AviatorCast Episode 96: Ken Wittekiend: DPE | Checkrides | Promark Aviation | SAFE


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Today’s Flight Plan

The Checkride — that beautiful and nerve-racking event which every pilot, if he/she is to become a pilot, must at one time face. As aviators, are we missing the mark on how to approach a checkride? According to Ken Whittekiend, an FAA DPE, it doesn’t have to be all that bad.

Ken is a top notch instructor in Texas who specializes in off-airport training with tailwheel and floatplane ratings offered at his outfit, Promark Aviation. On top of that, Ken has also give more than 400 checkrides. You could say he knows a thing or two about the whole process.

Through this podcast with Ken we will find out how to approach a checkride with calm nerves, options to a pilot if things aren’t going well, and of course a DPEs perspective on what they are really looking for. All-in-all, this is an in-depth look at what the checkride process is like so that you can pass with flying colors.

Useful Links

Promark Aviation


A huge thanks to Ken for joining us on the show. We’d absolutely honored to have your insight!


Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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View transcript

[0:00] A license to learn.
This is a heater cast episode ninety six calling only pilots planes and using us in aviation lovers implanted at,
radiator cast join us weekly reference to become better masters of the year to introduce refreshers lessons training topics simulator set up,
dang you’re talking using more,
like a lot and yeah yourself for this week’s episode of the podcast reply complete fuel on more than flight plan filed let’s kick the tires and light the fires here’s your humble host chris palmer.
[0:39] Welcome welcome welcome baby years you’ve landed at the heater cast my name is chris colder.
As a pilot i faced many growth experiences over the years like all pilots,
i’ve had to insert myself through all the study training and set backs it take to become a pilot and add more ratings.
There are no participation trophies in a violation you either cut it.
For you don’t however with enough training study and hard work just about anyone can achieve with to many seems an elusive dream.
That of dancing and soaring with the birds i’ll be it in an airplane so welcome to this the ninety six episode of aviator cast,
it’s a little crazy that we’re coming up on that one hundred episode what the something very special on that day.
[1:32] This podcast is brought to you by angle of attack if i turn media production studio which i run.
And it’s a great time this is this broadcast is coming to you from seaplane court angle of attack headquarters.
In homer alaska if you’ve never been to aviator cast before let me share a little bit about it.
Is there a cast is all about a via tion passion this is where you can come for a regular dose of inspiration in aviation so that comes in the form of interviews perhaps maybe it’s insight into the industry.
We may talk about training topics every now and again more or less we share things that are interesting in pilot training in getting you in the cockpit keep the flying.
And yeah i could even be staying in the passion for aviation of your are a deep into that career.
Or maybe even maybe you just need to connect.
To the grass reach the community every once in a while well this is a great place to do that maybe you’re reigniting the flame after years of being out of the va tion know there are so many people.
That go through that initial.
Trial of getting a pilots license maybe they get to sell maybe they don’t that many people drop out of it for a variety of reasons.
And later i want to come back so maybe one of those that are coming back maybe are getting the courage to fly maybe or building up your resources to be able to fly.
This is a place where we talk about a lot of subjects of course we can talk about everything but we regularly talk about basically how to keep you flying that’s what i’m all about it’s what i’m trying to do myself.
[3:13] And i hope that we share some insight something that will help you along the way so on today’s episode as you guys know,
i am studying for my commercial pilot license this is something that i procrastinated on years ago.
And i really should done it when my opportunities were easier and better but i didn’t and so i’m literally paying the price now.
Finding my own all that sort of thing.
And i’m going after it so i’ve already passed my written test and got the check right coming up here in a few weeks i have more training and more study to do.
The wooden laying out kind of a process here on a heater cast and that starts with studying for the written test how do you do that,
it goes to me now i see effie’s perspective that we talked about on the last episode with dave her leg.
And then we are going to talk today to can we can.
Kenwood a can is that final step in the process he is a dpe,
designated pilot examiner who is an examiner designated by the faa to.
[4:23] Give pilots check rides and give them basically their license after they’ve gone through what is called oral and practical test in other words you would sit down with a guy like can.
And you have a conversation about the particular license you are going after and what it pertains to.
[4:45] Different things that he would ask and want your knowledge on and then you don’t do a practical test which is your in the airplane your showing your flying skills for that particular license,
obviously me coming up with a commercial license.
I gained a lot of great feedback and information from can because i really want to approach this next license like i had with my instrument rating with.
With optimism and without stress and go into it just knowing that i’m prepared and that anything other than.
All of the you know what stress and staying up late at night the night before.
Blast of is just going to harm my ability to do that has correctly so can help this kind of the mess the file lot of that stuff.
And show you his perspective and what he’s looking for when he sits down with a pilot application.
So great guide can he runs flight school called pro market deviation it’s in texas these guys.
[5:47] Specialize in off airport type of stuff so they do floor ratings there they do.
