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IFR checkride next week

Old 12-15-2010, 05:29 PM
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Default IFR checkride next week

I am excited to say that I will be taking my checkride in less than a week. Needless to say my adrenaline is already up and running and I am in full flight mode. I have been flying ILS approaches pretty good. GPS approaches are made easy on the G430 and I have many times flown the VOR-A approach that I will probably be doing on that day. I have two concerns about the checkride and one is holding patterns. Thanks for the previous thread, I will review everything and try to make the best out of it. Needless to say, I am not a big fan of holding patterns The next concern I have is about busting minimums. Being so focused on staying at altitude, for an example, leveling off at MDA (on a VOR-A) and scanning for the runway at 1200 MSL, if I stared at the altimeter I make a power change, uh oh, now am descending, so I add power and if I didn't lower the nose and reduce power I am going to go over 1300 ft. and I do this over and over. This is definitely not something I want to do on the checkride. I want to lock in a power setting, trim, and make minor adjustments. I have done everything I can so hopefully it goes well. The good news is that I am doing it with the same DPE as for my PPL so hopefully I will be at ease. Any checkride tips for and tips for not busting minimums are highly appreciated.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by PearlPilot View Post
I am excited to say that I will be taking my checkride in less than a week. Needless to say my adrenaline is already up and running and I am in full flight mode. I have been flying ILS approaches pretty good. GPS approaches are made easy on the G430 and I have many times flown the VOR-A approach that I will probably be doing on that day. I have two concerns about the checkride and one is holding patterns. Thanks for the previous thread, I will review everything and try to make the best out of it. Needless to say, I am not a big fan of holding patterns The next concern I have is about busting minimums. Being so focused on staying at altitude, for an example, leveling off at MDA (on a VOR-A) and scanning for the runway at 1200 MSL, if I stared at the altimeter I make a power change, uh oh, now am descending, so I add power and if I didn't lower the nose and reduce power I am going to go over 1300 ft. and I do this over and over. This is definitely not something I want to do on the checkride. I want to lock in a power setting, trim, and make minor adjustments. I have done everything I can so hopefully it goes well. The good news is that I am doing it with the same DPE as for my PPL so hopefully I will be at ease. Any checkride tips for and tips for not busting minimums are highly appreciated.
I have a piece of advice for you Don't get locked into a pattern and be ready for other approaches.

I practiced the checkride route so many times I could do it in my sleep when I took my checkride. ILS and BC at OKC, NDB at Guthrie and VOR-A at Stillwater (IIRC). EVERYONE said that this was what the DE flew. The day comes for the checkride and the weather is questionable. Turns out we went east instead of south ILS at TUL, NDB at Cushing, and yes....the VOR-A at Stillwater. It was a great feeling!

Good luck PP!

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Old 12-15-2010, 06:33 PM
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On ILS you get to the DA and then you decide if you see the runway or else go missed.

In contrast, on a non-precision approach don't get into the trap of looking at the plate to remind yourself when the missed is coming and cruise right through the MDA and crash. Wait until AFTER you have leveled off at 100" above it to do your missed approach plate look. If you should spot the runway then you do not need the missed approach anyway, and if you do not see the runway environment then level off THEN look at the plate and THEN descend the last few feet of altitude. It has been shown that pilots will cruise right through an MDA when looking away from the instruments at a plate trying to find where the missed starts. Several crashes have been attributed to this.

As for holds, if you can't remember all the rules for winds just do your best using common sense. I remember on my IFR ride I was told to hold at a fix determined by the intersection of a back localizer and DME fix. It was all I could do to find the fix and I had no idea how to tack for crosswinds because nobody had trained me in that. So I did two VERY sloppy laps around the hold and my examiner said good enough and that was all I had to do. Ideally you should memorize all the tricks and try and apply them, holds are much easier that way. I was rather miserable for 5 years doing holds on IPCs until one day I finally learned all the tricks for doing holds properly and then it clicked for me there is a science to it.

Last edited by Cubdriver; 12-15-2010 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:44 PM
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One word of advice about the non precision approach about busting MDA. Give yourself a little cushion 20-40ft ex if MDA is 670 use 700ft as your MDA, and let the DPE of your intentions. I would not use anymore than 40ft though wouldn't want to pop back into the clouds : ) good luck buddy
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:49 PM
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I tell people to level off at 100", retrim and set power for the drive then push the yoke over gently for the last few feet and do not take eyes off the panel. You don't want to level off at anything over MDA really in bad weather but the risk comes when you take your eyes off the panel at mins to study the plate or what have you and lose track of altitude. Light airplanes are very sensitive to small yoke movements which compounds the problem.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:01 PM
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Great advice gents, thank you very much!! I will study all the local approaches in case the weather does shift...
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:40 PM
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Make sure to get the Notams for the day of the ride and print them out, then go through and change MDA's and DA's on your plates if they have changed. I have seen several instances where students descended through minimums that had been raised due to Notams.
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:07 AM
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be prepared to use anything in the aircraft. Don't know if you have a NDB, but I did, and had to hold at one . Be prepared to lose anything in the aricraft - oooops moving map gps just went inop.

I talk (out loud) myself through procedures, what I'm doing and what I expect. Still do it to this day (20 years later).

Good Luck!!!!
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:19 AM
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My techniques and advice are Just Don't Screw Up.

With that said, here's my advice towards MDA's. You're allowed -0/+100. So wouldn't it make sense to level off at +50??? Now, another aspect is you should know within 50RPM how much power it will take to maintain level flight at 90kts(which I'm guessing you'll be using). So at 100ft to MDA, you should've already had the aircraft trimmed for 90kts, simply add power slowly to arrest your descent, and there you go. Use pitch movements to fine tune.

Holds, well they are what they are. You just really have to develope your own techniques and mindset on which is better given a situation where you have more than one option. Winds are the biggest factor for me, then simplicity is second. Simple tear drop is great, but if the wind is going to push you through your inbound, I would've went parallel.

Expect the unexpected. I have a DPE in the office next door, and he loves to throw people out of their element. Too many CFI's prep their students for just the approaches they think the examiner is going to give you. Doesn't do you any good when you leave that airport, so he takes them to surrounding airports for that reason.

Finally, just take a really good look at the PTS, that is exactly what is going to be asked of you. They can't just pull something out of a hat and make you do it.

Good luck, let us know how it goes
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:29 PM
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Thank you very much again for the great advice!! i just read on an FAAsafety course that a missed approach must be started when:
* The aircraft is being operated below MDA;
* Upon arrival at the MAP; or
* Whenever an identifiable part of the airport is not distinctly visible when circling.

Let's assume that on a VOR-A approach, I level off at MDA and dip below MDA. I recognize this right away and instead of trying to get back to MDA I tell the examiner, I just dipped below MDA I am going to execute the missed. That is, I fly to the MAP and make the turn and climb etc...Would this cause me to still save the checkride or would dipping below the MDA (regardless of the fact I recognized it and execute the missed) cause me to fail? Thanks!
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