content

I have 90 hours in R22, didn't pass check ride, is it normal?


alexc
 Share

Recommended Posts

I can only fly once a week at weekends because my demanding full time job. It is kind of my hobby, so I only planned to get PPL and fly for fun. I did flight check ride few weeks ago and failed at starting engine step. The training R22 is very old and hard to start normally, I primed little bit too much, and didn’t realize that the engine was very hot already this time (someone just flew it) and caused engine RPM spike at ignition and failed the check ride. I was pretty frustrated.

 

I just want to check with gurus here if my case are normal. I have been training for about 1.5 years now and have about 90 hours in R22. I was able to stabilized hover independently after the first 2~3 hours training and passed FAA written test with 100%, but things went very slow afterward. My first instructor left the training school for a better job when I was about 65 hours (all instructors in that school are right out of CFI training program and stay in school less than a year). He is a VERY good pilot, but seems can’t communicate with me well. I was constantly overwhelmed by too many too fine grain maneuver details during flight. I tried to communicate with him, but not much change. I told him that I felt my progress was very slow. He said it was because I only fly once a week (too long gap in between) and my flight actually was good. Anyway, I still very appreciated that he kept me safe and building me good habits. My current instructor is much better at communication and my skills improved more. But my flight is still not 100% consistent. I usually fly accurately (smooth and well within PPL standard), but once a while, I felt off and not smooth (exceed PPL standard (altitude and speed) little bit on patterns, which may cause me to fail again on check ride. I used to be very stiff when I fly R22, but relaxed more now when my skill improved, still tense up some times (some subconscious fear, I guess).

 

I am very unhappy about the results and anxious about next check ride. So just to check with more experienced pros here is my learning process normal and any suggestions?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

See if you can get the same DE, or check airman who gave you your last checkride. You may be able to skip all or part of the oral if that was satisfactory last time. Take the checkride with the attitude that if you don't do well on a particular maneuver or procedure, that you will ask to retry it. If at any time the check pilot advises a maneuver is unsatisfactory, and constitutes a failing checkride, agree in advance to continue it, and complete as many maneuvers as satifactorily as possible. Being within Private PTS standards is not necessary 100% of the time. Small infrequent excursions outside them are allowed if they are immediately recognized, and smoothly but positively corrected. I don't know about once a week flying, but for sure study or do something helo related every day to keep your head in the game. Just that type of activity preserves your perishable skills much longer than having it completely out of your mind for even a day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to say that there isn't a "Normal" progression for everyone. Everyone requires a different approach and differing amounts of training in different areas. I say that 90 hours is probably a little bit high, however not abnormal for the frequency of your training. There is another instructor at my school that currently has a guy at 110 hours and failed his Private checkride a couple days ago also and they've been at it for 3 days a week since the student started, so don't feel like you are left out just because you are higher then everyone else. You can not compare your training times with anyone else. That's one of the harder things for an instructor to do, convince his students that they're on track when everyone else is "Faster" or "Better" then them. It's not true! Everyone learns at a different pace.

 

Now, In my opinion If you are that close to the checkride then you should be flying a little more then one day a weekend. I don't know if you can, but I personally would recommend taking a week, or possibly just a couple days off of work. Schedule your checkride for the end of those days. Fly as much as you can in prep for the checkride on those days off (Allowing enough time for relaxation of course), then rock the checkride out! Make sure you leave the day after your checkride open for "Recovery." Hehe!

 

Couple comments on the above post, I'm not a DPE so I'm not an expert, however I am a stage check evaluator at a 141 school which is essentially the same thing. I agree that if you want to carry on with the checkride after an Unsat then that's fine, remember that both you and the DPE must agree that you should carry on, and if you haven't already left the ground then it's probably best to just call it quits there. It's been my experience that once a student is informed of the unsat, only a select few can continue on the flight and pass any more maneuvers to standards, they just get too flustered. Now on that note though, if you are in the middle of your checkride and you perform the maneuver but you are not very happy with the way you did it. If the DPE hasn't informed you of an unsat... Great! forget the fact that you didn't do as well as you'd like, the maneuver is done! Move on and forget the little imperfections. If you can't forgo the little things, they build up in your mind and eventually you're thinking to yourself "Man this flight sucks! Worst flight of my life, I'm so going to fail." When the examiner might be thinking "Ok, that went well, let's keep going, I'm sure this guy will do well on the next one."