[5:54] Telling dortmund stay actually get into the back country little bit and taxes which is pretty rare.
[5:59] You know there’s there’s a lot of aviation in texas but it’s mostly runway to runway so that’s pretty great and unique about what these guys do,
he’s a big deviation safety advocate and it’s a top notch guy i mentioned before as a guy that that flew to alaska all the way from texas to the seven week trip flea two and three last with some friends.
And learned a great deal and had a great time so this is the guy that has been there kind of down that is giving over four hundred check rides.
And he can def give us a great perspective on what to expect when you go and sit down for a check right so.
That is what we’re gonna be doing on this episode before we get to that content as always i read a couple reviews on the show now if i do read your review on the show i will send you an aviator cast t-shirt no matter where you are.
We have a couple reviews today that come exclusively from the us.
However i send these things to australia i sent in two almost every mainland european country including.
You okay scotland ireland i send these things about everywhere.
And australia and new zealand i mean they’ve gone just about every where in the world so.
That is the beauty of the cv asian community it’s it’s a worldwide community so again if you choose to leave a review on the show.
On itunes stitch your google play another resource where i can see that review and i read it on the show.
[7:31] No i will send that teachers okay here are are few reviews for today this one comes to us from chase his user name is c m three underscore pasx he gives us five stars,
and says great podcast to stay current with aviation,
and his comment is i got my private pilot license in october twenty fifteen and have been looking for more ways to keep my head and maybe asian this is a great podcast keep them coming chase.
Chase congratulations on your recent one year anniversary of having your pilots license and sure you absolute remember that day and i’m really glad he also mention that your keeping your head any deviation.
Sometimes we don’t need to be flying to keep are head any ba tion we just need to keep our head and it by being part of a community and as or being some material every now and again.
And there are many great people out there where you could go and listen to or watch or whatever.
A lot of them are my friends and it this is such a tight-knit community and i’m very grateful that you’re here.
Using us as exactly that keep your head any of the asian so that’s awesome make sure you email me or give me my email here in a second and i will send you that t-shirt.
The second review comes to us from white lines blue skies that the user name.
He or she is from the usa gives us five stars and with the title of great deviation podcast,
well always on the search for great aviation podcasts i don’t know how i missed this one having on my pp and alaska i truly understand the beauty of the land of which chris speaks about.
[9:08] Flying over it really makes me miss it and i want to get back,
there until then this great podcast will have to do things for continuing to produce a quality product,
and keep it up big things white lines blue skies really appreciate it i water when you got your license in alaska unite a net this guy recently actually through instagram.
[9:30] Who his family is the on the airplane and now flying to knit in the seventies.
And he took these pictures of what my home town used to look like in the seventies and incidently enough,
pictures from the airplane that i now flying and it’s just crazy how different is you know it back then there was nothing at the airport was very minimal but just called to see that history so we’d love to have you back sometime like you said.
Come up here if you’re in the area let’s go flying i’m sure we can figure something out so boldly you.
Write me me at eighty to cast out com,
tell me who you are you tell me a review and all whiny and for those of you that would like a t-shirt or would gosh just out of the goodness of your heart would like to,
review the podcast please do so i can stature google play there’s many different ways to review it again most of our from itunes and stature but.
Anyway i’d love for you to review the show so i can send you that teacher.
[10:32] So right before we get in to the podcast here i’m coming up on that commercial license.
It’s it’s a process and are still going through my flights and still training with my local instructor here as i mentioned before i’m gonna be leaving alaska.
Going down to the lower forty eight or outside as we call it here in alaska to.
[10:54] And do some more training down there and to do my check right so i’m actually gonna be doing my check ride in cambria california.
On the thirteenth and i have much to prepare for before that time so lots of stuff coming up and also.
Is the new year coming so i’m thinking i had to all these new goals and things that i have and just really looking forward to that and i think coming up here another episode are gonna be.
Talking bout new year resolutions and how to how to effectively do those at least the tools that i’m using to do those.
And maybe give you guys some thoughts on how to make twenty seventeen,
a big deviation your for yourself so that those are my thoughts those are the reviews that is what a v eight has all about if your new here again welcome,
and now we’re going to get into hair talk,
with can what can cause a special lady we’re very honored to have a special guest of mine friend kenwood can how you doing can.
Good chris how are you tonight doing fantastic you know it’s it’s snowing right outside my window here i imagine the weather down there in texas is probably a little bit better.
[12:10] Yeah we’ve read about snow charge people who know about snow we just don’t see much of it here yeah that’s for sure pretty good flying days down there and when are that’s for sure.
Can you and i met mainly through the avenue of.
They say which is the society of deviation of it educators and also we’ve seen each other a few times at red bird migration down there in texas.
And have we can a little bit of the friendship overtime here and.
You have a very special position in aviation and give people a bit of an idea of.
