- How long have you taught?
- What planes have you flown?
- How many hours of instruction do you have?
- How many total hours do you have in their logbook?
Tuesday I added to the list:
- How long will your instructor be available?
Today I'll add:
How will the Instructor know that you’re ready for the check-ride?
Question for your potential instructor:
Instructor Darby, how will you know when I’m ready for my check-ride? Who makes that decision? … Me? I make that decision? You mean I get to tell “you” when I feel ready? That makes sense, since I’ll know better than anyone when I’m good to go.
You will not know when you will feel ready.
You will never feel ready.
That decision belongs to the instructor.
Any instructor who says, “I’ll sign you off when you feel like you’re ready,” is not fulfilling their job as a qualified instructor.
Let me explain. Student pilots don’t know enough to know when they’re ready to pass the check-ride because doubt, fear, and what if, creeps into their mind. The instructors have been trained to make this determination. They should also have the skills to help you believe.
Remember: You are the student. You’re not trained to make that kind of assessment.
The pilot personality is also one of perfectionism. We will always want to be better. “One more ride, and I’ll know I’ll feel better about it.” But you don’t. Trust me—you will not know when you’re ready. There will always be one more ride. Then another and another.
The mother bird has to kick the baby out of the nest because Mother knows baby can fly far before the baby knows.
An instructor who allows the student to make the determination of readiness is failing the student. Your instructor must have the skills to know if you are able to fly the plane, and have confidence that they did their job well in preparing you. They must also instill that confidence in you.
My first instructor never asked if I felt ready to solo. He also never told me the day that I would take that plane into the sky alone for the first time. One day he asked me to taxi to the base of the tower and he climbed out of the plane and said, “You’re ready,” then closed the door.
Years later I had 500 plus hours and was training for my 727 type rating. I did not feel ready. But the instructor never asked me if I was, he just said, “You’re ready. You can do this.” Fighting the doubt and fear, I chose to believe him for a couple reasons: First, I knew he knew far more than I. Second, I figured his name was on the sign-off and he wouldn’t want a down on his record. He was right, despite my doubt.
There is no such thing as a perfect check-ride. Being proficient and safe are the keys. Knowing what to do when you make a mistake is essential. But flying a perfect ride is a fairytale.
A process of learning, improving, being safe...
knowing that you will make a mistake...
but nothing you haven’t been trained to fix.
Enjoy the Journey!