 

Most of all, don't sweat the unsat... it happens to the best of us. Brush yourself off, relax a bit, and recognize that your instructor wouldn't have signed you off if he didn't think you could do it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the good tips. I will remember that. Only one DE here, He agreed to continue where we left off, which is good. I will try to ask him to continue the exam if things not too off next time.

 

I used up my vacations, I will get more vacations in two more months. The DE is usually busy at weekends, which makes is harder for me to re-schedule. Anyway, I will try to reschedule in two weeks, otherwise, I may just skip two more months to get vacations days to finish the exam. It has been very stressful for me to prepare the previous one (the school is not close).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't pass my Commercial chechride on the first go because of a stupid little f-up (still kick myself every so often), so don't sweat it,...sh*t happens!

 

Ninety hours and still no license is understandable if you only fly once a week. I tried twice a week once and didn't get very far! Take a week off, fly every day, and take the checkride at the end!

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't sweat it. I never signed off a student unless I was sure that he/she would pass so have confidence in that. Some failed but mostly for fluky things like your case.

 

I agree with the above about loading up on flights in the days leading up to the check ride. Even if you're out of vacation time, maybe it's possible to arrange something with your boss where you arrive/leave early or late to work to accommodate a flight during the work week. If not, call in sick even if it's without pay.

 

Best of luck on your re-check!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the extent of your flight training will be a PPL, then your checkride will/should be more scrutinized. This will be for your own safety as well as for others. Like Butters, I failed a couple of checkrides myself and as frustrating and demoralizing as they were, in the end it made me a better pilot. Relax, cut yourself some slack, and just have fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know..I think what is going on is becoming more the norm. Some of the student base for aviation now is the adult learner who has other obligations etc. AND, the wanna be pilot (like us) doesn't give up and quit as easily as others.. so we end up with more hours cause we keep chugging along. If more students who quit..decided not to quit and continued, I am sure you will see the average 'hour' total climb higher than what most people finish at now. Make sense? I would rather have 100+ hours then 20 cause I quit..regardless of whether I have my ppl or not yet. If you love to fly, and you have the funds to continue, dont give up...as long as you are happy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Failed checkrides are a part of life in aviation. I failed my fixed wing checkride because I got too distracted by my mistakes and messed up the SEF. That was at 72 hours in fixed wing! Hang in there, and try to fly frequently before your ride. You'll get it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AlexC,

Everyone trains and progresses at different levels and the frequency of flights is a factor in progression. I just got a guy through a private ticket that had 95hrs and flew two to three times a week but it took him longer to learn not because of his piloting abilities, he could fly the aircraft safely but it was his decision making that I had to hone in. I wouldn't worry about the hour numbers. It may seem like a big deal but its less about numbers and more about your ability to make safe decisions on the ground and in the air that will allow you to continue to enjoy aviation.

 

I'm jealous of your hobby. I choose to work as a pilot because I want to fly, but can't afford it. Live the dream and live it good!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to be honest with you when no one else will. I am a 1500 hour instructor so take my advice lightly. A monkey could teach himself how to pass a private checkride in 90 hours. I would find a new way to spend your money! The only exception would be if your training was very inconsistant. If the majority of the hours you flew were flying 3-4 times a week on average, look for something else my friend. Also, if you are over the age of 40 it is a lot harder for you to learn the hand/eye skills to fly a helicopter. You can take what ever you want out of my response, I'm sure some of the older members of this forum will have plenty to say.

Edited by FAR/AIM
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had over 110 hours when I took my checkride. Being a surgeon, flying on a consistent basis was very challenging. I have a full-time job and fly for fun. I loaded up on flights for five days, going over and over the manuevers like a mock checkride. I scheduled my checkride at the end of this "cram session" and afterwards I thought I flew OK, but when debriefed my DPE said that I would have passed a commercial checkride and that he was very impressed.

I am 42 years old and I find the previous post funny because when a patient asks me "how much is that procedure gonna cost ???" I tell them "depends on your insurance--- I am just the monkey that spins the wrenches..." I been telling patients that for years and it is so true.