What you’re doing now and a via tion both with your flight school and and what you do in conjunction with the faa if you will.
Sure am and you right you know we became acquainted through,
doing work that we’re both doing with safe which is an organization i am very pleased to be involved with one of the board members and they’re doing great work,
and your help with their website and so forth this is much appreciated as well.
This is primarily is shorter than bitch training business and maybe asian.
We do a lot of tail wheel training we do a lot of low training we do some basic.
Primary instruction instrument private pilot so forth but that are really offices is on sort of a back country orientation,
to help tyler to want to get to the level where they feel confident and competent and taking airplanes and going to some of the more challenging areas and it doesn’t need to be something all the way into the wellness but there are a lot of.
[13:53] Areas that are being developed and opened up the back into strips and pilots are in hamburg of that an interesting and so we try to meet that need but we can.
Definitely seems like you guys are on the on the forefront of a big search the area you see how well.
The contractor cubs are doing right now you know that’s if it is this big wave of adventure type pilots are flying in the back country.
He kinda goes hand in hand honestly with the obsession over.
[14:24] Alaska and all these discovery channel shows that are coming on here there’s just this desire to take a deviation.
[14:31] Again like it was in the very beginning.
Two places where you can access and so it’s pretty cool to see that happen and in your particular case with pro mark which is the name of your school is very cool to see that happen.
Right there in texas you know it you wouldn’t know.
Because a lot of schools don’t do this you wouldn’t know the school like that actually exists right there you guys the flow ratings and again all the.
Tell will and back interest at the time now so three fun stuff i like it.
You know nothing from alaska it’s that’s right up my alley will we we feel very blessed to be and what,
they call the hill country of texas where we do have chain of lakes that allows us to do the flow training activities we have a number of grass strips and even some off airport areas where we can take to taylor plane and then people will will,
come quite a distance in order to access that kind of training in one of the things that were doing even this weekend is that is hosting,
patrick grandma knows course that he does around the country on still tips and teaching people all evening airplane.
[15:42] Like bananas and two cans to be able to understand and those same techniques are used in the back country and all.
[15:50] Tell them to be confident comfortable in taking those airplanes on the some grass strips and and again getting to go places where they might not otherwise girl so that’s fine course to teach as well.
[16:01] Great.
So what was three when the clock a little bit before we get into you deeply into what problem are does and and what you do.
In hand with the faa let’s re wind the clock how did you fall in love with the deviation back to the very beginning when maybe when you’re a kid lets hear that story.
You know my dad was a very young p fifty one pilot writing and will work to,
hello in by the time i came along he didn’t he it stop flying and he did fly with me and i learned when i was quite young and i was in college actually and he did fly with me a couple times but,
but he really didn’t have any interest in the and pursuing that after his military career but i think that’s are sort of probably planted the seed with may and i really didn’t act on it until i was in college and i just had an opportunity one day to,
to go out to laporte take basically what we would cover color discovery flight and i think that set the hook and it sort of went from there,
so worked up through the typical ga career path where you struggle to finally get your private commercial instrument,
and then i ultimately was able to get my flight instructor certificate and knew immediately that,
really more where my heart was at was in teaching and training so what i’ve been doing it really.
Ever sense often people ask how long have i been blind and so well generally about the time the dinosaurs died off started but it but i did do it full time until about two thousand two.
[17:39] And have an opportunity after a career change to open up flight school and and co incident with the move out to the central part taxes and we’ve been here ever sense.
Great so in that time you or your part time instructing all you’re doing another career sounds like and then direct two thousand two to sounds like just after nine eleven you open the school.
And you know that equals about fifteen years that you’ve been in business now his it is always been kind of this back country focus are how has your school evolved over the years.
And it wasn’t evolution that’s a great way to think about it originally it was just we were just doing basic primary instruction,
and that’s true as often happens set of circumstances were an airplane became available and an instructor came along that wanted something to do to help out who had an interest in that,
we will just began to recognize that there were no matches that we can exploit and that people have an interest in doing and that shit,
both where we were and also i think our mindset i’ve always been,
attracted and amber do with the whole back entry experience i love doing that and it had the opportunity is as you and i know to take super gavin go to alaska a few years ago,
and then i think that further showcase the fact that,
this is just a wonderful experience and and it’s something that a lot of people appreciate and they’re interested in so we just saw that is a natural opportunity and and the float plane.
[19:12] Happen got the same way the airplane became available we thought that was something that we could do successfully here and then we had the the,
parts and pieces but i am an examiner for the day and when you doing flow training you dad because it’s a separate rating you have to be able to have an easy way to get tested mastered so,
having the dpe availability a couple with the airplane in the instructor made it pretty easy turn key package.
That’s great and it’s a kind of it kinda gives me an idea of what i’d like to do with the school i’d like to open i’d like to get kind of in the position rear and where.
I’m doing a part time then kind of evolved over time is even honestly as i improve as a pilot and.
