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senne

Senne Vandenputte

April 01, 2019 - 148 views

Posted in Training

Getting Your Private Pilot License - Checkride Day!

3 min read

As a glider pilot with about 220 flying hours, I finally decided to take the jump and start my Private Pilot training in June 2018. In this series, I share my experiences of getting my Private Pilot License in Belgium. From preparing for my first lesson, to my first solo flights and ultimately my checkride. I hope these articles will be able to help you get the most out of your own flight training!


March 31st. Checkride Day.

The past 9,5 months I have been working towards this moment. The written test behind me and the only thing that's left is my PPL(A) checkride.

7 am, my alarm goes off. Before heading out to the airfield, I still have to do some last preparations for my checkride flight. The examiner asked me to prepare a cross country flight from Goetsenhoven to the airfield of Spa-Francorchamps, crossing the Liege airport CTR. I realize you almost never actually arrive at your destination during a checkride, as the examiner often asks you to divert to an alternate mid-flight. Still, I wanted to prepare the navigation part of the flight as good as possible.

I prepared most of my flight the night before, but I still have to make some last adjustments based on the current weather forecast for the day - which is not looking very great to be fair.

Checkrides - or better Skill tests as EASA officially calls them - usually consist of 3 major parts:

  • The first part is an oral interview/conversation with some theoretical questions and a briefing of the flight
  • The next parts of the skill test are in-flight. These consist of exercises such as advanced maneuvers (steep turns, simulated engine failures, precision landings,...) and a navigation part.

I'm meeting my examiner at 9 am at our airfield in Goetsenhoven. I feel a little stressed, but I know I'm well prepared and my instructor believes I'm ready.

As I mentioned before, the weather forecast wasn't that optimistic. When I arrived at the airfield, visibility was quite poor. But it was legally VMC, so after the oral part, we decided to get the airplane out of the hangar and go fly.

To be honest I felt quite relaxed during the flight itself. I know my examiner (I have flown with him once or twice before) and I felt comfortable during the entire checkride. As expected, the weather wasn't amazing, but we were still able to perform all parts of the skill test as required. After 1 hour and 37 minutes of flying, we landed back in Goetsenhoven, with the 4 words every pilot wants to hear after a checkride: "Congratulations, you have passed!". 

All that's left now is to send my papers to the Belgian aviation authorities and wait for my brand new Private Pilot License to arrive!

In the next - and probably one of the last - stories in this series, I will focus on the cost of my private pilot training and how I was able to save a decent amount of money!

Talk soon!

Senne

Read all stories in this series

Story series: Getting Your Private Pilot License

Glider pilot Senne shares his flight training experiences, lessons he learns and tips he receives while getting his Private Pilot License.

Read all stories in this series

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