Just load up on mock checkrides and you will pass with "flying colors."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote from FAR/AIM..."I'm going to be honest with you when no one else will." That's not honesty. You are very warped if that is your true opinion. The rest of your post is not honesty either. If you want me to tell you what your post is, do continue to troll.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also took about a year and a half to get my private. I took a few month or two long breaks in between. You're going to rack up some hours doing it that way. It sounds like you have a good instructor, which should speed things up. The only thing I can say is take a few days off before the ride and fly at least once a day and do some ground (mock oral kind of thing) in between. It needs to be fresh. My job would not let me off work, either, so I had my instructor fly to where I was working and we would go fly over a long lunch. It was expensive, but I passed!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can take what ever you want out of my response, I'm sure some of the older members of this forum will have plenty to say.

 

Age has nothing to do with weeding out arrogance.

 

I just got a 63 year old gentlemen his commercial add on. There are so many factors that go into progression. Find an instructor that wants to help you achieve your goals. Good luck in your flying career.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like you had a little checkrideitis to me. Don't sweat it. Every pilot as some point is going to blow a check ride. Its not a big deal. Look I busted the ATP ride twice because the examiner felt I had the radios volume to loud! this happens nothing you can do about it. The only problem that you might have had is flight instructors leaving on you. That can throw anyone off a little. Don't over think it, and you should have your private pilot certificate with rotorcraft helicopter rating soon enough. And FAR/AIM why are you so bitter? Every student learns at a different pace. As flight instructors we need to recognize this and modify our instruction to fit the student needs, not our own. I seen a lot of sloppy fight instruction over the years, and my CFI is 35 years old.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I busted a checkride because of my nerves. I didn't have enough self-confidence in my answers, and second guessed myself during my flight, I literally argued with myself about the right answer. I made it through the recheck alright with few mistakes, but still didn't have the confidence. My instrument went much better. My instructor told me "remember, it's YOUR checkride, not the DPE's. You make the decisions, not him." That helped me a lot! I realized that I was in control of the checkride, and that I was PIC (I knew before, but this time I felt like PIC).

 

I would say to chair fly as much as you can! If you need to go to a hardware store and get a couple of sticks that are about the size of the cyclic and collective and go through an entire flight. Ask yourself questions that you think the DPE will ask you. Be able to explain what's going on, systems, and aerodynamics while you're doing the maneuvers, and scan. I got a whiteboard and drew the panel on it so I could do a scan and pretend of the environment that I was flying in. I did my checkride in the winter, so there was snow, so I practiced going through what I was looking for with the snow in regards to landing spots, navigation, etc. Even if you can't fly every day doesn't mean that you can't practice.

 

Good luck, and keep your chin up! :)

 

I forgot to add, they're looking for you to be able to prioritize. If they're asking you in depth questions that make you think while you're looking for a landmark, or coming up on a waypoint, tell them that you're busy at the moment and you'll answer them when you have less of a workload. My DPE loved getting you really busy and then started asking questions, and I felt like I had to answer him because he was really pushing me to answer.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I finally passed my check ride yesterday. I fine tuned all the required maneuvers after the first check ride. I felt more confidence and started to be able to fly more accurately and consistently. I still had some pressure, and couldn't sleep that well.

 

It was pretty windy and gusty (12 gust 20). I didn't expect the airport to use a small runway config that I never flew before. Three Black Hawk helicopters also showed up and were hovering at the spot I used to use. It's rare to see them although. So I had to change plans and yielded the spot for them to take off. Flying closely with Black Hawk was probably the best part of the check ride.

 

The tested maneuvers are based on the PTS. All my maneuvers were smooth and right on the spot, except auto's flare and hover-auto were not perfect. Gusty wind didn't really bother me that much, except work load increased. I worried a little bit about the flare and hover-auto, but I felt a big release after my DPE told me I passed the test. I am going to take a short break, and then fly more and learn more.

 

It was not easy to do weekends only flight training. The training got stretched out very long, mentally very stressful. Hours creeping up quick, skills improving slow, easily creates self-doubt. I under-estimated the difficulty level for weekends-only training. My opinion for weekends-only student pilots like me would be: prepare more, prepare earlier, adjust expectation for higher hours, reserve some vacation time for check ride.

 

This forum is truely very helpful. Thanks for the support and suggestions.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congrats.

 

And yes, I can confirm the after checkride celebrations are a great incentive. When I did my training, there were about 6 of us that I hung out with and we all went all the way through CFII so those partys happened frequently.

 

Reminded me of college, a bunch of guys living together and drinking. Except this time I ended up with a better career :-)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations AlexC!!! I am happy to hear your auto rotation went well too... Now the real learning begins. "Fly by the book and by the numbers!" Be safe. RP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...