[20:01] And as i go beyond just those basic just eating private pilot for example getting into teaching maybe the more.
Risky stuff at the back country things sounds exciting to have all that way in and having done a little bit of low training myself haven’t done a lot of.
Back to training per se the meaning you know mountain flying type stuff specifically landing in in tight locations that,
is not not with a four point but that’s where the training from a professional but having so the float plane stuff i can tell our listeners that.
Having a full rating even though i haven’t got mine quite yet i’m gonna get a priest and i’m actually gonna do the commercial at on the price per hour at on.
[20:46] It’s so much fun it just so much fun diving into this corner of aviation and not a lot of people go into and.
It’s just the blasted you know it right outside my office here in a moved into this office about eight months ago.
[21:03] Is a seaplane base right here in homer alaska it i hear the sea planes all day the they drive me crazy because i just wanna be flying in them and.
It’s a damn lie part of my life now but it’s such a fun part of aviation to be a part of because your.
You’re able to access different places where you just don’t see when you’re flying an airplane that just lands on a big concrete runway now it is just so much different and.
And has so much for it to one of the things that we make a point with our float plane customers.
Is that it very much mirrors the things that we teach in the back country,
courses because when you’re operating a flood plain you’re not planning on prepared runways you’re having to make a valuations about.
Changing conditions that are gonna be different day-to-day right having to figure out where the wins coming from and what he have sufficient length to get in and out of,
place your candle and soap and there are a lot of parallels alot of connections that you can make between off airport operations both on wheels and on flow and even from an insurance standpoint insurance companies.
The reason why.
[22:12] Reason why you cancel or really why you don’t see people actually getting an entire private pilot in full plane is because all floor plan operations are considered off airport.
And you have to have the least of my insurance company and owners policy to only airplane or be named anna.
To fly to float airplane full plane so kind of interesting there that even they consider all of off airport lakes if you will.
To be to be off airport so pretty interesting.
And it is true that it’s very difficult to find somebody who will in today’s world re either a detail will or plan or float plane but that doesn’t support maybe surprisingly doesn’t diminish the interest,
who had a lot of people call and say well after yeah i do your training can we rent be the airplane will,
we can’t because of insurance requirements and they all say all that’s too bad but i want to do it anyway but yeah see great value and great fun in it and and that’s that’s always what you hear,
i would i would say that for anyone that is really feeling the drudgery of of maybe just.
On the day to day maybe you’re falling out of passing the deviation assist you now same old thing go get a flight rating if you don’t have it cuz it’ll just it’ll spark a fire again it’s fun stuff and it’s really not all that difficult to do.
Correct it typically can get it done in two and a half three days and,
you’re absolutely right we got a lot of customers for both to will and to float that are flying professionally and they got little bit jaundiced or will be jaded about it.
[23:52] And and i have not found one of them yet,
set the first time youtube and the plot plan you go land in the water that the program and i mean it’s just it’s just huge fine,
and it also times to something else that i think is really important and that is a nine if assistant focus on basic instinct the flying skills in stick and rudder skills,
yeah there’s a lot of discussion going on in our industry now about lost control and accident and how to prevent those sort of things and one of the things that comes directly out of,
learning to fly tail we’ll learning to fly floats is a return to those basic stick and rudder skills and i think that’s part of the joy is that it is,
distilled down to it simple acids and people just find it to be rewarding and huge fund and and and i just think that’s part of the the reason people like it to much.
Yeah or on the world now of screens and buttons are not all pilots and i pads and cameras all these things all these.
Really nice shiny things there they’re fine but they’re distracting us from.
The core aviator skills at an ipad taking early try to make the distinction between aviator and pilot you know i didn’t call this pilot cast color tv or cast they just really like.
The thought of the old a beaters now looking at charles lindbergh specifically since he’s such an icon.
As an aviator now he don’t have all these real box it there wasn’t decades of of rules and thoughts and feelings behind.
[25:28] Him helping him he went out there and he did it and not saying that that’s a safe attitude to have necessarily,
but there’s this course kill just you and the airplane this so much different than.
You know what you’re going to do pressing on auto pilot button or something in that the cool thing about fall.
Flow flying and what you realize right away when your student is your flying the airplane all the time from the second you push back from the doc,
you are flying the airplane even when you’re on the water i know this sounds interesting but.
You know you have to manipulate the car controls and things to get the airplane to have it where you want to go and.
And the take off and landings are in a simple it’s it’s very much all about specific pitching feeling getting up on stopping,
what’s the little thing that just it is a very rich experience and it’s a lot of fun so in courage people to especially if they’re in.
[26:25] In texas and surrounding states to check you guys out pro marquis the asian.
[26:30] I am seeing on i think the reason why a lot of people like that flow out on is because it can almost be a flying vacation you can go to that area you can get it fairly quickly and easily.
