The Check Ride – Part 3

The Check Ride – Part 3 (ORAL and PRACTICAL PARTS OF THE EXAM)

I finished the written part of the check ride and after we talked about a couple of the answers we went through the maintenance records for the airplane.  Sheble does a great job of preparing a packet with all of the relevant pages of the aircraft logs photocopied so I was able to show him the relevant pages with the most recent ANNUAL, most recent 100 HR, most recent ELT, and most recent AD compliance checklist.  Your instructor will go through how this system works with you and my examiner seemed more than satisfied with the maintenance status of the airplane.

After we finished going over the records we got right into the oral part of the check ride.  After a few pretty easy questions about the type of engines, how feathering works, etc., we started talking about single engine performance.  At this point, I almost spun it into the ground.  My examiner described a scenario in which we’ve just rotated, are 50′ AGL, the gear is still down but there is no runway remaining, and an engine fails.  I’d memorized the POWER UP, CLEAN UP, IDENTIFY, VERIFY, and FEATHER mantra and practiced it plenty of times but somehow at this point I started talking about running the checklist for restarting the engine.  After seriously nearly convincing my examiner that I had no idea what I was talking about I picked up on the non-verbal cues and committed to feathering the engine to minimize the drag, forgetting about trying to restart it, and start figuring out where to land with one engine.

The take home lesson from this part of the exam was that in the mind of my examiner, if you are less than 1,500 AGL, you are feathering the intraoperative engine and concentrating on other tasks.  Running a restart checklist at that point might be considered a little risky and take your attention away from more pressing matters.  My examiner was starting to look at me a little sideways but after another half an hour and a reasonably through job of explaining Vmc, I convinced him that he ought to give me a shot at showing him that I could fly the airplane.

What happened next was pretty straight forward.  We took off out of Apple Valley and he gave me the option of flying the instrument approach portion of the test first, but we couldn’t get clearance from Joshua Approach.  We did our steep turns, a couple of engine out drills, and the Vmc demonstration.  Before we take off we went over how we would initiate the Vmc drill and he indicated that he would like to see me set the demo up from the beginning and handle it all the way through to resolution.  He explained that a satisfactory performance begins with selecting the CRITICAL engine to bring to idle and he thinks its a bad sign when he asks the examinee for a Vmc demonstration and the pilot asks “which engine?”

For the Vmc portion of the test I brought the power lever on the LEFT engine back to idle, corrected the asymmetrical thrust with right rudder and slight roll to the right and brought the nose up to let the speed bleed off.  They stall light comes on right about the time the nose starts to yaw, so I brought the nose down, brought the power on the right engine back, and pitched for airspeed recovery.  At this point we finally got our vectors to the final approach course for the ILS to VCV 17.

I started setting up for the approach and we exchanged controls as I put the foggles on.  He brought the power back to idle on the left engine just as I was intercepting the final approach course and when I went through the POWER UP, CLEAN UP, IDENTIFY, VERIFY, and FEATHER drill without out too much hesitation.  I correctly identified that the left engine was idle and I needed to feather it and after I put my hand on the left hand prop control and moved it aft an inch or two, he gave me a couple of inches of manifold pressure on the left engine to simulate the reduction in drag associated with feathering.

We did a go around after flying the IAP down to minimums, made three landings back at Apple Valley, the last with only one engine, and we were done.  Total time, about 1.5 hours.  He gave me a courteous “heads up flying” compliment and we had a 30 minute debrief with my instructor.  The designated pilot examiner felt

and after we completed the paperwork, Matt and I loaded up the airplane and flew home.  The trip home was probably the best part.  We had a setting sun behind us, a beautiful panorama of the desert in front of us, and we started our let down into sun valley just as dark was falling.

twin engine night flight check ride  Vmc flying  feathered propeller

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