And it’s almost like a vacation sure you may not be able to rent the airplane but it’s rich and fun experience.
And an retail will is same way we get a lot of people who call are come up to do the tail will course in they may not really have any need for them in some cases are building an airplane that,
will be taylor the thing about line one but oftentimes it’s just for the experience for the same thing they’ve heard a lot about it and we try to d mystified we try to make it huge fun for them,
but in in the course of learning to fly the taylor what we’re really doing,
is going back and revisiting these in stock they flying skills not really so much better being tail we’ll it’s about being a simple airplane,
what were gonna go to places that they’ve not been before like grass strips and then some cases off airport so i think they find that to be,
how did again distillation of what in many cases they remember about why they learn to find the first place,
yeah that’s a perfect example so.
[27:48] You’re doing that interest off the school is obviously something you’re passionate about it said it on a seminar that you did in oshkosh about the specific subject of you making a very long journey.
To you and through alaska and back from texas.
In your cups so why don’t you share that story little bit embry finally had a whole seven are on this but wanted to briefly share people what your experiences were.
And maybe some of the outcomes are thought you had coming out of that experience.
What is one of the things that that i think resonated with me was it as it is with a lot of pilots and when i do the seminar this is a question i always ask is how many people been to alaska,
how many people would like to go and almost everybody in the audience raise your hand i know it is,
you the only one that raise my hand how many of you are lifelong alaska has the owner raise my hand and then you ask,
how many of you would like to fly alaska and the rest of everyone is their hands it it’s true it’s a bucket list item to use an old hackneyed phrase,
but it really is something that the people dream about and i was the same way it was something that i thought,
got one day i’d like to have that opportunity and i appreciate mail more than even i did before we head that there are certainly breakfast skills,
that you need to have in hand before you tackle something like that and in so it’s not something that you can just jump off and go do.
[29:21] But if you have the training and if you are,
willing to be done to it to be studious and thought falling conservative about your approach to it then it is within the reach of many people and there are lots of different ways to do it you don’t have to go to the,
farthest corner of the wilderness and and a super cop you can go to alaska and a bonanza and have a wonderful experience just a different experience but but taking a,
the airplane an airplane that is set up and and suitable for going to the back country of alaska is probably the pinnacle of that experience because you get to go places that very few people ever get a chance to see and and it,
on one hand is stunningly beautiful but it’s also it demands a lot.
For the challenges that are income but in that and in all sorts of ways in the fact that you are so remote things can go wrong quickly,
you can go from everything is wonderful to oh my word world travel here very rapidly and so you have to understand,
how you can minimize and mitigate some of that rich can eliminated which you can by being careful and thoughtful and doing,
your homework for you go you can you can turn it into something that can be relatively safe and and that’s that was our project one of the ways that you do that is.
[30:51] It’s best if you go with,
somebody has been for and it’s better if you go as a group that it is if you go individually and and i was fortunate in that there were some,
people that became dear friends of mine that were going and i was able to hook up and and they provide a lot of that mentoring and guidance on the trip,
having had that history of being up there several times before i think the coolest.
Things that you said and the seminar is from my wrist category where you said that.
[31:25] If your eyes gonna sit back and you’re not gonna go out there and risk anything your not going to get the reward not is not you make sure to say that’s not saying that you just go out in your risky pilot but.
That there is reward with the rest can you can’t get the reward without it and.
It’s real you presenting a seminar aight i got the feeling that like your saying you it was very well prepared.
Even though you’re an experienced pilot you went thru training yourself you guys are careful you are cautious you you may be.
When slower than a lot of people would you know i think a lot of people get impatient and some of the situations that you are in and want to just kinda jumping and go but this is a place where you do that so that was maybe wise advice you had prior but.
I’m just i thought i was really need because the time i was also i was,
i wasn’t in a position where i’m taking alaska in as a pilot in little bits and chunks and trying to learn from everyone that i possibly can.
Even even little local airports are gravel strips you know i get on some facebook pages and ask people hey who’s been in here before can you tell me what the windsor like what things i should watch out for this and that.
[32:40] And i’m just taking in and one little bit at a time and.
[32:44] And what i was going through when i saw your seminar was i had a lot of people in my life may not allow the several that were telling me hey man the the type of flying you’re doing just seems really risky and.
[32:56] And i don’t think is very wise and i can tell you right now and in the audience that i actually wasn’t doing anything particular risky.
It’s just that people solid i was landing on a gravel strict with mountains surrounding in and all these things are think you will this guy this guy is obviously going places that are pretty dangerous and.
[33:16] And so it in a way it’s comforting for you to say you can’t get the reward without the risk in.
[33:24] And even the very smaller size taking it it just it was comforting to me for some reason to hear that from someone like you that.
[33:32] It has so much experience and so that i look up to in your position that the girls are things that you can get unless you just kinda died and.
[33:41] And it seems are there so maybe you can talk to that a little bit more cuz i think that point is really useful for for the listeners.
Sure you know one of the things that i think and and reflecting back on the experience because when you’re,
when you’re doing something like that you’re you’re really busy,
and there are long days and it’s the teaching and it’s it’s just very intense so you don’t really have much opportunity,
to reflect on the situation that you’re in and what your gonna learn from it and tell after the fact and you can look back on it and so as i was putting that seminar together,
i’m thinking about calling it the no reservations story alaska that the fit for that is that it’s not just about.
Navigation in the back country it’s not even just got a violation it’s about how you choose to do things and all aspects,
being willing to push those boundaries to be willing to be out of your comfort zone and to explore new things knowing,
that those opportunities may not come again and there are no guarantees and so if you don’t latch on to those chances,
that you have to do those kind of things you look back later and and i think regret not having done some of those that doesn’t mean that you do it without planning and thought,
and why messer skills and lol using technology and all the other things that you can do but,
it’s it’s often easy to say that’s too hard or too far cost to much and as a result you miss those wonderful experiences that happen.
[35:20] When you get out on the edge a little bit and you meet the people that you run into new interact with them it’s just as you say a very rich experience and and i think for anybody who’s done it they they look back on and they say,
yeah that was really difficult in some ways it was extremely challenging there are times when it was uncomfortable but golly it was worth every bit of it,
yeah definitely i think of all you just said in the one thing that stood out to me as kind of the the glue to all that is the people.
Cuz if i had to go it alone here in alaska trying to learn what to do around here where to go.
[36:01] It would be so risky i i do not want to have to learn lessons so many a beers up here have learned before,
is it just a house relationships and those people to talk to and and and get information from advice from has been so helpful to me.
[36:17] Not only in specific instances like i said like specific airports but also just in general.
What’s the general feel of how people do things different around here because it my attitude coming up here new i moved up here about six years ago was.
[36:34] I’m a new pilot i should treat myself as though i’m a new private pilot appear.
And i should treat ab asian as if it’s in a completely different country cuz really that’s what it is up here so.
I think from that perspective it it’s really help me take very small steps toward.
And those things you’re talking about those experiences that you will get before and as a perfect example just across the bay here,
there’s a large i will call the harding ice field and i’m i’m sure you flew or some ice fields and you can not hear.
[37:10] The all the sunrise really careful it i took time in the mountains.
And just a little bit further every time i got controls what the windsor doing in and i can learn how these mountains are interacting with the wind and.
[37:26] And eventually have my right to fly over these large eyes filled with with limitless glaciers you know all around you.
[37:33] At sunset with all the pastel colors and is just so amazing that i didn’t get there by just going out and i go with let’s go let’s go check out this very remote area this potentially dangerous i didn’t necessarily do that so.
[37:46] Just right in line with what you’re saying just one little bit of time learning things.
[37:52] And you know the one of the stores that i know you heard me tell mom when we were together it is absolutely true and i think illustrates this idea that that the risks are real,
but you have to be accepting of the fact that the,
those are the conditions that sure the price of admission and now we we just crossed,
the border and we were in a stunningly beautiful area of canada,
cool little switching on and it was up to a big river valley with mountains that went out from the the color water all the way up to who glaciers are,
on top of which was cover sheet and we’re flying long and i’m up it may be.
[38:35] Five hundred feet or so above the surface thinking is i’m looking around oh my gosh i hope the sun keeps running cuz i don’t see any good place to put it and now,
i have my friend down below whose mike is in wants me to and i’m watching him from mild finished about five hundred feet,
and he’s never back and forth from one side of the ballot in the other and i called him and said mike what you doing down there inches what the main symbol what you can do for quits,
where you gonna put it in there was kind of a long silence on the radio in the finally killed the,
translate button essential can what are you gonna do if it quit can i look around and i thought you know is right,
so i said i’ll be right there we went in with blue for long always it it really low elevation because it really didn’t change anything except how long it was gonna be before you crashed,
right so so it’s just their places,
and you were talking about the ice fields their places where you realize it just passed run it can quit here because there’s not gonna be a good outcome.
[39:43] Okay so i know people of hearing about the alaska aviation thing and it’s so great to just get a little bit of your experience there again i,
again even been from here really enjoyed that so let’s move on to the pe thing because that this is this is a mystery that i think a lot of people get.
Wound up on the whole check writing that the fear of the check ride not sleeping the night before all these things are pilots go through.
Many of which i think are for unnecessary reasons and really.
[40:17] It’s always a cultural thing live in some of them and some of happens it’s not totally necessary so this is kinda gonna be.
[40:26] Question after sort of format where.
[40:30] Where you can just of course share all your knowledge that you can but if i have a question i’m just gonna jumping in and will try to d mystified this whole dpe thing.
Get an idea for where the actual position is about and how you approach it from your perspective when your taking on a student that’s that’s getting a rating so.
[40:49] Aright or certificate so that’ll be pretty fun so first off why don’t you money share a little bit about maybe the the history of the pe position.
How would be he’s interact with the faa what the overall role is for the peas in getting pilots,
their certificates or their their licenses.
Sherm the the question that comes up a lot of times with with instructors particularly is how do you become a dpe,
what is the process and the its kind of a difficult thing to describe in great detail because it is often times,
almost entirely on the need that the local faa district office has for examiners in their area that the operations so if they have,
sufficient number of examiners within the district even if they have highly qualified people who would like to be,
examiners if there’s no need they’re just not gonna and anybody so it kinda starts first of all that there has to be either retirement or something is happened growth of flight training in the district or something happening that all of a sudden there’s an increased made and then that is tell,
well look around and the people who are interested make application,
through a national organization of examiners fell out forms to make sure that they’re basically meet all the qualifications and then the local.
[42:23] Fist can go to that examining board and say who we got its done the work,
fill up forms and who might be potential,
examples that we could tap and so once they identify somebody who has done the preliminary work then,
that examiner goes to school for a week in oklahoma city to learn the ins and outs of how the whole examining process works then once that’s complete they come back to their local fist who basically provides oversight and mentoring,
particularly in the early stages where the faa princeville operating inspector will city and on,
check rides as you begin to do them and will,
answer questions help you understand the process and and this is a basically mentor and new examiner,
and tell they really can’t ready to stand up on their own and go forward.
And it had been doing it now about five a little over five years i’ve done about five hundred check ride so far so in the scheme of things,
i would say i am maybe mahler moderately,
experienced i don’t in any way shape or form feel like i’ve got it all figured out but i have done enough of it now to where i can i,
feel like i’ve seen much of the the kinds of issues that you run into often times with an exam as an examiner.
So it sounds like it’s not really a career path in aviation you can at least wisely done for.
[43:59] Has it sounds like a lot of pieces have to come to phone place to make it happen it’s true and of course the fam and in many aspects,
doesn’t have the manpower to perform all the functions at the charge with them so dps act,
as an extension of the administrator and administering the exams and and our mission is just what you expected to try to be fair with people,
to apply the standards and to call make sure that the process resulting pilots who are competent and,
confident and able to go out in the national airspace system and do it safely with their families that’s the ultimate bottom line and we all sure that objectives whether it’s the faa inspector or the examiner,
or the instructor,
no and certainly the applicant everybody wants the same thing at the end of the process for that person to feel like they really have the not.
And it sounds like overall.
That is is that a general feeling you get during the process of doing a check right i mean.
How quickly can you tell if someone’s repaired and ready and and and they’re gonna be able to push through because i feel like.
[45:23] So i can come to check writer kind of either ready or your not not now maybe those things you bust in you may have to redo that,
i feel like applicants often come to other income to check right with a different preparation factor if you will.
Well part of where this begins is it if the instructors who are recommending applicants,
for evaluation are working in concert with their examiners,
and there is a shared dialogue back and forth about expectations and about what’s going well what kind of errors were singing it tends to get better over time,
the instructors understand what the,
the p is looking for they day can better prepare their applicants and maybe reduce your stress levels a little bit but it’s it’s not always easy for an instructor,
to figure out how to truly prepare an applicant because they they just have in some cases misunderstanding about the process,
and we know going and every applicant is gonna be nervous to to some extent many of them are very nervous and most of the examiners and i know,
work hard trying to get people to relax and to understand,
that it is just a process we’re going through and it’s it’s a necessary thing and that we’re trying very hard to be a stairs possible with them but we do have this obligation.
[46:56] To make sure that i truly do meet the standards one way that i’ve approached check rides and i’ve.
I suggested a tips to this to others and you can totally terra part of you want to use it i give you permission ahead of time to tear apart and that is that you should treat a check right as another,
lesson if you will want your of course proving yourself but another lesson with a very experienced ab here.
And just relax is that good advice or how would you mall that.
It is good advice and i think most applicants down stream of the of the test will tell you that they do feel like that the came way with some knowledge of the didn’t have before.
I think that the probably their whole bunch of things that are instructors if they if they really understand,
how the process works and the nature of the test,
can do a better job of helping their applicants be prepared one of the things that i encourage people to do that which really doesn’t help is to try to set up a meeting in advance of the practical test,
where the instructor in the student command and just have an informal meeting with each other and let them get to meet them face to face put a name and face together talk about,
concerns and questions that they might have an and just get,
to realize that the examiner is human and that they got a role to play in this process and they’re they’re certainly rooting for it to go well.
[48:27] I think sometimes there’s this misconception that examiners somehow given a quarter that have passed or tails or number people or that they are out there are there looking for,
people busting check right none of that is true in any of the examiners and i know were very much in the applicants corner we hope it goes well it’s it’s never pleasant have to give somebody a notice of disapproval,
but it at the end of the process we also have to realize that that safety is the bottom line and if the applicant on that day,
doesn’t meet the standards and they need some additional training well then that’s really in their best interest even know what seem like maybe it’s time.
Is so how long does line say that an application and this is jumping ahead a little bit the same apple can does bus part of your check ride.
Can the applicant continue with the rest of the check right and finish the rest stop assuming there in the right mindset that is a possibility that.
Great question and it it it varies a little bit and then again other examiners may have a different take on this but but my belief is,
if were in the oral portion of the test,
and i start to sense adapt and is is maybe a little bit of fishing and area maybe we’re talking about weather or something well i will,
leave that and move on to the other areas that i’m going to cover in the oral exam and then i’ll circle back to it and,
i’m forming an opinion about your overall knowledge right of the whole.
[50:01] Shut it matter and so i won’t generally if we hit a rough spot in one segment i want generally make a,
sailor past decision at that point i’ll keep going and try to get a better understanding of where their strengths and weaknesses are over the whole course of material and then it end of that process form an opinion about whether,
they meet the standard or whether they need to mission training so if we get through the oral,
they have to complete your satisfactorily before we get to go get in the airplane.
So sometimes if their knowledge is deficient than that maybe that will complete the all that we will have several areas in there that i need additional work and so that would be the end of that process at that point.
Now they have,
a sixty day window in which they can go back and get the additional training and be re recommended for the check ride and if they do that i am able to just cover,
the things i gave them difficulty on the prior i can’t i can’t go back in touch on some of the others but generally i don’t think,
usually that gets done or mostly concerned to see that they learn the things that they were,
having trouble with before and once that’s complete then we can move on and move to the airplane for the flight portion of the test now if they bust occurs if they become,
to where they don’t meet the standard during the flight portion we have the option with the concurrence of the applicant.
[51:35] To continue,
to work through all the maneuvers again we can identify if there’s just one area that was a challenge are there multiple areas sometimes applicant wants to do that most of the time i would say they do but occasionally there just so upset because a,
they realized not gonna get this done today that they just,
want to go back in and do another day and that’s okay or sometimes they’ll they’ll have a problem in a certain area and i want to continue will will move along and generally if we had another area,
where are they have great difficulty,
oftentimes that when i just said let’s go back in and let’s get the chance to get yourself in and get a little training and come back and do this on the day.
Gotcha so i think that’s a very important distinction to make and thank you for all the information both in the oral and practical components of the check ride.
Is a very important distinction to make for pilots that are seeking a rating in i have to be careful because i know that.
[52:38] People that are really gunning for a career in aviation if they are looking to be an airline pilot or if they’re looking to go into the military or something.
The the success of your check rides can matter on your application so.
[52:54] There is that component to it but there’s also this component in what you just covered the says hey.
It’s not the end of the world if something doesn’t go quite right that’s not to say that you should be prepare yes the best you can.
But it just means don’t panic if there’s if there’s something else you need to learn and i think as an overall great lesson actually an aviation is hey.
There’s one area or another that we are all the fishing is some point or another you know we.
We may focus on winter flying this year and become more efficient in the spring type of flying or an off airport fine there’s always things that we as pilots the matter what state are in.
Can improve on so i guess a little bit of a microcosm for being a pilot anyway what are one of the things that we always brief in the,
pree test everything that the applicant receives is that the faa and the center does not expect perfection the way we say this perfection is not the standard now oftentimes it’s difficult,
to define,
very directly and and precisely what the standards are in the or component of this because it is a bunch of things and not all things,
carry equal weight right so,
where no but the the idea is to reassure the applicant that simply because i miss a question or two or struggling one area doesn’t automatically mean that we’re going to get my nose disapproval,
it is the pagans of their knowledge and judgement and still that that weighs on that decision.
[54:29] But at the end of the process are objective is the same and that is to have confidence that there going to be an skill full and and knowledgeable in,
make good decisions when they’re out on their own that’s truly the bottom line for all of us and and oftentimes your your sitting there,
thinking gosh this is this is a wonderful applicant it’d their wanting to do this for a career it is gonna be a challenge for them to have to come back but yet you just have to keep uppermost in your mind,
that that this is really about safety checks and if they are and if they need some additional training to get to the level they need to reach them that’s what should be.
[55:09] Yeah definitely if so so here’s another question if you were to profile the perfect pilot app can coming to you and maybe you can even.
[55:18] Take a specific rating are certificate but what would they look like what attitude they have how would the check right go with the perfect.
Applicant and an insane perfect.
[55:31] Maybe ideal is the best turn there cuz again you just said that perfection isn’t required so what is the ideal applicant that you’re looking for.
What you one of the things that i think,
blessed certain applicant stand out from others is the ability to take charge of the process.
To truly demonstrate that they’re ready to be pilot command that they come prepared to take her there organized they are,
trained to an application or cor

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